18 Ways to Improve Your Landing Page Design | CRO Training by JMarketing

by Joshua Strawczynski

Is your digital marketing campaign delivering the results you expected? Probably not. This isn’t because you’ve chosen the wrong channels, but very likely because of the website these channels send people to. Most of the time these pages are simply not engaging or compelling enough to convert visitors, to get leads and close sales.

The solution is optimized landing pages that grab the attention of visitors and convert them with a combination of elements that ultimately point to one irresistible call-to-action. If you want your digital marketing campaigns to actually work, then having a high-converting landing page (ideally designed by a landing page design agency) is critical to the success of your business.

Here’s how:

The Importance of Landing Pages
Landing Pages play a significant role in conversion rate optimization strategies, as they are often the first point of entry into your website, a role traditionally reserved for home pages. While home pages still serve this function, landing pages are very specific in their purpose — quick conversion. Landing page experts employ a technique called landing page optimization to maximize the effectiveness of landing pages to achieve this.

Before we look at how to optimize a landing page, it’s important to understand what landing pages are, the types of landing pages, as well as their advantages.

What is a Landing Page?
Many businesses use their home page as landing page, but for this to be an effective conversion tool, these home pages must be designed as so-called hybrid home pages, ones that contain strong elements of landing pages. Should you wish to go this route, a good landing page agency can assist in getting the most out of a home page.

Generally, however, landing pages can either be a page within your site’s structure (site map), or a separate page altogether, specifically created for a certain campaign or other marketing efforts such as sales, promotions or product launches. Why the landing page was created usually determines the source of its traffic. Sources include social media posts and advertising, paid search such as Google Adwords, marketing emails or links via so-called content marketing [link to an article on content marketing?].

Types of Landing Pages
There are different types of landing pages, each designed with a particular user-action in mind. These types can be used either individually or in combination, depending on the business goal of the page and/or campaign. The main types of landing pages include the following:

Click-through Pages
The goal of click-through landing pages is to do exactly as the name implies — to get visitors to click through to another page. Many click-through pages go to pages with more details about a product or service to convince visitors to make a purchase. To draw attention, these pages often ask a simple question to which the user would want an answer, such as how much time can you save? How much would you like to earn? What would you like to do with the product?

However, it’s easy to lose focus in the design of the page that you end up forgetting about what you’re trying to achieve with the page. One approach to ensure you stay focused is to design the page in reverse — start with the action you ultimately want the visitor to take, then build it backward from there.

Click-through landing page: Norton AntiVirus

Lead generation landing page
Same as with click-through landing pages, a lead generation landing page does what its name implies, it generates leads. These pages are fairly simple, often present an offer of some sort, followed by a request for information, such as name, email address and/or phone number. Similar to click-through pages, lead generation pages usually follow the “simple question” formula, such as how much is your car worth, what size pool can you install on your property, and the like.

Because lead generation landing pages typically lead to a form, you run the risk of losing visitors who don’t want to take the time to fill in the form or want the answer immediately. Because of this, you need to word these pages very carefully to convince them that spending the time to fill out the form/provide information, is worth it.

Lead generation landing page: Sustainable Australia Fund

Mobile Landing Page
Mobile devices are fast becoming the primary tool for people to access the internet. The result of this is that web pages need to be dynamic, presenting equally well on mobile devices and desktop computers. Most websites these days are designed like this, and landing pages should be no different. Mobile landing pages include mobile apps which are essentially also websites with particular functionalities.

Mobile landing pages can have either click-through or lead generation as their goal, or they can encourage the download of a specific app. Regardless of their purpose, mobile landing pages need to be designed to look good and stand out on mobile screens of all types and sizes.

Mobile landing page: Hulu

Benefits of Landing Pages
The goal-oriented nature of landing pages presents numerous benefits to the marketing and optimization efforts of a business since they fit in seamlessly with campaign elements like social media and online advertising.

Here are various reasons why landing pages are valuable digital marketing tools:

1. Getting SEO Ranking
Landing pages are great for boosting your site’s SEO ranking. They are designed with specific search terms in mind and are optimized according to search engine best practices to drive search traffic to your site. However, since search engine algorithms change all the time, search optimization needs to be monitored and adjusted all the time. A good SEO consultant can help a lot with this process.

2. Promoting an Upcoming Product or Sale
Most e-commerce sites sell a variety of products and/or services. Landing pages focus on specific current or upcoming products, promotions or sales. This allows you to focus on a particular product or service you’d like to promote or type of leads you’d like to generate.

3. Make the Buying/Subscribing Process More Efficient
By focussing solely on conversion, optimized landing pages can significantly speed up the sales process. It presents visitors with the call-to-action straight away, without the potential clutter present on pages like home pages or other pages on your site.

4. They generate leads and conversions
The primary goal of landing pages is to generate leads and conversions. Well-designed and optimized landing pages attract customers in such a way that by the time they reach you, they are already some way down the sales funnel.

5. They leave a good first impression
As mentioned before, landing pages are often the first point of entry into your website (business), and thus the first interaction potential customers may have with your business and/or brand. They allow you to create an amazing brand experience before visitors have even experienced your brand or business. By achieving this, customers are already a step or two closer to converting by the time they reach your site.

6. They are direct and to the point
The power of landing pages is that they are clear and to the point, without any unnecessary clutter that can distract from the focus of communicating the value, or solution you offer, and making the sale. This straight-up approach works especially well in B2B situations where visitors often simply don’t have the time to wade through tons of information to get to the point. The solution to their problem is presented upfront, thereby giving them a choice whether they’d like to find out more.

It is important to note that while there is a place for content marketing within the digital marketing space, there’s a reason for it being such a popular trend, after all, the goals of content marketing are usually more about building relationships and brand equity than about directly converting.

7. They build credibility
Landing pages allow building credibility upfront. By adding customer testimonials, or even just a list/logos of brands you’ve worked, can tell potential customers that you’ve solved problems for others before, so you will most probably be able to do the same for them.

8. Landing pages can be tested
The great thing about landing pages is that their simplistic design lends itself to A/B testing. This makes it easier to pinpoint what on a landing page is working, and what not so much. It allows you to make adjustments and fine-tune the page until it hits the mark exactly where you want it. In fact, if you’re not A/B testing your landing pages regularly (or at all), you’re doing yourself, and your bottom line, a great disservice.

9. They get better leads
A lead is only so good as its quality. It’s pointless getting leads for people who are interested in condiments, but the want to buy French mustard, and you’re selling ketchup. Because landing pages can be designed to target very specific audiences, the quality of the resulting leads from search traffic is by default higher.

Optimizing a Landing Page
Landing page optimization forms part of the overall conversion rate optimization, or CRO, process. At its core, CRO aims to improve a website to maximize conversions. It’s also about using data to better understand consumers and provide them with a better experience, which will then lead to more conversions.

As with all CRO activities, landing page optimization employs several best practices to help with the optimization process. It’s important to note that these best practices are simply strategies that have worked for businesses in the past. Since no two businesses are the same they serve merely to kick-start the process of developing a strategy that works for your particular business.

A critical first step towards optimization is identifying what the potential problems are with your landing page. Without knowing what’s wrong, you won’t know what to fix or improve. Heat maps, scroll maps, confetti reports, overlay reports, and list reports are all tools that can help to identify potential problems. These tools show you things like where people are clicking (and where they’re not clicking), what sections are being scrolled to (or past), the location of individual clicks, percentages of clicks on different page elements, and individual numerical data, respectively.

Once you know what’s wrong, you can start looking at how to fix them. Here’s an extensive look at landing page optimization best practices that can help you build high-converting landing pages:

1. Make your offer clear
This is a very important element of a high-converting landing page. There must be no doubt about what it is that you’re offering. At the same time, your offer must make the customer feel empowered, that by choosing this product/service they will solve their problem. Start by determining what this problem is.

2. Remove Navigation
A key feature of (effective) landing pages is that they have no navigational buttons. When you add navigation, you present the visitor with an opportunity to leave. All the elements should be on one page and be structured in such a way that it leads the visitor to the call-to-action.

In short: grab attention with your headline, follow with your explanation, present benefits, include testimonials, then end with your call-to-action. This is a very basic structure, and there are of course many other elements that make up a high-converting landing page.

3. Best headline ever
The headline is one of the two most important elements of your landing page (the other is the call-to-action) — if you fail to grab the reader’s with the headline, they’re as good as lost.

Here are five elements of great landing page headlines:

  • They grab (and hold) the reader’s attention.
  • It must be informative in such a way that it spark’s the reader’s interest enough to stay on the page.
  • The headline should be no longer than 20 words, ideally 10. A headline can be kept short by adding an image that explains the product or service.
  • It should be simple and easy to understand, and thus not use overly complicated wording, even if you’re targeting a sophisticated audience, like tech buyers or doctors.
  • The headline should always be focused.

4. Use persuasive subheadings
Subheadings sit just below the headline and are very important in keeping the reader’s interest and sending them further along the sales funnel. If your headline fails to explain the offer properly (which happens to even the best headlines), then it’s up to the subheading to make that happen. Subheadings should complement the headline and be incredibly persuasive in telling the reader more about the product, service or offer.

A well-written subheading can serve as a transition from the headline to the body copy of the landing page. A landing page agency worth its salt will have copywriters who specialize in achieving this.

5. Provide an explanation
As mentioned before, the sole purpose of a landing page is conversion, and you need to be absolutely clear about what it is that you’re offering. Shorter pages can communicate this with only a headline and subheading, but most landing pages need a bit more. This can be either written or visual, but regardless, it needs to be concise, easy to understand, communicate benefits and flow from your headline and subheading.

Dyson landing page – Great subheading, clear offer & benefit.

6. How does it benefit me?
When a user lands on your page, one of the first questions they will ask is “what’s in it for me?”. This should be the core of your value proposition — to provide a product or service that will be attractive to a customer by meeting certain needs.

Your page and all its elements should be built around this. Ways in which achieve this is to offer question-answer, problem-solution type scenarios, or simple lists. What’s critical to remember is that the focus should shift from your business to the customer. For instance, from “our TVs have the most colors” to “you will experience the most colors.”

7. The ideal landing page length
What is the ideal length of a landing page? Well, how long is ‘a piece of string’? How long a landing page should be is determined by the product or service you’re selling. The more complex and/or costly a product or service, the longer the landing page will most probably be since a lot of information might be needed to make a purchasing decision.

However, if you’re after leads, there are a couple of ways in which you can generate higher quality leads. Things like setting a certain price, or asking for a budget range can cull customers that will never use or purchase your product or service.

No matter the length, there are core components that every landing page must have:

  • Headline that attracts attention
  • Proof points & detailed case study
  • Clear, detailed explanation of what they get
  • Multiple types of conversion point
  • Must contain more than 300 words for SEO purposes

8. The power of ‘the fold’
Regardless of page lengths, the rule of ‘the fold’ still applies.

The fold is the part of the page that gets the most attention and is named after the way newspapers usually put their top stories in the upper half (above the fold) of a newspaper since it’s the first thing people will see when they see newspapers displayed. On landing pages, ‘above the fold’ is the part of the site that can be seen on screen without scrolling — this is where the most important information should go.

Some things to consider when determining the size of the fold:

  • The screen’s resolution
  • The physical size of the screen
  • The number of tabs and toolbars on a web browser

9. Include a visual element
As mentioned earlier, adding a picture to the headline of a landing page can help explain the headline (and keep it short). A picture might paint a thousand words, but research shows that the brain processes images an astonishing 60,000 times quicker than it does text.

Here are a couple of rules for pictures on landing pages:

There should be at least one
Don’t think about it too much. As long as it reinforces the offer, it’s good.

The pictures should be large
The general rule is that the bigger the picture, the bigger the impact, but to a point. The image should be an appropriate size for the design of the page.

High quality, professional images
The quality of the images you use says a lot about your brand, that you are professional and trustworthy. Hire a professional photographer to take the pictures, or using a top-tier stock image service.

Small file sizes
Unfortunately the higher the quality, the bigger the file size. Since the faster a page loads, the better the experience, files should be kept as small as possible without compromising image quality.

The picture should relate to the offer
This is more difficult for some businesses like if you’re selling technical manuals the image can be more abstract than for a business selling washing detergent.

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography landing page – great use of pictures & video.

10. Use video
Similar to images, a video can work well in grabbing the visitor’s attention and communicating the offer. Videos should be approached like moving landing pages and include the same basic elements. Just remember to keep it short — anything between 30 seconds and 2 minutes has shown to convert the best.

It’s important to note that videos can also be extremely off-putting when ‘sprung’ on the user at an inconvenient time, especially auto-play videos. Pay careful attention to where you place a video, whether it should auto-play or require the user to engage, and importantly if it is appropriate for your goal.

11. Social Proof & Testimonials
Research has shown that the overwhelming majority of millennials (those between the ages of around 25 to 40) are more likely to buy something if it has been recommended by someone else. This is an example of social proof, a phenomenon where people act or make decisions based on the action of others.

In a sales context, this means that people will likely buy a product or service if others have bought it before (and are happy with their purchase). This is influenced by things like social media interactions, media mentions, display of customer logos or verification seals, and arguable the most powerful of them all, testimonials. If you want to persuade people to buy your product or service, your landing page must include some form of social proof.

Out of all of them, testimonials are of the most effective. Here’s how to employ them:

Testimonials should be specific
It is crucial that the testimonial must be specific to the product or service. How many threats have the anti-virus stopped? How much quicker did it take to clean a floor with the particular tile cleaner? Avoid generalized statements like “This is a great company”.

Use testimonials from real people
Testimonials are some of the best, most effective, forms of social proof. Be sure to use testimonials from real people. When you have a testimonial about from a star tennis player about a tennis shoe, chances are that people are savvy enough to know they’re just saying it because they’re sponsored by the brand. A testimonial from a player at a local club can potentially be more powerful if it’s a real person. People need to be able to relate. They’re also very good at spotting fakes.

Make sure you use pictures
Use pictures as much as you can. Pictures of real people (and their full names) make testimonials more believable, more relatable. These days people are quick to spot a stock image of some random person. Pictures can also be used to show the result of using a product or service. Before and after pictures are a great example.

Check the length
Testimonials can be of different lengths. If there is a great story, use a longer testimonial and go into detail to tell the story. However, if the testimonials are short and concise, then they need to be structured on the page so they’re easy to scan. The landing page of Australian wheel repair specialists, Coastal Alloy [link], does a great job of this.

12. Keep the form simple
The design form of landing pages needs to be as simple as possible. If it isn’t focussed on the specific goal, the call to action, then it clutters the page and doesn’t belong there. This includes putting too many products on the page, unrelated images, even unnecessary words, and headlines. The simpler the page, the more focussed it is, making it easier for visitors to navigate, and ultimately convert.

Speaking of simple forms, unless you’re designing a click-through page, your landing page is most likely going to need some kind of form to measure results. The general rule is that the more visitors fill out the form, the more successful the page. As with everything on the landing page, forms must be kept as simple as possible.

Here are things to consider when deciding on a form for your landing page (for a closer look at online forms, click here [link]):

  • Keep questions & requests simple: Don’t use open-ended or overtly difficult questions or requests, such as cars in a fleet, or company size. Instead provide options in the form of radio buttons, drop-down menus, or the like.
  • Add context so people know why they’re filling out the form. This makes them more comfortable giving information than just a request of name & email.
  • Shorter forms give more, but lesser-quality leads.
  • Longer forms result in fewer, but higher quality leads.
  • Use intuitive, automated ‘smart’ forms to recognize a user from past interactions and adjust questions accordingly. For instance, if they’ve given their email address in the past it doesn’t need to ask again, it might show the field already populated with the correct email address.

Where forms are placed and when they are presented should be considered carefully. Recent trends like popups, overlays, and slide-ins that appear at inconvenient times can seriously distract from the user experience, to tread carefully.

13. A Powerful Call-to-Action (and CTA buttons)
The call-to-action is one of the most important elements of a successful, high-converting landing page (the other being the opening headline). Without a call-to-action (CTA), there is no point to the site. The CTA is what the entire site is designed around. It is the ultimate goal of the site — to take action and convert.

One of the best ways to get people to react to a call-to-action is by using buttons. People are familiar with buttons and know what to do when they see one.

Spotify – Big CTA button.

Here are tips for designing attractive CTA buttons:

The bigger, the better
Big, bold buttons stand out and are easy to notice.

Use captivating copy
The words used on the button is crucial. They need to be persuasive and compelling. Avoid words such as ‘submit’ or ‘click here’, and use words like ‘Join’, ‘take’, ‘get’ or ‘reserve’.

Contrast is king
Using contrasting colors on a button is a great way to make it stand out. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it has to somehow tie in with the color scheme of the rest of the page. If the style of the page is all pastels, then using neon green on your button is not ideal — as long as it ties in with the palette of the overall design.

Different shapes and sizes
Experiment with different shapes and sizes, it can help the button stand out.

Use longer, more specific copy
Longer phrases or commands tend to perform better than short, 2 to 3-word phrases.

It’s urgent!
Urgency performs well. Including words like ‘now’, ‘today’ or ‘soon’ are great for conversion.

Free FTW (for the win)
If your offer is free, say so! The word ‘free’ is always a winner.

Lead the eye
Any directional cues like graphics or arrows help to lead the reader’s eye to the CTA button, which can increase the likelihood of taking action.

Where you put it
The positioning of the button is essential to grabbing attention and having it clicked on.

14. Guarantee
A guarantee reassures the potential customer, it gives them a sense of security around your page and more importantly, the action you are asking them to take.

Here are three things to think about when creating a guarantee:

It doesn’t need to use the word ‘guarantee’
While the word ‘guarantee’ itself can spark an increase in conversions, it comes in many forms. Anything that reassures a customer of a certain outcome qualifies as a guarantee. Things like “Total virus-free guarantee”, “At least 50% increase in productivity”, or the familiar, “All of your money back”, are all guarantees.

Close to your call-to-action
The guarantee should be near your cll-to-action. This can give them the reassurance they need to take the next step towards conversion.
No legalities…yet

All guarantees have legalities attached to them, but you don’t have to mention the details upfront. The important thing is that you mention the guarantee. Just remember to put the legal details somewhere on the page.

15. Get in contact
Customers want to know that they can get in touch when they have any questions or issues. Provide as many contact details on the landing page as possible, like phone numbers, email addresses, or contact forms. This shows that your company is legit and that you care about your customers. Live customer service popups, be it a real person or a chatbot popups also work if done right.

When a customer knows they can get in contact with you, they feel safer and more likely to convert.

Let’s take a look at things to keep in mind when putting contact information on your landing page:

Give phone numbers to actual humans
Many sites these days only provide contact forms, and if they do have phone numbers, they often lead to extensive call trees that make it impossible to speak to an actual human being. This can be extremely frustrating when responses on the call tree don’t answer your question.

Incorporate live chats, maybe
Another popular contact method is live chat. These often chat bots programmed to respond to different questions. Some chatbots are quite sophisticated and can answer or take action on almost all requests. The shopping site Wish has an excellent chatbot. If it can’t answer your question, or if you’re not satisfied with the response, it gives the option of contacting a ‘real’ customer service representative. This is very important, as long as they respond quickly.

Another growing trend is to provide live chats over messaging apps like Whatsapp. These are usually real people, which increases reassurance among customers. However, these take the user off the site, which is not ideal when you’re trying to convert them.

Live chat position & timing
Live chats, whether they be actual people or bots, are very helpful, but the placement and timing of these can be a deal-breaker. These often pop up before you’ve even had a chance to look at the site or take up so much space that it covers part of the page. This can be very annoying to such a degree that people leave your site. As long as the location is obvious, people will find assistance if and when they need it. This goes for all contact information.

16. Imply scarcity
Some of the most common marketing phrases are “for a limited time only”, “while stocks last” and “almost gone”. This is because scarcity sells. People don’t want to miss out, so they act quickly. Again, the online store Wish uses this to great effect. They regularly display “only 5 left” or “almost gone” on products.

Things like countdown timers or statements such as AirBnB’s “rare find” also works well in getting customers to act quickly. Just always ensure that what you’re stating is true.

17. Consistency is key
When it comes to brand communication, including landing pages, it’s important to be consistent. Things like images, colors, and language should be consistent with the brand. This is especially true for landing pages since you’re ultimately selling a brand experience, whether it’s a product or service. Inconsistency confuses or annoys people and might thereby cost you a conversion.

18. Testing, testing, and testing
Landing page optimization is about gathering data about customer behavior and using it to improve the customer experience and converting it into sales. One of the best, and most popular ways to gather data is to test landing page performance is through simple A/B testing.

A/B testing presents visitors with two versions of the same element, from headline to images to length, style, copy, and placement of call-to-action buttons, to see which performs better.

Other tests include heat maps, scroll maps, confetti reports, overlay reports, and list reports. These tools can show you things like where people are clicking (and where they’re not clicking), what sections are being scrolled to (or past), the location of individual clicks, percentages of clicks on different page elements, and individual numerical data, respectively.

The more you test, the better the data, the more accurate the optimization. Tests should be run often to ensure that your site retains a high level of optimization. Things you should consider testing include:

  • Headlines (and subheadings)
  • Page copy, including CTA copy
  • Images
  • Video
  • Images vs video
  • Page length
  • Button design & placement
  • Social proof
  • Guarantees

Note that this list is only an example, you can test virtually element on your landing page.

Landing page optimization answers the question of how to increase website conversions. Every business is different, which means that every landing page will look different, and every strategy to optimize it will look different. Use these landing page optimization guidelines to create more effective, higher-converting landing pages. It might be the edge you need to beat your competition. A conversion rate optimization agency can help you achieve this.

Take the short cut to digital marketing success. Contact JMarketing and discuss your options to increase your conversion rates, and immediately skyrocket your results. Click this link and complete the enquiry form, we will contact you back right away.

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About the Author

Joshua Strawczynski
Managing Director
www.jmarketing.agency

An expert in influencing consumer behaviour online. Josh is an award-winning digital marketer, business manager and best selling author. He regularly appears in the media, providing insights into using influence tactics to enhance marketing strategy effectiveness.

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