Landing pages are effective tools for turning traffic into conversions. A landing page is essentially any page on a site created with the specific intention of influencing a visitor to carry out an action. Landing pages must be strictly focused on their task and created from the ground up with an eye to conversion rate optimization.
Some sites use their home page as a landing page, but unless the home page has been carefully designed with conversion in mind, it doesn't make an effective landing page. Why? The information on home pages tends to fulfill a number of different purposes: introducing a company's mission, providing navigation to other parts of the site, showcasing a variety of topics and so on. That makes them a great introduction to a business, but not very effective for eliciting specific desired conversions.
For example, suppose a potential customer searches for a product you sell on your site, and one of your search ads pops up in the results. If, when the consumer clicks the ad, he is taken to your home page, he is going a step backward in the purchase funnel. He has already indicated his desire to purchase a particular product or type of product; having him search for it again or navigate through menus to find it risks losing the conversion. Presenting him with a simple landing page for that product with an order form instead allows him to go straight from searching to buying. Studies show that using landing pages can increase conversion rates and provide a significant ROI.
Landing pages can generally be divided into two types, those intended to sell a product directly and those intended to generate leads by having the visitor enter their personal information. Here, we examine seven tips to help make effective landing pages and some tools that simplify landing page deployment.
Landing pages are the pointy end of the purchase funnel. They have one job to do, and every element on the page should contribute toward that goal. That means no fluff, no extraneous marketing material and no links to the home page or other parts of the site. Just simple compelling imagery and text with a prominent call-to-action.
Landing pages don't have to elicit interest in potential buyers that aren't aware that they want a product or service. Much of the waffle of marketing copy can be disposed of. Instead, include simple but interesting headlines that engage the attention of the visitor and explains features and benefits.
As the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Video, then, must be worth a million. Using video as an alternative to long chunks of copy will help maintain interest, and a well-produced video can be an very effective inducement to convert.
Social proof matters. Including testimonials and selected product reviews on landing pages gives visitors confidence in the product and in their decision to enter their personal information and/or buy the product or service.
The call-to-action is the single most important aspect of the landing page. Everything else on a landing page is aimed at getting visitors to respond to the call-to-action. Therefore, your call-to-action should be very prominently placed and show a simple, clear message. Ideally, the visual and textual elements of a page should contribute to highlighting the call-to-action.
If the landing page is intended as a lead generation page, a contact form is obviously necessary. It's tempting to try to gather as much data as possible at this stage, but if a page requires too much data input, it can make users feel they are sharing too much information. Or, a lengthy contact form can annoy visitors so much, they merely choose not to take action.
Keep it simple and collect the minimum amount of information necessary and not everything you might possibly want to know—that's what the lead follow-up contact is for.
Creating effective landing pages is all about conversion rate optimization (CRO), and CRO is all about testing and iteration. Finding the perfect combination of elements to maximize conversions is and art and science. Data is essential. The testing tools discussed next will allow a site to deploy landing pages and implement multivariate testing on them, allowing web masters can tweak and polish their landing pages to perfection.
While it's certainly possible to design and deploy your own landing pages, using a dedicated landing page tool will make it easier to design, test, modify and deploy landing pages.
What are your experiences with landing pages and the tools we've discussed? Share your insight as well as other landing page tips or tools in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Joeruny
Daniel Page is the Director of Business Development for ASEOhosting, a leading provider in SEO hosting and multiple IP hosting. Follow ASEOhosting on Twitter, like the company on Facebook, and check out all the services offered at aseohosting.com.