Effective landing page creation isn’t the world’s greatest mystery, despite the fact that many online marketers would lead people to believe as much. Everyone claims to have the secrets to effective landing page creation and optimization, but the real secret might surprise you:
There’s no secret at all.
Effective landing page optimization is really all there is to it.
First, though, it’s important to know there’s no standard protocol to create the perfect landing page. What works for one business might not work for another. Furthermore, the optimization strategies that are employed for eCommerce might not be as effective for lead generation landing pages, and vice versa.
Although there’s not a one-size, step-by-step instruction manual to creating landing pages that convert, this guide offers all of the best practices and tips for landing page optimization, including the factors that affect design and optimization techniques.
No one is going to create the perfect landing page. With the best practices and suggestions laid out here, however, you’ll be able to come pretty close. Read on, take notes, and take advantage of the insight and resources provided here.
Factors Affecting Landing Page Design
Landing page design is never a “one-size-fits-all" approach. The design that works for one business or brand may not work for another, based on a myriad of factors. When it comes to conversion optimization on the landing page, it’s important to look at the elements below to ensure that the overall design and offering fits every aspect.
The audience for an online marketing firm is going to be different to the audience for a household appliance eCommerce store. While this might seem a bit obvious, it’s important to note when it comes to landing page optimization. The process for one audience is going to be different than it is for another.
All of the conversion optimization strategies that are implemented should consider the intended audience in order to ensure that the right goals are being achieved and the right conversions are being made. The tactics and even the type of content used are going to be vastly different for a landing page marketing a business opportunity than a landing page for an auto parts dealer. Keep the audience in mind in all optimization efforts, and in every aspect of marketing, for that matter.
Much like the audience, the purpose and intent of every landing page is going to be a bit different. By zoning in on the important elements, it will be easier to optimize a landing page to convert the right visitors and achieve all of the marketing goals set forth. Ultimately, the purpose of any landing page is to convert—whether or not that actually means a sale depends on the purpose of the landing page.
Conversions can be sales. But, they can also be things like:
Clicking through to the main website/eCommerce store
Downloads or product trials
Ultimately, any time a visitor performs a desired action on a landing page, a conversion happens. Understanding the intent of a landing page makes it much easier to implement the best optimization strategies.
What is the product or service being offered? Although there are some landing pages that are focused more on driving click-throughs or other conversions, the end-goal product or service is still going to be mentioned. After all, a business can’t lure potential customers without giving an explanation of what they offer.
Just as with the audience, the design of a landing page is going to vary greatly based on the industry or niche that it is targeting. A high-tech business marketing page for seven-figure entrepreneurs is going to be much more professional and thought-out, for example, than a landing page selling the hottest new “As Seen on TV” products. It’s not that the ASOT audience isn’t as smart; it’s just that there are different approaches to each and they have their place for a reason.
What is the customer or visitor getting by visiting this landing page specifically? The buy-in is the entire point of the landing page. Therefore, it’s crucial to optimize content and other elements to focus on in this aspect. The internet is full of websites and companies claiming to have the best of this or the leading edge on that—why are visitors supposed to buy into what you’re selling?
The value proposition is an extension of the buy-in, offering a more detailed explanation that includes answers to the following:
What product or service is being offered?
What consumer problem does it solve?
Why is it better than the competition?
What makes the brand/product trustworthy?
People can get products and services from thousands of places, thanks to the Internet. Unfortunately for businesses, that means they need to work that much harder to lure in the right visitors. When it comes to landing page design and conversion optimization, refining the value proposition can go a long way.
What Makes a Landing Page Different?
A landing page is just another website, right?
A business has a website to provide products and/or services, as well as information, for its intended audience. A landing page can have any number of purposes, although they are typically designed to do one of two things:
To inform/sell a product or service
To act as a conversion point leading to the company’s website or eCommerce store
Landing pages are built around a specific set of keywords or search terms and will typically be promoted organically, as well as through paid search tools like Google AdWords. These static sites are designed to focus on one promotion, product/service, or marketing goal.
What does a landing page do? Ultimately, by hyper-focusing on one topic or item, the landing page will help move a goal to the front of the marketing strategy to increase conversions in this specific area. It will also give marketers and brands the opportunity to track a single goal, search term, or product/service they offer.
A business that waits around for visitors to stumble across their call-to-action on a homepage or through a social media or blog post is not going to see much in the way of successful online marketing. Landing pages direct visitors right where they should be going to join, subscribe, or purchase, creating a more efficient conversion funnel.
Must-Have Landing Page Components
No matter what industry you’re in or who the target audience is, there are some components that are critical to the success of any landing page. When creating each of these elements, it’s important to keep some things in mind:
What’s the message? How does the offering provide a solution to a common problem?
What keywords are commonly searched when users are trying to find solutions related to the product/service/offering?
Who is the target audience? Which elements will be most effective for them?
When there is a better idea of the intentions of the landing page, setting up one that creates better conversions is automatically easier. Make the most of the following components when it comes to conversion optimization (and initial landing page creation, for that fact).
Headlines and Sub-Headlines
Headlines are often the make-or-break point for many visitors. If their attention isn’t instantly grabbed and they aren’t given useful information that leads them to want more, it’s not an effective headline. Using A/B testing is a great way to figure out which types of headlines are preferred by a specific audience or demographic.
A/B testing, for those who aren’t familiar, is simply the use of two versions of the same landing page to test how variations of a certain element work. In this case, it would be prudent to set up two landing pages with different headlines and see which one generates the most conversions.
Headlines should be brief—marketing pros suggest no more than 20 words, with an ideal range of about 10 words per headline or title. Sub-heads are a little more flexible, as they’re designed to offer a little more detail about the initial headline. Headlines get noticed and get people interested. Sub-headlines give them a reason to stay interested, which is why both are equally important to effective landing page conversions.
Pictures and Videos
Text is processed by the human brain at a rate that is 60,000 times slower than the rate at which it processes images. What does this mean? It means that visitors to a landing page will be instantly affected by the images and videos, whereas the impact of the text will require a little more focus and time to read through.
Landing pages that convert typically have large, well-placed, relevant pictures. They may showcase a product, or they may demonstrate the relevance of the service provided, but they are definitely present. Of course, these are high-quality, well-planned visuals. Don't cheapen the page with last-minute stock images or Photoshop work.
When it comes to videos, a little more care is required. They should still be relevant, but the placement and operation of the videos takes a little thought. Try to avoid auto-play or pop-up videos on landing pages, as these are common tactics of ads and scams so they automatically turn visitors away in many cases. Give users the chance to make the choice. With a compelling headline placed near the video, it should be easy to get people to engage.
A Straightforward Answer
The point of a landing page is to make the conversion funnel more efficient. That can only be accomplished with a page that includes a clear explanation of what is being offered to the visitor. It doesn’t matter how effective headlines and photos are or how good the landing page looks. If people can’t figure out why they need the product or service being offered, they’re not going to be interested.
Of course, this answer isn’t something that can stand on its own. It's something that should be integrated into every other aspect of the landing page: the photos and videos, headlines, text, and even the layout of the page. After all, if people can’t get to the answer easily, they’re again going to lose interest and look elsewhere.
When it comes to conversion optimization, a lot of improvements can be made just by going through all of the various aspects of the landing page to ensure that there is a full explanation of what the benefits are for the user and why they simply cannot live without whatever is being offered. They cannot believe that it is the best choice. They have to believe that it is the only choice. That’s where it helps to be proactive by explaining, in addition to everything else, why this particular offering is better than anything else like it.
A written explanation might not even be necessary, depending on the type of landing page that is being created. However, the content within the page that is used needs to provide answers for visitors, whatever it may be.
The Pain Point
It’s no surprise that people are wired to avoid pain. It may be a surprise that this can benefit the effectiveness of online marketing efforts. However, it works, and it’s a tool that everyone needs to use to reach their visitors and boost their conversions. People fear loss more than they appreciate gain and they want to hear other people’s pains and how they found a solution.
How does this factor into conversion optimization? When providing that explanation of the offering, it will benefit conversion rates to address not only the benefits of the product or service but the losses that come from not having it. Visitors are far more likely to anticipate the risk of loss and make a decision as a result than they are to buy (or otherwise convert) based solely on the gains.
Testimonials are another effective place to address the pain points. Using real human testimonials allows a landing page to show visitors that other people had similar needs, but this particular product or service alleviated their pains. That human connection makes a difference now more than ever before.
Of course, now that the pain has been addressed, it needs to be relieved. This is where the lead-in to the benefits and value proposition can be useful. You need to adequately present the problem, but the solution should be just as readily available.
In today’s world full of scammers, spam, and robo-callers, people aren’t interested in working with anyone that isn’t clearly a real person or entity. Anyone running a legit business and attempting to make real conversions needs to have contact information readily available, even on the landing page.
Some of the highest converting pages offer multiple methods for contacting the company, including things like email, phone numbers, mailing addresses and contact forms.
An even newer feature that many are jumping on is the chatbot or online chat option. These pop-ups offer assistance to visitors at every step of the process and are available to answer questions, provide further information, and can even be customized to the company’s exact needs. Of course, the use of these is still up for debate, so it’s important to research the options and implement them carefully.
There is a lot of psychology in words and “guarantee” is one of the words that online consumers absolutely love. Keep in mind that a guarantee can come in a number of forms. It doesn’t have to be a money-back guarantee or a 100% satisfaction guarantee. It can be as simple as adding a phrase like:
“We guarantee that this product will help you learn how to increase your productivity in the workplace and in your everyday life.”
Even just using the word, so long as it is relevant, has been shown to increase conversions significantly when compared to pages without the word on it. Keep the guarantee close to the call-to-action to get a combination of reassurance that exponentially increases the odds of conversion. People who might be on the fence about making a move could be swayed by a simple guarantee, just because of that extra level of comfort.
With a focus on the elements listed above, it should be easier for any landing page to increase conversions for sales and all kinds of other actions. As a final reminder, here are a few quick tips to wrap things up:
Use the best software and tools designed specifically to create landing pages
Make sure the value proposition and call-to-action deliver on every word
Keep it simple—further detail can be found on the actual website or another page that the visitor converts to
Use social proof and testimonials to make the human connection
Get rid of navigation elements. Landing pages that convert are single pages
Use A/B testing to refine landing pages and improve conversion rates
A landing page is a tool, not a standalone website. With a better understanding of how to treat it as such, it will be much easier to create landing pages that convert up to 50% better (or more) with simple tweaks and small changes.