Landing pages, which are part of the foundation for any inbound marketing strategy, have one specific purpose – to identify and convert unknown website visitors into contacts. If used properly, landing pages can be a powerful business development tool.
Are your landing pages helping to grow your company’s pipeline and increase your bottom line? If not, it may be time to evaluate your existing landing pages and consider how you can better optimize them for conversion. Trust me, it’s worth the time and investment. Below are some quick rules of thumb to help guide you, whether you are just starting out and creating your first landing page, or whether you’re a landing page pro, looking to increase conversions.
1. Create a Compelling Headline
This may seem self-explanatory because it’s the first thing people notice. But headlines also serve to grab your visitor’s attention. It’s also the first opportunity your visitor has to decide whether or not they continue down the page or leave the page altogether. Pretty significant, right? The good news is, with a little attention and thought, mastering the art of developing a compelling headline for your landing page doesn’t have to be difficult.
Consider these elements:
- Clear/Concise – Your visitor shouldn’t have to guess where they’ve landed or be confused as to what the offer is. Your headline should get straight to the point and offer no room for ambiguity. With that being said, a dash of creativity can go a long way when it comes to headlines—just be sure that it doesn’t interfere with the main point of what you’re trying to say. It’s also best to evaluate your target audience when determining tone, or whether or not humor/creativity will be valued. Are your intended readers more formal or informal?
- Evoke Emotion – The headline should tug at the visitor’s need to solve a specific problem. Try using headline techniques such as “How To’s” and listicles (Example: 5 Steps to Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan), that tell the reader right away what they can expect to receive, and ultimately what problem you’re solving for them in exchange for their information.
- Relevancy – It’s important to consider how the visitor is getting to your landing page. Is it through a call to action (CTA)? An AdWords ad? What about through a monthly newsletter? Either way, you’ll want to ensure your messaging is consistent throughout all of these moving pieces and parts, so that no matter how the visitor got to your landing page, messaging is consistent throughout, leaving little room for confusion/misinterpretation. For example, if your CTA/Google Ad says “Free Guide” then you should be mentioning “Free Guide” in the headline or at least within the first sentence or two of your copy.
2. Clear Value Proposition
Your landing page’s value proposition should be conveyed right up front. The headline is the perfect place to start, if your headline needs more explanation/context, you can use a subhead. Keep in mind, the further down the page or the more copy the visitor has to read to understand the value proposition, the more likely they are to lose patience and bounce.
Although most design is subjective, there are ways in which you should build a landing page so that the layout is optimized for how most people will view the page.
Layout – Based on findings of the Nielsen Norman Group, there are two common ways in which most people view webpages – the F-shaped pattern and the Z-pattern.
The F-pattern refers to the notion that users first read in a horizontal movement from left to right, starting at the upper left-hand side of the content area. Next, users typically move down the page a bit to form another horizontal movement (the lower bar of the “F”). Lastly, users scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement. This is especially true on text-heavy pages.
The important thing to note is that for landing pages that are text-heavy, the eyes of the user will start in the top left before scanning down further on the page. Therefore, if you have something you want the user to pay attention to (such as the landing page headline or main value proposition), it’s best to place it at the top left-hand side of the page to ensure that it will one of the first things the user sees.
Pages that are less text heavy tend to elicit eye movement that resembles the letter “Z”. Pages that are simplistic in design or have a singular CTA tend to lend themselves well to this design. The key takeaway here is that for landing pages that are less text-heavy, it’s best to use the “Z” design tactic to strategically place your content and call to action. Placing your call to action along the Z path will ensure that your user sees it.
Display CTA Above the Fold – Doing so will allow the visitor to immediately gain a clear understanding of what will happen when they submit the form. Use an eye-catching CTA design, as the CTA should stand out clearly from the rest of the landing page’s content. Incorporating contrasting colors can help with this.
4. Eliminate Distractions
You want visitors focused on taking one action when they land on your page—to submit that form. It’s best to eliminate any other distractions such as navigation, additional CTAs or anything else that would divert the visitor from completing the form.
5. Pick the Right Image
Because our brains process images much more quickly than text, our landing page images can have a big impact on our visitors’ first impression as well as the overall conversion rate of the page. You’ll want to ensure you choose an image that correlates with the offer. For example, if you’re offering a free e-book, you may want to include an image of the cover (or something directly related to the offer) so that the user has a clear understanding of what the deliverable is.
6. Form Length
How many form fields is too many? The answer is, it depends. You want to make sure you include enough fields to capture the information you need in order to qualify your lead, but too many fields will result in page abandonment.
Research conducted by Formstack found that simply dropping form fields from 11 to 4 increased conversion rates by 160%.
Pre-populated form fields – To ease the burden of filling out multiple form fields, you may also consider utilizing pre-populated fields. If you’re using a marketing automation tool such as HubSpot, the software often times defaults to pre-populating form fields that a user has already filled out. If you’re not using a marketing automation software, you can also set cookies with your form to accomplish the same thing.
7. Include a Qualifying Question
If you want to make things easier for your business development/sales person, you’ll want to include some type of qualifying question within the form. Because not every lead that comes through will be a good fit for the business, a qualifying question is a quick and non-time-consuming way to weed out unqualified prospects. For example, say you are a commercial roofing company and you’ve developed a downloadable guide to roof repairs for business owners—you may add the following question to your landing page form:
How long has it been since your last roof repair or maintenance?
- Within the past 6 month
- Within the past year
- Greater than 1 year
Those who answer “greater than one year” or “unsure” will most likely be people you follow up with right away. You’ll most likely only be able to get away with one or two of these, as including any more may not sit well with your visitor, giving them more of a reason to bounce off the page. It’s also important to think about the form in which the question is asked – are visitors quickly and easily able to select an answer from a list? Or do they have to fill out an open-ended field? Remember, the more work placed on the visitor, the less likely they are to convert.
If built correctly, landing pages will serve as one of the greatest tools for generating new leads for your business. They can also help drive additional website traffic and build your brand. If you have the opportunity to create more conversions that will help you achieve your growth objectives, it will be worth your time to make sure your landing pages are working for you.