Are You Making These 5 Critical Landing Page Mistakes?

Avatar Act-On

You have an amazing product, excellent traffic, and a beautiful landing page, but somehow,  your conversions are falling flat. What’s a marketer like you to do? Should you rewrite content, change the design, or tweak another piece of the landing page?

It can often be a struggle to figure out just what went wrong when a landing page underperforms. Thankfully, there are a  few common landing page mistakes you can avoid – pitfalls that might be sabotaging your results and driving down conversions. Here are five critical landing page mistakes and tips for resolving each to drive maximum results.

1. Slow Loading Times

You have seconds to make a great first impression, because the majority of visitors — 74 percent — will leave when landing pages take longer than five seconds to load. Adding more images and graphics can  also slow down your page. Additionally, if you don’t test it often, you may not even know there’s a problem. Here are a few tips for making your page much faster.

  • Know your speed. A simple way to test your speed is by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool provides valuable evaluations of both mobile and desktop performance and gives a score on a 100-point scale. If your landing page has a poor rating, PageSpeed Insights provides suggestions for optimizing the site.
  • Minimize redirects. Redirection, which is also known as URL forwarding, is a technique that makes a web page available under more than one URL. However, too many redirects can bog down the speed of your site. Determine which redirects are slowing down your landing page with a tool such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider.
  • Manage your images. Large files, such as images, can also be problematic. One strategy is to resize images prior to upload. You can also host larger files, such as videos, externally to improve performance, using tools such as Wistia.

Content is critical with landing pages, but if you want visitors to read that content, you need to monitor landing page speed. Many small changes over time can slow down an otherwise great landing page, so continually monitor speed to ensure maximum performance.

2. Boring Headlines

On average, eight out of 10 people read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest. The headline is the first, and sometimes the only, impression you make with the reader. Writing higher-converting headlines, according to Unbounce, can be accomplished by using a basic formula.

  • The headline should be specific.
  • It should focus on the most important aspect that your prospects value.
  • It should reflect the expectations of the visitor.

Strong headlines mirror the exact words that customers use when describing their pain points. For example, they may say, “It drives me crazy when my computer is slow.” Using these specific words in the headline catches their attention instantly and leads them into the content. But how do you know what words they use?

The easiest method is to listen to what they say on forums and blog posts. How do they describe their problems and challenges? Take notes and work to use those words and phrases in your headlines.

Need a few more tips on creating better headlines? The book “Made to Stick” found that 89 percent of ads could be classified into five categories or templates. According to WordStream, these categories include:

  • Testimonials. WordStream found that using a subscriber’s satisfied quote as the headline, such as “Yours is the only newsletter I actually read,” resulted in a 24 percent higher conversion rate.
  • Cliffhangers. There is a reason that Steven King has sold 350 million books: He knows how to write a cliffhanger. And it turns out that marketers who can write headline cliffhangers sell more as well. For example, Conversion Rate Experts worked with Moz to redesign a landing page, which resulted in more than $1 million in new revenue. One of the key changes was the headline. They wrote, “When eBay, Disney, and Marriott need SEO help, here’s what they do …” Doesn’t that make you want to click?
  • Value propositions. This is where you identify your customer’s most burning pain point and present the value proposition in the headline. For example, think about one of advertising legend David Ogilvy’s most successful headlines ever: “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”
  • Lists. Did you know that 36 percent of readers prefer to read in a list format? What’s more, according to the Content Marketing Institute, odd-numbered listicle headlines outperform even-numbered ones by 20 percent. So, don’t just use a list headline — make sure it’s an odd number.
  • “How to” headlines. Second only to the list, “how to” headlines are preferred by 17 percent of readers, according to Conductor. Try this type of headline to drive greater engagement and results.

Creating the best headline ultimately requires testing. Come up with a few different headlines and test them against one another. Identify and keep the highest performer to maximize conversions.

3. Ineffective Calls to Action

A landing page is nothing without the proper follow-through. Make sure your call-to-action impossible to ignore with the following tips:

  • Move readers to action with strong verbs. Strong verbs tend to inspire readers to take action. For example, Crazy Egg does so below when they say, “Sign Up for a Free Trial!”
  • Use social proof. The call to action will be more powerful if readers feel like they’re following the crowd. For example, check out this CTA from the Content Marketing Institute that says, “Join over 180,000 of your Peers!” It uses a verb and inserts social proof to drive the point home and spur action.
  • Answer the pressing question, “What’s in it for me?” Reinforce the benefits of your product and how it will make a prospect’s daily life better, whether it’s purchasing a product or receiving a free weekly newsletter.
  • Place the CTA in the right spot. According to heat maps, most people read landing pages in an F shape, starting from the left-hand side of the page and working their way down. Start by putting your CTA on the left-hand side and keep it below the fold. Then test different placements to determine which ones get the best conversion on your landing page.

Also, don’t forget to align your headline copy and your CTA verbiage. Whatever you promise to deliver in the compelling headline, make sure you reinforce it in the call to action.

4. Font Issues

Ever wondered if font negatively impacts conversions? You can put that question to rest, because research shows that it does. For example, ClickLaboratory completed a conversion rate optimization test for Numara Software. The first thing they did was revamp their client’s website font. The new font was larger and had greater spacing for ease of reading. The results were impressive, with a 10 percent reduction in bounce rate, 24 percent increase in pages per visit, and 133 percent increase in conversion rates.

So, which fonts should you use? Eye-tracking studies show that serif fonts have better comprehension levels than sans-serif options. For example, “Georgia” was rated as being easier to read than “Verdana.”

It’s important to note, however, that while serif fonts may be ideal for body copy, headlines need to make an impact. You can select different fonts for the headline and body copy, but limit the number of different fonts on your page to cut down on font fatigue.

5. Offers that Are Not Great

WordStream analyzed $3 billion in advertising spending to better understand what separated average-performing sites from those that achieved amazing results. They determined that while tiny changes, such as switching out the color of buttons, played a small role in conversions, there were more powerful factors at work.  

Very successful landing pages performed well because they used a “massively differentiated offer” that provided extreme usefulness to solve a customer’s pain point.

For example, HR company PayScale makes an offer that’s focused on their target audience’s pain point, which is attracting talent through compensation plans. They offer “Bring Back the Sizzle … PayScale’s Guide to Comp Plans That Get Workers Fired Up (in a good way).”

When you aren’t getting the desired response on a landing page, look first to the offer. Could it be better, and does it address your customer’s most burning pain, positioning it as the best solution to that problem? Tweak the offering and test the results.

A Few Last Words

Everything starts and ends with the customer. At the end of the day, you have a product to sell and the purpose of the landing page is to move customers into your sales funnel and ultimately one step closer to purchase.

When you invest time in evaluating your current landing page, identifying weak spots, and creating a plan to fix those areas, you’re closer to achieving your goals and reaching more customers … and driving greater revenue.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made on your landing page? Please share below.