Click on a banner ad or an online promotion, and chances are you’ll end up on a landing page, a ubiquitous web animal whose simplicity and function is so obvious it’s not worth writing about, right?
Well, not so fast. Landing pages serve a serious function that is well worth examining up close. They are designed for one purpose and one purpose only, namely to convert the casual, curious Internet user into a hands-on customer. Just like a department store window display, a landing page plays a vital role in getting people past their inertia, which means it had better be well designed.
Among companies surveyed whose online sales were growing rapidly, 71% said they tested several landing pages on their websites to eliminate the losers and optimize the winners. And there is strength in numbers, apparently, as companies who report deploying more than 40 landing pages obtained 12 times more potential customers than those using five or fewer landing pages. 1
But it gets better. By simply modifying your landing page to make it more effective, you can dramatically boost your campaign performance, with gains of 50% not uncommon!
What specifically can you do? Here’s a quick guide to landing page how-tos that you can start adopting right away.
1. One page, one offer
It’s a simple, proven principle. While your website is designed to convey several messages and present multiple products and/or services along with a panoply of other information of interest to prospects, all that’s overkill on a landing page.
Tempted to show the user your full line of products? You might be disappointed because the person is often interested in the specific ad or promotion they are reacting to and nothing else. Keeping your approach on message between the ad and landing page keeps your prospect interested. It takes a bit of discipline to stick to what piqued their interest in the first place, but it’s worth it!
So create a landing page that’s simple, specific and persuasive. Keep it clean, removing all extraneous visual distractions. Pare down the text to the bare essentials: the user is there to act, not read, so remove all impediments to doing so. Here are some helpful design and cleanup dos and don’ts that can really make a difference:
Do dispense with the navigation bar entirely…it just adds clutter.
Don’t add complementary offers – stick to the core offer.
Do identify yourself, your company and your brand, of course, but take a pass on any long-winded presentation copy.
Do continue with the same wording and style as the ad that triggered the click in the first place.
Do use different font sizes to prioritize information and simplify understanding.
Do use bullet points – they make information easier to digest.
Do support your offer using carefully selected visuals. Pictures sell.
Don’t forget your contact information. It should be easy for people to reach you.
2. Keep it credible
Building trust between your customer and your business is everything. There’s no time or space for long company histories or descriptions of your achievements, but there are ways to quickly reassure customers.
Use high-quality testimonials (you can often find them on social networks).
Add a telephone number to automatically build trust.
Explain your guarantee in a few words. It too can be reassuring.
3. One page is good. Multiple pages are even better.
How many landing pages do you think you need for two products that are identical except for colour? Bet you’re surprised the answer is three!
One for the first colour.
One for the second colour.
And a third page for visitors who have not specified a preference for either colour!
Sounds like overkill? Not if you agree with the principle that landing pages work best when they give visitors exactly what they’re looking for. If they click on an offer for a red shirt at 25% off, the page should very clearly offer a red shirt at 25% off. That’s what they want! Even offering a choice of colours could cause that almost imperceptible hesitation in a customer’s buying momentum and, next thing you know, there goes the sale!
Another proven method is testing multiple landing pages against one another live online. This might take a bit more effort, but you’ll know what “clicks” with your customers and what comes up short.
If you’re new to landing pages, some of this advice might seem counterintuitive. But it represents the collective learning of hundreds of companies, each having invested a small fortune testing every page element, from the nature of the offer to the button colour to adding testimonials. Follow this advice, and you’ll benefit from their years of experience. Why reinvent the wheel?
1 Several revealing statistics on landing pages are available at http://ioninteractive.com/post-click-marketing-blog/2013/11/20/18-mind-blowing-landing-page-stats-infographic