The landing page is a beautiful thing. It exists for one purpose – to convert.
Whether you’re looking to turn prospects into subscribers, clients, members, or customers, the humble landing page has got your back.
Landing pages can be powerful tools.
In a study by Marketing Sherpa, 43% of marketers reported that dedicated landing pages are highly effective and 49% of marketers reported that they are somewhat effective. That’s a consistent endorsement.
But, dedicated landing pages can only deliver if they are designed properly.
While there is no such thing as a perfect landing page; there are definite do’s and don’ts.
We’ve put together proven tips to help you create a landing page that converts visitors into customers.
Let’s start with the basics (advanced content follows).
Landing Page Basics:
Before we dive into the more advanced stuff, we need to make sure that you have a solid foundation of the key elements every landing page must-have.
All landing pages should include these three elements:
The Call to Action
A “call to action” (or CTA) is the single reason and driving force behind your landing page. Every landing page must have one single goal. This could be to subscribe to your newsletter, download your free e-book, sign up for your service, or purchase your product.
But, you only get one. If you place more than one demand on your viewers they will feel conflicted and leave.
The call to action is the moment when the proverbial rubber hits the road. It’s the simple act of requesting a prospect to act. And it provides the motivation prospects need to convert.
Clear, Concise Communication
On a landing page, distraction is the enemy. All extraneous material should be cut from your landing page design. Every graphic and word should be carefully considered. And, only those that drive prospects to sign-up, download, subscribe or buy (depending on your goal) should make the cut.
Aim for concise language that clearly communicates your point. Prospects should be able to determine what’s in it for them, and what they have to do to take advantage, quickly and easily.
Simple, Actionable Tools
A landing page is an “ask.” It invites potential subscribers, clients, members, and customers to do something you want them to do. The least you can do is make it easy for them to follow through on your request.
Provide easily visible, well-labeled buttons and forms in prominent locations. Everything the prospect needs to act should be right at their fingertips.
You can see these principles in the wild with this landing page from Digital Marketer:
Concise language, a clear call to action, and a simple interface… They’re all here.
But to take your landing page from functional to high-performing you’ll need to incorporate all of these design elements and more.
From the 50 thousand foot view, there are really only 2 additional elements needed to boost your landing page’s performance: positive user experience and meeting the prospect’s needs.
Of course, delivering positive user experience and meeting your prospect’s needs are big tasks. So, let’s break down what each of these might actually look like, with examples to show you the right way to do this.
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Positive User Experience
What makes a consumer’s experience positive? Internet viewers have come to expect websites to be fast, intuitive, and easy to navigate. These are the things to keep in mind when designing a landing page.
So, keep your prospects happy with these tips for improving user experience…
Keep it Quick
Positive user experience starts with a fast webpage load time. In fact, slow load times may prevent your user from having much experience at all because they’ve already clicked away. As we previously shared:
There are few (no?) resources more valuable than time. So, it should come as no surprise that the more time a consumer has to spend waiting for your website to load, the less happy they are. In fact, a Kissmetrics Infographic shows that by the time your website hits 4 seconds of loading time, you’ve already lost 25% of your potential viewers.
For those that do stick around, slow loading times have already decreased their satisfaction with their online experience. In other words, you’ve either lost customers or made a poor first impression – either way you look at it, that’s not good.
So, optimize your landing page for speed. Follow our advice from above and use clear, concise language and eliminate any possible distractions, and you’ll already on the right track to creating a quick load time.
This landing page by Neil Patel is optimized to load quickly – its text-only design makes few load time demands. It also does an excellent job of making it very clear what they want the prospect to do: just enter your URL and click “Continue.”
Here are a few other tricks you can use to ensure a speedy page load:
- Go light on the graphics, or bypass them altogether.
- Minimize the number of components on your page to limit the number of HTTP/HTTPS requests
- Optimize your server to ensure a quick response time.
Keep it Clean
When I say “keep it clean” I don’t mean free of curse words or NSFW content. Although, that should go without saying.
What I mean is: keep your landing page design streamlined and clean to make it 100% clear to your prospects what you want them to do.
Anxiety decreases conversions. As Dale Cudmore writes for The Daily Egg, a conversion optimization blog:
Would you go down a dark alley in Chicago late at night? No, because it wouldn’t feel safe.
And while your website might not be a dark alley, if it produces any anxiety in any segment of your visitors, your conversion will suffer.
One of the easiest ways to decrease anxiety is by making the path forward very, very clear. Think of it as the equivalent of adding bright streetlights along the length of that Chicago alley.
Cudmore explains it this way:
In addition to having a great value proposition, you also need to communicate it effectively. This is done in part by your copywriting, but also in your formatting and layout (design).
…A high-converting website leads visitors from the most important element to the second most important element, to the third, and so on…
So, avoid complex designs, busy background images or other visual distractors. Here’s an excellent example. This landing page is for TechSmith’s screencasting software Snagit:
Minimal text, simple graphics, and plenty of white space keeps this design clean and easy to follow. The bright orange call to action button is placed prominently at the center of the page.
They also entice you to scroll beneath the fold by allowing their social proof (“Join Over 14 Million Snagit Users”) to peek out at the bottom of the screen. But, many viewers won’t even feel the need to scroll reassured that 14 million other users already exist. They’ll just click “Buy Now” and move on with their day.
Keeping your web design streamlined and with a focus on the call to action helps the viewer know what is expected and, as such, eliminates anxiety. And, less anxiety for your viewers means higher conversion rates for you.
Keep it Easy
Everyone likes easy.
Nowadays, most of us have a million items on our to-do list. Anything that can be accomplished easily gives us hard-core warm fuzzies.
Not to mention, when the going gets tough a lot of people just walk away. (Hello and goodbye, New Year’s Resolution!) Making it easy for prospects to act on your call to action increases the likelihood that they’ll actually do it. It will also make them feel good about the experience.
Richard E Cytowic, M.D. reflects in this article for Psychology Today that self-esteem…
…must be earned through individual effort. It is the endeavor that generates a sense of pride and inward esteem.
You can create positive feelings in your visitors just by making it easy for them to accomplish your call to action. The act of completing a task – even a small one – can boost a person’s esteem. So, set your visitors up for success!
HubSpot makes it incredibly easy for prospects to complete their call to action – just click the easily visible button. And, even the button language is friendly – “Get started.”
- Provide a short, clear headline that grabs attention and confirms that the prospect has found the page they were seeking.
- Using an info-gather form? Keep it short. Only ask for the info you absolutely need.
- Make your call to action buttons easy to find. Use a color that pops and surround buttons with plenty of “white” space.
Providing your user with a positive experience will increase the likelihood that they’ll convert. It will also build trust and goodwill for your brand – and that’s worth so much more than a single subscription or sale.
Meet Your Prospect’s Needs
Ultimately, businesses succeed or fail based on how successfully they meet the needs of their target audiences. Whether that audience needs a product, a service, or information, it’s essential to offer a value proposition that meets that need. Dale Cudmore points out:
All websites need to have a strong value proposition if they wish to attract and retain users.
A landing page should be laser-focused on its one and only offer. It should highlight the value proposition, making it absolutely clear it answers the viewer’s needs.
If only I could provide a magic formula to tell you exactly how to meet your consumer’s needs every time… But, there is no one blanket technique that will work in every case.
I can tell you that you should start with market research.
Conduct Market Research
It’s impossible to know whether you’re providing value to your audience if you don’t know what they need. So start there. Proper research gives you the information you need to ensure that your offer provides something of real value.
But where to start?
Online marketing guru Neil Patel points out:
One key piece of information is whether there is any interest in your topic… Suppose you want to release something for project managers. What does demand for that area look like?
Patel suggests you start by investigating Google Trends to see if there’s enough interest in your topic to warrant an offer (and a subsequent landing page). If you see consistent or growing interest, you’ve found a topic with a ready audience. If the interest is declining – well, not so much.
Once you’ve confirmed that you have an audience, it’s time to learn more about them. There are a number of ways to do this.
The easiest may just be interviewing – that’s right, talking to – current and prospective customers.
If you’re not quite that social, surveys of existing customers can glean loads of insight without the ooey-gooey talking. And, convenient online tools like Survey Monkey or Typeform make it easy to create, distribute, and analyze survey results.
If you have the budget for it, reach out to a market research agency.
One excellent example of a company that knows their audience really well is the WWE. You can see the evidence on this landing page for their WWE Network. Their offer is on point.
The biggest storyline moments happen during WWE events like “Survivor Series.” They know their audience is motivated to do whatever it takes to see what will happen. It’s the perfect time to offer a free month’s subscription to the WWE Network.
Whether you opt to conduct face-to-face interviews, distribute surveys or hire a market research team, make sure you do everything you can to fully understand what your consumer wants and needs… because your next step is to give it to them.
Make an Offer with Real Value
Stephen Eckert explains in an anecdote shared on Genius Marketing why he deleted an app almost immediately after downloading it – it didn’t deliver any value.
I am not going to give you ANY information until you provide me with some value. Give me some reason to be willing to trade you my information; some reason to trust you with my personal information. I didn’t get anything… so ‘I’m gone!’
Unfortunately, many companies make this mistake in their marketing. They don’t really deliver value through content or a special offer. They may do a good job creating awareness. They may even do a good job of getting a prospect to respond initially, but then they don’t deliver on the promise.
This may be the trickiest part of the whole equation. A landing page that converts is a landing page that offers what its audience needs. If you’ve done your homework (market research) you should know what that is.
When you outline your offer make sure to refer back to your research frequently to stay on track. And, research shouldn’t be a one-and-done proposition. Keep your research up to date to be sure that future offers are relevant, too.
And be sure to follow through on your offer or you’ll breach the trust you’ve just earned with your new prospect.
This landing page for Uber does an excellent job of extending and articulating an offer with real value:
I think everyone wants to earn money on their own schedule.
Uber has found their offer.
Communicate Your Value Proposition
Famed business strategist and coach Jay Abraham once said,
Sell the benefit, not your company or the product. People buy results, not features.
Showcasing the benefits your offer provides makes it very easy for a consumer to see what’s in it for them. In other words, it shows them the value.
Prioritize sharing benefits and solutions over facts and features.
But, remember to keep it concise and, above all, relevant. Beth Morgan of Marketing Nerdistry explains:
…this shouldn’t be a laundry list. The visitor is giving your site a quick once over, and they don’t want to read your product manual on the first page. Identify the two to five things about your product or service that you think will be most important to your visitors, and showcase those.
If you effectively communicate your offer’s value and provide the interface to complete the call to action easily, the odds of success are in your favor.
Firefox does an excellent job of sharing their value proposition with three concise points easily visible right at the bottom of the screen from the moment you arrive on their landing page.
Go fast, go far, go forward. The clever use of alliterative headlines draws the reader in. And, brief subheadings explain exactly what a user stands to gain. How will you share your value propositions on your landing page?
Landing pages are like most endeavors in life – you only get out what you put in. Provide your viewers with a positive experience and an offer that resonates and you’ll see your conversion rates rise.
Your Landing Page Quick Guide
Landing Page Basics
- Include a single, compelling call to action
- Get to the point. Use clear, concise language.
- Provide simple, actionable tools to execute your call to action
Provide a Positive User Experience
- Keep it fast. Optimize your landing pages for fast load time.
- Keep it clean. Streamline your design to make it clear what you want your prospects to do.
- Keep it easy. Give your visitors all of the tools and information they need to act.
Meet Your Prospect’s Needs
- Conduct market research to understand your audience’s needs.
- Make an offer that resonates with real value.
- What’s in it for them? Clearly communicate your value proposition.
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