If you have a recent PPC or paid ad campaign that has been getting plenty of clicks, but few conversions or sales – then it’s time to start optimising your website with strong landing pages.
What is a Landing Page?
Broadly speaking, a landing page is any webpage that you arrive at immediately after clicking on an advert. More specifically, a landing page is a webpage specifically designed to follow through on whatever offer, service, or campaign that drew a user to click on the advert.
This could mean;
- Making a purchase
- Signing up for an email marketing list
- Registering for an online account.
These eye-catching pages are a tried and tested way to direct customers and generate sales. 68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to generate leads, and they have been proven to lead to a dramatic increase in sales and conversions. When testing landing pages against web pages, Dell saw increases in conversions as high as 300%. The fortune 500 company Genworth was able to use landing pages to generate an increase in revenue by 350%. In this article, we’ll be going over some of the key features that make optimised landing pages a necessity for any successful marketing campaign.
So what makes these pages so uniquely geared towards converting sales?
Landing Page vs. Home Page
To start, let’s discuss what makes a landing page different than any other page on your website. Often, companies unfamiliar with landing pages will direct their ad traffic to the homepage. However, even the best homepage can easily be the worst spot to direct inbound traffic from advertising.
A good homepage should serve as your business at a glance. Your services, business policy, and possibly a few testimonials as well as a look at your team. When you are trying to pull in visitors for a singular element of your business, the homepage can be a busy hub of information that can quickly prove to be disorienting for visitors.
This is called the Attention Ratio – The number of any interaction points (such as links, videos, or other clickables) vs. the number of Calls to Action on a page.
A homepage may have an attention ratio as high as 40:1 or more. A good landing page will always have an attention ratio of 1:1.
This means that a landing page will not feature website elements such as navigation buttons, multiple services, or other pages that a customer can disappear into. The entire purpose of the landing page is to be focused entirely on one service, with a singular conversion goal.
In order to make sure that customers get exactly what they’re looking for, a company should ideally offer a different landing page for each service or campaign that they are actively advertising- as 48% of B2B companies already do.
This may seem like a great deal, but the truth is that companies see a 55% increase in leads when they increase the number of landing pages from 10 to 15 – providing an entirely unique welcome gate for each service provided.
Types of Landing Pages
Landing pages can be used for a large variety of purposes. They can be used as a quick click-through box on the way to your website, or so complex that they serve as mini-websites for large-scale promotional campaigns.
However, the majority of landing pages will fall into two main categories according to their purpose – Click-Through, and Lead Generation.
A click-through landing page is exactly that – a segue from advert to website. These landing pages serve as a re-affirmation of the customer’s decision to click on an ad, and encourage them to continue on to the website to make a purchase or sign up for a service.
Click-through pages are especially useful if you are currently running a minimalistic display ad or PPC ad campaign, which rely on using a limited amount of text and no images. When you consider that someone may be clicking on an advert that looks like the following;
Being able to follow them up with a bold, colourful landing page not only provides space for a few extra selling points to complete the pitch, it also reassures the customer of their decision to click, and gets them excited to follow through on the sale or registration. A good landing page can eliminate some of the cognitive dissonance that can be experienced when arriving at a site that may be offering multiple offers and services (remember the attention ratio).
By offering a click-through page, you are creating an air-tight funnel from the advert to the final sale.
Lead Generating Pages
Lead Generating pages are designed to encourage a visitor to submit their information, such as name, age, company, or email address for marketing purposes. The purpose of this page is not just to gather this data, but also to convince the customer that it will be worth their time to provide it. Now more than ever, customers are aware of the value of their personal data and are less likely to give it away for free. Some incentives that companies use to encourage these conversions include;
- Free Content (Ebooks, infographics, guides)
- Chances to win prizes.
Offering any of these or other giveaways can dramatically boost the effectiveness of your lead-generating landing page.
Anatomy of a Landing Page
So what makes the content of a landing page different than an ordinary webpage? More importantly – how can you optimise a webpage to become a conversion-generating machine? No matter what type of landing page you are looking to generate, most experts agree on a few key elements that make a truly great landing page stand out from the rest.
Studies have shown that the human brain processes images 60,000x faster than text. This means a good landing page will grab the viewer’s attention with a bold and on-point image to illustrate their goal. For example, take a look at the thumbnails below;
Even if the text is too small for you to read in these examples, you should still instantly be able to tell which service is for a Mexican food chain, men’s hygiene products, or a mobile app. The image instantly grabs the reader’s attention, and gets them on board with what you’re selling. This is largely due to the fact that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. This means that a strong, impactful image can push the limits of what we can convey with the limited space of a landing page.
To illustrate the point, let’s take a look at what else we can learn specifically from the image featured on from this particular landing page on the right. The mobile device let’s us know straightaway that this is for a mobile service. The bright, outdoors environment helps to promote feelings of openness and ease of use – something that everyone wants to feel when dealing with finances. Finally, the first-person point of view puts the viewer into the position of the individual holding the mobile phone. With this image in front of your computer screen, you are already imagining yourself as the individual holding this phone and utilising their service.
All of this is taken in immediately, and can be profoundly impactful on an immediate and subliminal level when it comes to driving conversions.
Going by the same principles as the image, a landing page’s headline should be punchy and attention grabbing.
It has been proposed that the average internet goer has an attention span that hovers around 8 seconds. This means that your page should immediately capture the attention of your visitors, and efficiently convey your service. Many companies that specialise in conversion recommend subjecting your pages to a “blink test;” wherein a third party has five seconds to take in your page, and should be able to have a solid idea to the message conveyed. A strong, concise, and commanding headline is one of the best ways to accomplish this.
Remember, cohesion is key. Your headline should closely match the copy of the advert used to bring in the visitor. You want people to know exactly what they are there for, and that it matches what they have intended to arrive for.
When it comes to the text featured on a landing page, the de facto approach goes as follows;
“Get rid of half the words on the page, then get rid of half of what’s left.”
- Steve Krug
If the image and headline have done their job properly, by the time the visitor’s attention reaches the copy they should already have approximately 95% of your message fully realised. You don’t want to slow down the experience with paragraphs of densely-packed text. The copy should primarily serve two purposes;
- Offer a short, bulleted overview highlighting the benefits of converting.
- Reiterate and elaborate – reassure the visitor what it is they’re signing up for.
Here we have two more examples of landing pages. The one on the left is clear, concise, and keeps the focus on the objective – getting visitors to convert through the form. The one on the left features large blocks of text which draws attention away from the real selling point of the landing page – offering those who sign up a free DVD. Remember, a landing page is not the same thing as a webpage, and shouldn’t try to feature the same amount of text.
The Call to Action
This is your endgame – getting the user to hit that ‘Submit’ button. The Call to Action or CTA is often overlooked as just a general part of a form or layout. In reality, this button should be the main event of any optimised landing page.
You want your CTA button to be bright and attention-grabbing, drawing the eye’s gaze to the form page.
Here are some additional points to keep in mind when considering a landing page’s layout, and the location of your CTA.
Above the Fold
Keeping with the idea of the ‘Blink Test’ you want all of the most important elements to be immediately visible – this holds especially true for your CTA button. A good landing page will feature a call-to-action button that is immediately visible on the screen. After all, the entire purpose of a landing page is to drive a visitor to complete a singular action. When the visitor has to search in order to find this action, the entire presence of the landing page can become frustrating and disorienting for the customer.
There should be an additional CTA button at the bottom of the page for the discerning individual who reads a landing page in its entirety, but only in conjunction with one immediately visible at the start of the page.
Keep it Clickable.
Don’t settle for a simple ‘Submit’ when considering the text for your CTA button. While this may seem like the de-facto option, it’s generic reputation can be off-putting for customers, giving off an impersonal or ‘spammy’ vibe. The text on your CTA button should marry the theme of the landing page as well as the conversion goal.
If your landing page is offering content, have your button reflect this with phrases like; ‘Download My Free Ebook” or “Get My Free Sample.” If you’re selling a subscription or membership, inclusive phrases like “Join Us” or “Become a Member” can be used to draw people in.
By personalising your CTA, your landing page takes on a unique feel in addition to reassuring the customer that their personal information is not going to be used for email spam, or sold off to bothersome third-party sales companies.
While most in the field can generally agree on the winning combination for a landing page, the truth is that what works will be different for everyone. Your company’s industry, size, location, and conversion goals, all play a part in determining what is going to work. For this reason, it is important to keep innovating and testing designs for the best possible result.
For landing pages, this is largely done through a process called A/B Testing. This is the practice of taking one design, and altering a small element to see how impactful it can be when it comes to driving results. With both versions of a single landing page running at the same time, the number of interactions can be compared with the number of conversions to see what works.
The following example is a part of an A/B Testing case study conducted by Paychex. Here, we can see the two different versions of a click-through page promoting their service. The two are identical, save for a small change in Version B, which features an additional eye-grabbing element promoting their free month for new users signing up. After both versions received the same amount of traffic for a set period of time, Version B was shown to increase the number of leads generated by 28%. This didn’t mark the end of their testing, but rather laid the ground work for further experimentation.
After finding that this worked, the company tried taking this element and compare it to a new version which moved it closer to the CTA button. Surprisingly, this version did not inspire additional leads, and after a period of time was scrapped.
Like many elements of digital advertising, A/B Testing and landing page optimisation is an ongoing process for those truly dedicated to getting the best results.