If you are serious about making your presence known online, designing a landing page to showcase your products and services is a key component. Your landing page should be created for one single purpose: to get visitors to take the specific action you have outlined. This action will vary depending on your goals, but examples include inviting visitors to download an e-book, sign up for an email newsletter, or purchase a product or service.
Why Do I Need a Landing Page?
According to the Associated Press, you have just eight seconds to get a person’s attention, and this figure is dropping in today’s crowded media landscape. A landing page is a means of grabbing a visitor’s attention through the use of compelling headlines, content, visuals, and calls to action. It is a webpage that appears once a visitor has clicked on an inbound link or ad and should be the most specific page you create.
Successful marketers have a landing page for every single campaign they run, and a HubSpot Marketing Benchmarks Report spelled out precisely why this is the case: Companies that increased the number of landing pages they use from 10 to 15 enjoyed a 55 percent increase in leads.
In this guide, we outline 15 different ways to create an optimized landing page that ensures your products and services are compelling and that establishes your organization as an authority in its niche.
- Mobile Optimization
When it comes to mobile landing pages, you really need to be at the top of your game because mobile consumers are even less patient than those purchasing from desktops. Yet it is well worth the effort, given the explosion in mobile shopping:
- Smartphone revenues in 2014 were just below $15 billion in the United States alone.
- Approximately half of smartphone users have made at least one online purchase with their device.
- More than 70 percent of smartphone owners admit using their browser to make a purchase instead of an app.
- 40 percent of mobile users go to a rival website after a poor mobile user experience.
Despite the extraordinary growth of mobile commerce, a large percentage of marketers still haven’t developed strategies to improve overall user experience. The size of your potential audience is absolutely huge, so use these tips to ensure your landing page is mobile-friendly:
- Design: Your landing pages should fit within the boundaries of a mobile phone screen, and users should be able to see the most relevant features on the page without having to scroll – a.k.a. “above the fold.” It is also important to design for landscape and portrait views. Experts state the area where users can click or touch (also known as the target area) should be in the 38 to 44 pixel range.
- Forms: Keep registration forms short and simple, and try to avoid open text fields since it is often too much effort for mobile users to write in this manner. The form needs to be large and clear across the full screen, and the submit button should be large and easy to hit.
- Copy: On mobile devices, short copy is better. Keep your salient points succinct, and move visitors to the next stage of the sales funnel ASAP.
- Call to Action: Your landing page’s CTA should be the first thing a mobile user sees. Make it clear, visible, and easy to click.
- Get to the Point
While the average attention span is around eight seconds, successful marketers typically adhere to the five-second rule, which means you have to attract and draw in visitors during this limited time period. Fail to offer something compelling, and visitors will leave your landing page and probably end up on the pages of your rivals!
The simplest way to do this is by creating a killer headline that encapsulates what you’re offering and what the customer wants. A good headline immediately catches the eye and gets people to investigate the rest of your landing page. Try and place your main keyword in the headline and use it to spell out the benefits of your product or service.
Once you have captured their attention, the rest of the landing page should consist of short, snappy bullet points and text broken up into small paragraphs. This is known as scannable content and takes advantage of the fact that most people scan instead of actually reading. Within a couple hundred words, visitors should know what your brand stands for, what you’re offering, and how it can help them. Do it right and they should be ready to hit the call-to-action button.
- Embrace Simplicity
As we mentioned above, a landing page’s conversion rate depends on capturing the attention of the audience in an allotted timeframe. However, keeping the audience’s attention is just as important, and the best way to do this is by keeping it simple and sticking to one message.
Too many marketers allow their landing page to dissipate into a circus act with divergent messages and all sorts of visuals and videos cluttering up the page. As you will see later, all of these things are important, but the whole point of a landing page is to ensure visitors can digest what you’re offering quickly and easily.
By removing this clutter, you make the goal more obvious and visitors are instantly drawn to what you want them to focus on. The attention ratio is the proportion of things you can click on to the number of goals. Since you should only have one goal, having several things a visitor can click on is bad news.
A test carried out by Unbounce showed a conversion rate increase of 40 percent when the attention ratio was changed from 6:1 to 1:1. In other words, there should be one clear message, one obvious goal, and one link for customers to click on.
- Have Several Calls-to-Action
Where do you place your CTA button? Most marketers place it right at the end, after the content they believe makes the visitor ready to buy. Others put it at the very top in the belief that immediate exposure will cause visitors to click. In the end, there is no right answer, as some people click on the first link they see, while others like to wait and see if the content makes it worth clicking at the end.
The simple solution is to have multiple CTAs dotted throughout the landing page, because the old CTA-must-be-above-the-fold notion is something of a myth. In reality, higher landing page conversion rates have little to do with whether the button is above the fold and everything to do with whether the button comes after excellent copy.
Ultimately, it is all about the level of motivation a visitor has when they come to a CTA button. If what you are offering is deemed to be desirable by visitors when they come to the CTA, then they will click regardless of where it is located. With multiple CTAs, you cover everyone from impulse buyers to those who need a little bit more convincing.
- Reducing the Bounce Rate
According to Google, “Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”
The bounce rate is a great way to determine whether your landing page is hitting the right spot. Set up Google Analytics to measure your bounce rate; you’ll probably find it is at least 40 percent and possibly a lot higher. Remember, the bounce rate measures the percentage of people who leave a page without further navigation.
Since a landing page is a one-off piece of content, a high bounce rate indicates that people simply aren’t interested in what you have to offer. This could mean you have a poorly designed landing page, you’re attracting the wrong audience, or your product/service has little demand. If your landing page is poorly designed or attracting the wrong audience, there are a few simple ways to change things and lower your bounce rate:
- Anchor text: Make sure you have the relevant anchor text in place so the user is aware of what to expect when clicking the link.
- Decluttering: As we mentioned above, you need simplicity to keep people interested, so start trimming the fat and remove excess copy and distractions.
- Better navigation: It may actually be better to remove your navigation bar, as it could be responsible for distracting users long enough to prevent them from clicking your CTA. It is better to place navigation on the thank-you message sent once the user has completed the call to action.
- Reduce load speed: A fast load speed not only works wonders for SEO, but it also increases your conversion rate. It is estimated that a 1-second delay in load speed can reduce conversions by 7 to 10 percent.
- Include Testimonials
Testimonials are a fantastic way to create trust (which we discuss in greater detail later on) and a great strategy to reduce the barriers to a sale. Of course, it is crucial for you to resist the temptation to simply make some up. It is common for marketers to make the mistake of inventing obviously fake testimonials, complete with stock photo site images. This is a great way to completely shred your credibility.
If you have a fantastic product and excellent customer service, authentic testimonials will come flooding in. Even if they don’t, you will have established a good enough relationship with customers to ask for testimonials. You are likely to be rewarded with a great personal story that really transforms the way visitors perceive your brand and see your landing page message.
You should be looking to increase the feedback mechanisms on your company website to allow people to comment on your services. It is virtually impossible to write copy better than your customers can because they use genuine emotion to create their content, and this really resonates with their fellow consumers.
You can spend countless man hours perfecting your landing page design and copy, but the only way to know if it is successful is through rigorous testing. Forget about gut instinct and start looking for cold, hard data to let you know what works and what doesn’t. Basic A/B testing is the best way to start, as it allows you to compare different aspects of your campaign side by side to see which one converts better.
Here is a quick overview of what to test on your landing page:
- Headline: The few words of text in the headline can make or break your campaign. To begin split testing your headlines, think of a few variations and use Google’s Website Optimizer to see which combo provides the most sales and conversions.
- Images: The images on your landing page can be effective when it comes to controlling the eyes of visitors as they scan the screen. As well as testing the type of images you use, it is also important to test image location.
- Colors: Color psychology is considered to be a science by some because colors can convey powerful emotions and feelings. Think of the emotions you want visitors to your landing page to feel, find the colors associated with these feelings, and test accordingly.
- Call to action: Try varying your CTA message to see which type of approach works best. It is also worth testing the location of the CTA and whether your landing page actually performs better with more than one button.
- Testimonials: Customer testimonials can be powerful selling tools, but you have to make sure they are working effectively. If you discover that including testimonials does increase your conversion rate, the next step is to start testing the type of testimonials used, including their content, length, and the information used to identify the source.
A more advanced method of testing is multivariate testing (MVT), which involves sending a lot more traffic than A/B testing before you get accurate results. You need to test for changes in several variables at once while focusing on a scientific interpretation of the results. If you get MVT down pat, it could be a real breakthrough in how you create landing pages.
- Establish Trust
Online marketing is filled with scams and get-rich-quick schemes, so the informed modern consumer is wary of every landing page they arrive at. If you want to see an increase in your landing page conversion rate, you need to establish trust and credibility first, and we offer a few helpful tips below.
- Have a phone number: Believe it or not, this seemingly simple step removes quite a bit of doubt from the minds of consumers. By having a working phone number on your landing page, people know there will be someone on the end of the telephone if they call and this is a comforting thought.
- Mind your language: This means no gimmicky sales content. While it’s certainly okay to have “FREE” written on the page, adding in things like “best deal ever” and “save $$$” will cause a visitor’s scam alarm to sound. Remember, your landing page represents your brand, so it needs to scream authenticity.
- No pop-ups: Most people only click on pop-ups to get rid of them! Never have them on your landing page because it really irritates people and also causes them to question your motives. In addition, never have that irritating “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” icon pop up when someone tries to go. The fact they are clicking away tells you something; don’t antagonize them further by forcing them to stay when they clearly don’t want to.
- Deal in facts: Since consumers now believe in research before making purchases, the days of making up stats to prove a point are gone. If you make false promises or add claims that are outright lies on your landing page, you will be found out, and this will ruin your credibility.
- Respect privacy: A link to a privacy statement or terms and conditions page helps to ease fears of email abuse. Most marketers simply write, “We will never sell your email address.”
- Remove Barriers
A large percentage of landing pages provide interested parties with something free in return for their personal details. This is usually something like a free e-book download or email newsletter. However, not everyone is keen to give away their email address, phone number, etc., for fear of spam and being placed on a telemarketing call list.
A good tactic is to provide them with something that is genuinely free in advance. If you are offering an e-book, for example, a simple solution is to offer the first chapter or two to see if they are interested in reading more. As well as piquing your visitor’s interest, you are showing them that you’re not just going to provide them with something worthless in exchange for their personal information. This try-before-you-buy tactic works fantastically well and removes yet another barrier to conversion.
It should be noted that incentivizing visitors with freebies and calls for urgency can have a positive short-term effect, but in the long run, you are likely to be sacrificing lead quality. You will simply end up with people interested in the freebies and not what you’re offering for sale because, let’s face it, free stuff is always welcome in a world where everything appears to have a price!
- Brand Consistency
For better conversion, your banner, landing page, and destination site should all be similar in terms of design and color scheme. Successful marketers have found that context matching, the act of matching the style and content of the information first encountered by a visitor (a blog post, email, or ad, for example) with the landing page they click to, boosts their conversion rates.
This is called “maintaining the scent” by professional speaker Bryan Eisenberg and it ensures your visitor gains a familiarity with your brand. This means matching the design of the initial ad with that of the landing page and, finally, your website. It is also important to match the ad’s headline with that of the landing page.
The landing page design should be similar to your website design, and color continuity is critical. Imagine walking into a McDonalds restaurant only to find it decorated in purple! You would immediately feel uneasy; this is what happens when prospects go from a black and yellow website to a green and white landing page. Moving from an ad or your website to your landing page should feel like a natural progression and reassure visitors that they are dealing with the same brand.
Noticeably different designs and colors distract visitors long enough to cause them to leave the page instead of clicking on the CTA button.
- Add a Logo
One reason why companies don’t bother creating a logo is the belief that it’s an expensive process. Tell that to Nike or Twitter, as they paid $35 and $15, respectively, for now-world-famous logos that are immediately associated with their brands. The importance of logos is underscored by the fact that 100% of children age eight and above can correctly match a logo with its product. In other words, logos are crucial and create immense value.
If you already have a company logo, why isn’t it on your landing page? This is especially important if you create a large number of landing pages for different products. Your logo makes your brand recognizable, and this leads to trust. When visitors arrive on your landing page and see the corporate logo, they immediately know the page belongs to a reputable brand, which means they are more likely to stay and read.
- Pay Attention to Your Title and Meta Description Tags
A title tag is used to make a first impression on a search engine spider that only reads the first 70 characters. In reality, the landing pages with the best conversion rates don’t go beyond 65 characters. As a consequence, your title tag needs to be brief and to the point, but it must also contain your main keyword.
The meta description tag is sometimes described as the signboard for search engines and is normally shown underneath the title and above the URL of a website in search results. Creating the right meta data is also an exercise in being concise, as you don’t want to exceed 150 characters in your description; again, your main keyword should be included in a compelling statement that encourages one to click through. While the meta title tag is often written to improve a page’s search engine ranking, both the title the description should be written for the human reader, but keep in mind that both tags are essential for an improved SEO ranking.
- Add Images
Although you have to be careful not to distract visitors too much, your conversion rate will dip if there is a lack of high-quality images on your landing page. The modern consumer doesn’t like seeing large blocks of text, so it is necessary to add a little life to your landing page through images or even videos. Cleverly chosen images are excellent at creating an emotional response, which will in turn increase your conversion rate.
When choosing images for your landing page, ensure they do the following:
- Communicate your message.
- Appeal to the visitor’s eye.
- Look natural within the page.
- Stand out without contrasting too much with the rest of the page’s content.
- Encourage visitor engagement by being evocative.
Here are some basic ideas for a landing page image:
- A smiling female making direct eye contact with the visitor or pointing/looking at your unique selling proposition.
- An appealing mixture of colors, shapes, and words.
- An image of your product or service in action.
- Add a Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
When visitors arrive on your landing page, they should almost immediately be able to determine what your UVP is. You have hundreds, if not thousands, of competitors, so you have to clearly show why you stand out from the rest. The UVP can be specific to the product or service you sell, a statistic that shows how successful your business has been in relation to helping people, or the promotion on offer.
Don’t confuse your CTA with your UVP! The UVP is the main selling point on the landing page while the CTA is responsible for turning a visitor’s interest into the action you want. Here are a few common UVP formulas:
- The simplest way to lose 50 pounds.
- The #1 provider of sports gear.
- Brand X gives you silver service; we give you gold service.
- Increase your conversion rate by 20% in 30 days or your money back.
- Save $1,000 in 60 days.
- Add a Postscript (P.S.) and Look Beyond the Initial Conversion
Apart from your headline, the postscript is arguably the most important aspect of your landing page. This is the area where you’ll get most of your conversions, so it needs to be absolutely fantastic and compelling. In this section, you should restate your offer and provide an extra incentive for visitors to accept. Here are a few things to consider adding after the final CTA:
- A bonus offer, a mention of a recent study for extra credibility, or repeat assurance of a money back guarantee.
- Several lines of postscript.
- A deadline for a sense of urgency (this often depends on the kind of product you’re offering).
- A short testimonial if you haven’t already added any.
Your work is not completed once the visitor clicks, however. Once you get a conversion, you should leverage the opportunity to ask new leads for another conversion. After a visitor clicks on your CTA, ask them to share on social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, or get them to subscribe to your company’s newsletter.
When you have visitors who are already engaged, it is easier to get them to take one more step than it is to ask new visitors to click on your CTA in the first place. When you have someone’s attention, be sure to make the most of it.
In an era when most Internet users are in a hurry and prefer to scan rather than read, you have to optimize your landing page to appeal to this new breed of consumer. If you don’t even have a landing page to start with, you are missing out on an incredible opportunity to not only make sales but also to establish brand identity and credibility.
At Phoenix Online Media, we specialize in the development of landing pages that immediately grab the attention of visitors and compel them to take action. As we also create websites, we can design a site and landing page combo that represents your brand and ensures it remains embedded in the minds of your target audience.
If you don’t have a landing page or your existing one is not properly optimized, you are leaving an enormous sum of money at the table. Get in touch with Phoenix Online Media now and we can discuss the specifics of your brand in order to create the best possible landing page for your business.