Converting cold traffic into warm leads and eventual customers can be quite the difficult process. After all, cold visitors don’t know what your website is about, and aren’t familiar with anything you’re doing.
One of the best methods to transform this traffic into new subscribers is through the power of a landing page.
However, not just any landing page will do. You need a landing page that’s properly optimized to address the concerns of your audience in such a way they literally can’t wait to hand over their email address.
A good landing page can be the difference between a visitor clicking away from your website, or sticking around to see what you have to say. No pressure, right? Marketers and advertisers have spent quite a bit of time breaking down and analyzing what makes for a perfect landing page.
In this post we’ll cover what a landing page is, landing page best practices, and mistakes to avoid.
- What Is a Landing Page?
- The Landing Page Offer
- 5 Must-Have Landing Page Elements
- Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid
What Is A Landing Page?
A landing page, sometimes known as a “lead capture page,” is a page on your website that has a form and exists only to capture a visitor’s information through that form. That’s it in a nutshell. A landing page is a marketing tool designed to prompt a certain action or result.
It’s called a landing page because visitors “land” on it from another traffic source on the internet, whether that’s a social media post, guest blog, or banner ad. Landing pages serve to educate your customers and turn them from window-shoppers to potentially paying customers.
You can tell you’re on a good landing page if:
- The page has a single focus
- It has a streamlined look, and is missing other typical website elements like a search bar or navigation
- You feel compelled to take action by completing a lead form
In some ways, landing pages are arguably the single most vital component of your online marketing efforts. Since they’re designed to prompt a specific action or result, if you drive a stream of traffic to a targeted landing page, you can improve your chances of converting that traffic into leads.
So, how do you go about creating a killer landing page?
First, You Truly Need a Compelling Offer
Today’s web users are more inundated with information than ever before. They’re also bombarded with popups and dozens of requests to enter their email information. Because of this people have become more defensive over exactly who they allow into their inboxes.
In other words, people aren’t going to fill out your form, no matter how fantastic your landing page is, unless they want what you’re selling. A great way to persuade people about how fantastic your service or product is is by creating a downloadable opt-in offer your visitors can’t refuse. Your opt-in offer should speak to a deep need, or underlying problem they haven’t been able to solve. This way you can collect their contact information for sales follow up, and they feel good because they got a free gift.
5 Must-Have Landing Page Elements
Once you’ve solidified your offer your visitors can’t wait to get their hands on you’re going to build a page around that offer. Below we highlight some of the must-have elements you’ll want to feature on your page.
1. Use Attention-Grabbing, Concise Headlines
Your headline is the first thing your visitors will notice, so you have to make it count.
Much has been said about creating the perfect headline. Remember that headlines should be concise, and answer the question “What’s in it for me?” Create some emotional tension so the visitor will continue to read to the bottom of the page. Copyblogger covers this topic quite well in their popular post entitled How to Write Headlines That Work.
It’s a good idea to split test your own headlines to see which ones perform best for you. Just a few tweaks to a website headline can make a huge difference in the page’s performance.
2. Build Trust with Social Proof
The anonymity of the internet makes trust a bit hard to come by. However, people and organizations have created ways to establish trust, including guarantee seals, third party verifications (Verisign, Better Business Bureau, etc.), reviews, and testimonials.
According to a recent study conducted by the Wall Street Journal, 92% of respondents said that they have more confidence in user-generated information found online than they do in information from a salesperson or other source. As such, testimonials from past clients and customers are a very powerful tool for building your landing page’s trust.
Other powerful forms of social proof include:
- Endorsements or quotes from other well-respected business owners in your niche or city
- Your social media follower counts (if the number is high enough)
- Press coverage
3. Feature Relatable Videos and Images
Pictures, slideshows, and video that are relevant to your landing page are good for driving user engagement. There is actually some psychology behind this.
When it comes to pictures, our minds are wired for processing visual images. In fact about 50% of the human brain is involved in visual processing. Just think of all the pictures you see every day whether it be via social media, billboard ads, blogs, or magazine spreads.
Video is a great communication tool because we’re designed to connect with other humans. The sound of a human voice, facial expressions, and body language all convey a message better than written words alone. When creating a video you don’t have to make a Hollywood production, but a short clip introducing your products or services can establish a sense of familiarity and put a visitor at ease.
Recent research has continually shown that pages with video tend to convert higher than those who don’t. Think about it this way. When a visitor lands on your website for the first time they have no idea who you are, so a video will allow them to connect in a deeper way. Add video to your WordPress site with one of these plugins.
4. Have a Clear Call-to-Action
Your call-to-action is equally as important as the headline. It’s what’s going to make the visitor input their email into the signup box. It doesn’t have to be spectacular, but it should be very clear.
A call-to-action can take on different forms, including a purchase of your product, an email subscription or webinar registration, an incentive such as a free ebook, or a free trial.
Think of it as explicit instructions telling your visitor what to do next. Don’t be afraid to spell it out for them. Vague call-to-actions will only leave your reader feeling confused, unsure of what to do next.
If people make it to the bottom of your website then you need a call-to-action that inspires them to take action. Most calls-to-action are displayed as buttons, so you’ll want this button to stand out, and be clear and action-oriented.
If your page does include a video, then include the box directly below the video, with a reference to the location of the signup box in the video.
If you don’t have video, or you have a longer landing page, then consider adding the signup box to multiple locations throughout the page.
5. Organize the Page for Maximum Impact
Landing pages require a different design than the rest of your website.
You want to grab your visitor’s attention as soon as they land on the page and keep them focused on your message and the offer you’re making. Place the most important elements of your page, such as your headline or opt-in form, above-the fold where the user doesn’t have to scroll down to see. Get rid of navigation bars, visual clutter, and anything else distracting. Your goal is to lead the reader from having a problem to seeing your offer as the solution. Write tight copy that’s clear and persuasive and write in the second person.
Take a look at our standard cloud hosting product page versus a landing page for a conference we recently sponsored. You’ll notice that we’ve removed the navigation, simplified it to a single CTA button, and placed Snappy so he is facing toward the CTA.
Avoid These Landing Page Mistakes!
Congratulations! Now you’ve set up a landing page. That’s it, right?
Now it’s time to double-check your work. Read through the list below to confirm you’re not making any of these common, but critical, mistakes with your landing page.
1. Confusing the visitor
Landing pages should have one purpose. If your landing page has more than one objective, off-page links, presents too many choices, or doesn’t match the traffic source, you’re in trouble.
2. Cluttered, unfocused design
Effective landing pages have only one objective—get the reader to take a specific action—and every word and element on the page should support that one action. Anything else on the page is a distraction.
3. Weak copy
Just having a landing page isn’t enough to get you the conversion rate you want. Compelling copy is the “secret sauce” that persuades people to take action. You need a benefit-rich headline that makes the reader a promise and connects with them emotionally. Your compelling lead entices them to keep reading as you emphasize your value proposition. And through it all you should be speaking your customer’s language.
4. Too much focus on you
Nobody cares about you, your company, or your product or service. They do care how you can help them. Your landing page copy should be all about helping the reader solve their problem.
5. No clear call to action
Can your visitors easily identify the call to action? If your landing page doesn’t tell your visitor exactly what you want them to do next, they won’t do anything. That means you’re leaving money on the table.
6. No credibility
You only have 2 to 3 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention and confirm that they’re in the right place. It doesn’t matter whether you’re asking people to give you their email address or part with their hard-earned cash, if they don’t trust you it’s going to be tough to seal the deal.
7. Using more than one column
There’s plenty of research showing that centered, single-column landing pages generally convert best. The 1-column format tends to look cleaner, have more white space, increase reading comprehension, and keep readers engaged with the message.
8. Inconsistent branding
Your headline and other landing page elements should relate to the ad copy that drove the click. In other words, the page should be relevant to your ad text and keyword, and match the look, feel, and tone of the original ad or email.
9. Ineffective use of images
This is where lots of marketers drop the ball. They take the easy way out and use clip art. They have uncaptioned images that have nothing to do with the objective of the page, or their images aren’t clickable.
10. Not optimizing the buttons
If the buttons on your landing page don’t look like buttons or they say “submit” or “send”, you could have a problem. A Hubspot researcher studied more than 40,000 landing pages and discovered that landing pages with submit buttons labeled “submit” had lower conversion rates than those with more engaging button text.
11. No sense of urgency
If your visitor is on the fence and your landing page doesn’t give them a reason to act NOW… they usually won’t. Are you giving them a reason to take action? Try limiting the availability of your offer, or including a countdown timer on the page.
12. Not testing
The first time you build your landing page you’re going to be guessing based upon past interactions with clients, and your own intuition. There’s always room for improvement and absolutely no way to know what to improve unless you test. Split-testing, or “A/B testing,” is an easy way to compare the results of tweaks to your landing page like a new call to action or a different headline.
When you’re testing make sure to only isolate and test a single element at time. It may take longer this way, but it’s the only way to ensure you know what is and isn’t working.
Building a great landing page is neither a mystery nor rocket science, but it does require some planning ahead. Start planning for your next successful landing page by following the recommendations outlined in this article.