Imagine you’re a used car salesman. I know, you’re disgusted and feel like taking a shower now, but humor me. A customer who has been searching for a Toyota Camry comes to your car lot because he saw your flashing sign for just that – a great deal on a Toyota Camry. You tell him, “Sure!” and point him in the direction of the entire car lot. “Find it yourself!” Do you think you’ll close that sale?
How about imagine he walks through the lot with your Toyota deal in his mind, but you have salesmen calling him over trying to sell him BMW’s, Honda’s, KIA’s, etc. Not only is your customer now annoyed that you made him search for the deal himself, you’re team is bugging him with promotions he’s really not thinking about or interested in.
Let’s say after that, your now annoyed customer sees a car lot next door, and ALL they sell are low priced Camry’s. Who’s going to get that sale?
This is how you should be thinking about your site and competitors. In particular, basic web usability theory says the internet make things so easy and convenient for us, that it’s trained us to be…well…lazy. If you don’t make things as easy as possible for your visitors, your competitor will, and there is no penalty or price for your visitor pressing the “back” button and then clicking on your competitor.
10 Tips for Building Effective Landing Pages
The beauty of the internet now is that you can create targeted custom landing pages focused on closing one product or service without any distractions. Landing pages are focused, eliminating confusion, putting your prospects into a “track” that hopefully will result in a lead or close.
In this post, I’d like to talk list some best practices on how to do that right.
1 ) Simplicity = Clarity. This is a key point that not only web design and other media is based on in general, but most of the landing page best-practices are based on this. There is definitely a balance that needs to happen – all important information needs to be included – however, it’s important that information is succinct and that also there is no other fluff on the page that will distract the visitor from closing. Hubspot (a great authority on internet marketing) calls this the “blink-test” – meaning it should be clear on the page (any web subpage) what the page is about within the first 5 seconds (before you blink). How do you do this? With clear headings, images, calls-to-actions and reducing all other distractions.
2 ) Maintain the Scent. In many cases, your paid ads/email ads will be targeted and a landing page will be best to serve them, since the landing page can be focused specifically on what your ad/mail is talking about. Like our Camry analogy, there’s nothing more annoying than coming to a page that says “Free Kindle!” but then all it says (and in fact is yelling), “Here’s a bunch of information that has nothing to do with that.”
3 ) Headline. In many cases, this is the first thing a visitor will see. Make sure it maintains the scent of your ad if it’s from paid traffic. Also, make sure it conveys what the page is about, whether it’s the name of your product, why they should purchase it, a promo you are offering, etc. Again, internet surfers like to think as little as possible, if they scan your headings and don’t find what they’re looking for, there’s no penalty for them bouncing.
4 ) Salespoints. Sounds obvious, but too many times we’ve come to a page and they dance around the main reasons why we should buy their product or contact them. Understand your prospects, what they are looking for, what possible hesitations may stop them from taking advantage of your product/services. Outline that then make sure it’s all included in your landing page. Only thing to keep in mind is when you put them there, you don’t want to write a novel as to why visitors should buy. Minimal, succinct words and phrases that best convey your ideas.
5 ) Clear Calls-To-Action. Another one that sounds obvious. Your design should clearly distinguish it’s call(s)-to-action. It’s image should contrast (a bright button on a muted surface) or the link should be bright and big. If there is only one clear button, and that’s the only place they can go, it increases their chances of them going there. Also, minimize your calls-to-action and keep them above-the-fold (meaning it shouldn’t be at the bottom of the page where visitors have to scroll down to find it). If your conversion element or call-to-action is a form, make sure it’s nice and big, stands out, and is above the fold.
6 ) No Escapes. I want them to look at the rest of my site! I want them to see what other services I provide! I want them to see my Facebook page! By them leaving this page that nurtures the lead, you are significantly risking them losing the sale. Remove all escape elements from the page – no navigation, no social networks, no other offers. In the case where they may want more information on your company, you may provide one hidden escape to again minimize the chance of them getting distracted an you losing the lead (maybe link your logo to your homepage), but make sure to open this page in another tab/window so the original offer/landing page is not lost. If you want them to see your certifications, high-profile clients you’ve served, etc – include that in the actual landing page design and layout.
7 ) Reduce Distractions. Aside from actual link “escapes”, design can get in the way too. Too many images, background patterns, textures, rotating information, etc – can distract a visitor from your main “track”. You may need to include some of these things, but minimize it. Simple backgrounds, simple images, simple colors. You can still be simple and be aesthetically chic.
8 ) Credibility Badges. Any certifications, testimonials, client logos, authority certifications of your business will help legitimize you and could refute apprehension by your visitors to convert on your landing page. The nice thing is now that your landing page is simple, it has space for this information.
9 ) Test! In design, it’s always important to understand – best practices are just that – “best practices”. They are not written in stone and may not always apply, or a tweak to them may further optimize them. It’s great to have hypotheses of how your visitors will act on the page based on their marketing personas and to also follow best practices – this is a great starting point. However, you wont truly know how your page will perform until it goes live, and you wont know if it’s doing the best it can do till you test different strategies, layouts, designs. You can have different landing pages under different campaigns to test, conduct user-testing, or you can try A/B testing services such as the Google Website Optimizer.
10 ) Thank You Page UPSELL! This is something everyone neglects (even until recently, so did we!) . You just closed a lead! You can place a plain thank you message, or further your business by putting a promotion on the thank you page, upsell other products you have, or even better, add a social “share” link so that your happy lead can share this info with their friends. Word-of-mouth sales close significantly greater than cold leads.