Creating a highly effective landing page is a lot easier than many suspects. And in a lot of instances, it is apparent that someone over-thought things and created something that is, shall we say, ‘less than optimal.’
That said, let’s be clear. There is no standard template that you take and start plopping in a headline here, body copy there, and an image or two down there.
So with all this in mind, here are seven crucial elements to designing your perfect landing page.
Do Not Use Your Home Page
I hope that your reaction to the above was an eye roll along a mumbled: “Oh, no kidding?” However, you need to rethink things if the above made your eyes wide, your pulse race, and that voice in your head screamed, “Why is this wrong? I’ve always done this.”
Why is using your home page as a landing page a big “No-No”?
Where shall I begin?
The design and purpose of your home page are significantly different than the design and purpose of an effective landing page.
Your home page can have multiple goals – from providing an introduction to the company or product to helping a variety of visitors find the information they need on the rest of the site. Success is helping the visitor find the right information.
Your landing page has a single goal – capturing specific information in exchange for something of value.
Focus on One Thing
With your goal being exchanging value, you don’t want to detract from that goal with anything that might distract the visitor. The old saying, “Keep It Simple Stupid,” is your mantra here.
Design your landing page without a navigation bar. Make sure to leave off any social media links. And while you are at it, remove the footer.
What you want to do is make is painfully clear the only option is to [ex] fill out the form with the requested information, click the button and get redirected to a “thank you” page.
You will want to test different designs, but be sure to test a minimalist design that presents the offer and the value of that offer to the visitor. Tell them what they need to do – never assume they will know.
And when you consider any images, videos, or animations, make sure they add value to the presentation for the visitor. In other words, just because you happen to have a video or an image lying around, it doesn’t mean you have to use it.
Here’s where I go a little beyond what others will recommend. When you talk with most digital marketers about your call to action (CTA), the conversation immediately focuses on the button on the page.
There’s more to a call to action than the button.
There is the actual offer. The best button design isn’t going to motivate your audience to share information with you and click the button when they don’t view what you are offering them in return to be of value.
Make sure you have the right offer for your audience – that’s crucial, and often overlooked.
Next, there is the copy that explains the value of the offer for the visitor. That copy needs to build interest and desire because you want to make it impossible for the visitor to walk away. You want to convince the visitor that they would be foolish to do anything but provide the information and click the button.
Write in the second person – “You will enjoy the following benefits…” – because that helps the reader personalize what they are reading, connecting copy points to their own lives and needs.
For example, which of the following sentences is more appealing to you?
Our product features Windows 10 Pro 64 with an Intel Xeon processor and 16GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM.
You will save time as your programs load faster thanks to the Intel Xeon processor, and you will enjoy watching and listening to streaming content on your hi-def display and BOSE surround sound system.
Last, the button itself. Make it impossible to miss, using a color that jumps off the screen and large enough to been seen. And don’t feel like you need to limit to a single button – test multiple buttons based on the length of your page content.
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The Perfect Landing Page Checklist
Simple, Easy Forms
You should live the old data adage – ask only for what you will use now. Or, perhaps you would prefer “Keep It Simple Stupid”?
Either way, the point here is to keep your form short and sweet. The first and last name, along with an email address, is excellent. If you are thinking of asking or requiring more information – do yourself a favor and [a] ask yourself if that information is necessary at this time, and [b] test your forms to see how more information impacts submissions/conversions.
In the past 15+ years, I have worked with close to 100 colleges and universities. And the overwhelming majority have created forms that frighten away the most fervent student. My favorite “Request Information” form included required fields for the name of the high school attended and expected graduation date as well as their parent’s names and email addresses.
Oh, did I mention that this form was what prospective graduate students had to submit?
Yeah, requiring working professionals that have their bachelor’s degree to provide their parents’ names and contact information along with a date for when they “expect” to graduate from high school.
Reviews, Awards, Testimonials and More
Another valuable element in your landing page is social proof, and that can include client testimonials, reviews, awards received, and even client logos.
The reason this element helps increase your landing page conversion rate is that third-party confirmation carries a great deal of power with people. Now, to be honest with you, I tested this on my landing pages and haven’t seen that significant of a difference. But I also continue to test just to see if things change for the better in the future.
Let's Talk About Testing
I have mentioned testing in several places in this post – and if you follow me, you know I often talk about the importance of testing. So I will mention testing again because it’s an effective way to increase sales and lower costs.
Just remember to test one element at a time – don’t test two completely different concepts/approaches.
Because you want to understand what causes changes, and that means understanding how to improve the headline, the body copy, the form, the button, the overall design (for example, placing the button or headline at different places on the page).
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