Five Steps to Creating an Amazingly High Converting Landing Page
Five Steps to Creating an Amazingly High Converting Landing Page
Being able to set up an extremely well optimised Adwords campaign, or design and execute an extremely successful SEO campaign is great; but you also need to have a landing page that is going to convert the traffic you are generating at a rate that is going to give you a return on your investment to go with it!
What is a landing page?
Quite simply a landing page is the page which your website visitor lands on after making a search query in Google and clicking on your site’s link, a link in an ad you have running, or in an email you’ve sent. A landing page is generally designed to get the visitors to perform a specific action, whether that action is to purchase a product or opt-in for an email newsletter.
So how should one go about designing a landing page which will convert a high percentage of visitors?
Step 1: Define your goals
The first and most obvious step to take is to define what your objectives are. Only once you know what your objectives are can you begin to formulate a plan and a design to meet those objectives. If the purpose of your landing page is to sell a specific product with as high a frequency as possible, then you need to design your page completely around this one goal, at the expense of other less valuable actions – like gaining the user as a twitter follower.
Let’s use the example of an SEO agency creating a pay-per-click landing page with the objective of getting prospective clients to get in contact by either calling the phone number on the page, or filling out the contact form.
Now that we know what our objectives are – how do we go about converting the targeted traffic which we are sending to our landing page?
Step 2: Identify our target audience, and what their expectations are?
Before we begin designing our landing page, we need to know who we are catering our landing page to. We need to understand exactly who our target audience is, what they are looking for, and what they expect to see. It is by understanding our visitors and meeting their expectations that we will be able to get them to follow the action that we want.
Following on from our example: the visitors to our page are looking for a search engine optimisation agency that they can contact to perform SEO services on their website. These individuals will be business owners who are looking for a service that can deliver them a return on their investment, a service that is trustworthy, reliable, and which represents value for their money, and they expect to see an agency website which represents these qualities.
Now that we understand who our visitors are what their expectations are, how do we convey this with our landing page?
Step 3: Create a landing page that conveys a message
Now is the trickiest part of the process: we must try to convince our visitors that we are a trust-worthy agency, that will be able to get them a return on their investment, reliably and transparently, while also providing value for money… and… all with a few fractions of a second! Sounds like a tall order right? But research has shown that we make a decision about whether or not like we like the look of a website within one twentieth of a second. Web users make fast decisions about whether or not your website represents what they are looking for, and if you haven’t attracted them within a few tenths of a second, then they may not stick around long enough to read anything and might just bounce off to another website.
Let’s start by separating each of the elements that make up a landing page:
Colour: Colours play a big part in influencing how we interpret things which we see and therefore affect our decision making. Website visitors will be sub-consciously expecting to see certain colours which they associate with the product or service which they are searching for. Someone searching for life insurance for example, may be expecting to see light blue, orange, and/or green on white background, and, won’t be expecting to see a lot of black, or dark red. Expectations will be different for different sectors, so there are no hard and fast rules. If we’re not sure about which colours are most often associated with our particular product (in this case SEO) then we can do some research by looking at the landing pages of our top competitors and noting down which colours they use. Try to think like your target customer and take note of your own impressions regarding the landing pages you see.
Layout: Users expect to see the traditional website layout, i.e. logo in top left, search bar and navigation links in the top right of the page etc. Diverging from this typical layout can be risky, as an unconventional layout can be difficult for the visitor to comprehend visually, although this can have the positive effect of sparking interest.
Pictures: They say a picture is worth a thousand words; so with that in mind we need to be very careful about the pictures which we select to be on our landing page. Which type of image will help us best convey a return on investment? An incline on a graph? A picture of a target? People interpret meaning in every image that they see, so it is vitally important that we convey the message that the user needs to see in order to be converted into a customer.
Videos: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth… 1.8 million words! A video may well be the best way to communicate to your target customer, and give them a feel for what you’re offering.
Text: The words on your landing page are the most important element to take into consideration. If you look at a typical landing page, you’ll notice that the majority of the page is made up of text; and although users will interpret meaning from all of the other landing page features mentioned above, the primary way you will communicate with your visitors is through the sales copy on your page. Think of the text as the skeleton of the landing page.
The first thing visitors will read is your headline, which should be written to accomplish the following:
Tell the user that they have landed on the correct page. This can be accomplished by including the main keyword that you expect users to search for before finding your page. For example, if the user typed in “seo agency”, our headline could be “The No#1 SEO Agency in London”.
The element of surprise
Shocking or surprising our visitors is a great way to keep them engaged and keep them on the page. Having a well-reasoned argument for why they should choose us to be their next SEO agency isn’t bad, but without engaging the emotional side of our visitors, our message might just be falling on deaf ears.
Now that we have convinced our visitors that we are the agency they want to hire, how do we get them to contact us?
Step 4: Converting Visitors
Our visitor has decided that we might be the SEO agency for them – but how do they get in contact with us? This is quite possibly one of the most common failings of a landing page: lack of clear call-to-action. Users shouldn’t have to struggle to contact you, and quite often they won’t – they’ll click off to another website, never to be seen again!
The Next Step
Whatever action you want the user to take after landing on your page, you should make it very clear to the visitor what they need to do next. Continuing with our example, if we would like visitors to call us, we should have the phone number clearly presented with a call-to-action that reads “Call now for a free quote”. It pays to have the call-to-action above the fold where visitors will not have to look far to see it, and contrast it with the rest of the page so that it stands out.
Person being led down one path image
All roads lead to Rome
Giving visitors too many options (like links to other pages such as a blog or “about us” page) can have a negative impact on our conversion rate. By limiting the user’s options down to contacting us by phone, we eliminate the possibility of the user becoming distracted and leaving the page. Other actions may have value, such as a newsletter sign up, or social media follower, but if we are trying to maximise chances of a user completing a certain action such as contacting us by phone then we should ensure that all links/CTA’s on the page lead to this action.
Optimising Your Conversion Funnel
Generally, the more steps a user has to take before they complete a given action, the less likely it is that they will complete that action. If our goal is to get users to fill out a contact form – we can eliminate a step by having the form on the landing page itself, rather than linking to a “contact us” page. http://www.quicksprout.com/the-definitive-guide-to-marketing-automation-chapter-3/
The number of people browsing the web using their smart-phones is increasing year-on-year, and if your landing page is not optimised for mobile phone users then you are not going to be capitalising on this traffic. Google actually provide tool for testing whether or not your page is “mobile friendly” https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and Quirktools have a tool that allows you to view how your website looks on any mobile or tablet device http://quirktools.com/screenfly/ . Make sure to check how your page looks on each of the different screen dimensions available to make sure you are maximising your conversion rate on each of the widely used devices.
A slow landing page will kill your conversion rate, as users are not going to waiting around for your website to load when the next site is just a click away – so make sure your page is loading within 1 or 2 seconds at the most. But how do you speed up a slow page? Luckily there are tools such as GTmetrix http://gtmetrix.com/ which tell you exactly what you need to do in order to improve your load times, from optimising your images to leveraging browser caching.
Based on the points we’ve looked at so far, let’s play a game – it’s called spot the CTA!
Below is a screenshot of a landing page of a real company (we removed their brand name) that is currently being used to promote their SEO services in the UK; and what you can see is everything that exists above the fold.
Let’s take a look and see what we think of their design:
If we were to critique this landing page, what are some of the considerations we would make?
- Does the phone number stand out?
- What about the “Click to Request Site Analysis” CTA – is that easy to spot?
- Does the only picture on the page grab our attention?
- Does the head-line indicate to us that this is an SEO company?
Step 5: Maximising Our Conversion Rate By Measuring and Testing!
A/B testing involves theorising how you can improve your landing page’s conversion rate (e.g. by changing the colour of your contact form, or the placement of your phone number), creating a new landing page which puts this theory into practice, and then testing this new landing page against your current one. This is accomplished by sending 50% of your traffic to your current page (page A) and the other 50% of your traffic to your new page (page B). When A/B testing it is often beneficial to test one change to your landing page at a time, so that you can pin down what has made your conversion rate improve or decline. There are a number of different solutions available to help you to make quick changes to your landing page and to measure the effectiveness of those changes, such as Unbounce.
Analytics & Conversion tracking
Using a website analytics platform such as Piwik http://piwik.org/ or Google Analytics can help you to understand the visitors to your website, their behaviour, and how best to market to them. Knowing that one landing page has a lower conversion rate than other is extremely useful; but knowing why is even more useful. For example, analytics can tell us:
- Which piece of content on a page that users are interacting with the most, e.g. movie players, page gadgets, buttons, or flash driven elements
- How many users went past the fold
- How many users “bounced” and left without continuing past the first page
- The average visit duration of users
- The percentage of users that perform a specific action
We should always aim to create a high converting landing page on our first try, but measuring the success of our landing pages and then continually testing changes, we can constantly improve our landing page conversion rate.