Even with otherwise outstanding PR and marketing campaigns, bottom line results will likely fall short if landing pages are faulty.
Landing pages are typically the last step in the conversion process. They convert website visitors to sales lead. For marketers, they are like the salesman who completes the sale. Oddly, some marketers give landing pages less importance than they deserve.
These are the most important tips for building landing pages that convert.
Simplicity is an essential element of effective landing pages. Too much text might cause the website visitor to misunderstand the offer and leave the page. Marketers have about five seconds to capture the reader’s attention. A good landing page only needs a headline, perhaps a sub-headline, a brief and clear description of the offer, an image and the form, advises Pamela Vaughan, principal marketing manager on HubSpot’s web strategy team. Other elements such as testimonials and other images are optional.
A single offer gains more conversions. Multiple offers create distractions and confuse customers. “A laser-sharp focus on a single objective eliminates distractions and points the user towards the most important thing on the page – the conversion element,” writes digital marketing expert Rohan Ayyar, a project manager at digital marketing firm E2M solutions.
Fast load times. Research from Kissmetrics shows that 40 percent of consumers abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load, and 47 percent expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. To reduce load times, eliminate superfluous text and graphics – and make sure you have a server with the power to produce fast loading.
A succinct headline that’s specific and reflects the content of the page helps retain attention. While concise, the headline must be long enough to convey your message. Match the landing page headline with the call to action that visitors click on to reach the page. Different wording might cause distrust or confusion. Visitors might wonder if they’re on the right page.
Emphasize the benefit — realistically. Focus on the offer’s benefit for the target audience. Marketers may tend to write raving promotional descriptions, but a hard sell annoys customers. Instead write accurate descriptions and cite concrete numbers to add credibility. “The most successful landing pages avoid that used-car salesman pitch and keep it simple, elegant and most importantly, skimmable,” Ayyar says.
A clean, simple design with ample white space helps visitors stay focused on the call to action. Readability is the first principle of good design. A large font improves readability; bullets make large blocks of text easy to scan. Links can distract visitors and entice them to wander away to a different page. For that reason, remove the page’s main navigation, Vaughan advises.
An easy-to-complete form. More fields can mean better quality leads, but they can also annoy customers. Many won’t bother completing a form with too many fields. There’s no definite answer on the number of fields, but experts usually recommend asking for only the customer information you really need.
Get them to push your buttons. Buttons that are large, bold and colorful and that look like a clickable button tend to generate more form submissions. In addition, avoid the default word “Submit” on your form button. Instead, stress the benefit with words like “Get Your Brochure Kit,” “Download Whitepaper,” or “Get Your Free Ebook.”
Credibility. Awards, honors, testimonials and positive media reviews provide credibility. Generic reviews, round numbers, and overstated product descriptions don’t inspire trust. Consumers trust reviews with both good and bad scores, and tend to trust precise numbers more that round numbers because they imply greater accuracy. Start-ups and newer businesses typically lack much “social proof.”
“But even one or two quotes from beta users, alpha users – heck, your mom – can show site visitors that someone else has derived value from what you’re offering,” writes marketing consultant Beth Morgan for Kissmetrics.
Testing different landing pages against each other improves conversion rates, especially for large companies with many pages. Marian University increased conversion rates by 264 percent by testing different landing pages. Best practices call for testing marketing ideas, page layouts and working, and changing anything that’s not increasing the conversion rate.
Bottom Line: Landing pages are an essential element for effecting marketing. Following these steps will help marketers and designers produce landing pages that generate sales leads. Simplicity and clarity in both text and design are the hallmarks of landing pages that convert.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.