How to Create Landing Pages that Convert
Probably every company that wants to establish a strong online presence spends a considerable amount of time and money on their online marketing efforts.
They pay for search and social media ads, publish blog articles regularly, and work on generating organic traffic. But, for some reason, many are not seeing conversions that would have a positive impact on the bottom line.
If you’ve experienced this problem where your website is seeing a lot of traffic, but people are just passing through without taking any considerable action, chances are you’re missing one crucial element that should act as a link between your promotions and your website: a landing page.
What is a Landing Page?
As the name says, a landing page is a page that a visitor “lands” on once they click on your PPC ad, social media ad or a link in your promotional email.
It is not usually a part of the main website but rather a standalone page that has one focused, very specific intention.
This is usually to close a deal and convert the visitor into a paying customer, but it can basically be anything you want: getting visitors to subscribe to your company’s newsletter, to sign up for a free course or webinar, download a discount code or coupon, etc.
Why are Landing Pages Important?
Landing pages are one of the most important factors that determine the success of a promotional campaign.
If you don’t have one or more, and instead you’re sending all the traffic from your promotional campaigns to your homepage, this could be a big problem. Why?
Because homepages usually have so much information on them and so many buttons to click that it’s easy to lose sight of that one particular thing you wanted the visitor to do.
There’s just so much distraction and nobody can guarantee you that the visitor will take any action or manage to find their way to one of the pages where they can convert or start conversation with you.
As a matter of fact, the likely scenario is that they will see they hadn’t arrived to the place you promised to take them and they’ll simply leave without doing anything. And shucks, there goes your campaign.
How Do I Create a Landing Page that Will Convert?
The first thing you need to grasp is that there is no such thing as a complete, step-by-step, one-size-fits-all guidebook for creating a perfect landing page.
But, when you think about it, how could there be one? Every company has a different intention behind building a landing page, every industry is so specific, and every single viewer of the page is different.
Luckily, marketers have conducted loads and loads of A/B tests which have shown that even though one landing page can vastly differ from another, all the successful and high-converting landing pages have some elements in common. We’ll go through all of them and mention the most important things you should keep in mind.
- Clear and Persuasive Headline
The first thing visitors should be drawn to on your landing page is a prominent headline.
Since this is the first thing that can make or break the success of the page, make it something that will capture visitor’s interest and, at the same time, succinctly express the value behind whatever it is that you’re offering.
Don’t write a novel, twenty words should be enough to pack your message in – ideally ten.
The importance of being clear with your headline and using simple, explanatory language can’t be stressed enough.
No-one is going to hang around the page until they manage to decipher what the page is about. The more people have to think, the less they will be inclined to take action.
Also, keep in mind that your headline needs to correspond to the text on the ad that visitors initially clicked on and were then directed to your landing page.
This will instill trust and create a feeling that the page is delivering on its ad promise.
- Powerful Call-to-Action
Even though all the elements of a landing page play a certain role, we could say that a call-to-action or CTA is the single most important component of your landing page.
Simply put, CTA is what you want visitors to do on your landing page, expressed in the form of a button: Shop now. Sign me up. Get my free e-book now. You can’t tell the visitors personally so the CTA does that for you.
Landing pages usually have only one CTA where all the visitor’s attention is focused, but it’s also not unusual to see pages that have additional, secondary CTA.
For example, a landing page could have closing a deal as its primary focus.
However, knowing that not all of the visitors will be ready to convert, a company might decide to include a secondary CTA for those visitors to make sure they don’t leave without taking any action and entering the first, awareness stage of the sales funnel.
To create an effective CTA, you will need to optimize all of the CTA elements, including placement, shape, color, size and copy. Here are some simple guidelines how to do that:
Placement: First and foremost, place your CTA above the fold – in the upper part of your landing page that visitors will be able to see without having to scroll down first.
Choose a prominent spot and make sure that the other landing page elements don’t detract from the CTA. You will achieve this by leaving a lot of empty space around it.
You could also consider adding visual cues such as arrows or images of people pointing at the button.
Shape and size: Web users are used to seeing rectangular-shaped buttons everywhere so that’s probably the best pick.
If you opt for another shape, make sure viewers will be able to recognize it as a clickable button. Also, make the CTA button slightly bigger in size than a regular button would be.
Color: Three most frequently used CTA colors are orange, green and blue, but it could really be any color as long as it’s not the same as the background color.
The most important thing is to make sure that your CTA stands out from the rest of the page and draws the viewer’s attention.
Copy: The text of your CTA button should be very brief (five words maximum), focused around active rather than passive words, addressing the viewer in the first person singular (“Grab my e-book copy” instead of “Grab your e-book copy”), and expressing your value proposition in a clear way.
You could also include words that will create a sense of urgency, such as “now”, “today” and other.
Here is an example from Square Reader that shows what it looks like when all the above guidelines are put into practice:
- Clean Visuals
When it comes to building landing pages, a general rule is: Everything that distracts attention from the CTA is not good.
The focus should be kept on that single action you want the visitor to take and, for this reason, you should remove any sort of clutter such as excessive images and graphics (especially if they’re low-quality), sliders, embedded widgets, etc.
Have a lot of empty space on the page, choose your background image wisely and use a large, sans serif font that will be easy to read.
Consider dropping the navigational bar as well, together with any other links, buttons and text that might be related to your business, but not directly to this particular campaign.
- User Benefits
The text of your landing page should be able to answer the question “What’s in it for me?”, as that’s one of the first things visitors to your landing page will ask themselves.
If they don’t recognize the value behind your offer, how you can help them solve their problems and make their lives less miserable, you’ve lost them.
You can decide to explain these benefits and your value proposition in a standalone text or you can spread it among different elements of the landing page, including heading, subheading, image, and a separate paragraph.
Together, these elements will provide the visitor with a benefit-oriented explanation of your product or service.
Make sure you don’t go into too much length listing every possible useful feature of your product and every possible user benefit.
Choose three to five most compelling ones and include more detailed bullet list with full explanations below the fold where they won’t detract attention from the CTA.
In this case, you’ll need to repeat the CTA after the explanation so viewers won’t need to scroll all the way back to reach it.
- Social Proof
Focusing on users is extremely important and it drives much more conversions than just mentioning in every single word how great your company and your product are.
Self-praise never worked anyway, and there are other means to say something nice about yourself – e.g. by adding social proof and letting others do the talking for you.
What exactly is social proof?
It can be anything that demonstrates approval from people who have already come in contact with your business, either through purchase or by some other means: a list of client or press logos, a counter with the number of purchases or downloads, and user testimonials where happy customers explain why they do business with you.
These elements will let the new landing page visitor know that you’re a legitimate business and that they can trust you.
Make sure that they’re brief, contain a headshot of the user, their full name, as well as their profession or the company they work for. The goal is to make these testimonials as credible and relatable as possible.
Creating landing pages and putting some effort into their optimization is a powerful way to capture more leads and improve conversions.
Guidelines mentioned in this article should serve as a good starting point and give you enough information to know what to focus on and what to avoid.
Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all magic formula, so you’ll need to experiment with tweaking each of the essential landing page elements until you figure out which layout brings you the most conversions.
Good luck with finding your winning combination!