The Landing Page Formula
EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE “SECRET INGREDIENT” INTERNET MARKETERS USE TO MAKE MILLIONS!
By Tyson Quick | InstaPage CEO
Produced by InstaPage Inc.
We Make Landing Page Marketing Easy: Free Account
ÂŠ 2013 InstaPage Inc. All content on this eBook, such as text, graphics, logos, and images is the property of InstaPage Inc. or its partners and protected by United States and international copyright laws. The selection, arrangement, and presentation of all materials in this eBook (including information in the public domain), and the overall design of this eBook is the exclusive property of InstaPage Inc. and protected by United States and international copyright laws. i
Who’s Landing Where: What’s a Landing Page? Type the term “landing page” into Google and you’ll be bombarded with an overwhelming 141,000,000 search results. With so many references online, it’s likely you’ve heard this term before. But how much do you really know about this magical creature? Ok, so calling it a “magical creature” may be a bit of a stretch, but I’d say it’s a fitting title for something so simple, yet powerful enough to have helped Internet marketers make billions over the past few years. Don’t believe me? Stop by Clickbank.com where they claim to have already paid out over $2 Billion Dollars to their community of “landing page obsessed” Internet Marketers. Simply put, a landing page is a standalone website or page on your website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt one certain action or result. Visualize a golf course... a landing page is the putting green that you drive the ball (potential customer) to. Once on the green, the only goal is to get the ball into the hole. Likewise, the goal of the content and design of a landing page is to get the potential customer to take your desired action.
I Already Have a Website, What’s the Deal? So you’ve taken the time to get a website put together that you’re proud of, now you’re probably wondering if you really need to spend valuable time building a landing page. To make this decision a lot easier, simply ask yourself if you’d like to make more money online? If the answer is yes, then YES, you absolutely need to set aside time to put together a landing page. If no, then you aren’t human and should pat yourself on the back for acquiring the ability to read. Your goal is to close the deal, make a sale, or acquire an email address- not convince somebody to click on that cute twitter logo. Your online advertisements (or your affiliates) can bring an interested web surfer your way, but if your landing page isn’t good enough to turn those visitors into customers, then you’re literally wasting money, time, and credibility. A convincing landing page with a single call to action is by far your number one asset as an Internet Marketer. Now that I have your attention, the first thing you’ll need to decide is what type of landing page is right for your business.
Landing Page Face Off: Squeeze vs. Sale There seems to be a never ending debate going on in the Internet marketing world about how to make money online, using a Squeeze (Lead-Gen) Page versus a Sales Page. The main difference being, a squeeze page typically gives just enough information and normally some kind of give away to entice readers to opt-in to your email list. Â The visitor does not see any kind of sales pitch unless they first provide you with their contact information. Using a sales page, the visitor sees exactly what youâ€™re offering, but you do not capture their information unless they make a purchase ( you make a sale, but are not building an email list ). Standard Squeeze Page Layout:
The worlds most successful squeeze page now has more then then a TRILLION conversions, and chances are you’re one of them! Yes, I’m talking about Facebook. As you can tell by looking at the image below, the Facebook homepage includes all three fundamental elements that make up a standard Squeeze Page.
A lot of Internet marketers choose squeeze pages simply because - More Leads Means More Money ( MLMMM ). I just made that acronym up! Sure, having that initial sale is great, but having a list of people that you can market to over and over again can be even better. A well made squeeze page that also offers an incentive (free ebook, sweepstakes, coupon, etc.) will easily acquire new email subscribers. This Lead-Gen focused landing page might have a funny name, but its ability to make you money is nothing to laugh at.
Consider this, if you had an email auto-responder series that sent an email a day over the course of a year, that’s 365 opportunities to get your message (sales pitch) out to people. This is just the basic principle of follow up. The more you follow up with your email subscribers, the higher percentage of responsiveness of your list you’ll see. Obviously you don’t have to write 365 emails to make this work. You can start out with, say eight or ten, and then commit to writing one new email a day. If you don’t get them all written, but you even get half of them done, that is still 182 emails that will go out. Not a bad number, and considering it’s on autopilot, it’s a fantastic number. Another great thing about this is you’re training your list to receive emails from you on a frequent basis. If you make sure that each email that you send out directs your reader to valuable information, either free or paid, you will increase the probability that they will open future emails from you.. AND.. you will increase your income!
Standard Sales Page Layout:
This type of Landing Page has been around almost as long as the internet itself. A sales page can be extremely effective if you know what your doing. Busy people frequently scan through a sales page that has captured their attention. They want to gather the essence of the content and offer so they can make a quick decision; "Is this interesting enough to read through or shall I just dump it?" If your offer is strong and very relevant, they may read the entire page. People who are interested in your offer and prefer details, just might read every single word of your letter, provided of course it’s not boring. Other people though who are not so “detail orientated”, read as much as they need to understand what is being offered, how it benefits them, what it does for them, and what it costs. 7
They may not read every single word after they've gathered the relevant detail and this is where your sales page “sub-headlines” help, because they draw the reader into the important sections they also need to be aware of. Either way, to be successful your sales page has to satisfy both types of readers. Follow the above outline and then “flesh it out” with more details, benefits, examples, testimonials, fact, and multiple call-to-actions.
Attention please! The Infamous Call to Action Let’s face it, most people like to be told what to do. A clear Call to Action (CTA) is what makes a good landing page GREAT and more importantly it will make you more money! The psychology behind this concept has been studied for years, proving the importance of the infamous CTA. Nearly fifty years ago, the social psychologist Howard Leventhal conducted experiments with a goal to convince Yale University students to get a tetanus shot. Leventhal initially separated the seniors into multiple groups, and gave each group different versions of a seven-page booklet on the disease and its effects. According to Malcom Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point, there was a “high-fear” version of the booklet, with dramatic descriptions and photographs of the disease, and a “low-fear” version with toned down descriptions and no pictures. A few months later, Leventhral redid the experiment, with one change: this time he included a map of the campus, with the university health center building circled and the times the tetanus shots were available clearly listed. This is his Call to Action. The change, by itself, increased the vaccination rate from 3% to 28%. Nine times as many students got the shot when they were told where and when to do so.
“…Of the 28% who got inoculated, an equal number were from the high-fear and low-fear group. Whatever extra persuasive muscle was found in the high-fear book was clearly irrelevant…the call to action is what really made the difference”
“The students needed to know how to fit the tetanus stuff into their lives; the addition of the map and the times when the shots were available shifted the booklet from an abstract lesson in medical risk… to a practical and personal piece of medical advice that encouraged them to take action. And once the advice became practical and personal, it became memorable.”
Like Leventhal, your goal when you advertise is to persuade your potential customers to do something. Your chances of success will increase greatly when you make your message practical, personal, and memorable by telling them exactly what to do, and how to do it through a clear Call to Action. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty building your own Landing Page. We’ve included a thorough list of principles you should follow while making your masterpiece in Chapter 2.
The Fun Part: How to Make a Landing Page Lucky for you, you’re not the first person to build a landing page. Over time and through trial and error, online marketers have discovered what works and what doesn’t. They continue to refine the art of building great web content that converts potential traffic into solid customers. Their successes come from the result of implementing these fundamental steps. Applying them should be your top priority, as they’ll greatly enhance the initial and ongoing success of your landing pages.
Following the Basics
What is Your Goal? Before you even start thinking about building a landing page, you need to ask yourself one thing, “What is my goal?” Your goal should be the prevailing factor in every decision you make regarding your landing pages. It’s your purpose for creating the landing page in the first place. Whether it be to generate email leads or to make a sale, continue to make your reason for visitors to be there as prevalent, clear, and obvious as possible. Remember, you’re on the green, just putt the ball into the hole. Before publishing your landing page it’s also important to get some unbiased feedback. Have someone you know (who is uninvolved with the project) look over your design and ask them what they think the purpose of your landing page is. Then, use the 5-second rule to determine if it’s doing its job. If your friend can pinpoint your final goal within five seconds of looking at your page, then you’re good to go.
1. Clear Call to Action What do you want your visitors to do? How are you going to get your visitors to do it? If you want them to fill out a form, ask them to fill out the form. Simple and clear directions go a long way. Help your visitors know exactly what their next step should be. Don’t make them guess. Your call to action needs to be your focal point, regardless of the design of your page. Take a step back every once in a while and look to see what your eye is drawn to. If it isn’t your call to action, then you have some refining to do.
2. Know Your Audience This is one of the most important aspects of marketing. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, how do you put yourself in their shoes? How do you know know what they’re looking for, or what questions or fears they might have? Being able to think in the perspective of your visitors is crucial. It will allow you relate to them and preemptively address their concerns in your landing page copy.
3. Know Your Competition Whether you want to admit it or not, the reality is that you’ve got competition in almost every niche market. Do your research and know who they are and what they’re doing. Check out some of their landing pages to get a better feel of what you’re up against and to gather potential design ideas for your own pages. This will help tremendously as you develop your game plan and give you a better insight into what your visitors are expecting. Be original, but don’t be afraid to implement and use your competitor’s strengths to your advantage.
4. Direct Hit (Message Matching) A lot of marketers give their visitors the benefit of the doubt and believe that they are willing to take the time to navigate an entire website. That they’ll land on a home page, read about a product/service, and either sign up or make a purchase without a hitch. This rarely works. It may sound repetitious, but the more steps you add to the equation, the less likely you are to get the conversion. Don’t complicate the process. For example, if you perform a search for a new way to watch movies, let’s say, “stream movies online,” you are hit with 212,000,000 results. That’s a lot of entertainment options. How do you decide which service to try? You scan them looking for A.) the one with the most simple directions and the least number of steps and B.) something that you can try right away, without breaking the bank.
The same theory applies here. A.) give your visitors as few simple steps to follow, and B.) make your content relevant to what they are looking for. The best thing that you can do to help potential customers is to serve them exactly what they were looking for. Your landing page headline and message should match exactly with the creative you used to get them to your page. (I.E. “Stream Movies Online” is the title/ link to your simple signup for movie streaming) This helps visitors know that they are in the right place. Whether it be a visitor who finds you through an AdWords link or banner ad, a single, targeted landing page that matches the message of your ad is a welcome sight and a crucial step to any successful conversion.
5. Keeping it Clear & Simple A clear and obvious message is your most powerful converting tool. This is how landing pages can be so effective. You have one message, one page, and one goal. Your visitors should only have to decide between one of two choices, to leave or continue.
6. Congruence: Keeping Your Message Consistent Congruence refers to keeping everything on your landing page consistent with your primary goal and message. Constantly evaluate what you put on your page to ensure that everything is in sync with what you’re trying to accomplish. If it doesn’t make sense or doesn’t help your achieve your goal, it’s not worth putting on there.
7. Sell With Benefits This step seems to give marketers the most trouble. By simply explaining what a product is, or what it does, people will be chomping at the bit to buy it, right? 15
Wrong. Customers want to know how they are going to “benefit” from giving you their money, time, or email address. Benefits are about the buyer. They’re the “What’s in it for me?”, or “How is it going to make my life better?” aspects of whatever you’re trying to sell. Think about how important benefits are to you when considering a job, an insurance change, etc. They are THE REASON you make the decisions you do. They are also going to be the motivation for your consumers. Don’t cut the importance of benefits short.
Even if you have the most amazing product, the coolest designs or the catchiest ad copy, no one is going to buy it until they know that it will save them money or make their lives easier in some way.
8. Write in the Second Person: “You” & “Your” The people that see your landing pages aren’t going to care as much about you or your company as they are about how your product is going to benefit them. If they wanted to research who you are, they would have searched for your “about page.” Keep your writing style in second person. It helps your reader be engaged in the conversation and helps them personalize your message.
9. Beginnings and Endings are Important! Remember back in high school when you had to give an oral report in class. Who always went first? The popular kids that weren’t afraid of speaking in public and the smart kids wanting to make a good impression on the teacher. They usually had some overthe-top presentation with a cool topic and great visual aid. Memorable. The class clown (who wasn’t really prepared, but was funny enough to wrangle at least a B grade on the project) ended things off. Also, memorable. The 40 minutes in between was left to the shy kids that didn’t want to be noticed by anyone. How many of those presentations do you remember, even through the end of the school day? The same principles apply to writing good ad copy. The fact is that your headers/intros and conclusions have the greatest impact. What do you really want your readers to take with them, what facts are crucial that they remember? Make sure to keep your most important and persuasive arguments in these positions.
10. Keep Your Paragraphs Short No more then 1 - 2 lines at first! People are bombarded with massive amounts of information everyday, most of which they never read. Your job is to make your first 1-2 lines of copy so interesting and captivating they will want to keep reading. Be creative, ask questions, give statistics, and relate to them personally. Your paragraphs should also be short. No more than 4-5 lines long. This will make your content easier to read and introduce some visual dissonance between blocks of text. White space and graphics are much less overwhelming than a page full of words.
11. Keep Your Landing Page Skimmable Using a powerful master headline and sub headings can help visitors skim the most important topics and quickly get a better understanding of what your landing page is all about. These need to follow the topic flow of your page and drive your message home.
12. Remove Choices To some, this might sound counterproductive. By limiting the ability of the user to navigate to other sections of your site, are you hurting your chances to make a sale? Rest assured, this is not the case. You’re landing pages work differently than your web site and have completely different traffic sources. If people have multiple options they will be less likely to choose to click on your CTA button or fill out your form. All you’re doing is adding unnecessary distractions to the equation. Keeping your message as clear and as simple as possible is your ticket to more conversions.
13. Be Positive, Not Negative Also known as using “up-words”. Basically, writing about what something is rather than what it isn’t to help your reader visualize the benefits as purely positive without them being tied to negative words like “fail,” or “expensive.” - Instead of saying “fail,” or “failure,” use “success” - Instead of saying “inexpensive,” use “economical” A good thesaurus can help you find your “up-words” and help you stay in a positive writing style.
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If You Build it (right), They will Come
After putting the basics into practice there are some additional design steps you should follow if you want to take your landing pages to the next level. How and where your message and call to action are displayed can be the deciding factors of victory or defeat.
1. Don’t be loud Having a brightly-colored landing page with flashy colors and big buttons will guarantee you nothing. They only act as a distraction, and distractions kill conversions. (Two Graphics, a simple, productive landing page vs. a loud, overdone landing page, explain “less is more”...) Remove every aspect of your landing page that could potentially inhibit its ability to convert. Images are good only when they directly support your conversion goal and are the best alternative of displaying your message. 20
Remember, if a visitor is on your page, you’ve already got their attention. Now you need to focus on the sell.
2. Short & Sweet: Minimize Text If you can say the same thing in one sentence as you can in one paragraph, do it. Remember, quality over quantity. The strength in your landing page lies in its simplistic and focused message. If you bury the important stuff in a bunch of other content (whether it be well-written, or not) you’re diluting your message and the effectiveness of your landing page. Always use your best judgement. In some circumstances, longer, more descriptive, landing pages may work to your benefit, as visitors may need the extra information to make a decision. However, The main point still holds true in this argument. Don’t use text just to fill space.
3. Above or Below the Fold? “The fold” is the bottom of the screen for the average browser resolution. Anything “above the fold” would be anywhere a visitor sees without having to scroll down. Your visitors are going to treat your landing page like a newspaper article, skimming the headline/sub-headings, graphics, and maybe your first paragraph. Good copywriting practice suggests putting your most important content and call to action in the area that will be seen first. Traditionally, a good landing page requires very little from its visitors, except for the simple decision of whether to click or bounce. By placing key elements below the fold you are inherently creating more work for people, and potentially hurting your chances for conversions. Longer landing pages have a slightly different method for presenting your message, but, if done right, can be just as powerful. 21
If you’re interested in experimenting with non-traditional content placement, read Paddy Donnelly’s article “Life Below 600px”. In it he gives some really great insight as to the concept of “the fold” and why you shouldn’t be afraid of using longer landing pages.
4. A Single Column Layout There is good reasoning behind this. Take a look at a traditional 3-column web page. Your eye wanders from each column in a top-to-bottom, left-to-right pattern. The content in each column may all be related, even the same information, but your mind automatically separates the three columns. Compiling them all into one column unifies the page and helps your visitors focus on the core message.
It also gives you more control over the flow of your content and how visitors view your page.
5. Professional Grade When it comes to landing pages, image is everything. This is the first impression your visitors are going to get about you. You want to look good, don’t you? The more professional, clean and organized your page is, the more likely people are going to believe your message.
6. Video Media Video is one of the most, if not the most, persuasive forms of communication. It allows you to capture the attention of your visitors and retain their attention longer, resulting in higher conversion rates. You should try to utilize video on your landing page whenever possible. Experiments done by EyeView, a digital media consulting firm, showed that conversion rates increased by over 80% in some cases simply by adding video content supporting the call the action of the landing page. Your video needs to be well thought out, look professional and match the quality of the rest of your landing page. If you don’t have the technical skills to create high quality video, don’t worry. You have options. Professionally made videos are great and can really boost your brand and image if you can afford them, they can be a bit costly. Another alternative is to use a service like SnagIt to create promotional or tutorial screencasts of your online product or service. Once you’ve got your video content made, don’t forget to upload it to YouTube and get some extra credit for all the work you put into them.
7. Kill the Navigation Bar A navigation bar only adds to the distractions of a landing page. It offers potential “outs” that are not directly related to your call to action. Once you’ve lost a visitor, (even to a different page on your site), you’ve lost the conversion. If it’s not needed in the conversion process, leave it out.
8. Forms & How to use Them If your primary call to action is lead generation, then you’ll need to use a form to capture your visitor’s information. If not, don’t use them. Forms can scare people. Although it would be nice to get an email for every person that clicks on your CTA button, if it isn’t critically important to your conversion process, you shouldn’t ask for it. People are the most leery about giving out their personal information, and rightly so. Some marketers simply link their landing page to web forms found on their website. This is just creating more work for your visitor, and an unnecessary step for them in giving you their information. It’s best to embed your landing page with the actual form. That way the conversion is made on the landing page. It’s extremely important to be as upfront and transparent as possible with your prospective leads in telling them what they can expect after they’ve filled out your form. What will happen next? What are the benefits of signing up? Why you need their information, How you intend to use it? Will you sell/share their information? Will they be able to Opt-out?
Remember, being honest and open is one of the most important keys to using forms. If you have the resources, there are certain aspects of your form that your can tweak to help streamline the process and guide your visitor along the way.
9. Visually Point Your Visitors in the Right Direction Consider the flow of your message, where you want each text block and CTA to be placed, and how much of your landing page will be seen above the fold.
Wire-framing the layout of your page can help keep your design focused on the right objectives. Doing this step will help to answer some of the major questions down the road and give you clear image of how you’re going to point your visitor in the right direction.
10. Have Multiple Targeted Landing Pages Fact; targeted landing pages convert. The more targeted and specific your content is to the exact search and mindset of your visitor, the more likely they are to read your message and act on your call to action. You probably have more than one keyword that you’re targeting for your landing pages. The simple solution is to have multiple, very targeted landing pages unique to each keyword. Each might differ only slightly with variations of the same content, just organized differently or they might have a completely different design and feel. The point is that having more than one landing page for your campaigns frees you to customize each one to the type of visitor that’s going to see it.
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Trust and Security: Getting Your Visitors to Like You
For most of your visitors, your landing page will be their first impression of you and your product/service. Â Your highest priority should be to build that initial trust so they donâ€™t bounce before they read what you have to say.
1. Reduce Anxiety The biggest issue people have with landing pages is that they see them as scams just trying to farm their email address and throw a bunch of pop-ups in their face. Sadly true, there are some pages out there that give the rest of them a bad name. All of us, at some point in our lives have come across one of the “bad ones”, and for some reason or another, it left a nasty taste in our mouth. On the flip side, there are millions of legitimate landing pages on the web that are run by professional marketers who have done their research, haeve a great deal (for their visitors and for themselves), and wish to promote it. You job is to prove to your visitors that they have nothing to fear. The following points will help to identify the best ways to build trust with your prospective customers and give them a great landing page experience.
2. Co-Branding & Endorsements These are great, if you can get them, or have them already. They help to build credibility by showing some other names in your industry that your visitors might be more familiar with. Don’t use fake endorsements though, they could get you in trouble.
3. Show Your Contact Email & Phone Number This may sound like a simple step, and yes it is. But, it means a lot to your visitors. It dispels their fear of not being able to contact anybody if they have an issue or question. The second part to this step is to be available. Answer the phone, or respond to voice mails and emails, when your visitors do try and contact you. As with all important information on your landing page, your phone number should be accessible and visible in an obvious place above the fold. (It doesn’t do anything unless your visitors can see it.) 28
4. Add Testimonials from “Real” Happy Customers People will trust other people before they will trust a business. That’s why word of mouth advertising is so effective. Satisfied customers pass their trust in you and faith in your product/service to others. You can leverage this idea on your landing page simply by adding testimonials or success stories from your customers. You might be tempted to just make up some testimonials from your user personas that make you look good and inflate your image. However, you don’t want to look unauthentic. The best thing you can do is to use real feedback from real customers.
5. Add Reviews from the Media Just like an endorsement, reviews from the media can give your page a real boost in the trust arena. People look to the media as a source of important information. If a news site takes the time to research and write a review on your product/service, it shows potential customers that your are legit and that they can trust you.
6. Brand Consistency This goes along with a previous point about matching your landing page to your creatives. As people go from banner to landing page to website, they should never have to wonder if they are in the right place. 29
Your brand, design, typography, color palette, and core message should be easily recognizable in each step of the process. Continue to repeat this theme throughout your conversion funnel to minimize bounce rates and increase user confidence that they are on the right page.
7. Be Upfront & Honest This is pretty self-explanatory, but extremely important. Tell them upfront exactly what they can expect to receive and where they’ll be taken after they’ve signed up or clicked your CTA button. If there’s a fee involved, let them know beforehand, don’t hide the “fine print”. That way, they won’t be surprised at the end and bounce. Honesty is the best policy, so stick with it.
8. Make Believable & Keep Your Promises This step is tied directly with the previous one. As you write your ad copy, be careful not to exaggerate the facts and inflate your image. People know when you’re lying, or when it’s beyond believable. If you promise them millions in the first few months, then you better deliver.
9. Add a Guarantee Your visitors are still going to be somewhat skeptical. (Good ‘ol “Buyer Beware”) They fear that things might not be exactly you promised. They need a “safety net” to fall back on, something to mitigate the risk of giving you their information or purchasing the product. One of the easiest ways to do this is to include a guarantee on your landing page, proving to customers that they have absolutely nothing to worry about.
SEO: Getting Google to Like You
Unless Google (and the other search engines) are on your side, you won’t have many visitors or conversions to your long term campaigns. That’s why SEO is such a critical part aspect of any online marketing project. Getting search engines to recognize your landing pages as informative and relevant sources of content may sound a bit overwhelming, but chin up, it’s a bit easier to do for landing pages than it is for entire websites. Google wants highly relevant and targeted content, which is exactly what your landing page should be.
1. Text Headlines Yep, you’ve heard it before, and you’re going to hear it again. Headlines are the most critical element of your landing page, (next to your CTA). They capture the attention of both people and search engines and announce to them what your page is about. Place your first headline in an H1 tag, <h1>, with all sub headings as H2, H3, etc. This will give your page an extra boost of SEO power for the keywords found in your headline.
2. Think Like a Searcher As you continue to research new keyword possibilities and trends, always be thinking about ways you can adjust and refine your campaigns.
3. Clean, Optimized HTML By default, external landing pages follow Google’s desired HTML format more closely and are actually preferred over full websites because they are not affected by the overlying structure or functionality requirements. Pay close attention to SEO-specific HTML tags like, the Title and H1 header (see above), as well as, the Alt attribute for links and images. Always remember to follow W3C standards.
4. Keywords & Content How often do you use your target keywords in your ad copy? You should include them at least once or twice within the first 100 words of your message, and should be placed above any images, flash content, forms, etc. Any keywords found in your headers should also be found in the paragraphs to follow.
Your keywords should be your core focus. By optimizing your AdWords text and landing page copy you’ll also be cutting PPC costs. The more closely they match up, the higher your relevancy score gets, the cheaper it is to attain your desired ad ranking.
5. Everything Else... Although you may be just starting out experimenting with landing pages, chances are you’ve already spent a good deal of time refining the SEO or PPC of your website or blog. If that’s the case, you actually know a lot more than you think about optimizing your landing pages. A website is actually an organized collection of landing pages with a broader focus. Follow the same steps and use what works.
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Warning! What Not to Do We’ve covered many of the steps you need to be taking in order to fully optimize your landing pages and make them worth the time you spent into their design. There are, however, a number of things that you should avoid at all costs. By doing them you not only hurt your chances of ever making a conversion, you also make yourself look like a desperate car sales man. These DO NOT benefit you in the slightest and will only tarnish your image, so don’t do them.
1. Don’t Go Overboard With Text Too much text can be intimidating and will quickly discourage people from reading any part of your page. Focus on the core message, the main points and only the stuff that a person might need in order to make a decision. If they want more information, they’ll google you and find it.
2. Don’t Use Popups Bad landing pages are notorious for popups. We’ve all seen them. You start reading a page and 10 seconds into it a window pops onto your screen, abruptly interrupting you to promote free shipping in exchange for signing up for their newsletter. How the crap are you even supposed to know if you want to buy yet, you haven’t even finished reading the first text block. Or, better yet, the browser message asking, “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” after attempting to close the tab or window. (/facepalm) I wouldn’t have clicked close if I didn’t want to leave. And no, free expedited shipping isn’t going to change my mind.
Even Google hates popups. Quoting from the AdWords Editorial Guidelines, "We do not allow links to landing pages that generate pop-ups when users enter or leave your landing page.” This includes any new window opened by some event on the parent landing page. Best advice. Don’t use popups, or popunders.
3. Don’t Oversell Yourself Using bloated adjectives like: Amazing! Awesome! Kick-Ass!!! Generally speaking, using exaggerated and emotive adjectives are just going to be annoying to your visitors. You might think that your product is “Awesome!” and want to include that in your copy, but the real proof of “awesome-ness” comes from the benefits your product/service brings to users. So, focus on those instead.
4. Don’t Hide the Option to Opt-Out If the goal of your page is to generate leads, and you offer a newsletter or some kind of subscription service, let your visitors know that they have the option to opt-out if they want.
5. Automatic Sound is an Automatic Fail Those people that find your landing page at work with their speakers turned up are going to hate you. There’s no quicker way to get people to click the “back” button or close the window completely in a panic to turn the sound off. If your page relies on sound or if it’s part of your video content, let your visitor be in control of when it plays. 35
Practice Makes Perfect: Testing What Works You’ve probably heard this before, but testing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success and improve the performance of your landing pages. You can know exactly what your audience wants, and follow every proven practice and tutorial out there, but chances are, your landing page is still going to have deficiencies. It’s your job to flush them out. Testing allows you to find out what’s not working and fix it. Setting up a reporting and analytics system is not that complicated, but is definitely worth the effort.
Reporting, Metrics, & Analytics are your friend
1. Assume Nothing. Test Everything You might have a pretty good idea of what your visitors want in a landing page, but it’s fool-hearted to think that you will get it 100% right the first time. Assuming that your page design is exempt from testing is a dangerous and costly mistake. Who knows, the smallest changes could mean the difference of a hundred more conversions. Test everything, and we mean everything. Making your CTA more conspicuous could be a simple color change or increasing the size of your buttons by 50%. Even switching to different images and graphics can help boost your conversion 37
rate. This is where testing comes in. You won’t know until you start experimenting and trying different variations of your landing page.
2. Use Analytics In order to test, you need analytics. This will show you which of your landing pages convert more, and which ones need help. Some of the more commonly used web analytics programs are Google Analytics and Omniture. Google Analytics is probably the one most people will use, mainly because it’s free and more accessible to individual marketers. Google Analytics is simple and quick to setup. It only requires a small tracking code that you can copy/paste onto your landing page. Once implemented, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of visitor behavior and how long they’re staying to read your message. You can also setup conversion funnels to see how well your landing page is working.
3. Understanding Basic Metrics Your KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are the specific metrics or events that show you how well your page is doing its job. Some of the more commonly followed KPI’s include: - Conversion Rate: How many visitors actually did what you wanted them to. - Time On Site: The average amount of time people spend on your site. - Bounce Rate: How many visitors left your page without fulfilling your CTA. Landing page analytics is a whole lot simpler than website analytics. It’s much more black and white, because there really should only be two choices your visitors have to make; the call to action, or bounce.
4. Granular Analytics The deeper you can dig into your analytics, the better. It allows you to make connections with the countless variables that affect the ability of your landing page to convert. Knowing that conversions on your vacation package sales page spike during November and February (winter and spring break), you can increase your marketing campaigns and capitalize on the season rush.
5. Multivariate Testing Once you know what elements of your page to focus on you can start testing. Multivariate testing is basically testing multiple variants of your page at the same time. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Altering the position, color or image of your CTA button, the surrounding text, and your master header all at once in an attempt to increase conversions. Multivariate testing is most helpful with pages that get more than ~1,000 weekly views.
6. A/B Split Tests Another way to test is A/B, or split, testing. This is where you change only one aspect at a time and run both variations of your page side by side to see which one performs better. If variation A, with the large yellow button, converts 9.8% of your visitors, and variation B, with the large purple button, converts only 9% of your visitors, you can easily tell that the yellow button is the way to go. A/B tests offer a clear cause and result that you can easily base your optimization decisions on.
7. Don’t End the Test too Soon You can’t base your conclusion as to which variation is the better from the first two people that visit your landing page. You need to have a large enough sample size to prove that one version consistently performs better than the other. This all 39
depends on the amount of traffic you get, and the complexity of your test, but a good estimate to follow is about 100 conversions per page tested.
8. Eye Tracking & Heat maps Both of these tools offer valuable insight into how people follow your message and how the layout of your landing page affects your conversion rate. If your CTA isn’t getting very many clicks, it might be worth moving it closer to the areas with the most traffic.
9. Test Odd Pricing Odd pricing uses prices that end in 9’s and 7’s, which tend to sell better. It sounds kind of funny that people are more likely to make a purchase when it costs $7.99 instead of $8.00. But, this phenomenon has been proven over and over again and is used everywhere. It’s definitely worth testing on your own sales pages.
Optimization: Saving the Best for Last If your visitors aren’t doing what you want them to, ie. your CTA, then it’s past time you changed a few things to your landing page. Testing lets you know what’s wrong, but optimization is what increases your conversions.
1. Remove Clutter As you continue to refine and test different variations of your landing pages, don’t be afraid to just throw out some things. You’ll be glad you did. Even if it’s directly supporting your call to action, content can still be considered clutter if there’s just way too much of it. You might be tempted to replace that content with something else, but it’s better to just leave it. The whitespace you create from removing the clutter actually increases the visual importance of your key message and call to action.
2. Be Flexible Although you might hate to admit it, sometimes your first design isn’t going to work as well as you’d hoped. Be flexible so you can quickly respond to user feedback. Remember that your landing page should be centered around your visitor, not yourself. Be open-minded about what they want.
3. Customer Feedback All of the decisions you make involving the optimization of your pages should be strictly centered on what your visitors want. What are they expecting? What made them leave, or stay? What they were looking for? Your visitors are your best sources for new ways to improve your page.
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-Tyson Quick | InstaPage CEO