AHREFS team spent $33115 On their New Homepage copy. What can we learn from their experience?
Recently I was browsing the web and came across a video posted by ahrefs CMO Tim Soulo in his Saas marketing vblog. This video episode caught my attention because the title was “How we spend $33,115 to hire 3 copywriting agencies to revamp our homepage copy”.
I was interested to learn about his experience because I follow his blog and we both have similar background. If you’re not familiar with ahrefs, they are one of the leading platforms for SEO discovery and analytics. WDB also is an ahrefs customer and we use their tool among others to help our customers grow their website traffic.
I wanted to understand the reasons why the team has decided to embark on this project and the circumstances behind bringing three different agencies to try and recreate their homepage.
This is in essence a perfect and unique case study describing customer’s experience working with multiple agencies to improve user experience looks like.
Well, what can I say, this was an eye-opening episode. Tim first described the reasons why this was the right time to update their homepage. The page has been around for a while, mostly unchanged. Ahrefs team realized that they simply overgrown it. The company has evolved and is more than just a tool to grow search traffic. They also wanted something trendy.
So as Tim said, three heads are better than one, they decided to bring in three independent agencies to help them with content and layout design.
After few weeks of customer interviews and market research, the three agencies submitted three drastically different concepts for their homepage. Each agency took a very different approach to re-envision their homepage.
If you can change the perception of the company. Try it.
Similarly, to others, I came across ahrefs researching backlinks many years ago. They became an authority in this arena and their tool was one of the few that was able to provide this data. Of course, now most of the tools out there can do as good of a job as well.
Some of the agency’s that were familiar with ahrefs history, recommended to showcase the backlinks feature permanently on the homepage. Ahrefs team wasn’t convinced however. One of their takeaways from this experience was that even though ahrefs was famous for backlinks discovery feature but it wasn’t the only feature they offered. Their approach was to try and change the perception of the company, and with that in mind they moved forward.
No single right way to create a homepage
What happened next was really surprising to me. Each agency assured that they have figured out a way to marry the copy with the design using colors, fonts, spacing, images etc. This was until Tim sent the mockups to their internal designer who chopped and picked elements that he liked out of those three designs and created a fourth variation.
A/B testing in parallel or not?
Ahrefs team is not a big fan of A/B testing. I get it, and there might be a good reason. To prove the value of the homepage they need to run A/B testing for 6 months or longer to capture a customer LTV (lifetime value) according to Tim.
I would respectfully disagree if I may on this. I believe A/B testing in parallel would deliver a lot of value and understanding how users are interacting with the page. Where are they clicking? What is more important for them on the page? How long they stay on the page? All these are very important data points that might have not reveal the customer’s LTV but would have provided an enormous learning experience. More importantly, the ahrefs team could act on these findings and finetune the homepage.
So, what can we learn from this experience?
I personally think we can learn a lot. It looks like selecting multiple agencies indeed had its benefits. Getting the experience and input from three different agencies helped shape the final homepage. However, the ahrefs team relied on their internal resource who is most close to the product to guide them and create the final design.
What this means to you as a customer? What metrics should you use to select the agency that would deliver on vision and would help you succeed?
Of course, the agency has to understand your industry and have significant experience working with companies of your size. Have the human capital and professional team. But also, I believe the answer for this, greatly dependent on your initial feel for the agency partner and how you connect with them.
So, time to summarize this…
The more agencies you bring on board the more diverse the results you would get because there’s no company or person that think alike. But this does not guarantee success.
Try to change the perception of the company if your product or solution changed overtime.
Collaboration between copy / marketing and design is very important. They can’t be in competition with each other but rather be best allies.
A/B testing perhaps will not reveal the LTV but will give you a lot of other important metrics to finetune your homepage or landing page for that matter.
Select the agency that has all the required elements, but also rely on your feel and how you connect with the team that will be working with you.