At the most basic level, a landing page is any page your visitor arrives at after clicking on an ad or link. More specifically, a landing page exists for the sole purpose of leading the visitor to take action—making a purchase, downloading a document, or providing you with their information for follow-up. Conversion refers to the process of turning one thing into something else. American dollars into British pounds. Imperial inches into metric centimeters. And in the case of your landing page, interested visitors to committed customers or prospects.
Why are high converting landing pages important?
Unlike the rest of your website, which can be informational, educational, entertaining (or all of the above), the goal of a landing page is singular; it exists to convert. Regardless of how much money you have put into paid advertising, and how much traffic it drives to your page, it is only well spent if that traffic takes the desired action. Creating a landing page that results in a high conversion rate takes forethought, strategy, targeting, and goal-oriented focus.
Focus on the end goal
The psychology of persuasion
Have you ever gone on a group trail ride on horseback? Your horse simply follows the horse in front of him. It does not require thought or knowledge of the path ahead. The horse just goes where he is lead. This is exactly how you want to guide your customer on your landing page. When it comes to persuasion, the reptilian brain is in charge. The reptilian brain is lazy, impatient, and automatic. It likes simple processes and clear next steps. Your landing page should be designed so your visitor does not need to think about what they will do. The page should guide them directly through the process of doing it.
Landing page design essentials
Simplify and streamline
When designing a landing page, it is important to be intentional and to simplify your design whenever possible. Focus on creating a clean design with a clear pathway of information for your visitor’s eye to follow. Avoid horizontal rules, which can break a visitor’s path, and create a balance between valuable information and white space. When in doubt about a page element, ask if it supports or obstructs your customer from completing your desired action. Don’t place hurdles between your visitor and your call to action.
Keep it above the fold
In website design, being above the fold corresponds to everything on your page or site that your visitor can see without scrolling. For the purpose of a landing page conversion, if your visitor doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist. As much as possible, keep your brand, headline, call to action (CTA), and trust information above the fold. Now, this is much trickier due to the rise of hundreds of screen sizes necessitating responsive web design. So, when you design your landing page, keep screen sizes in mind.
Images focus attention
Use images wisely to draw the eye of your visitor in the direction of your choice. Use an image in which the subjects eyes or position are directed toward your call to action, or make use of a directional graphic like an arrow. Directed imagery and graphics are a proven way to help guide your visitor to take the action you prefer.
In contrast to most of the advice given on web design, when it comes to landing pages, full navigation is not necessary. Your landing page should exist outside of the normal framework of your site and give your visitor only one choice of an exit link–your preferred conversion.
Use video, correctly
Video can provide a dynamic and personal addition to a landing page. However, if used incorrectly, motion can be dangerous. Be sure to give your customers control of the experience by keeping videos to 60 seconds or less.
Landing page copy essentials
Don’t make your visitors read–they won’t. As with your visual design, an optimized landing page should have simplified copy. Make sure your copy is easy to scan, uses bulleted copy blocks and a clear, sequential thought process. It’s about what you say…and how you say it.
Your copy should be relevant, clear, and convey a sense of urgency while avoiding sources of anxiety and distraction. It should be focused on the benefit to your customer and speak directly to their wants and needs. Be sure your copy clearly communicates your value proposition, and pay special attention to point-forward headline construction, which places the benefit at the beginning or end of your headline, where your visitor is most likely to read it.
All call-to-action (CTA) buttons are not created equal
Your call to action button has the opportunity to be much more than a place to say ‘submit’. Be sure to choose a contrasting color and action-oriented language that addresses both your visitor’s motivation and the result of clicking the button. Words like get, view, enjoy, or activate, which focus on what your customer will receive, are much more powerful than submit, start, or pay, which only focus on what your customer must do.
Less is more
When it comes to forms, ask for only the information you actually need, and structure your form so the easiest information for your visitor to give appears first. Make it as easy as possible for prospects to provide you with the information you need to move them from visitor to customer. When considering additional fields, ask yourself if the additional information is worth the risk of lower conversion that a more complex form will bring. Simple guidelines for better forms.
- Use top aligned labels to create clarity.
- Clearly indicate required fields to minimize customer confusion—an asterisk is not enough.
- Never place text inside the field—it will disappear when your customer starts typing potentially leaving them confused about what information is required.
Landing page trust and reliability essentials
One of the easiest ways to decrease visitor anxiety that may prevent conversion is to be sure to use proven trust essentials prominently on your landing pages.
In logos we trust
As consumers, we trust the perception of reliability that a logo brings. Adding an ‘as seen on’ or ‘featured by’ section increases social credibility, communicating to your customer that you are worthy of their trust. Feature customer logos or expert validation logos prominently on your page, above the fold, and near your CTA button.
Utilize customer love
Testimonials from happy customers help to drive sales. Use positive quotes and reviews from real customers to showcase your trustworthiness. Don’t forget to use images of real customers alongside their words to further personalize the testimonial.
Don’t forget an emblem
Creating an easily recognized, on-brand emblem can aid in reducing anxiety, help to quickly communicate ideas, and create a focus on your call to action or value proposition.
You’ve built a landing page. Now what?
Once you’ve designed your landing page according to the best strategic practices, it is time to take an unbiased look at the finished product to determine if it is likely to drive your visitors toward conversion.
What factors drive conversion?
Your landing page must motivate a customer to remain on the page. Ask yourself:
- Where are the visitors coming from?
- What are my visitors’ needs?
- Do my message and goal match their motivation?
2. Perceived value
Your landing page must clearly communicate value. Ask yourself:
- What values are immediately being communicated?
- Is the perceived value sufficient to make the customer want to learn more?
- Have I set myself apart from my competition?
- Does every element on my page reinforce my value proposition?
3. Incentive to take action
Your landing page must provide visitors with an incentive to act. Ask yourself:
- Have I presented an incentive for my visitor to take my desired action?
- Am I offering a valuable exchange for giving up personal information or enough benefit to drive a purchase?
- Is the incentive to take action offered only after the conversion point?
Your landing page must minimize any friction (psychological resistance to a given element in the sales or sign up process) that would cause visitors to leave without taking action. Ask yourself:
- Is there anything on the page that causes difficulty, confusion, or distraction?
- Is the page disorganized or is there a clear thought sequence guiding visitors to the objective?
- Are the page elements, text, process, or form fields too long or complex?
- Is the page simple, with clear objectives? Are there too many things going on at once?
Your landing page must overcome anxiety a customer feels about entering information or committing to a purchase. Ask yourself:
- What anxiety might the visitor be experiencing?
- Are you addressing their anxiety with trust logos, testimonials, or language that eliminates their fears?
Congratulations, you are well on your way to creating a killer landing page that will convert your visitors into customers, increase your revenue and decrease your marketing expenses!