If you’re new to the concept of “landing pages,” you probably want to know how landing pages fit into your marketing arsenal. Put succinctly, a landing page is any page that receives traffic from anywhere other than the same pages on your site – hence the reference to “landing.” The concept is most commonly associated with pay-per-click ads such as Google Adwords, wherein traffic can be driven to a specific URL that has been designed to receive those visitors. This may have already begun to sound a bit intimidating, so let’s get back on track to cover the basics…
There’s a problem we see with most landing pages, and that is that they seem to be created around broad categories such as “dresses” instead of being more specifically-focused like “women’s floral sundresses” or “black prom dresses.” These days, people intuitively understand that when searching the Internet, the site that boasts a description most closely matching their search criteria is likely to win – and when you’re paying for clicks, you are definitely losing money every time a customer looks elsewhere.
MVMG Fun Fact: Ad-specific landing pages outperform generic pages by increasing lead form submissions by 115-percent.
Keeping all this in mind, a landing page is generally your initial and only opportunity to make that coveted first impression with your customer. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to start a conversation, ask a question, invite discussion and welcome clicks on your site; in fact, for many sites and particularly those in high-competition arenas, it may be the ONLY chance to reel in a visitor and convince him or her that your offer is worth their attention and time.
What does that mean? You simply cannot afford to get it wrong.
The good news here is that setting up and using landing pages in your overall marketing scheme is relatively easy…it’s just a matter of creating a web page that fuses all the components required to yield a successful page FOR YOUR SPECIFIC CUSTOMER. While entire books have been written on the subject and it’s still, in many ways, an evolving marketing science, this blog will help dispel the myths surrounding landing page optimization, lift up your conversion rates and get you on the right path.
What Landing Pages are NOT:
- Long sales letters
- “Name squeeze” pages
- An opportunity to push a hard sell
- A once-and-done strategy
What Landing Pages ARE Designed to Do:
- Act as a springboard for users to step further into your site.
- Maximize your return-on-investment for each customer.
- Segment your offers as destination pages for your pay-per-click ads and/or as a way to create anticipation about a product event (while encouraging users to sign up as the event draws near).
- Embody the philosophy of “less is more;” it’s common to remove superfluous graphics, navigation, testimonials and even customer support options to assist the user in focusing on a single action you want them to take.
- Increase relevancy in the eyes of search engines and potentially increase your rankings.
The Problems we see with Most Websites
Most websites are built from either a design or development perspective. When talking about a design perspective, there is an emphasis placed on the AESTHETIC – a great deal of attention is paid to typography, consistent branding, color and the tone/voice of the content, plus other creative areas. When dealing with a development perspective, the emphasis is on the PLATFORM – how is content published and managed? What kinds of content are accepted and how will the platform evolve as needs change?
There’s nothing inherently wrong, per se, with either of these points of view, but from our vast experience in online marketing, they’re missing the marketing element that should be at the forefront of any site designed to sell. We’ve become so caught up in design/development changes and their various stages that we often forget to put the customer first. We need to stop and ask: What are consumers looking for? How can we deliver that experience in a flawless fashion every step of the way? This is precisely where the design and development aspects play a part.
How to Craft a Landing Page That WORKS
Okay, so let’s first go back over a few points: What is a landing page…and what constitutes a great one? Great landing pages are those that welcome a visitor arriving on your website after clicking an ad of some kind (for example, a Google text ad or display ad). Those inexperienced in the ways of marketing often direct all of their PPC traffic to their homepage, but we feel this can be a big mistake. Why? Because specific landing pages tailored to different offers are crucial for supplying a quality experience for visitors and driving conversions with a targeted message…all of which matches each user’s need.
Still, you’re probably asking at this point, “How can I make awesome landing pages that boast off-the-chart conversion rates?” We’re going to walk you through what you need to make this happen.
Before you start landing page optimization you must first ask yourself the following:
- What is my goal?
- Who am I competing against?
- Who is my audience?
- How did they get to my landing page? (In other words, consider changing your message depending on where your users come from – a different message might be appropriate for users who arrives at your landing page via Google as opposed to Facebook or Twitter.)
Now that we’ve covered the fundamental pre-landing page queries, it’s time to get our proverbial hands dirty and outline how you can make persuasive landing pages…
1. Keep Things Short, Sweet and Uncluttered
A landing page should offer all the necessary information, but not so much as to overwhelm (and, as a result, drive away) the visitor/prospect. Provide the essential data that will interest your audience and little more; most people can smell “fluff” from a mile away.
2. Provide High-Quality Content That Inspires Confidence
We just mentioned how you don’t want to knock visitors to your page over the head with too much info, but that’s not to say that you should “go cheap” with your content; on the contrary, providing rich, useful content is great so long as it’s relevant.
MVMG Quick Tip: Good, confident content inspires trust.
3. Have “All Roads Lead to Rome”
While sure, a bit quirky in nature, what we mean by this is that great landing pages keep careful note of all pathways entering and leaving their page…so it’s vital that you limit exit points (in the case we’re discussing, hyperlinks) leaving your page. Remember: The goal is to FUNNEL visitors/prospects down a desired pathway, and if links represent points of departure from the funnel they should be used sparingly.
4. Make it Easy to Convert
What have we been trying to instill all this time? The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to convert – i.e. turn into paying customers – providing as little distance and as few barriers as possible between point A and point B. As for the next step in this process, that should be fairly obvious…but it also depends on what you desire from a conversion. Are you looking for a form submission? If so, that form should be just like Kate Upton in a French bikini…in other words, it should be some serious piece of eye candy. Do you want the visitor to download something? Make a button that is just begging to be clicked.
5. Boast a Flawless Design
Remember when we brought up information architecture? Well, it comes into play here, as it’s important for a landing page to boast a clear, crisp design that leaves all questions answered without inspiring any new ones. Simple and obvious navigation is also the goal, and all required information should be provided so that nothing bounces back between the visitor and the conversion (in other words, NO POP-UPS!). And, if at all possible, make it so that visitors can convert in one click….think of every additional click as a weight upon your conscience.
6. Include a Clear Call-to-Action
Calls-to-action are something we know a lot about here at Multiverse, as they’re essential attention-grabbers on websites and landing pages. They can exist in the headline text as well as the button text (for example, “submit” versus “download your free marketing guide”), but no matter what, the necessary next steps should get no argument: Tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do in big, bold copy.
MVMG Quick Stat: Changing some button text from something like “See Plans and Pricing” to “Get Started Today” increased conversions by 252-percent for certain clients we’ve worked with.
7. Create Eye-Catching Headlines
Most powerful, effective landing pages use the primary headline to confirm an offer and use a subheading for further explanation or for what’s known as a value proposition (why your particular offer is better than your competition’s). Here’s an example of what that might look like:
“Free Facebook Marketing EBook” (headline)
“Learn how to get more Facebook followers, likes and engagement from our marketing gurus” (subhead)
8. Use Engaging Copy
According to Kiss Metrics, using specific “hypnotic” words can entrance visitors – indeed, using the word “you” makes your copy feel personal to visitors and allows for more intimate conversation, while “imagine” encourages readers to visualize using your product while increasing desire. Similarly, including the word “because” explains to visitors why they should take a specific step or action. In summary, try these suggestive-rich words on your landing page and watch how it makes all the difference.
In addition to all these, you can create effective, engaging and downright eye-catching landing pages by also making it all about the visitor, taking advantage of video where appropriate, including an awesome offer, ensuring the information is easy to scan at a quick glance, making sure there’s relevant and quality images, confirming the page looks gorgeous and “acts classy,” using color to the page’s advantage, including clickable share buttons, showing rave testimonials, making sure the page is mobile friendly, following-up with a “thank you” page, making the page’s loading lightning fast and ensuring the conversion tracking is turned on.