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May 24, 2018

Clever Conversion Tricks for Better Landing Pages

Landing pages are a major opportunity to generate leads and get conversions. Even small changes can result in big gains.

What landing page optimization tactics are you employing today to improve your website visitor conversions and drive more leads in your pipeline?

Even a little improvement to your landing pages helps. Your landing pages do a lot of work and create a lot of opportunities for you. They’re a critical part of your sales funnel.

So, how would you like to improve the conversion rates on your landing pages by 10%?

No miracles required. No huge testing budgets. Just a few simple principles, applied with patience and some statistical significance.

Here are a few ways to squeeze more dollars from your landing pages.

Lead generation landing pages

There are several types of landing pages. And many of these tips can be applied to other pages on your website (product, pricing, blog). The landing pages I’ll focus on, however, are lead gen landing pages and assumes there’s a form on the landing page. And because the defining element of lead gen landing pages is the form, let’s look at a couple of best practices for forms.

It all comes down to the form

Lots of things matter on landing pages. Headlines are super important. Copy matters. Design matters. But when you get down to brass tacks, all the action happens in the form.

Don’t neglect it, OK? Make sure your forms obey the proven best practices:

  • Generally, the fewer fields in a form, the better
  • Don’t ask for any information you don’t plan to use
  • Make the form stand out a bit from the rest of the page. A lightly colored background is usually enough
  • Label all the input fields clearly. If you need to simplify the design, put the labels inside each input field

Test the call to action

For lead gen landing pages, when people talk about the call to action, they’re usually referring to the copy on the button. You know, where we usually see “Submit.”

Don’t get too cute with your copy. Some tests have shown that the boring “Submit” actually does pretty well. But generally, putting “Submit” on your form submit buttons is a lost opportunity. Consider action verbs that fit with what action you want the visitor to take. Use “play” or “watch” for a video, or “get” or “grab” for an eBook, whitepaper or other report.

Match your landing page headlines to your ads

Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but it’s a virtue when it comes to landing pages.

The classic example of breaking this rule is bringing people from an ad straight to a home page, skipping the landing page entirely. That’s a big fail, but we still see it happen all the time.

But just creating a landing page isn’t quite enough. Take it further: Keep the messaging consistent from your paid ads or email campaigns to your landing pages, to your follow-up emails, and all the way to the final conversion.

All this might seem overly repetitive, but that’s not necessarily so for your prospects, who will arrive and zoom through your pages with barely a second thought. For them, the repetition is reassuring. And inconsistency (in offer, look-and-feel, language, headlines, images, colors) may have them questioning if they’re still on the path they chose when they clicked that first link. Worse, inconsistency makes you look sloppy and disorganized, not qualities that foster trust. People don’t engage with companies they don’t trust.

Mobile. Mobile. Mobile.

I can’t overstate how critical it is for your landing pages to be mobile friendly. For many of us, there’s more traffic from mobile devices than from desktops. That’s been true for a while.

Repeat after me: “I will never publish another landing page without testing it out on my smartphone.”

Beyond testing to make sure your pages look good on mobile, you should also view your pages in a cross-browser testing tool. There are dozens of sites that offer this, either for free or as a paid service with more features. What looks good on Chrome may not render correctly on Firefox and so forth.

Ask someone who doesn’t know your product to review your landing page and assess the goal of it. The most likely candidates for this job are spouses, roommates, and friends. Friendly people on planes are a good choice, too. But no co-workers allowed.

To get the best results, explain the basics of your campaign. For example: “We sell online accounting software for small businesses. We’re sending people who have searched for those services and clicked on our ads to this page.”

Don’t give information that’s too specific, like “We’ve been having a lot of trouble with conversions.” Many non-marketing people don’t know what is a “conversion.”

Use a timer to see how long it takes them to finish the task (Extra credit: Get them to do this on their cell phone). Ask them to talk you through what they’re thinking. Record them on video, if possible.

Common red flags include:

  • They say, “What do I do?” Message to you: Your call to action and the purpose of your landing page are not clear enough
  • Silence for more than 1 minute. Your landing page may be too confusing
  • They wince or flinch upon first sight of the page. Your headline may alienate them, they may not like the design, or an image you’re using might be putting them off
  • They have any trouble filling out the form. You’ve got a conversion-suppressing form
  • If they are on a mobile device and they either hold the device up close to their face or try to zoom in on something. Message to you: The typeface is too small, or you need to simplify the landing page design

Take notes on how the reviews go. It’s helpful to get feedback from five different people. That’s an old best practice from usability tests. After the fifth user test, you’ve typically triggered at least the biggest problems.

Of course, the best “test subjects” for this are people who are in your ideal audience, and people who are not your friends. If you can’t find anyone like that, check out some of the online services out there. You can get some basic testing for $50.

Check out our additional related content:

Building Better Landing Pages

Obsess over speed

Speed matters online. A lot. Especially with landing pages. Some studies have shown that every extra second it takes for a page to load, conversions go down 7%.

Any more than a 3-second load is almost certainly costing you conversions. And anything more than a 2-second load is probably costing you at least some.

To find out how fast your landing pages are loading, go to Google’s PageSpeed tool.

Don’t forget video

Video is more important every day. And while we might first think of it as “just” a content marketing format, don’t underestimate the power of the right video on a landing page.

The key word there is “right.” Not every video is going to spike your conversion rates. But videos do very well on landing pages, and I urge you to test one or two. Consider a short,  animated explainer video if you’ve got the budget. Or just put your best human explainer in front of a camera and have them talk to your visitors. Or record a voiceover from one of your initial pitch decks or product demo decks.

Here’s a thumbnail list of best practices for videos on landing pages:

  • The ideal length is between 30 to 90 seconds
  • Put the most important parts of your message near the beginning
  • Give enough information on the page so a visitor could decide to go forward without seeing the video
  • Make the first frame (splash page, or thumbnail) of your video count
  • Don’t set the video to autoplay

ABT – Always Be Testing

Assume nothing; test everything. That’s true for pretty much every piece of advice in this post. Best practices are great, but you’ll never know what works for your own audience until you test. That’s why testing comes in as the #1 way to improve landing page conversions in Ascend2’s landing page optimization report. You could spend a lifetime learning how to optimize landing pages. Some people have. But once you’ve got a few principles under your belt, you know enough to dive in and start using and testing what you’ve got.

That’s the beauty of landing pages: They improve over time. They’ll never perform any worse than on the day you first publish them, if you’ve got an ongoing testing program.