If you’ve got poorly performing landing pages and don’t know what to do, here’s the help you’ve been looking for! This post will cover the 8 golden rules (although they’re rules, they’re kind of flexible to your needs) of making your landing pages really convert. However, just to clarify that this article is not going be about the process. It’s not going to tell you how to make a highly-converting landing page, but how to make sure that the ones you do make actually convert and convert well.
Without further ado, I shall begin:
1. HAVE CLEAR CALL TO ACTIONS
Although there’s no hierarchy in these 8 rules, I personally believe that this is one of, if not the, most important.
In the above example just look at the size of that call-to-action (CTA) compared to, say, the Wix.com logo. It’s visibly prominent and is large enough to clearly catch the eye. Not only that, but the position on the page is right in the eye line and takes centre stage. What Wix.com have clearly done is identified the primary action that they want users to take and they have given that the sole pride of place on this page.
When we talk about good CTAs, what we’re really talking about is directing action. One of the best ways to do this is by using contrasting colours to direct audiences towards an action.
CTAs should stand out from the rest of the form by contrasting in colour with it. The above example is from Marketo and although I don’t love the colour choices, it certainly shouts out to me. So what have we learned about CTAS?:
Make sure they are big.
Make sure they have a prominent position on the page.
Utilise colour (there’s loads more to be said on this subject, which may well be covered in later blog posts).
Make the colour of the CTA contrast with the rest of the page.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the language used on the CTA implies action, but also that it speaks clearly and simply to the audience, and finally, design your CTA for mobile use (because these days more than 50% of your audience will be accessing your site on mobile).
2. USE EFFECTIVE HEADLINES
Headlines are so valuable. Do not, do not, underestimate them. As David Ogilvy himself has said, five times as many people read the headline as opposed to the body text. That means that you’ve got to get make sure your visitor connects instantly with the headline.
To do this, you need to learn a few tips and tricks to make sure they work for you:
Use numbers in the title – for instance, 7 steps, 5 rules, 3 minutes.
Consider your market place – i.e., are you targeting ecommerce customers? Are they savvy digital-marketers?, etc.
Deploy adjectives – such as our favourite ‘extraordinarily’.
Have a rationale – what is it going to deliver to your audience?
Use what, why, how or when.
Make a bold promise – 5 “easy steps”.
In this example from HubSpot, we get nearly every single one of these, barring the number tip. You’ve got a ‘how’ phrase, you’ve got a rationale, you’ve got adjective use, they know their target audience, and they’ve got a bold promise as to what to expect.
3. CRAFT AND REFINE YOUR OFFER AND CONTENT
This is something that takes time and practise to get right, but it’s vitally important that you back up the claim on your headline with the benefits of what you’re going to deliver.
Let this take the form of clear bullet points, but don’t forget a powerful opening paragraph or two will help to reaffirm your proposition.
There are also two other simple techniques that you can use you draw your audience’s attention and show them where you valuable content is.
1. The layout of the page: focus on delivering landing page parts in stages. This will typically be in-built into your CMS. In the example from step 2 (above), you get the headline, then on the left you see two paragraphs followed by four bullet points, which reinforce the proposition. On the right you get the sign up form. Below the bullet points on the left, you get further information on the presenters.
2. Interstitials (commonly called pop-ups): pop-ups are much hated, and rightly so. But sometimes, and used carefully, certain interstitials (see below) are powerful, effective and deliver the content to the user effectively.
4. FOCUS ON THE USER AND CONVERSION COUPLING
With any customer journey, there is a process. A customer will inevitably go from one page to another, following cues along the way towards purchasing or signing up. Understanding and defining this journey will help to ensure that it’s as simple as possible for the customer to get what they want. When customers depart from this journey, for whatever reason, this is called ‘friction’, and reducing ‘friction’ should lead to more customers getting what they want from you.
Here are some pointers:
Understand and plot user journeys from source to conversion (sit down and ask ‘what do we want people to do?’).
Measure user journeys, then use this data to improve the journey.
Identify and lower or remove the hurdles – sometimes the hurdles are too big and people just won’t convert. Remove hurdles, or aim to limit them.
Build flow on the page – i.e. your page should flow in the order of how you want your customers to do things.
Simplify forms, both technically and in terms of the language they use.
People make mistakes, so don’t make forms too complex.
Clarity in what the next step is is vital.
Make input as easy as possible.
Do you need really need that validation process? Consider losing it, or else test ways to simplify this process.
5. LANDING PAGE LAYOUT IS VITAL
The layout of your landing should aim to draw attention to your proposition and to the CTA; it should look to reduce your visitor’s focus down to two or three points, without over-stimulating your visitor and making them click elsewhere.
Two guidelines for your designers and developers to focus on are:
Be clear, concise and uncluttered.
Be busy but efficient.
For Unbounce, whose purview is landing page optimisation, their own landing pages do follow these rules. Firstly, it’s clear and concise. I know what I’m getting: it’s an eBook on attention-driven design, reinforced with the eBook image slap bang in the centre. And although you might say it’s not uncluttered, it actually use its space very effectively. There are no buttons to click, except the download button, each bullet point is 3 lines exactly, and the flow of the page leads to the conversion.
6. BUILD PROOF, TRUST AND CREDIBILITY
Usually in the form of industry certifications or testimonials, this can also be an inbuilt feature of design. In the Unbounce example, the high-quality design goes to get great lengths to underpin that they are brilliant at landing pages.
But, below the fold, they have a user review, they identify well-known sites that their advice has been featured on, and they provide information on the author. All of which aims to reaffirm the proposition.
7. USE CLEVER VISUALS
We’ve probably all seen clever visuals on landing pages, whether consciously or unconsciously. Here are a few of the best:
This clever visual points to the next action. Simple and effective.
Again from Unbounce, this one uses visuals to tell a simple story that helps you to understand the process you’ll go through after that button click.
In this cute example, the bear points the user to the next step. I like it. It also has moveable parts.
8. TEST AND IMPROVE
I would suspect that the last landing page, for Bear CSS, has a few conversion problems. For me, it doesn’t quite deliver enough information on what the benefits of this tool are. But of course, I don’t have the data to prove that; the owners, of course, will do.
And that’s the difference – ultimately, what works and what doesn’t is testable, and that means that you can improve as you go. There are a number of tools to help you do this, such as Optimizely. Optimizely lets you multivariate test, so you can move parts around the page, change colours, change the text and make other changes that might affect the conversion rate of the page.
If you don’t have recourse to such a tool, testing is a little harder, but by using Google Analytics and driving traffic to pages you can make adjustments over time and see the impact of different adjustments.
In August, Jeremy Spiller, White Hat Media’s CEO, delivered a webinar on the 8 essentials to increase landing page conversions. This blog article follows that up and provides you with new examples and a new medium in which to frame this conversation. You can watch the original webinar here.
Now you know the 8 golden rules, you should be able to make a pretty swish landing page that converts customers and makes sales, but if you still need help the team at White Hat Media are perfectly placed to optimise your page performance. So why not get in touch?