The days of getting by with just a few landing pages are over. These days, there’s technically no such thing as having too many dedicated landing pages.
As a rule of thumb, every PPC ad you create and position should lead to its own dedicated landing page. Simply propelling visitors back to your homepage one after the next really doesn’t do anyone any favours. The problem being that the more landing pages an online business produces, the more likely it is to become complacent.
At which point, quality standards slip and the user-experience becomes anything but consistent.
No Easy Rides
The thing is, nobody ever said creating effective landing pages was easy. It’s the exact opposite – these are the pages that often singlehandedly determine whether any given visitor becomes a paying customer. Or for that matter, takes any interest whatsoever in whatever it is you do.
Creating a decent web page is tricky. Creating a stellar landing page takes time, effort and often outside help. If you’re not up to the job, it’s worth bringing in those who are. You’ve got about five seconds to seal the deal when the visitor arrives, so there’s really no margin for error.
The question being – what can (and should) you be doing to ensure that your landing pages have the desired effect? How can you wow every visitor with a high-impact, long-lasting first impression that encourages their conversion?
Short answer – there are at least 10 things you’ll need to focus on, if you intend to take your landing pages to the next level. More specifically, 10 iron-clad rules to follow when creating, editing and optimising your landing pages:
1. Establish and define your objective
Every landing page exists to serve a purpose, which should be considered and clearly defined ahead of time. If your intention is to attract more subscribers, this is what you need to focus on. If it’s all about closing sales and selling as many products as possible, engineer it accordingly.
One of the most common mistakes made by businesses worldwide is that of creating landing pages somewhat randomly, making things up as they go along with no defined objective. Think about what your visitors expect from your landing page, how to deliver on their expectations and how best to take them to the next step in the process.
2. Keep the most important information above the fold
Ideally, the most important information your landing pages contain should be concise enough to squeeze onto a single screen. If not, ensure that all key information appears clearly and in a structured manner above the fold. The idea being that you eliminate the possibility of your most vital messages being overlooked or ignored by the visitor.
Structure your information in a manner that it begins with the most important messages, gradually moving on to supplementary information below the fold and further down the page. If there’s anything that really doesn’t need to be there, feel free to get rid of it.
3. Work hard on your headlines
The headlines you create will have a more dramatic impact on the visitor’s actions and decisions than the combined value of the rest of your written content. The moment they arrive, they’ll be looking to satisfy some sort of need and determine what kind of value you can offer them. This information should be communicated as clearly as possible in your headlines, with concise clarification provided in the subsequent content.
Assume that they know exactly what they’re looking for and have very specific expectations of you as a provider. Give them the answers and information they need quickly and concisely, inspiring them to consider your offer at a deeper level and take the next step towards taking action.
4. Focus on benefits, not selling points
It’s worth remembering that those who visit your website have no interest in your claims to fame, or how fantastic you think your products and services are. Instead, they’re interested exclusively in how whatever it is you do can benefit them. This is where the art of focusing on benefits, rather than the usual selling points, comes into the equation.
You need to think carefully about how the customer stands to benefit by taking advantage of your offer. Is it something that will reduce stress in their everyday life? Increase their pride and confidence? Make an everyday task more convenient? Free up precious time to allocate to more enjoyable pursuits? Your products or services have some kind of value proposition, which is what you need to focus on and clarify on your landing pages.
5. Use lists and bullet points
When defining the primary features and benefits of your offer, they need to be communicated as concisely and clearly as possible. Rather than providing the visitor with block after block of unbroken text, it’s far more effective to use lists, bullet points and other more ‘visual’ ways of conveying key information.
Once again, it’s important to ensure that you focus primarily on benefits for the customer, rather than the weird and wonderful selling points you’re proudest of as a business. Take a look at things from their perspective and see what would appeal to you, were you to share their priorities.
6. Use CTAs strategically
Once again, you have to assume that by finding you in the first place, the visitor has expressed at least some level of interest in whatever it is you do. This means they’re already well on their way to making that final decision and converting. It’s your job to make it as quick and easy for them to close the deal, which means strategically positioning CTAs around your landing pages.
The easier you make it for them to take action, the more likely they are to do so. Be sure to experiment with different CTAs, altering their position, shape, size, colour and content to see which options have the biggest impact. Don’t get too pushy, but don’t take any chances – make it as obvious as possible that the visitor is just a click away from making things happen.
7. Include high-quality imagery
The imagery you use on your landing pages needs to tick three important boxes – quality, uniqueness and relevance. Low-resolution images should be avoided at all costs, as should uninspiring stock photographs that say nothing about your business. In addition, you also need to ensure that the imagery is of direct relevance and interest to your target audience.
These days, it’s not exactly difficult to produce your own high-quality imagery that provides invaluable insights into your products, your brand and your story. You could also think about embedding a few video clips, which depending on what you do can prove even more effective.
8. Eliminate unnecessary distractions
You’ve already done half the job by attracting them to one of your landing pages in the first place. As such, it’s now a good idea to eliminate as many unnecessary distractions from the equation. Irrelevant links, superfluous marketing materials and anything that could take their attention away from closing the deal needs to be removed from view.
Keep things as simple and streamlined as possible. Use inspiring imagery, lists and bullet points to emphasise the value of whatever it is you’re offering. Don’t make the mistake of attempting to up-sell additional products at this moment in time, as doing so only stands to take their attention away from taking action.
9. Incorporate social proof
There are countless ways social proof can be incorporated effectively into your landing pages. Perhaps the most obvious of all being the inclusion of customer reviews and ratings. Whichever way you go, the objective is to paint a positive picture of your products and services from the perspective of your customers.
Star ratings, testimonials, product recommendations, even simple tallies of sales made to date can really help steer things in the right direction. If you can incorporate a photograph or video of one of your customers singing the praises of your products, even better. Social proof in all its forms can and will significantly improve the impact and effectiveness of your landing pages.
10. Request minimal information
Last up, if the landing page in question provides the opportunity to purchase a product or sign up for something, it’s important to request as little information as possible. There’s nothing more frustrating than being presented with a seemingly endless array of boxes to fill in, which can be enough to send would-be customers running in the opposite direction.
You’ll need to take certain details to seal the deal, but asking for information that isn’t strictly necessary is a bad idea. Or if you do, try to make as many fields as possible optional.