Eight essentials for landing page optimization

Over the years, what makes a positive user experience and what will drive conversions has changed dramatically, but on-page optimization for landing pages will help.

10 years ago, banner ads were all the rage and offers for a free laptop actually drove customers towards a particular brand. Today’s online customers are much more sophisticated. They ignore flashy advertisements and pop-up ads merely drive people to ad blocking software.

Instead, you need to engage and convert these customers in a much more subtle way.

You need to use a little psychology. By understanding what people like to see and what resonates with them, along with some machine learning and a few industry best practice techniques you can create landing pages that connect so people convert.

A landing page that successfully brings in new customers has a number of different parts. Neglecting a few of these essentials has the power to drastically reduce the success of your page and therefore minimize the leads and customers that would be otherwise cultivated.

Headings

Your headline will let customers know if they have found the right page. It is your chance to draw the customer in and encourage them to keep reading your content. Your headline should not be the same as your page title tags, but ideally it will tie-in to the searches and keywords that you are looking to attract.

Design

The design of your page will have an incredible impact on your conversion rate. There are multiple psychological principles at play that can guide your design process and help you maximize your layout.

Here are some that you can use right away.

The power of people

People themselves can also be used to influence the eyes. Customers respond favorably to images of real people and faces, which naturally help them connect to your website.

wolverine-airport-security-shirt

You can then take this a step further by having those image subjects looking at your product. We feel an innate desire to see what people are looking at, which means customers will follow the model’s glance to your product.

The importance of lines

You can control where your visitors look next with careful modifications. Arrows and lines naturally draw the human eye because people are inclined to follow a line from its beginning to the end. Pointing arrows at particularly important parts of your copy or your CTA itself can draw attention to these aspects of the page.

The importance of contrast

Contrast can help make certain aspects of your page stand out, which in turn makes them more memorable and noteworthy. This means you should use contrasting colors on your CTA and to highlight other important parts of the page. Using blank space around the CTA can enhance the effect even further.

sports-direct-cta

Content and copy

The content is your chance to connect with your audience and provide them with immediate answers about why they should care about your offer.

Generally, you do not want to have too much content on the page. A study by Google has found that visitors are more in favor of sites that are not too visually complex and follow a predictable pattern, making it easier for them to process quickly.

7-things-i-did-to-reboot-my-life-on-medium

Certain types of copy have been found to be more successful than others. For example, people hate the idea that they may miss out or lose something, this is a phenomenon called loss aversion (or scarcity marketing). That is why advertisements that hint at limited quantities of products or very little time until the sale is over tend to succeed so well. The same concept can apply to your landing page.

Copy that spells out clearly what customers are going to receive from you, such as a decrease in expenses, can also help. So too can testimonials where genuine past customers articulate how exactly your service made their lives better.

Forms

The human brain is wired to minimize cost. This cost might come in the form of actual money, or it might be something as simple as extra fields in your form.

mobile-form-filling

Even if you add just optional sections, the brain will interpret this as an additional ‘expense’ and therefore you will reduce the motivation of visitors to fill in the form.

In fact, MarketingSherpa found that one additional form field decreased conversions by as much as 11%. Instead, you should keep your forms as concise as possible. If the information is not absolutely necessary, do not include it. You can always collect more information from your leads as you build the relationship.

Calls to action

Most people want to spend their time maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. That human desire also applies to your landing page. Your call to action (CTA) is your chance to invite your customer to take the next step in building a relationship with you. It should come at the end of positive, engaging content and tie in nicely with the message you are trying to communicate.

Focus on the user and include personal language, such as ‘Start My Free Trial’ instead of a generic, ‘Click to Download’.

basecamp-cta

You should make sure there is only one CTA on your page. While you might think offering multiple options will give you the chance to entice more people, all you end up doing is confusing people about what you want them to do and they click off the page.

Make it simple for visitors to know and complete the desired action.

Check the competition

Looking at competitors’ pages can offer you key insights about how to improve your page that you might not have otherwise considered. It also can help you better position your own page to outperform those competitors and better position your brand.

Optimization is where machine learning plays such an important role. You can use technology to analyze the landing pages used in your industry to determine the best practices and how you can make your pages more successful.

Information such as the layouts on the top performing pages, the styles of the CTAs, the lengths of the headlines and the colors found on the pages can be compiled and provide you with ideas for A/B tests.

Eye-tracking

Eye-tracking is a capability that lets you know exactly where people are focusing when they see your web page. This has led to some amazing insights, such as the importance of the direction where your photo models are looking, as discussed above.

baby-face-eye-tracking

Image courtesy of Kissmetrics.

When you use this technology for your own page, you can also see if customers are paying attention to your content, where people look before they convert and what seems to be connecting best with visitors. This will help you make modifications as needed and further optimize your page.

Measurement

Successful LPO is driven by A/B testing. If you have not done A/B testing before, the concept is straightforward. You create two versions of your landing page. These versions should be designed to test specific characteristics, such as the wording on your CTA. When you run the A/B test, some of your visitors will be randomly sent to one page and the rest to the other.

Since this is done randomly, you can then interpret differences in conversion rates between the two pages to determine which page should be permanently live.

Testing should not be limited to major changes, however. Even small details can impact conversion rates. Do not forget to test things like:

  • Layouts
  • Design
  • Language and wording
  • Font and type size
  • Heading length
  • Amount of copy on the page

In conclusion

Landing page optimization is a critical part of online engagement. These pages are designed to capture the attention of the customer and drive them forward to make a purchase, fill in a form or otherwise convert.

Most pages have tremendous room for improvement. Although the average landing page conversion rate hovers around 2.35%, the top performing pages see conversions over 5%. Review your landing pages and see how well they line up with the LPO essentials.

Related reading

speed-1249610_960_720
tips-for-content-marketing-campaign
binoculars seaside
Retro typewriter on writers desk
Simple Share Buttons