Creating a landing page that does its job is no trivial task: Usually, it takes time, lots of testing, and plenty of data to work with. This is why both marketers and web developers often get frustrated and abandon their attempts to optimize them fully. No guide will help you build an ideal landing page in the first attempt. You can, however, significantly decrease the amount of time you spend trying if you use other people's experience and start off with the best practices. In this article, you will find some suggestions that will help you get to your destination faster.
1. Do not use your homepage as a landing page
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to direct your new visitors to the homepage of your website. The thing is, a homepage usually contains general information about your business and its products or services. It is, by definition, unfocused, as its purpose is to serve as an overview. A landing page, however, should be highly personalized and focused. It should be customized to be as attractive as possible for the visitors that came through this particular link who are focused on the specific service or product you promote. This means that if you have multiple offers and ads, you are going to need an individual landing page for each of them.
2. Use a reliable AdWords agency
You can try to do all the marketing work on your own, but it is better to delegate the most technical part of it to professionals. One of the things better left to experts is AdWords management — doing it properly requires you to keep abreast of all the recent changes in the SEO industry, and you can better use the time you save by dealing with them on your core activities.
3. Before making changes to your landing page, look for problems
If you already have a landing page and you are reading this guide because it does not work properly, it is not yet a reason to rework it from scratch. Your job is not to blindly try out multiple completely different layouts and see which one sticks. Your job is to find an optimal variant by making various small changes to see, which will change the situation for better. A heatmap can give you an idea where people click on your page to see if, for example, they ignore your call to action.
4. Keep your headline consistent with the ad offer
When visitors click on a link in your ad, they expect to see exactly what was offered in it immediately, at the top of the page, in large letters, not hidden down the page. Thus, make the ad offer a headline of your landing page — it is the only way to make visitors entirely sure they are in the right place.
5. Focus on customer’s benefits
Landing page copy should focus on the customer or, rather, what advantages he or she will get from using your product or service. Do not list the advantages of the product/service in isolation — make it obvious how it can be useful for the client in the real world.
6. Make your unique selling proposition (USP) obvious
Chances are, it is not particularly difficult to find alternatives to what your business offers. It means that you should make it as plain as possible what makes your offer special, different from all the others. In a few words/images as possible, explain why the client should choose you over your competitors.
7. Add social proof
Humans are social animals, and what others accept naturally looks a more reasonable choice to use. Remember the Asch Conformity Test? A single test participant was shown lines of obviously different lengths. Unknown to him or her, all the other “participants” were, in fact, the researcher's confederates who agreed in advance what their answers would be. A vast majority of real participants felt obliged to conform to the opinion of the majority, even if it was obviously wrong.
The same goes here, with the added benefit that what you try to persuade your visitor to do is more ambiguous. Add proof that other people consider your product or service worthwhile: usually in the form of testimonials or, better yet, case studies (these look more authentic).
8. Add credibility indicators
If you can borrow someone else’s authority, do it. Anything that shows that your website has some real backing behind it will do — the most obvious examples are memberships in the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
9. Never stop testing your landing page
There is always something you can improve on your landing page, no matter how long you’ve been perfecting it. Not only you can find better ways of doing the same thing, but also SEO landscape changes, your business changes, your audience changes – and ideally all this should be reflected in your landing page. Unfortunately, the only way to improve is to do lots and lots of A/B testing. It takes a lot of time — by definition, you cannot test more than one thing at a time — but the results are worth it. Here are some things you may want to test:
- Test the relative positions of your copy and the main image. For example, copy to the left, image to the right vs. copy to the right, image to the left. These changes may seem minute, but sometimes they lead to surprisingly significant differences in results.
- What visuals to use? How many of them? Should you use them at all? Try different variations. Try a minimalist variant eschewing them altogether.
- Depending on your audience and their needs, they may be attracted by different things: long original research, a short explainer video, a discount, an infographic. Try out different variants.
- Product descriptions. Try replacing the text with bullet points, use different writing styles, etc.
- It is probably the most critical aspect of the landing page, which deserves the most careful attention and minute tweaking. Try changing every little aspect of it, for example, font size and font color, copy, positioning, background, and button size.
Creating a landing page with a high conversion rate can take a while — but every minute you spend polishing it is a minute well spent.
Featured image: Pixabay