The objective of Web site landing pages is to convert visitors who
click from search engines, marketing e-mails or banner ads into leads
for your company. A one-page format tied to a specific offer such as a
white paper or Webinar, landing pages are an essential part of many
online marketing campaigns.
Landing pages are quick and inexpensive to produce. Created properly,
they can provide campaign cohesion by aligning the ad and Web page
creative; increase your ROI on paid search campaigns, e-mail
sponsorships and banner ads; and turn anonymous Web site visitors into
To increase conversions and maximize your return from online marketing
campaigns, follow these 10 best practices for landing pages.
1. Integrate the landing page with the ad that points to it.
You need to immediately reassure visitors that they’ve come to the right place when they arrive at your landing page. You can do this by matching the language and graphics of the landing page to the ad pointing to it. Repeat the offer, use the same headline, use the same graphics if it’s a graphical ad. This integration provides continuity to your campaign and keeps visitors moving to complete the objective.
2. Use meaningful graphics.
Whether or not your referring ad uses graphics (search ads don’t, but banner ads do), your landing page should use graphics that are meaningful and relevant to your audience and offer. If you are offering a white paper, show the cover. For a Webinar, you might show computer imagery or graphics related to the subject matter. For product offers, show a picture of the product. Using graphics in this way will help create a cohesive whole to the landing page.
3. Remove menu options.
Remember that a landing page isn’t a Web site, it’s a single page focused on a specific conversion objective. So don’t put your Web site navigation on the page unless you’re willing to have visitors lose track of the objective and explore other parts of your Web site.
The exception to this is if you need more than one landing page to educate prospects or explain a complex offer. In that case, you might think in terms of a landing path and use menu items that link to other essential information. If you do need to include menu items with links, have them open new browser windows, so the original landing page with its offer does not disappear. Also, repeat and link to the offer on all pages.
4. Answer three questions in five seconds.
You’ve only got a few seconds to capture and hold a visitor’s attention on your landing page. If you don’t, they will likely abandon their task. In those few seconds, you must answer the three questions that every visitor has:
- What are you offering?
- Why would I care?
- What do I need to do next?
5. Try a two-column page layout.
Studies by MarketingSherpa have shown that a two-column layout delivers the highest conversion rates. Typically you would use one wide, or main column, and one narrower secondary column. The main column answers the three questions mentioned above. The secondary column repeats and links to the offer and provides supporting information.
6. Be clear and to the point.
Make the page as short and clear as possible without sacrificing essential information. Use a bold headline at the top that communicates the purpose of the page and grabs the visitor’s attention. Use sub-headlines and bullet points to make the page easy to scan and read. Keep all important information “above the fold” — the area of the screen that a user can view and read without having to scroll.
7. Create a professional look.
Just because landing pages are quick and cheap to create doesn’t mean they should look that way. Use professional designers if you need to, but make sure your landing page has a clean look and clear decision path that reflects positively on your company’s brand. Be consistent with fonts, layout, graphics and other page elements. Use a font that’s large enough to read: at least 10 points for body copy, larger for headlines and sub-headlines. Don’t use light text on dark backgrounds; it’s hard to read.
8. Don’t ask for too much information on forms.
Nothing drops conversion rates like long, complicated forms that practically asks visitors to go away. Require only the information you need to make an intelligent assessment of who this visitor is and how to contact them again. It could be as basic as name, company and e-mail address. You can ask other qualifying questions on the form, but make them optional. Once you have captured a lead and established a way to communicate, you can gather additional information in subsequent touches.
9. Put your call to action in multiple places.
The whole point of your landing page is to get visitors to take action. Place your call to action near the top of the page and in other places as well: at the bottom, for those who read that far; embedded in the copy; in the side column. Also, try both text and buttons for your call to action. Make the call to action tell the visitor what to do: “Download White Paper” or “Register for Webinar” or “Schedule an Appointment” or “Take the Survey.”
10. Test your landing pages.
There are many factors that combine to determine the success of landing pages. Just a small change can lead to a big difference in conversion rates. Test layouts, headlines, copy, offer placement — everything you can. But test only one item at a time so you can evaluate how that one change influences conversion rates. Keep enhancements that improve response rates and continue tweaking. Remember: your landing pages can always be better.
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