By Chuck Leddy
The purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads. A great landing page gets a visitor to take a specific action towards a purchase, convincing them to engage with your content or take a specific action around your product or service offering. While the goal for every landing page may be clear, how to achieve that goal is much less so. One size doesn’t fit all, and there’s no “magic landing page formula” that works for all customers in all situations.
That said, there are some crucial differences between landing pages that convert and those that don’t. The median conversion rate across all landing pages is a paltry 3.2%. “But the top-performers do much better: they impressed us with a median conversion rate of 25%,” according to the 2020 Unbounce Landing Page Conversion Report. So the best pages perform 8X better than others in converting visitors. Why?
Basics for an effective landing page
A landing page’s design, both its visual aspects and its copy, should blend beauty and practicality (i.e., have an easy-to-navigate user interface). “A beautiful design is not sufficient to drive results; you need more,” says Andy Crestodina, CMO of Orbit Media.
What are some basic elements of an effective landing page? Orbit Media suggests the following:
- It’s fast, easy to update, and integrates with existing systems;
- It ranks in search engines [SEO] to increase traffic;
- It has brand-aligned visuals and up-to-date messaging;
- It’s easy for visitors to use and compels them to take action;
- It’s accessible, working on any device and any size screen;
- Results are easily measured and improved.
7 practical tips for building high-converting landing pages
1 – Have a clear strategic focus. Begin every landing page with the end clearly in mind, understanding the goals you are seeking to drive. The key to setting and achieving those goals is answering one question: why do visitors come to your landing page and what do they want to do when they get there? For instance, do your customers want to learn more about your offerings and how your offerings can help them? In that case, you’ll want to provide relevant product information that moves the visitor towards a purchasing decision. Does your visitor simply want to make a purchase? In that case, empower them by making the buying process frictionless.
Most of all, be useful to your visitors by understanding what they want and supplying it. As Amanda Milligan, Marketing Director of Fractl, says: “When laying out your content plan for a [landing page], you need to identify what the goal . . . is and how you’re going to measure it.” Do that research around customer needs first, then address each need. Measure as you go.
2 – Put function above fanciness. Your customers will appreciate a beautifully-designed landing page, but only when the page is also functional, enabling them to easily achieve their goals. You have to blend form and function. That said, if you absolutely must make minor tradeoffs between beautiful design and functionality, choose functionality every time.
3 – Integrate design and copy into a collaborative effort. It’s not a good idea to build your landing pages by having your designers and your copywriters working separately or having one finish before the other. If you define the design elements first, you might be putting your copywriters into a bind, giving them little room to create (the opposite is also true). The best practice is to develop design elements and copy collaboratively and at the same time, so both professionals have maximum freedom to create something great.
As Jacob McMillen, copywriter and content strategist, explains in a blog post, “most designers and copywriters, even the best ones, aren’t comprehensive conversion specialists. They each bring different strengths to the conversion table. If you create the design first, you risk boxing in your copywriter and diluting their effectiveness. Similarly, if you have the copy written first, you can limit the potential of your designer.“
#4 – Eliminate friction AMAP. Good design and good writing follow the concept of Occam’s Razor, which says that “of two explanations that account for all the facts, the simpler one is more likely to be correct.” The simplest and most direct way to solve a problem is always the best way. If a machine has more parts than necessary, it’s more likely to break down due to needless complexity. If a sentence or blog post has more words than it needs, readers will lose interest and abandon it. Squeeze out all the water, cut out all the fat until only the muscle is left. As naturalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “Simplify. Simplify.”
5 – Give them what they need, fast. Similar to the tip above, know what your visitors need and give it to them as quickly and succinctly as possible. This might mean offering links for visitors who want to do more of a “deep dive” into relevant content. That’s fine. Keep things simple while simultaneously providing pathways and links so visitors can go deeper if they want. But most of your visitors will want an overview before taking the next step. That’s okay: don’t use the precious real estate on your landing page for too much nurturing. Give visitors that overview, then link to more detailed content.
6 – Leverage testimonials. Today’s customer trusts peer reviews more than brand-sponsored messages. In fact, 92% of people read online reviews before making a purchase. Website guru Neal Patel suggests that you integrate this truth into your landing pages: “People . . . want to see [testimonials] when making a critical decision. That means testimonials should be everywhere,” including on your landing page.
7 – Test and adapt, constantly. Last but far from least, you should take an iterative approach to your landing page, accepting that no page will ever be truly “done.” Test different design elements over time, collect performance data, and provide whatever elements customers prefer. The use of A/B testing has recently led to “continuous deployment,” with sites like Amazon constantly testing web elements in real-time, including changing (they’d say “iterating”) the size and color of buy buttons and other page elements.
Test content types and content headlines. If something isn’t working or has gotten stale, try something different and see what happens. If something is working, try scaling it up across your other digital assets — then see what happens. You’ll never stop learning, so remain open to an iterative process for your landing page.
Interested in learning more about how to optimize your landing pages for increase conversions? Contact us to get the conversation started!