When building landing pages, there are certain strategies you should apply that help you reach your conversion goals. Above that, there are a number of key elements that you have to implement on each of your landing pages and those that you would do better to avoid. And this is what today’s article is all about.
What Are Landing Pages And Why Should You Use Them?
A landing page is the first page that a user gets directed to or ‘lands’ on after clicking, for example, an AdWords ad or any other kind of marketing CTA (call-to-action).
The purpose of a landing page is to either capture leads directly, which could be done by collecting the name and email address of a potential customer with the help of a sign-up form, or to warm up cold traffic by providing additional information about a service or product you are trying to sell. If the latter is the case, then a landing page is only one stop in a multi-stage sales funnel.
In the best-case scenario a landing page is a standalone page, which means that it’s dedicated to and designed for only one particular marketing campaign. This allows you to laser-target a specific traffic stream and as a result the conversion rate increases.
To better illustrate what I’m trying to say here, let me provide you with a hypothetical case study:
You are the owner of an eCommerce store for pet supplies. The majority of traffic that comes to your site originates from Google Search, where you run a couple of AdWords ads. A week ago you’ve decided to add organic dog food to your store’s assortment and in order to fuel the launch of the new product line, you’ve set up an additional AdWords campaign. Now each time a user enters ‘organic dog food’ into Google, one of your paid ads shows up at the very top of the search results. When clicking the ad, a user gets directed to your website.
I would like to ask you the following: What do you think which of these (landing) pages will likely convert best and generate you the most sales:
1. Your homepage – which showcases all of the different products in your pet store, from dog collars to scratch trees for cats. Probably not.
2. A category page – which lists all organic and non-organic dog food. This is already a lot better, but still not exactly what the user is looking for.
3. A dedicated landing page – which contains nothing but the organic dog food products that you are trying to sell. In addition to that you’ve added short sections about the many benefits of feeding a dog with higher quality food, how it’s produced, and what the ingredients are. Chances are that this is exactly the kind of information that your site visitors need before they can make their final buying decision. On top of that, they can check out all relevant products at a glance and compare prices. That’s perfect!
What Makes A Landing Page Convert?
The very first lessons we’ve learned is that in order for a landing page to work efficiently, it has to be specific and targeted to the users’ needs.
What are some of the other best practices when it comes to designing a landing page?
Key Elements You HAVE To Include
One of the first elements that a visitors sees when he arrives on your page is the main headline. Therefore, it’s important that it matches the content of the ad or button, or whatever it was that the user clicked, to get directed to you. It basically tells the reader ‘you can stay here, cause you’re on the right track’.
Add a clear call-to-action in the content above the fold, as this has shown to increase conversion rates in almost all cases, and use visual cues to direct the attention of the user to where you want to have it – and that’s, you’ve guessed it, close to your CTA.
In terms of design, button color is not really relevant. What matters is color contrast. So if there already are a lot of blue elements on your landing page, don’t make your CTA button blue, too. Instead go for red or orange.
Images + Video
Images and video are a great way to showcase your product or service in context. Video has proven to improve conversions by as much as 144%, which is incredible.
Especially if you are a local business you should not forget to include your contact information, such as your phone number, address, and email, so that people can reach out to you, if they feel the need.
Bullet lists make it easier for readers to absorb and process information in a shorter time period.
Honest testimonials and real customer reviews help you to build trust. According to brightlocal.com ‘ 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations’.
You don’t want to distract your users. Therefore, use lots of white space on your landing pages. Every element that is not congruent with what you are trying to achieve is unnecessary and should be removed.
Elements To Avoid Like The Plague
Huge Wall Of Text
Simply put, no one wants to read a huge wall of text. So always make sure to use paragraphs, subheadings, lists and other visually appealing elements.
For a standalone landing page, most of the time there’s no need to include your main navigation, a sidebar, and all of your footer links. These are distractions that only move you further away from your main goal.
Sliders are good for one thing and one thing only, and that is to drive your conversion rate into the ground. This does not only apply to landing pages, by the way. You should try to avoid implement sliders on your website in general.
Long Lead-Gen Forms
This translates to: There are too many fields in your lead generation forms.
Let’s say that you want to collect the first name and emails address of your site visitors, so you can send them your weekly newsletter. In this case don’t include fields in your form asking for people’s last names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Forms with no more than 3 fields have shown to convert way better than those with 3-5 and more than 6 fields.
I wanted to mention A/B testing real quick, as this is the only way to really find out, which elements work and which elements don’t work on your landing pages.
In an A/B test you create one or multiple copies of a page and change only one element within each copy. This could mean changing the color of a button or button text. Then you split the incoming traffic between the different versions of the page and analyze which one drives the most conversions.
Two really great tools that help you to pull this off are Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer. For both, monthly plans start at a couple of hundred dollars.
Stay tuned for our next online marketing post!