Landing Page Optimization Basics
Landing Page Design
The landing page is the foundation of any online campaign. A well-designed, targeted landing page will build trust with potential customers, clearly communicate the company’s brand, and lead to greater conversion rates.
Defining Before Designing
The most successful landing pages are created for a specific purpose. They are designed around a single product or service for a narrowly defined audience. Before even considering the page design, the product or service offered and the potential customer should be identified. The more these are identified, the better the landing page will be. There cannot be too much time invested in this initial step of the landing page design.
Keep the Product, People, and Problem in Mind
Once the product (or service) and the potential customer have been carefully articulated, it is time to consider the problem being addressed and to begin thinking about the landing page’s design. The product, people, and the problem will guide the entire design process.
Pitching the Product: Determine the CTA
Each landing page should be designed to promote one product. This will determine what the primary call to action (CTA) is. This sounds basic, but carefully defining the primary CTA is often overlooked. There is nothing more foundational than determining the CTA. At the minimum, the CTA should:
- Be stated in a single sentence
- Require a single action from the user
- Offer a single product or service
Reaching the People: Psychological and Technical Considerations
Whether the CTA of a landing page converts depends largely upon how well the page communicates with the intended audience. The more the motivations and goals of the users are known, the more the landing page can be designed to cater specifically to them. Not only should the concerns and problems of the users be identified, but they should also be listed in order of priority. The landing page can then address these concerns in the order of their priority, thus providing users with the most critical information as quickly as possible.
In addition to the psychological aspect of knowing the intended audience, there is also a technical aspect. If the landing page is not compatible with the technology they are using, all the effort put into determining the CTA and identifying the audience will be fruitless. Will the intended audience normally be accessing the landing page through iPhones while on the go, or will they be looking at it on 24-in. iMacs from a graphic design studio? Will they be accessing the page through a high-speed connection from San Francisco, or will they have a questionable connection while on a business trip to India? The technical limitations of the audience’s devices must be taken into account.
Remember the Problem: Creating a Consistent User Experience
Each successful campaign will likely address a single problem that the target audience has. Keeping this problem, concern, need, or desire in mind throughout the campaign is imperative for high conversion rates.
The landing page should address the same problem that initially brought users to the site, and it should address the situation in the same manner as the point of entry. Whether the point of entry was an email, organic search, PPC, or social media, users want the landing page to continue the experience that began at the point of entry. Likewise, any following page or form that the user is taken to after following the CTA should also address the same problem in the same way.
Addressing the same problem in the same manner throughout the user experience, from the point of entry to the landing page and beyond, will have several positive effects:
- The user experience will be improved
- The conversion rate will increase
- The company’s branding will be consistent
Focus the Landing Page on the CTA
The landing page serves one purpose: to convince the user to follow the CTA. Therefore, the CTA should be the focus of the entire landing page. At this point, the CTA should be well defined, and it should directly address a problem (concern, desire or need) that the intended audience has. All that remains is to visually focus the page on the CTA and support the CTA with the surrounding content on the landing page.
When a user arrives at the landing page, they should be immediate – and only – drawn to the CTA. Here are some practical ways to promote the CTA on a landing page:
- Make the CTA clear
Rather than using generic words such as “go” or “submit,” explicitly state the CTA in the CTA. Phrases like “get your free report” or “call 888-888-8888” have much better conversion rates.
- Keep the CTA visible.
The CTA should always be visible. It should be prominently displayed above the fold, so users cannot scroll down to take the intended action. If there is a lot of content on the landing page, then the CTA should be placed at the top and bottom of the page and throughout the content if the top or bottom of the page is not always visible.
- Make the CTA personal.
The more personal a CTA is, the more likely a user will follow it. Make it as local and personal as possible, so the user feels like they, specifically, are being reached.
- Have a supporting CTA
Some visitors will not be ready to follow the primary CTA at the time of their visit, but they would be open to engaging a secondary CTA. For instance, they may not be ready to call a phone number, but they might be willing to send an email. Any secondary CTA used should not compete with the primary CTA but should complement it.
- Eliminate other options
The CTA is naturally promoted on the landing page by eliminating other possible actions. There should be as few additional actions for users to take as possible on a landing page because the CTA is the most important one.
Reach Your Audience with Professionalism
In general, potential customers will learn the most about a company’s brand through its landing page, at least before engaging the CTA (is this phrase grammar correct?). Therefore, creating a professional landing page is of the utmost importance. While each landing page will be unique and represent its own company, an air of professionalism is always appropriate. Bait-and-switch tactics and overly salty language that reminds people of old-fashioned used car salesmen rarely convert and a professional tone that is appropriate for the intended audience.
Improving Conversion Rates through Testing
Once a landing page is planned and designed, it is time to implement it and test it. Ongoing testing will ensure the highest level of performance. It is especially important to test all aspects of a landing page during its initial launch. Some tests that should be done on any landing page include:
- A/B testing with designs
- the effect photos have on the intended audience and conversion rates
- the copy, including its font size and color
- the language of the CTA
- the number of fields that forms have
Using Analytics on Landing Pages
The final component a landing page needs is an analytics program. This is how traffic, conversion rates, and other statistics for the page can be tracked. One of the most popular analytics solutions is Google Analytics. However, plenty of alternatives are available, some paid but still inexpensive. None of these programs require advanced programming knowledge. A small snippet of code is placed on the landing page, and the analytics software will do the work.
Comparing Results with Analytics
Any of the above analytics programs will help create professional reports. In addition to helping track results from tests conducted, these reports can also be used to compare conversion rates from different traffic sources. Depending on the program used and the information desired, the report may be generated within the program, or it might be exported to Microsoft Excel.