Landing Page Optimization
What is Landing Page Optimization?
When it comes to increasing conversions, most marketers advocate a plethora of strategies to implement to increase numbers and stay atop in today’s thriving competition. Amid the list, optimizing landing pages is often the first and foremost crucial linchpin that businesses do address but not always in an end-to-end manner.
Landing page optimization can be defined as a process of improving the performance of various page elements and ensure that they get your business the highest possible conversions from visitors who arrive on these targeted pages. It is a subset of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and includes methods like A/B Testing to help lower your customer acquisition cost and maximize your ad spend value.
Let’s get into some depth and analyze why landing page optimization is critical for lead generation and overall business growth.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a web page where visitors land and see your brand’s offerings. But, in terms of marketing, it’s typically a standalone page, which is different from other site pages including your homepage. It serves a singular and more focused purpose – to lead visitors to a specific product, service or offer, and encourage them to take the desired action.
Ideally, there are five types of high converting landing pages that most businesses typically use. These are as follows:
1. Click Through Landing Pages
One of the simplest forms of landing pages used in online marketing, their sole purpose is to offer an on-site visitor with all the necessary information regarding a product, service or an offer, and explain the advantages as well as the context of use to convince them to enter the conversion funnel. These pages are ideally created to increase click-throughs and guide visitors to specific targeted pages where they’ll find complete transaction details.
2. Lead Capture Landing Pages
Otherwise known as squeeze pages, the core purpose of lead capture landing pages is to collect visitor data and create a bank of prospects for the marketing and sales team. A good lead capture landing page doesn’t have any exit paths from the page. Meaning, these pages do not have any internal or external links but only CTA button(s) to submit user details.
Workable is a good example to quote here. The company “Try It For Free” landing page is clear, concise, and focuses only on collecting visitor data. It doesn’t have any external links, just the right amount of content, and CTAs that are prominently visible to naked eyes.
3. Viral Landing Pages
As the name suggests, these pages are ones that help businesses to promote their brand through word-of-mouth marketing. The goal behind having these landing pages is not just to get more visitors to sign up, but also to spread the word (to friends, family members, and peers) about what they’ve found. The image below is a great example of a viral landing page.
What makes this landing page so successful that not only is its content out-of-the-box, especially “pleasantly infrequent updates” expression but the addition of social icons (Facebook and Twitter) that puts visitors at ease with subscribing and sharing.
A microsite is a subset that acts as a supplementary website to a fairly large website. These landing pages normally have their own vanity URLs related to the relevance and timing of the campaign. Although they’re more than just single pages, they’re classified as landing pages because their destinations, or where visitors are routed to are driven from paid online ads, print and television ads.
Spotify’s Year in Music is one of the most well executed microsites that you’ll ever come across.
Besides listening to an expansive variety of songs on its site, Spotify allows you to create your own personalized year round recap list. This includes a list of all the songs that you’ve listened to throughout the year, the top artists by season, and even details upon the amount of time you’ve spent listening to music. The experience is unique and makes it fun for you to share and compare your synopsis with your friends and peers.
Another great example of microsites is Movie Trailer sites. Not only do they help attract high traffic on your site but only exist for the sole purpose of promoting the movies.
What is an Ideal Landing Page Optimization Process?
Understand that a landing page are key component of a website and an important tool in a marketer’s arsenal. When designed and optimized in an effective and efficient manner (ensuring they cater to all the needs and demands of the target audience and business objectives), they have the prowess to significantly contribute to revenue gains, achieve business goals, and serve as an aide to conversion rate optimization(CRO).
When optimizing or doing landing page testing, it’s always ideal to follow a set process to ensure they attain perfection. And, one of the best processes we typically vouch for is following the conversion pyramid as suggested by the Eisenberg brothers.
The pyramid typically comprises of five critical stages and it looks something like this:
- Functional: Starting from the base level, the first milestone that landing pages must achieve is to be functional. They shouldn’t have any technical issues or create friction in a visitor’s on-site journey.
- Accessible: Next, they must be easily accessible. Meaning, your visitors mustn’t face difficulty while finding your targeted landing pages. Employing good SEO techniques along with PPC and other ad campaigns becomes essential. Moreso, they must also have the same impact on your visitors irrespective of the devices they use to arrive on these pages.
- Usable: Once your pages have fulfilled the requirements of the first two stages, they must next achieve the usability parameter. There shouldn’t be any readability or scrolling issues, banner blindness, and must be clutter-free. Smooth navigation always prompts users to take action faster than usual.
- Intuitive: The entire hierarchy of your landing page’s elements must make sense that visitors catch the basic essence of your page instantly.
- Persuasive: And, last but not least, all of your efforts made so far must persuade your on-site peepers to convert into leads and further into loyal brand advocates.
How To Get Started With Landing Page Optimization
Besides this, when beginning your landing page optimization journey, it’s also important to consider analyzing two of the most critical steps of your sales conversion funnel – optimizing for multiple traffic sources, and toying with different on-page elements.
Optimizing for Different Traffic Sources: Prospects coming to your site by clicking on a paid search ad will perform in a different manner than the ones landing on your site through social media ad spend. So, optimize your landing pages in a manner that they cater to each of your potential sources.
Toying with Different On-page Elements: This means that you must pay attention to each of your landing page elements, test different value propositions, change form fields, and include more social proof to ensure maximum traction.
What are the Primary Elements that Influence Landing Page Performance?
The primary objective of your landing page is to provide a hyper-focused experience that is designed to accomplish the singular conversion goal of your marketing campaign. In a desire to create a visually aesthetic landing page, try and not overdo it. An eye-catching image or a beautifully designed page may earn you a few praises, but in the long run, if they don’t convey the right message (in a simple and clear manner), they’re a lost cause. Instead, it’s essential to focus your energies to create uncluttered and easy-to-understand landing pages which promise conversions, as intended.
Below mentioned are 10 primary landing page elements you must seek to improve to build highly optimized landing pages:
1. Headline and Sub-headline
The objective of your headline and sub-headline must not be just to sell products or services to prospects, rather establish a connect with them and persuade them to take the desired action. So, optimizing them should be your first priority. Craft headline and sub-headline that are relevant and catchy to make visitors stay on your page and browse through your offerings. Salesforce request demo landing pages are a great example of landing pages with compelling and engaging headline and sub-headline.
The second thing to focus on when optimizing your landing page must be to draft copies that intrigue them. Ensure your copies are clear, concise, and to the point. Try to use bullet points as they’re a great way to hone in on key aspects of your offerings and make information easier for visitors to digest. Here’s an example of a landing page with an excellent copy.
Images make for another critical element that visitors prominently notice and quickly resonate with when they arrive on your landing page. So, leverage them to your advantage. Use images that speak about your brand or illustrate offerings, set the tone for their entire experience, and increase your page’s engagement rate. See how Square, by using simple yet effective imagery, along with a catchy headline and sub-headline provokes its target audience to get started.
Call-to-actions (CTAs) have the prowess to get you that one click that closes the deal for your business. Hence, crafting CTAs that are attractive, compelling, and impactful is crucial. Some best practices to get higher click-through rate and more conversions out of your CTAs are as follows:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Use action packed words but limit them between two and five
- Use color combination that makes your CTA stands out
- Go with large and legible text size.
- First person speech works wonders
- Get fancy with button graphics
- Have a healthy chunk of white space surround your CTA
Remember, the catchier the CTA, the higher shall be the click-through rate. Below given example is a testimony to our claim.
If your landing pages have been primarily designed to generate leads through forms, ensure they’re smartly placed on the page. Furthermore, keep your landing page form simple, concise, and only ask for information that’s most relevant and important to your business. This can significantly increase the chances of your prospects filling them.
6. Social Proof
Social proofing may take the form of testimonials or even an info-graphic showing names of companies who are also engaged with your brand. It is important to note that testimonials must be relevant to your user persona. For instance, if your landing page targets a young finance professional working at an investment management firm, it makes good sense to showcase testimonials from similar professionals to establish credibility. Look how Amazon uses social proofing to its advantage.
7. Live Chat
If you get your value proposition right on your landing page, then having a live chat option can do wonders for your business. For the reason that visitors like live chats. They appreciate when they’re assisted right then and there while they’re active on the site. This not only helps invoke a feeling of satisfaction amid the visitors but build brand trust as well. In fact, a study by eMarketer advocates our claim. It states that 63% of respondents who engage in live chats are more likely to return to the website, and 62% are more likely to buy from the website.
Moreover, it’s also easier to move potential customers to the bottom of the sales funnel faster through a live chat session than other marketing means. Here’s how Intercom uses live chat to engage visitors on its page.
8. Trust Badges
Security labels act as reinforcements. And, the image below showcases that pretty well. They help build trust in the authenticity of your products and/or services. So, sdd testimonials, media coverage news, a few social media mentions and voila, to give your brand’s reputation and credibility some needed boost.
9. Color Contrast
Some of the best landing pages over the internet that we’ve seen have made great use of contrast but in color and clarity. In this example from Starbucks, you can’t ignore the CTA.
Even though the “Join Now” button reflects the star’s color in the left-side logo, it’s far more pronounced and clear. Furthermore, the textured black background makes the headline and CTA pop instantly.
10. Above the Fold
The term “above the fold” traces back to the newspaper. Notice that the most enticing stories are always placed on the first page above the traditional newspaper fold to instantly catch the attention of the readers and compel them to read the entire piece of news.
Apply the same logic to your landing pages. Keep the most important elements of your offerings above the fold — the point at which the visitors are urged to scroll through to get more information. Since it’s debatable, so using qualitative tools such as heatmaps, scrollmaps, session recordings, and running an A/B test to figure out which fold would best work for your brand is always suggested.
Understand that the above mentioned best practices are not “one size fits all” solution to optimize your landing pages and increase conversion rate. You must always conduct a thorough analysis of the performance of your pages, its respective elements, test them against something you hypothesize would work better, and only then make changes.
How to Make Your Landing Pages More Effective?
Besides optimizing the above mentioned landing page elements, it’s equally important to pay attention to many other off-the-site components which effectively help boost landing page performance as well. So, optimize your existing landing page(s) through these practices.
Present Hard-to-Resist Offers
A good landing page isn’t just the one that’s aesthetically pleasing, but one that presents offers that are hard to resist and warrant visitors to share their personal information. This Blue Apron’s landing page is exactly what we’ve defined above.
Besides having a great overall look and feel, the page’s headline is compelling enough to urge users to sign up and redeem the offer. Moreso, rather than having a regular ‘Sign up’ CTA, the company chose to use words like ‘Redeem Offer,’ which are more instigating in nature.
Understand that if your landing page answers to some important questions like, “Will my target audience benefit from my offer?”, “Is my offer better than my competitors?” etc., you’re sure to benefit from them in the long run.
Decrease Page Load Time
Landing page load time is a metric to take seriously. As a well proven fact, even a single second’s delay in page load time can cost your business at least 7% fewer conversions and 11% fewer page views. Besides this, slow page load time also triggers dissatisfaction and frustration amid visitors and customers. So, working towards maintaining an ideal load time is highly critical.
Keep a Visitor’s Journey in Mind
When driving traffic to your landing pages, always maintain a clear vision of the target audience you’re catering to and where do they stand in their on-site journey. Using visitor behavior analysis, segregate your inflowing traffic into different segments and target them in a manner that they’re compelled to enter your conversion funnel. Meaning, you must have a clear knowledge of whether your target audience is trying to diagnose a problem (awareness), looking for solution against a problem (consideration), or ready to convert into leads/customers (decision). It’s a pretty simple rule — meet your visitors where they are and you’ll surely hit the bull’s eye.
Create a Seamless Experience
Not everybody appreciates being surprised. So, avoid such creating such situations. Show your visitors exactly what you’ve advertised when they arrive on your page and ensure to be consistent with your copy. Try and use the same words on your landing page as used in your paid ads, social posts, blog CTAs, or emails. The more you stand true to your words, the more seamless experience your visitors will have, and the more will be the chances of increasing conversions.
Use Urgency and Scarcity in Your Offer(s)
Of the six principles of persuasion, urgency and scarcity can work wonders for your landing pages. For the reason that both urgency and scarcity have the prowess to instigate the fear of losing or missing out when you make it clear that your offerings are either in high demand or short in supply, that visitors feel the urge to an action instantly.
Given below is a great example of scarcity and urgency. Instapage uses a countdown timer to not only showcase urgency but encourage visitors to register for webinars before time runs out.
What are Some Landing Page Metrics you Must Track?
Metrics serve as the ideal means to measure the performance of your landing pages and seek insights on how to improve them to achieve business goals. While different businesses may use different metrics to measure the performance of their landing pages, but we encourage taking the below mentioned metrics into consideration.
As the name suggests, page visits typically account to the number of people who’ve visited your page over a certain period. The higher the visitors, the higher is the probability of conversions. If this number is lower than you’ve expected, then try and adjust your paid strategies, use emails and social media platforms, or redefine your keywords to push the fence sitters to visit your page.
After page views, this is typically one of the most important metrics to take into account when interpreting the performance of a landing page. Bounce rate can be defined as the number of people arriving on your landing pages but immediately leaving without taking any desired action.
A visitor can bounce off your page due to a plethora of reasons – your content may not align with your claimed offer, your copy may not be catchy enough to capture the attention of a visitor, your page’s overall visual hierarchy may be screwed, so on and so forth. The best way to seek answers against high bounce rate is to look to qualitative tools like heatmaps, clickmaps, and scrollmaps. They not only help you visually analyze how visitors behave on your pages, but suggest potential loopholes as well.
Knowing the sources of your traffic inflow effectively helps you understand and analyze where you need to focus your energy or double up your efforts. The clearer your traffic sources are, the better will be your targeting.
This typically defines the number of visitors who fill and submit your lead-generation form(s) and arrive on thank you page(s). The higher the number of submissions, the better optimized your landing page is. In case of low conversions, it’s always a good idea to make tweaks to your page and run A/B tests to check for leakages and amendments.
Form Abandonment Rate
Form abandonment rate tells you the number of visitors who started filling your forms, but left amid the process. If the abandonment rate is relatively higher, it clearly means some elements are creating friction in the process. Making tweaks or adjustments such as introducing new click triggers, removing unnecessary form fields, or customizing them according to various identified visitor segments can help decrease abandonments.
Why You Should A/B Test Landing Pages
If you’re not already convinced about optimizing landing pages, here’s a report by MarketingSherpa that shows landing pages are indeed one of the most effective pages to test. In fact, organizations around the world are allocating more of their budgets and resources to the optimization of landing pages.
As the graph below shows, 85% of companies with a superior landing page optimization strategy test their landing page elements, whereas only 26% of companies with an inferior strategy vouch for A/B testing.
It is obvious that once you’ve tapped the potential of your landing page, you’ll test it again.
A/B Testing Landing Page Elements
The last piece of the puzzle when creating a perfect landing page is to A/B test them. Testing different versions of your landing page elements can not help you determine what would work best for your audience but get more conversions to your business.
Refine your value proposition, test different colors, add different smiling faces, use a video against an eBook. Test every page element you believe (post thorough analysis) would make your business gain.
For example, by replacing a guarantee symbol with trust symbol, Express Watches, an online dealer of Seiko watches increased conversions by 107%.
See the before (control) and after (variation) screenshots.
There is no end to A/B testing. For every landing page you design, make it a rule to always test different variations to achieve the pinnacle of optimization.
What are the Common Landing Page Optimization Mistakes?
As simple as it may sound, landing page optimization is not a child’s play. It demands a lot of homework and due diligence to avoid committing silly mistakes and achieving the optimum level required.
Below mentioned are some common mistakes that you must avoid committing while optimizing landing pages:
Mistake #1: Too Much Text
Here’s an example of a landing page with too much text.
It won’t come as a surprise if the brand wasn’t earning any conversions from this page. The reason being, in today’s age and day, no one has the time or patience to read through endless paragraphs to finally understand what your brand actually offers. People in fact have graduated to being ‘web-scanners’ than ‘web-readers.’ If they don’t find what they’re looking for in the first 3-5 seconds of they arriving on your page, they’ll definitely exit without even thinking twice.
Avoid stuffing your landing pages with paragraphs. Use minimal text, simple graphic detailing, and imagery to make the page look impressive and impactful. Below given example is how an ideal landing page must look:
Mistake #2: Lack of Descriptive Headline
Here’s an example of a confusing headline: “Changing how the world works”
Never think that a visitor is going to spend minutes reading through all text on your page and then make his best guess of what you are offering. Instead, you should make their job easy. Have a big, bold descriptive headline that doesn’t just say it all but is prominently visible to the naked eyes.
Here’s an example of a good headline: “Hire Online Workers to get the Job Done”
A descriptive headline also serves another important job: it *sticks* in the head of a visitor as long as they stay on your site. Contrast this to the scenario where there is no helpful headline which a visitor can fall back on and your page turns out to be too confusing to understand.
Given below are some types of headlines which you must avoid crafting:
- No-headline: No matter how bad it is, you should definitely have a headline of some kind on your landing page.
- Overvalued Headline: Avoid headlines such as “Welcome to the future of social media marketing.” Such headlines are usually vague and convey no information at all.
- All Focus on Benefits: Quoting VWO’s example here. In the first version of VWO homepage, it’s headline said, “Magical tool to convert visitors into customers.” While that headline spoke much about the benefits of the tool, it did not talk about what the tool really was. So, it was eventually changed to, “World’s easiest A/B testing tool” which turned out to be a much better option than its previous version.
In a nutshell, headlines should be short, concise, and descriptive enough to do the needful.
Mistake #3: Lack of a Single Prominent Call-to-action
Once the visitor arrives on your page, thinks that you are credible, reads the descriptive headline and is finally convinced to spend some time on your site, what’s the next page you want him to see? That decision should not be left on visitor because only you know (and not them) which is the most relevant page that your visitors should view next.
Example of single, prominent call-to-action: “Download WordPress”
If you don’t have a single prominent call-to-action or have far too many call-to-actions on your landing page, visitors are likely to get confused – what to do next (since all links from your landing page/homepage seem to be of equal importance). Even if you have two prominent buttons (e.g. one of ‘Learn More’ and other for the ‘Sign Up’), try reducing it to one button. Don’t force your visitor to make a choice.
Mistake #4: Lack of Social Proof or ROI Proof
Most marketers argue to the fact that adding social proofs or ROI proofs is unnecessary. They just take up space on the page and do not play a major role in helping the page achieve its desired goal. But, in today’s time, humans crave for social proof. They want to know who else is using your products and/or services, how have they benefited from them, and base their decisions on these chunks of information. So, add social proofs or ROI proofs to your landing pages. Give your visitors a reason to believe in your brand. These can be in the form of testimonials, company logos, customer photos or case studies. Here’s a perfect, self-explanatory example for you understand better.
Mistake #5: Lack of Use of Impactful Images
The problem is, people use cheesy stock images thinking that they make their site prettier. But pretty is not enough. They have to be relevant too. And, Marketing Experiments confirms that. The company, in one of its case studies, states that using a real image, as that of their company’s Founder on one of their landing pages proved to be more beneficial to the company than using a stock image of a smiling girl wearing headphones. By doing so, the company saw a 35% increase in their sign ups than before.
Stock photos look phony and can reduce or even hamper the credibility of your brand. Hence, It’s always a good idea to replace them with a more real and relatable images.
Mistake 6: Lack of Visual Hierarchy
When people “skim” through your landing page, your design should lead the conversation in their mind. Font size, bold text, image size, you can use all these and a lot more to guide the thought process of your prospects that finally makes them enter your conversion funnel.
Below is an example of visual hierarchy of the Build Conference landing page:
The visual hierarchy on the above landing page seems good. The F-shaped scan pattern of visitors will make them notice the brand first. The second element they notice will be the well-contrasted call-to-action button on top right. And, the third will be the credentials of the speakers.
But the designers missed something really important here – not giving much weightage to the page headline. When you look at the image again, you’ll realize that you almost missed reading the headline due to lack of prominence. Had the headline being bolder with a bigger font, it would have made the page more intrigue and commanding.
Another important thing to remember in visual hierarchy is the right placement of your call-to-action button. Sometimes it is important that you nurture the prospects before you show them the call-to-action.
Underwater Audio, a US-based eCommerce company, used visual hierarchy and revamped their landing pages, which increased their online sales by 35.6%. The company simply swapped the CTA button and the testimonial bubble and saw that their page was not only clearly conveying their desired message but encouraging visitors to click on the CTA button as well.
Here’s how its original and revamped page looked like:
Since landing pages are responsible for getting a majority of new leads your business, they demand utmost attention. Take into account the above mentioned points, make the necessary changes to these lead generation pages and increase your conversion rate.
Frequently Asked Questions on Landing Page Optimization
Optimizing a landing page involves making changes to the various elements present on the landing page, i.e., testing out the headline, copy, images and call-to-action buttons to increase the number of conversions.
The main objective of landing pages is to provide the most optimal user experience. So, in essence, this is a valid reason to use them in SEO. However, in the longer run, landing pages are not good for SEO because they are Orphan pages, and don’t have many internal links or outlinks.
Yes! Landing pages still work. Landing pages are very efficient when it comes to PPC campaigns. They are highly customized and designed to meet the needs of a particular target audience. That’s why one can observe a very high conversion rate on landing pages.
There is no single answer to this metric of the conversion rate for landing pages. It depends upon the industry of your online business. Conventionally, a conversion rate in the range of 2% to 5% is considered good.
Thank you for your time.