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How Changing One Word Increased Software Demos By 42%

Blog / How Changing One Word Increased Software Demos By 42%
by Henry O'Loughlin on

How Changing One Word Increased Software Demos By 42%

Sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest impact. Some examples of that we’ve covered in other blog posts:

Here’s to doing less to grow more.

Last year, we had an idea to make a simple change on a client’s website that could potentially make a big impact. What would happen if we changed the main website call-to-action from “Free Trial” to “Free Demo?”

Free demo button in website navigation bar

It’s a laughably simple idea, but the opportunity was big.

The Scenario

This is where we stood before making a change to the website’s main call-to-action.

  • The goal of the sales process had always been to interest people in an online, one-on-one software demonstration. Based on the industry and how the software tool was used, a demonstration and discussion was more useful to the prospect than a free trial.
  • The main call-to-action had always been “free trial,” even though a demo would come first and then a free trial next (if the demo went well). It was a roundabout process for sales prospects.
  • We gave everyone the ability to schedule a one-on-one demo, even people whose organizations were located outside the countries we worked with or wouldn’t benefit from the software. This was a waste of time for our salesperson.

The Goals

Here’s what we wanted to accomplish by changing our main website call-to-action.

  1. We wanted the existing pool of website visitors and prospects to produce more demo opportunities. Therefore, we changed the main site CTA from “free trial” to “free demo.”
  2. We wanted to stop giving demos to people who weren’t qualified. Therefore, we automatically routed people who weren’t qualified (based on the info gathered on the demo form) to a recorded video and other resources.

The Results

*Three-month Stats Before & After The CTA Change

Three-month stats before & after CTA change

*BOF = Bottom of funnel (the views and submissions on our free trial and demo landing pages)


Views: Views of our BOF landing pages (free trial and demo) increased by 24%.

  • That is not something we anticipated, but it turned out a demo was more compelling than a free trial for our persona.

Submissions: People who submitted the form to request a BOF action increased by 37%.

  • We lost a number of free trial requests (by deprioritizing that CTA) but increased demo requests by a lot more. The result was a big increase in leads. Again, our persona finds this option more compelling.

Demos scheduled: The number of demo meetings we scheduled with prospects increased by 59%.

  • The increase in views and submissions was an added benefit. But “demos scheduled” was really where we targeted by making the change.
  • Now, the intent of the prospect (to request a demo) matched with what they actually received.
  • Also, we cut out people who weren’t a good fit, freeing up time for our salesperson to focus on the right leads.

Demos completed: The number of people who attended the scheduled demos increased by 42%.

  • The difference between “scheduled” and “completed” is people who didn’t show up to the meeting. That’s part of the game.
  • By switching our main CTA (and improving the filtering), we increased real demonstrations in a meaningful way.

The call-to-action matched the process, which matched the preference of the website visitor. Something that was so simple made a big impact.

Areas you can look to for minimal effort & big impact

The point of this article is not to test your website’s main call to action. Although that could be a good strategy for you, the idea here is to find opportunities to make small changes that have the chance to make a big impact.

Oftentimes in marketing, people think doing more—or more complex things—will help them to grow. Instead, look for simpler ideas that could have a big impact.

If you’re looking for areas with low-effort, high-impact potential, start here:

  1. Main website CTAs (just like this test)
  2. Blog CTAs (changing one CTA on your most viewed blog post could be worth the effort of ten new blog posts)
  3. Pricing (the actual price, the packages, how people see your prices)
  4. The pages that rank for your main keyword rankings (fixing a keyword ranking drop from four to seven in Google could be more impactful than getting 100 long-tail keywords onto page one)
  5. Headers and important website copy (your homepage header may only be four words, but it can make a big difference)
  6. Landing page format or copy (like headers, landing pages are typically fewer words but capture most of your leads)
  7. Emails and workflows (take a look at your most-seen emails and test out different content)

There are a million things you could test in your marketing, but you shouldn’t try to pursue them all. Start by looking where you attract the most eyeballs, and do a few simple tests to see if you can improve how it works.

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