Oct 15, 2013 1:26:00 PM
Posted by Matthew Campion
High-converting landing pages don’t happen by happy accident – there’s a careful science and a well-established list of best practices than can help push your conversions over the top.
If you’re making some of the most common landing page mistakes, you’re blocking your own shots and costing yourself sales. Thankfully, there are quick changes you can make to your landing pages to drive more sales and capture more leads.
In the spirit of moving quickly,we’re going to blitz through some of the most crucial elements of a successful landing page.
1. Craft Heavy-Lifting Headlines
Arguably the most important part of any landing page’s copy, the headline needs to do accomplish an awful lot in a very short time span.
Focus on keyword usage over engagement
Are never tested
Are long-winded and boring
Are ambiguous, leaving the lead asking the wrong kind of questions (like, “Is this the right page?”)
Are short (Readers need to know in 5 seconds or less what to expect from the page.)
Use keywords carefully (Don’t lose the intrigue!)
Captivate the audience (The lead needs to care enough to keep reading.)
Are clear and provide context (Customers need context and hate ambiguity.)
Are tested extensively (Your headline can always be better.)
2. Minimize Distractions
When a lead lands on your page, the last thing you want to do is help them escape the buying process. Landing pages must be streamlined, directing the visitor to just one destination: the call-to-action. All shiny objects must be stashed away.
Remove any links that would take a lead away from the page, including the primary navigation.
If you use a video platform, avoid YouTube or any others that offer advertisements or “related videos” at the end that might distract the user.
Every single word on the page should directly relate to the offer at hand.
Focus on just ONE call to action. Don’t present the user with multiple options or overwhelm them with diverse messaging intended to capture broad audiences.
3. Establish Trust
Before any lead is willing to buy from you, they need to trust that you’re not some sort of scam. They want to be reassured of the credibility of your brand and the benefits of your product.
Use your logo and keep the design consistent with your other branding
Share customer reviews and testimonials to alleviate the customer’s fears.
Show social proof, ie: “X people have already downloaded this”, or embedded tweets from satisfied buyers
Provide supporting sources and context for any statistics you provide
Showcase any credible places your brand or product has been featured to earn trust-by-association
4. Eliminate Risk
Even after a prospect trusts you, they may still have qualms about buying your product. What if it breaks? What if it’s not a fit? What if their boss hates it?
To eliminate risk, consider offering a trial period or a money-back guarantee. Leave the lead with no unanswered questions and eliminate the feeling that they might be hung out to dry.
5. Keep Content Simple, (Stupid!)
No matter what you do, don’t make your prospects think. Any time ambiguity or confusion enters the situation, you begin to lose a lead’s trust and attention.
Use language your audience knows and understands (now is not the time to be eloquent)
Use bullets to break out lists
Keep content scannable by using headers
Remove any visual clutter, keeping images and video limited to those that help enhance the landing page
And while it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, try to keep it concise. Some products require a long-form writing style, while others would do well to get to the point quickly.
But no matter what, all copy should be clean, straightforward and 100% related to the offer at hand. If you’re not explaining a benefit, providing needed context, alleviating a fear or calling the customer to action, you’re wasting their time.
6. Create a Compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)
The headline and content will set up the pitch, but the call-to-action should drive the homerun. Calls-to-action need to be concise, benefits-focused and clear. They need to stand out from the rest of the copy, and they’re one last opportunity to mitigate risk for the consumer.
Highlight your calls-to-action with directional indicators like arrows or shapes
Consider using contrasting colors to make your CTA stand out
Test the messaging. For example, “Talk to an Expert” may be more convincing than “Call Now!”, or it may be more intimidating. You won’t know until you test
7. Take Only What You Need
When you’ve got a lead ready to convert, the last thing you want to do is scare them off with a lengthy form to fill out.
While some information is “nice to know”, customers are leery of filling out long forms and hold their privacy tightly. Reduce your forms down to the bare essentials - only the data you need to follow up and close the deal.
8. Test, Test & Test Again!
Great landing pages come out of extensive testing. Never, ever stick with the first design you come up with. Some page elements to test include:
Formatting and layout
Calls-to-action, both the message and the appearance
Content (length, tone, voice)
Effectiveness of mixed media (video, visuals)
There is no shortage of tools to make your testing easier:
LookTracker uses eye-tracking technology to identify where customer’s are directing their attention. This will help you eliminate distractions and draw more attention to the places you want the lead to be looking.
Visual Website Optimizer allows you to A/B test any element of your page and run the tests in tandem. The data you collect can help you make statistically significant decisions to improve your closing rates.
Practice Makes Perfect
Crafting effective landing pages is a science, and it takes time to get it right. Don’t be discouraged if your pages aren’t converting as you’d hoped. Instead, take back control by testing, evaluating and minding the details.
Don’t bury your head in the sand – start putting these tips into practice! If you're having trouble creating landing pages that guarantee high conversions, we're here to help!
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/flickrfavorites
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