When it comes to your marketing strategy priorities, the design of quality landing pages for your marketing campaigns should be at the top of your list of things to do. Your awesome new branding and website design may grab the visitors attention initially, but a strong landing page will engage them long enough to deliver your marketing message along with a call to action and sufficient information for the user to decide whether or not to take action.
To bring some of you up to speed, a landing page is the internet marketing equivalent of a landing strip for potential customers.
Wikipedia defines a landing page as:
a landing page, sometimes known as a “lead capture page” or a “lander”, is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on an advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link.
Although Wikipedia‘s definition does a great job of summing it up, there’s definitely a lot more to a quality landing page which converts well than relevant and keyword rich content. What the definition neglects to mention is that the single underlying purpose of a landing page is to get users to take specific actions, whether it be buying a product, subscribing to a mailing list, sharing information or requesting further information about your product or service.
To learn more about what I consider to be the most critical factors that you should be considering when planning how to optimize your landing pages for higher conversion rates, read on after the jump:
Landing Page Optimisation: Top Tips for Conversion-tastic Landing Pages
1. Make Your Landing Page Content Relevant
The content of a landing page should be directly related and relevant to your organic search results, PPC campaigns, anchor texts used in inbound links and any other targeted traffic advertising which is responsible for delivering users to that page. If you don’t deliver the right content and provide visitors with what they expect, there’s no compelling reason for them to stay on the page.
2. Give Users a Reason to Stay on Your Landing Page
Avoid sending your website visitors to other pages on your site unless you absolutely have to. Eliminate, or at the very least minimize on the clutter and distractions such as unnecessary internal navigation, advertising and banners which direct users away from the page they are currently viewing. The more distractions and non-essential navigation options you can eliminate and the better your chance of retaining your visitors. I often refer to this as the “No-Bleed” rule.
3. Strive for Simplicity When Creating Landing Pages
Make it easy for your visitors to take the actions which you want them to. Reduce confusion and decision making for your visitor and watch how conversions improve for your landing page. Avoid offering multiple choices and throwing-in too many optional extras. Focus on making the offer the page was created for as compelling as possible. As a rule, the lower the perceived value of the offer, the simpler it should be for users to take action. No user is going to complete a 20 page form to download a sample of your new 5-page ebook about the Mating Habits of the North-Sea Clam.
4. Focus on Landing Page Functionality
The saying you cannot judge a book by it’s cover unfortunately does not apply on the world wide web. According to many internet research polls a growing number of visitors seem to judge the professionalism and credibility of a website by its design alone. Unfortunately, this means that many website owners place too much emphasis on the design aspect and neglect to pay attention to the functionality and the overall user-experience. Any landing page, no matter how good-looking, is essentially rendered worthless if the user cannot complete the desired action. While I wouldn’t never suggest sacrificing design, it shouldn’t be your only priority. Focus on the exact steps you want your visitor to take and design a page which facilitates that specific user experience.
5. Provide Clear & Consistent Messaging
Keep your landing page squeaky clean and free of clutter to ensure that your message stays front and centre and allows your website visitors to remain focused on your message. Emphasize the biggest selling points, benefits, advantages of your product or service as well as any calls to action with larger text, font variations, colour, contrast engaging graphics. Make it easy for users to scan the content and find the information they need by headings, bulleted lists and clear, concise, response orientated copy which gets straight to the point. Ensure that any offers leading to the page are identical to avoid confusion – if a user clicks through from a banner offering a 25% discount, make sure that your landing page offers the same.
6. Provide a Clear Call To Action
Once you get your visitors to the desired landing page, ask them to take action. Make it clear and highly noticeable without being condescending. Whether it’s a lead capture form asking a user to submit theor details or a “Buy Now” button, make it the focus of your landing page. Customize your submit button text or include copy to provide a clear indication of what happens after a user has taken action. If a secondary call to action is also required, downplay it’s importance by making it less obvious than the primary.
7. Use Design Cues
Having a great call to action or selling point is useless if users don’t see it. Make use of design cues to lead your visitors through a landing page and direct their attention towards important calls-to-action, features, benefits or selling points. Employing use of arrows, viewing angles or contrasting colours are all great ways to lead the user’s eye towards important page elements when used appropriately, if your landing page blinks, flashes and buzzes and looks like it should contain an epilepsy disclaimer – try again.
8. Give Something Away for Free
Everyone likes freebies and samples. They are irresistible and can be used as a powerful conversion tool. Whether a call to action is free or something free is offered as a result of taking action, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Use freebies and give-away’s to build trust with your audience. If your competitor is charging for something and you’re giving it away for free, guess who will win the customer. Remember, just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be quality. Always under-promise and over-deliver.
9. Offer Incentives
Straight-up bribing visitors with a freebies and complimentary samples is a tried and trusted method of motivating your visitors to take action, offline businesses have been employing this strategy successfully for ages. Offer more than your competition but don’t sell yourself so short that you’re not making bank either. Provide a list of reasons why your offer is better than those of your competitors and what exactly the visitor can expect when dealing with you.
10. Build Trust & Credibility
Trust and credibility are most likely the two biggest factors underlying any successful, mutually-beneficial relationship. Where possible, provide references and testimonials as social proof to build trust and facilitate better conversions.
11. Use Multiple Landing Pages
All web site home pages are landing pages, but not all landing pages should be home pages. A landing page shouldn’t necessarily be your homepage. In many instances a homepage is a good landing page as it forms the first introduction to your business, product or service for first-time visitors. However, if you’re seeking better results from more targeted traffic and returning visitor your landing page should be focused on a single offer and feature a specific call to action. In the same way that each page on your website should be targeted to a specific keyword phrase, each of your landing pages should be targeted to a single, clearly defined purpose. To accomplish this, employ a multiple landing page strategy. Create and promote some landing pages that will focus on specific products, services or offers and your conversions will improve.
12. Test, Track Results & Refine Your Landing Pages
In a recent post titled “7 Zen Ways to Make More Sales” I concluded the post with a mention of how important testing and tracking are for finding out what your visitors like and don’t like. Testing various combinations of copy, calls to action, form layouts and media types will give you an accurate indication of what produces the best conversions rates. Never stop tracking, never stop testing.
Using a tool like Google’s Website Optimizer which is now built right into Google Analytics under Content Experiments you can easily monitor the conversion rate, bounce rate and a plethora of other useful visitor metrics related to your landing pages and website as a whole. Using these metrics you can easily experiment, test and review your results to figure out which version will be your optimal page, the one which maximizes the conversion rate. A good rule of thumb here is to test the effect of changes one element at a time.
…and that’s a wrap.
Although creating a successful, well-optimized and effective landing page which converts well requires much effort, it should be one of the primary areas of focus for anyone involved with the marketing of a website and it’s associated products or services. Whether you are a website owner, webmaster, designer, developer or marketing specialist you should be aware of the various elements that go into building quality landing pages which effectively acquire customers and ultimately make a positive contribution to the bottom-line. After all, this can mean the difference between success or failure of a website in the long-run.
I hope you enjoyed these tips for optimizing your landing pages for improved conversion rates. I have a few quality sources of information which I make use of when researching landing page ideas, templates and designs and will share these resources in a future post.
If you need some assistance with your next landing page design, optimisation or marketing campaign get in touch and discover how our award-winning and passionate team’s forward-thinking performance marketing services can help your company succeed online.