If you want to increase your conversion rate from online marketing programs—and we know you do—pay close attention to the landing page that prospects visit after clicking on one of your ads. Well-written and professional-looking landing pages that fulfill visitors’ needs will help you convert more visitors into qualified leads for your company.

With landing pages, you have little margin for error. The majority of visitors will click away from your page within a few seconds of arriving, unless you compel them to stay. Follow this eight-point checklist to help optimize your Web landing pages.

1. Focus on a single, relevant offer

A landing page has one purpose and one purpose only: to convert visitors. Therefore, every element of your landing page should work to promote a single, relevant offer that will entice visitors to convert. This holds true whether your offer is a white paper, an event registration, an e-newsletter subscription, a product trial, a case study, or any other offer. Headline, copy, graphics, buttons, calls-to-action, and form fields all must be created with the offer and subsequent conversion in mind.

2. Re-write your headline again and again

The headline is the first thing that visitors should see on your landing page and is the single most important element in getting visitors to stay. Yet you only have a few words to work with! Write and re-write your headline until you have a direct, brief, benefit-oriented statement that tells visitors why they should take advantage of your offer. The fewer words you have to work with, the greater the writing challenge.

3. Follow the Three Bs of copywriting

The Three Bs of copywriting are brevity, benefits, and bullets. No one has the time or desire to read long blocks of copy on your landing page. If you are truly focused on a single, relevant offer, it should not be a problem keeping the copy brief. Clearly and quickly explain the benefits of your offer, why someone should take advantage of it, and what to do next. Use bullet points to separate each benefit statement: they are visually more attractive than paragraphs and easier to read

4. Present your call-to-action in multiple ways

What do you want your visitor to do? Click on your call-to-action. Therefore, put it in several places on the page and use both text and button formats. Some people like to click on hyperlinked text, others love buttons. Use action commands on the call to action: Download the white paper; Register today; View the presentation; Access the data sheet; Subscribe now.

5. Eliminate distractions

Some marketers lack confidence in their campaign strategy and therefore decide to add a secondary offer or a navigation bar that lets visitors click away to other content that “may be of interest.” You’re more likely to decrease conversions doing this. Again, focus on the single offer. That means eliminating distractions such as navigation that is not relevant to the offer and takes visitors away from your land page, long blocks of copy that explain your products in deep detail, or additional offers that force visitors to perform comparisons and take away from the page’s primary purpose.

6. Match landing page to advertisement

You can reassure visitors they’ve come to the right page if you use the same graphics or copy elements on the landing page that you used on the ad. It could be a repeat of a product photo or the cover of a white paper. It could be as simple as using the same colors on the ad as on the landing page, or writing similar headlines or copy if your ad was a text-only ad.

7. Convey trust and honesty

Many of your visitors may not know your company yet. It’s your job to make them comfortable when they visit your landing page. Brand the page with your company logo, add a one-line testimonial from a customer, and provide a clear link to a straightforward privacy policy. In addition, make sure your landing page looks clean, crisp and professionally designed. Nothing scares visitors away like a Web page that looks circa 1998 or put together by a word processor.

8. Create friendly forms

You’ve done everything right and have gotten your visitor to click through to your conversion form. Don’t ruin it here by presenting a long or confusing form with many fields to fill out. Instead, require the minimal amount of information from a prospect that will allow you to communicate with them in a meaningful way. It might be as little as name, company, and e-mail address, maybe with another question on their interest area or current needs. The rest of their information you can collect later, as you initiate a dialog with the prospect and qualify them further.

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