You don’t see great landing pages often. That’s not because they can’t be made, but because it’s extremely difficult to create them well. There are design rules to follow that keep people from leaving. There are tricks to use to get your button noticed. There are words that have a way of persuasively whispering in your prospects’ ears: push the button, claim the offer.
Most people don’t know what any of these things are, though. The average landing page converts somewhere between 2 and 5 out of every 100 visitors. That means there’s a lot of not-so-great landing pages out there.
Before you set out to create a great landing page it’s important to know what your prospects want. Specifically, it changes from business to business—some want a solution for their bad back, while others want an easier accounting software—but at the core, it’s this one thing:
They want to evaluate your offer as quickly as possible.
They’re not on your page to browse or pleasure read. They want to find out if what you’ve got is what they need. Do you have what they need?
In this blog, I’ll cover how to create the best landing pages for your business, from top to bottom.
One of the reasons landing pages are highly persuasive is because of their ability to keep visitors focused. If they cannot focus on your message, prospects will not be able to determine whether your offer can meet their needs. Focus starts with no navigation, like this page from Neat:
On your website, a navigation menu can be helpful for browsing visitors who want to find out more about your business. But on your landing page, where visitors are trying to learn more about a singular offer, they shouldn’t need to browse. You should have all the information they need to make a decision right there on your landing page.
Attention Grabbing Headlines
You have to earn attention from your prospect with a headline that grabs them, quickly conveys your offer’s unique value proposition, and guides them toward the rest of your content. Here are a few tips to help you win:
- Use the word “you” to speak directly to the reader.
- Clarify your unique selling proposition with a benefit. What is the biggest thing your prospect will gain by converting? “How to” can be a great way to start a headline.
- Make sure there’s message match between your headline and source. If your source is a Google AdWords ad with the headline “Make email marketing easier,” then the headline of your landing page should read “Make email marketing easier.” It boosts trust by letting your visitor know they’re in the right place.
Here’s a great example from ConversionXL:
Remember—nobody is here to browse or pleasure read. That means your argument for why a visitor should claim your offer needs to be conveyed as quickly and as persuasively as possible.
The way to do that is:
- Focus on benefits, not features. Your super-powerful processor means nothing to your visitor until you tell them that it transfers data faster than anything on the market.
- Use colors and typeface that people can read. That means a dark color (go for black) on a light background (white is safest). When picking a typeface, stick to no more than two different types. Serifs and sans serif typefaces are usable for headlines, but for body copy, stick to just sans serif. It’s easier to read at a smaller size.
- Break up chunks of text. The scariest thing to a busy prospect is a giant block of text. If you have any, they won’t get read. To ensure your copy gets read, use bullets and subheads to break up those blocks.
Here’s a great example of skimmable, benefit-oriented copy from Bolste:
Great landing pages don’t feature pointless stock photos. Some may include stock photos, but those photos are never pointless. Any photo or video you put on your landing page should help the visitor evaluate your offer, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t belong there. Here are a few examples of media you might want to use to help your visitor evaluate an offer:
- An edited stock photo showing your user interface
- An introductory video that proves you are a credible source of information
- An explainer video that shows how your product or service solves a problem
- Images that show the different angles and features of your product
- A hero image that helps visitors imagine what their lives could be like after claiming your offer
Here’s a great example of a stock photo that has been edited to fit the company’s needs. It shows visitors how the user interface looks, from the Bolste page above:
The form is where conversion happens. It’s the make-or-break element that can either get your visitor’s name in your CRM or scare them into fleeing your page.
Here’s how to get more prospects into your CRM:
- Make sure your form only asks for the bare minimum that you need to qualify a prospect. You might like to know how many people work at their company, but if you don’t need to know, then you shouldn’t ask. To your prospect, every additional form field is another reason to leave your page.
- Differentiate required fields from optional ones. On an ideal form, you’d have only required fields, but if you really want to A/B test to see if you can get a little extra information from a generous prospect, make sure they at least know they don’t have to give it to you if they don’t want to.
- Put labels close to the fields they correspond to. If the “name” label is placed in between the “email” and “name” field, then your visitor might mistake one field for the other.
- Do not use placeholder text. If your form has any directions (like “your password must be 5+ characters in length and contain one special character) then they should be written above the field, next to the label. Disappearing labels in form fields can confuse your prospects when they start writing and those labels vanish.
- Ensure that error messages are highly visible and clear. If your prospect forgets a special character in that password, your error message should outline the field they made a mistake on, and tell them how they made a mistake (for example: “must contain one special character”).
Here’s an example from a short, friction-free form from eSpatial:
Compelling Call-To-Action Button
You won’t see the word “Submit” or “Download” on any great landing page. That’s because those words do not get the prospect excited to claim the offer. “Submit” sounds like work and so does “Download.” So, how do you write better ones?
- Make your call-to-action benefit-oriented. Everything else on your page focuses on the benefit of claiming the offer, so it makes sense that yours should too.
- Make your button stand out. If it doesn’t contrast the rest of your page, it won’t be seen. Pick colors that are complementary on the color wheel to create the most attention-grabbing effect, like a yellow button on a blue background.
- Make your button look like a button. People are used to seeing buttons all over the internet. They don’t look like stars or circles or octagons — they are mostly rectangular. That means, to be recognizable, yours should be too.
Here’s a great example of a button change that yielded big results: When IMPACT Branding & Design changed their button copy from “Download”:
to “Show me how to attract more customers,” and conversions skyrocketed by nearly 80%!
A great landing page isn’t filled with braggadocious copy that says things like, “we’re the best solution on the market!” It uses a technique to convey that message with more subtlety because nobody believes the business that says “We’re the best!” Of course, you think you’re the best! You work for the company and you want your prospects’ business. Who they will believe is someone who has nothing to gain from saying, “This product or service can’t be beaten.”
That’s why the subtle technique that great landing pages employ is social proof. Social proof is the reason you think a Twitter account is worth following because it has a lot of followers already. It’s the reason you think a product is better because a stranger said so.
Here’s how to use it to create a great landing page:
- Display counters of people who have claimed your offer.
- Showcase high-profile places your brand has been featured.
- Include badges of trusted clients or customers you’ve serviced.
- Feature detailed testimonials from happy customers with their headshot.
Here’s a great example of social proof from Qlik:
Making a great landing page doesn’t have to be hard! It just takes a little extra reading and some creativity. Check out these 100 landing page examples, then start converting prospects with less work.
I’d love to hear about how you’ve incorporated these tips into creating great landing pages for your business. Tell me about your experiences in the comments.
The post Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create Great Landing Pages appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.