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Monday, October 30, 2006

Conversion Secrets of Landing Pages

Posted by @ 5:53 pm

Landing pages are a red hot topic at the moment – Google has just launched a tool to optimize landing page conversion, and a whole range of companies are offering services focused on creating highly converting landing pages. So why exactly is everyone getting so excited about landing pages?

What Are Landing Pages?
A landing page is a page that visitors arrive on after clicking on an online ad, a search result, a link in an email or any other form of online advertising. Theoretically, any page of your site is or can be a landing page, but most often landing pages refer to pages specifically created to promote a single offer. Landing pages are not fully integrated into the navigation structure of a website and can also exist as stand-alone pages, even if a company doesn’t have a fully fledged website at all.

Best Practice Design Tips for High Landing Page Conversion

Use a Single Call to Action
Landing pages are all about focusing your visitors’ behavior on one single action you’d like them to take, which could be buying a product or registering for an event. That’s all you want people to do on a landing page, so the “Buy Now” or “Sign Up Now” button is the only place you want a landing page visitor to click. This means that you should make sure that the “Buy Now” button is prominent and visible above the fold; people shouldn’t have to scroll down to see it. All your copy and images on the page should also be designed to support that single action, so be disciplined when you compile the content of the page and don’t include interesting but non-essential information.

Create a Consistent User Experience
Landing pages are created for highly targeted traffic, say for an ad on a specific keyword or a specific offer you promote in your email marketing. It’s therefore very important that the landing page takes into account where its users have come from and what they expect to see after they clicked on the ad. For example, if you are promoting a 10 inch garden gnome in you keyword ad, all your landing page should contain is selling points on and a “add to cart” button for your 10 inch garden gnome. The landing page should not contain any information on garden furniture, bird baths or garden sculptures! If you used graphic ads like banners, the creative you used on the banners should also be reflected on the landing page for a consistent look and feel.

Sophisticated marketers with the ability to easily create numerous landing pages even go so far as to create landing pages for more or less every keyword that is included in their pay-per-click campaigns in order to optimize the needs-based landing page message depending on the search term the visitors are using.

Keep It Short and Simple
Remember that you don’t have a lot of time to capture your visitors’ attention – your web page needs to make an impression instantly. People will scan your page and maybe only register a few snippets of the information contained on it. Address your visitors needs with compelling facts and selling points, but don’t try to include too much information on the landing page. Ideally, a visitor should be able to see all (or at least most) information on the landing page without having to scroll down the page. Also make sure you use sub-headlines, bold text and other forms of highlights to capture the attention of readers who are only scanning your page.

Focus on Your Headline
Studies have shown that the top left hand corner of a page and the page header area right below receive the most attention from visitors. Make sure you capture this attention by placing your company logo and a tag line in the top left corner (as most websites do) and by crafting a page header that grabs people’s attention and appeals to their need for the product or service you are offering on the landing page.

Add Graphics
People’s eyes tend to be drawn to images, and pictures of a person seem to be particularly effective in drawing people’s attention to the area of the page where the image is located. To ensure you don’t interrupt the normal flow of reading, which tends to be from top to bottom and left to right of a page in English speaking countries, try to place your images towards the left hand side of the page.

Avoid Distraction
Landing pages are created for a single purpose – to convince the visitors to take the desired action, for example purchasing a product, registering for an event, downloading a whitepaper or requesting information. You should avoid including anything on your landing page that distracts from this purpose. Distractions include navigation links to other parts of your website, more than one product offer, or links to other information.

How Can You Use Landing Page Principles on Your Site?

As mentioned above, any pages of a website can be thought of as landing pages, so review your site and see whether your current web pages comply with landing page rules. Of course, many pages of your site will be designed to encourage browsing and visiting other pages within your site, so navigation will remain an essential element of most pages. However, the other principles I mentioned above apply to all types of pages:

  • Review your page headline for strong, captivating copy
  • Make sure your “Add to cart” or “Sign up now” buttons are above the fold
  • Use one or a few images strategically
  • Focus on the main benefit messages and convey them prominently.

Above all, always remember that testing is at the core of everything you do. You’ll never get the optimal conversion result in your first attempt at landing pages, so make sure you schedule in plenty of time to test, test, test!

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