What Makes a Great Landing Page? 7 Strategies to Increase Your Conversions
You could have the most beautiful landing page in the world . . . but it’d be useless if it didn’t actually convert.
A landing page is any webpage created for conversion. It’s where you want your site visitors to not just land, but also jump off again — to an eBook download, to a sale, to that next point in their customer journey.
Think of a landing page like a trampoline, where your leads quickly spring from Point A to Point B.
But what if they fall flat on their faces?
If leads aren’t filling out the form on your landing page (and are doing the bad kind of bouncing), either:
- Your offer isn’t good enough.
- You’re not making it seem good enough.
When you send people to your landing page, you’re asking them to give you their information (and possibly their money) in exchange for something you have — so make it worth their while.
If you’re struggling to generate leads from your website, here are seven proven strategies to increase your landing page conversion.
1. Write a Super-Direct Headline
Your landing page headline needs to be shockingly specific. Readers should know exactly what your page is about within 2.6 seconds of arriving there. That means that not only should your headline be concise (10 to 20 words max), it should also grab readers’ attention immediately.
Don’t be cute. Don’t be clever. Be clear.
Tell your visitors precisely what they should do and why they should do it. Some ways to focus your copy on benefits rather than features include:
- Start with an action verb.
- Use “you” language to directly address the reader.
- Try the “So what?” test.
Your headline should also meet your readers’ expectations. Think about how they’re getting to your landing page. If they found the link in an email, a social media post, and/or another webpage, be sure you’re using similar verbiage throughout.
You don’t want people to click through to your landing page, only to be greeted by an unfamiliar headline. That’s a sure way to get them to click the “back” button.
2. Show Us What You’re Offering
It’s no secret that humans are visual learners. In fact, we process images 60,000 times faster than text.
Especially if you’re offering something physical, you may want to include a relevant image on your landing page. Not only are images fun to look at, they also reinforce your content by showing your product or service in action.
Landing page imagery shouldn’t be limited to stock photos (even those from actually decent stock image websites). Consider these ways to get creative with your landing page images:
- Try a short video (which can increase your conversion rate by 80%!).
- Make use of color theory.
- Use the concept of eye direction to point models’ faces toward your call-to-action (CTA).
Be careful not to overwhelm your page with visuals. Never use more than one hero image, especially above the fold — and even that might be too much. If an image doesn’t make sense for your offer or will cause your page to look cluttered, you’re better off with a clean, text-only landing page.
3. Cut Out All Distractions
By the time someone reaches your landing page, they should be at least somewhat familiar with your business and what you’re about to offer. That means you don’t need to waste space on top-of-the-funnel stuff, like company descriptions, links to blog posts, or even — dare we say — site navigation bars.
By removing your main navigation bars (i.e. the links in your site header and footer), you remove the risk of distraction. You don’t want visitors clicking away from this page — you want them clicking your CTA button!
Removing navigational links is proven to increase conversions by as much as 100%. But that doesn’t mean you should remove all links on your landing page. You want to keep your logo on every page of your site, linking back to your home page — it’s considered a common courtesy in user experience.
Navigation bars aren’t the only threats of distraction. Here are a few other ways to keep your readers’ attention on your landing page offer:
- Remove any sidebars or social sharing links.
- Condense your copy (aim for fewer than 500 words for specific sign-up pages).
- Stick to one main topic per landing page.
Your goal in creating a landing page is simple: get people to fill out your form. Don’t jeopardize that by giving users any reason to leave your page.
4. Keep Form Fields to the Absolute Minimum
Only 3% of users will fill out four fields on a contact form.
People are skeptical (and stubborn). If you ask for too much information on your landing page, they just aren’t going to give it to you.
After all, your users hold the cards here. It’s up to them to decide whether they want to show you their hand.
So make it easy on them. Ask for only the form fields you truly need. If you don’t actually make sales calls or don’t really care where someone lives, don’t ask for their phone number or city. And certainly don’t make fields “required” if they aren’t.
To figure out what form fields to include on your landing page, first identify the part of the sales funnel you’re trying to target. If you’re casting a wide net with, say, a blog subscription page, you may need only one field. If you’re seeking a specific sect of people, you can include more fields, knowing you’ll get fewer (yet more qualified) form submissions.
Here’s a rough list of form fields you can expect to include on various types of landing pages:
- Top-of-the-funnel landing pages: Email address and maybe first name.
- Middle-of-the-funnel landing pages: First name, last name, email address, and one or two other relevant fields (max).
- Bottom-of-the-funnel landing pages: All the above fields and a select few others (such as company name, company size, website URL, or marketing goals) that will help you segment your audience.
Consider creative ways to format your form. Instead of making every field a plain text box, try other field types, like dropdown menus or checkboxes. Along with adding visual interest, these alternative field types make it quicker for users to fill out the form, since they don’t have to type as much.
Another way to make your form easier to fill out is by including progressive fields, which change depending on what you already know about the form submitter.
For instance, if Joe Shmoe is already in your contact database, the next form he sees wouldn’t ask for his first and last name, but rather his job role or industry. You’ll need a marketing automation software to use smart content like this, but if you truly want qualified leads, it’s worth the investment.
5. Optimize that CTA Button!
So small, yet so powerful. Make sure your call-to-action (CTA) button is shouldering the work it should.
After all, the CTA is theoretically the only link you want users to click — so make it count!
It’s easy to get caught up in the design of your landing page CTA, but don’t forget the importance of the text itself. Many marketers fall back on the default “Submit,” but that’s actually about the worst copy you could write. “Submit” is not only not descriptive, it’s also not desirable. (Who wants to submit to anything?)
Instead, use power words, like “Create,” “Discover,” or “Upgrade,” to evoke a more emotional response in your users.
Here are a few other best practices for landing page CTAs:
- Keep it above the fold.
- Ensure it actually looks like a button (perhaps using hover effects).
- Make it stand out from the rest of the page (with a large size and contrasting colors).
No matter what, your landing page CTA should convey a sense of urgency. That doesn’t mean shouting “DO THIS NOW!!” at your visitors. It means being direct, using first-person speech, and just generally emphasizing the importance of clicking on the CTA.
If your CTA doesn’t excite you, it certainly won’t excite your visitors.
6. Back Your Claims with Social Proof
You’re more likely to buy something (or buy into something) if it’s trusted by a person you trust. Right?
Don’t expect that your company reputation simply “speaks for itself.” Allow your customers to do the speaking for you in the form of social proof on your landing page.
Social proof is basically what happens when we assume the behavior of those around us, especially “influencers” in our community. When used in marketing, social proof is described by CXL as:
“Essentially, it’s borrowing third-party influence to sway potential customers.”
That might sound sketchy, but as long as those third parties are honest, there’s nothing wrong with using their opinions to help sell your product or service. You’d be foolish not to!
Here are some ways to leverage social proof on your landing page:
- Include quotes, testimonials, and/or reviews.
- Embed social media posts from happy customers.
- Use stats to your advantage (number of downloads, percentage of repeat customers, etc).
Another way to build trust with your audience is to offer some sort of “guarantee” on your landing page. Even the word itself can increase conversion!
Basically, it all comes down to making sure leads know that you — and your customers — stand behind your product or service.
7. Ask an Outsider
In the end, you could have a landing page you love, but if no one else does, it’s essentially worthless. That’s why it’s critical to research the effectiveness of your landing page.
Of course, you should do extensive testing and editing within your own company. But often, the best editors are outside your office.
For the most objective opinions, consult the following resources for landing page design:
- People who fit your buyer personas: Try to enlist people who were previously unfamiliar with your company, as they’ll have the most unbiased perspective.
- Website testing tools: Use software like Crazy Egg to see heat maps and other reports of how people are actually using your site (not just how you hope they’re using it).
- Other (well-designed) landing pages: Don’t be afraid to seek inspiration from other landing pages you like. After all, we all learn by example.
Oh, and did we mention A/B testing your landing pages? Split testing is a huge piece of any marketing strategy, especially one as important as a landing page. Watch our on-demand webinar to learn our best strategies for content testing.
We can’t stress enough the importance of content testing. From minor tests (like the color of your CTA button) to major tests (like the length or format of your entire page), A/B testing is the only true way to measure — and improve — your landing page conversion rate.
Ready to Rock Your Next Landing Page?
With these proven landing page conversion strategies, you should be ready to jump right in!
. . . But if you’re not, that’s okay too. Landing page design is trickier than it looks. It takes a lot of work to not only optimize one landing page, but also integrate that page into your overall digital marketing strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about content marketing, start by studying up on search engine optimization (SEO) — we’ve written a ton of other blog posts we think you’ll find useful.
You can also learn more about what content marketing looks like at 9 Clouds by clicking the button below!