Whether you’re hawking a new menu for your restaurant, or building an email list for prospective car buyers, landing pages are your friend. They’re designed to turn web visitors into prospects by capturing email addresses and other handy information.
You can push traffic to a landing page with brute force marketing dollars. But converting that traffic to usable email addresses and leads is part science and part voodoo. There are a ton of variables in play, like font, size, form field sizes, label placement, colors, copy, layout. And that’s just for starters, so our first piece of advice is to refine landing pages through A/B testing.
Fortunately, a lot of geeky research has given us best practices to get started. Here’s our top 11 list.
1. Write concise headlines that clearly state the offer and tell the visitor what to do. “Download a Free Guide to Purchasing Your First Home Without Regret.” Is this headline longer than usual? Yes. But it gives the visitor all the needed information to make a decision to download the white paper quickly.
2. Resist the urge to be “clever.” It’s a difficult and humbling lesson for us writers, who, on most days, are paid for our wit and silly puns, i.e. “Home is Where the Hearth Is.”
3. Make sure that design, language and visuals are consistent across all the promotional platforms. Otherwise, your visitor will experience a disconnect (read: loss of trust) and drop your page like a hot tater.
4. In general, don’t use offers that aren’t directly related to the information you’re trying to sell. Aside from possible legal and ethical issues, you’ll also receive a bunch of junk signups from people more interested in winning an Apple® watch than seeing the resolution of your new ultrasound.
5. As comedian Sam Kinison said, “Tell me what to do, and I will do it.” The same holds true for call-to-action (CTA) buttons. “Submit” is meaningless. Be clear and direct, “Download our free white paper.” Or restate the benefit, “Save on Maintenance. Send my eBook.”
6. Form design is a graduate degree unto itself. Key tips: label the form fields precisely. “Full Name” not “Name,” and for an address, specify which one: practice, or home. Again, this isn’t the place to be clever.
7. Design tip: Line up form labels on top of the form fields, not to the left. There art plenty of articles about the technical design aspects of form design. For inspiration, though, I love Smashing Magazine’s overview of some of the best and most creative.
8. With at least 40% of your traffic visiting by phone, mobile compatibility for landing pages is an absolute must. Otherwise, you’re missing an important chunk of your audience, and quite possibly taking a SEO hit from Google.
9. The objective of a landing page is to encourage visitors to follow a path to the call-to-action. Anything that gets in the way of that visually should be hacked out.
10. Use an A/B test on all the elements of the landing page. Start small, e.g. testing two versions of the landing page, or the color of your CTA buttons. For further information about anything related to user interface, read articles by Jakob Nielsen at the Nielsen/Norman Group.
11. Agencies and in-house groups alike tend to obsess about conversion rates. That’s okay, but the ultimate metric is the number of qualified prospects converted. The secret is to repel people who you know aren’t qualified.
For example, your event to educate health club owners about your product could be perceived as an invitation to fitness buffs. Try crafting a message like, “Knowledge is more important in health club success than muscles.”
That’ll send them running for the door.
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