How to Build High-Converting Landing Pages
Your landing page is the face of your brand. It digitally introduces your visitors to the products or services you offer and the problems you solve.
Though widely popular among the digital marketers across the globe, only a few top contenders in a niche understand the nitty-gritty of creating a landing page that converts at par with the industry average.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is a standalone page designed to generate qualified leads. In order to achieve this objective, you can have micro conversions on your landing page, such as filling out a form, signing up for a free trial, registering interest in a product or service, etc.
Marketers generally send warm traffic to a landing page—the traffic that has shown some interest in your offer. Among other channels your visitors might come from pay per click (PPC) advertising through social media or through an email list.
Landing page conversion rates vary with industries and their objectives. Hence, it’s unfair to set an ideal conversion rate that fits all industries.
The graph shown above illustrates the difference between the high-performing landing pages and others. To set a target for yourself, you can refer to the conversion rate benchmarks in your industry.
What is the first step to building high-converting landing pages?
Don’t fall for any manual that guarantees a high-converting landing page—they don’t exist. As mentioned in the above section, the conversion rate standards are industry specific, which can probably guide you setting a target in the initial stages of your landing page design process. However, as a starting point, it is imperative for you to have a sound understanding of your brand and its value propositions, apart from having knowledge about basic website design and user experience (UX).
Iterations never hurt, but guessing games can do collateral damage to your business.
Landing pages require continuous testing and optimization for better conversions. Understanding this is the first, important step of your optimization journey. You can certainly stop guessing what your visitors want from your landing page and utilize tools such as heatmaps, eye-tracking software, and more to gauge visitor behavior on your page. Generating valuable insights from these tools can help you improve the design, CTA, etc., and thereby, can help your conversions.
What does a high-converting landing page comprise?
Crisp above-the-fold content
The design of your landing page impacts the conversion rate. The fold plays a vital role in conversion rate optimization. Everything that appears on the screen when you first load the page is your webpage’s above-the-fold content.
Nielsen Norman Group conducted a study on people’s online browsing habits. The study has 120 participants who interacted with thousands of sites in different niches. Using eye-tracking software, they looked at how people interacted with different websites.
Based on their findings, the Nielsen Norman Group concluded that; “Users do scroll, but only if what’s above the fold is promising enough. What is visible on the page without requiring any action is what encourages us to scroll.”
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the high-converting landing pages are designed to have the maximum above-the-fold impact. Many successful landing pages contain all of the key information a visitor might need above the fold, almost like a mini sales page. Take an example from VWO.
You can see, the content above the fold includes essential landing page elements that help convince a visitor to take action. It includes:
- Engaging sub-headline
- Call to action
- Social proof
The design of the landing page relies on grabbing the users’ attention right from the start. If a visitor wants to find out more information, they can then scroll down the page, where critical elements of the sales message are expanded upon.
A headline with impact
David Ogilvy, the founder of the global marketing company Ogilvy, famously said about headlines: “five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” His quote is from a pre-internet age, but the sentiment holds to this day.
Take the example of a landing page designed by Imsider.ru. They ran an A/B test to increase the conversion rate on their landing page. The control is on the left, and the variation is on the right.
The headline translation is below the screenshot for anyone who’s Russian is rusty.
In this A/B test, the variant improved lead generation. It generated 9.52% more leads than the control. That’s a significant increase in conversion rate.
Fundamentally, the headline must convey the benefit to the visitor. This can be done by offering a time-sensitive benefit and promising an easy solution, as shown in the example above. Regardless of your approach, you must attempt to optimize your headline through conversion rate optimization testing.
A hooking subheadline
Your subheadline should elaborate on the headline and add more context to it by providing complementary information, so as to convince a visitor to take the desired action. Below are four things you can try when creating a subheadline for your landing page:
- Make it longer: Depending on the design of landing page, the subheadline can be up to two or three times as long as your headline.
- Include your unique selling point (USP): Include your USP in the subheadline if appropriate.
- Encourage action: You can turn your subheadline into an engaging call to action (CTA).
- Don’t overinform: Your subheadline should be concise, crisp, and focused.
VenueSphere, a third party referral business, provides a case study on the importance of your subheadline.
They ran an A/B test on their subheadline to try and improve their conversion rate. The variant, the second screenshot, resulted in a 69% increase in leads over the control.
Hierarchy of order: how to structure a sales copy
As a marketer, your job is to convince your landing page visitor that the desired action expected from them stands for their interest. This involves overcoming a couple of fundamental objections and pain points a person may have. For instance:
- Does the landing page offer what I’m looking for?
- Is there enough information on the page to answer my questions?
- Is this going to take a long time?
The elements you use on a landing page will help people overcome these natural objections to taking action. The way these elements are ordered on the page will determine your conversion rate.
There are some standard copywriting formulas and landing page designs that you need to acquaint yourself with if you want to see an uptick in your landing page conversion rate. These include:
- Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA)
- Before After Bridge
- Problem, Agitate, Solve
- Picture, Promise, Prove, Push (PPPP)
The above are some of the examples of copywriting principles you could apply to your site. They are particularly useful if you plan to create a long-form landing page.
Color theory: how to use colors on a page
The colors and the design elements on your landing page play an important role as far as the first impression of your website is concerned. Understanding how people react to colors and how to use colors on a page relates to a set of design principles known as color theory.
There are elements of color theory that relate to landing page design:
- Psychology of colors
- The role of contrasting colors in emphasizing elements on a page
The color scheme of your landing page should mirror your brand. It’s important to have at least some basic understanding of color associations when designing a landing page. You can refer to a color wheel to understand complimentary colors.
The colors you use can help draw attention to elements by contrasting these elements against the background. This is why there is such a large set of success stories that highlight how a change in the color of a landing page button can increase or decrease conversion rates.
Finally, you should understand how to use color contrast to highlight elements on a page. Numerous case studies suggest how changing the color of a button can impact conversion rates.
Relevant images: pick the right ones
Visuals play a crucial role in designing your landing page. They break up chunks of text and make the design of a page look attractive. However, you should be careful when, how, and what images you use. Images can help direct attention to elements of the page.
Photos of people are generally really effective on a landing page. Yet, the image needs to be appropriate to the context. Take the example of POSist, a leading SaaS restaurant platform. They ran an A/B test on their homepage.
The control had a hero image of a person. The variation was a custom graphic.
The variant generated 16% more leads, which was massive. The case study goes to show the importance of testing.
Clear CTA button
Improving your CTA is an entry-level conversion rate optimization test. Yet, entry-level tests shouldn’t be overlooked by experts.
Take this example from White Card Courses. They wanted to increase the conversion rate on their homepage. They ran an A/B test, after reviewing it.
You can see that several changes were made to the page. A CTA button was added to the page with the button text, “Start Now.” A change was made to the background color behind the headline to increase the contrast with the hero image.
The variant generated a 28.76% increase in conversions over the control. It’s a good example of the multidisciplinary nature of conversion rate optimization.
Trust badges and logos
An important pain point you need to overcome when dealing with a lead is the trust factor. Often, your landing page is the first space where a person encounters you as a brand. In this context, social proof in the form of testimonials and trust badges can help generate that trust.
Let’s revisit the POSist case study.
Instead of settling on the first variation for the homepage, POSist ran a second test. They added logos of their clients to the homepage. This second variant resulted in an even higher conversion rate.
The POSist case study stresses on the importance of continuous testing and optimization.
Social proof, in the form of testimonials, reviews, or social engagement, plays in improving conversion rates. A good example of how much of an impact a small amount of social proof can have on conversion rates is this old Wikijob success story.
VWO helped them run an A/B test where a simple testimonial was inserted above the form.
This small change generated a 34% increase in sales. That’s a massive result considering that the testimonial was three lines of unattributed text.
There is a wide range of ways you can use social proof on a landing page. You can and should experiment with placing social proof and testimonials on the page to see if it has an impact on your landing page conversion rates. Even small things like adding the number of Facebook likes or shares can result in a boost in the conversion rate.
Landing page form design
Assuming you are using one, the form you use on your landing page is where the conversion happens. Any issue with the design of your form and the way people interact with the form will result in a lower landing page conversion rate. Rather obviously, any improvement you make to your landing page form design will increase the chance visitors fill out the form.
You must review and optimize the design of your form. For example, as a general rule of thumb, the fewer form fields you use, the higher the overall conversion rate. More importantly, though, a thorough review of form analytics can highlight a form field where people are getting confused, a common pain point.
There are plenty of case studies, and form examples you can refer to regarding best practice. Make sure to review these case studies and run tests to help increase the number of people who fill out the form.
Experimentation with live chat
Depending on the type of conversion you are tracking, there is a good chance that when a person finally reaches your form, they have unresolved questions about the offer. An FAQ section to a page can offer a partial solution to this problem. However, a lot of people might not read this section, or they might have questions that are unaddressed in the FAQ.
Live chat software can help resolve this issue by providing users with the chance to get their questions answered. Interestingly, the presence of a live chat option creates a sense of added reassurance. Product developers realized this decades ago. The world is full of placebo buttons that are there to reassure us but have no functionality. That doesn’t mean you can ignore questions. However, you should test what impact a live chat has on your conversion rate and how much support having a live chat feature on the page requires.
The top-performing landing pages in any industry often convert at a rate of double or triple the industry average. If you’re using PPC advertising to generate these leads and your landing page has an average conversion rate, you could be paying almost triple money per lead as a competitor. And that obviously puts you at a huge strategic disadvantage.
Yet there is a silver lining. The businesses that run high-converting landing pages in your niche didn’t create those landing pages by chance. They have certainly applied rigorous testing to improve their landing page conversion rates, incrementally.