Guest post by Dan Annetts.
While every page on your website should serve a purpose and add value for visitors, landing pages deserve special attention. These are the pages you actually pay to drive traffic to, such as when a prospective clicks on one of your search ads and is taken to a page with a call-to-action (CTA).
For B2C and B2B businesses focused on high-volume / low-price product sales, the homepage of their website is often a landing page. That’s where they direct most of their visitors because their focus is on driving an immediate direct transaction.
No matter what type of landing page a business has or how visitors end up there, the purpose of a landing page is to convert a visitor into a customer or lead, which makes them a vital part of marketing strategy.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a web page designed to drive one specific action (though a second action may be offered as an option). It’s optimized to convert visitors into leads or sales. Landing pages come in a variety of types, but at their core, they serve the same purpose.
Here are five common types of landing pages:
- Squeeze page: A squeeze page captures a visitor’s email address, usually in exchange for providing them with gated content or a free download.
- Long-form sales page: This type of landing page is essentially the web version of a long-form sales letter with a CTA asking visitors to purchase a product at the bottom.
- Click-through landing page: This type of landing page shares the benefits and features of a product along with a CTA button, encouraging them to start a free trial.
- Splash page: This type of landing page doesn’t necessarily capture leads. It is an intermediate page between a link and the content it is linking that could present an ad or ask you for language preferences or your age.
- Product details page: On ecommerce sites, a product detail page is a landing page where the goal is to get a visitor to buy the product.
The end result businesses want is a landing page that convinces the visitor to take an action, whether the goal is to add them to a prospect list or get them to make a purchase, which is why every business should spend time improving their landing pages.
The Importance of Landing Page Optimization
A landing page is a chance to create a new customer or potential customer. Landing page optimization is the process of improving the performance of a landing page, so it gets the highest possible conversion rate. This is a subset of Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO.
Landing page optimization starts at the technical level. A landing page must load quickly or visitors may leave. It also involves tweaking design and copywriting to make offers more appealing.
And it’s an ongoing process. You won’t get everything perfect on the first iteration, but once the page is live, analytics and A/B testing will help you improve your landing page incrementally.
Landing page optimization is critical because it will increase your overall conversion rate. And lessons learned from optimizing your current landing pages can help you create new landing pages that perform well from the start.
Six Landing Page Optimization Tips
Optimizing a landing page is a never-ending job. Consider its initial launch as just a first iteration. The tips below will help you make that first version the best it can be. After that, use analytics and split testing to make it best in class.
Reduce Page Load Time
There are a couple of reasons you want to create the fastest landing page possible. Page load time is a factor in Google search results ranking. If your page is slow, it will rank lower than a faster similar page, all else being equal.
The second reason is that visitors will abandon a site if it loads too slowly. At three seconds, you’ll lose around 40% of your visitors.
While the bulk of landing page optimization tasks will involve graphic designers and copywriters, this step requires technical skills. Visitors won’t take action if they don’t stick around until the entire page loads.
Implement Live Chat or Chatbots
The difference between converting a visitor into a customer and having them click back to Google could be the answer to a simple question. The problem is you may not know the question. If you did, it would be addressed on the landing page. Adding a live chat or a chatbot to your landing page gives you the opportunity engage the visitor, answer their question and keep them on your site.
Test Across Devices and Browsers
Not everyone will visit your landing page from the Chrome browser on a desktop PC. Statistically, at least half of your visitors will be using something else, either a competing browser or mobile device.
Almost all websites are now built using responsive design, a method of website development that automatically senses and adjusts the page display based on the type of device loading it.
When the page is rendered on a laptop or desktop web browser, visitors get the full-width, horizontally oriented page; when the page is loaded on mobile devices, it’s optimized dynamically to look good with a vertical design that fits without having to scroll sideways.
Browsers have also gotten better at rendering HTML consistently across platforms and operating systems. Better, but not perfect.
So, it’s vital to test landing pages different operating systems, devices, and browsers, to make sure the visitor experience is optimized regardless of how they are accessing your page.
Optimize All Visual Elements
Every visual element on your landing page should guide visitors to your CTA and support your objective. It is important to use an interactive design that is attractive and engaging without being distracting.
Keep accessibility in mind when choosing the colors and fonts for your page, balance the scale between text and background, and use visual elements that capture attention.
Tweak Headlines and Copy
Your visitors will almost always read the headlines first. Headlines and subheadings are the most important text elements on a landing page.
Writing compelling headlines takes research and creativity. You have to know your audience, understand their problems and pain points, and craft compelling messages. Most importantly of all, writing great headlines takes testing.
Optimize all elements of the copy. On average, about 20% of the people that read the headlines will read the rest of the copy, but those who do are seriously looking for a solution to their problem. It is your landing page’s job to convince them you have that solution.
Use a Dedicated Number for Branding
While the ultimate goal is to get a visitor to take action while they are viewing your landing page, that won’t always happen. But there is a way to have that person call you later without needing to revisit your landing page: use a dedicated toll-free vanity number.
When you customize your phone number so people remember it and add it to your landing page, you’re more likely to get calls even after visitors have left your website.
A perfect example is 1-800-FLOWERS. You really only have to see that number once. And if you choose the right phone service provider, you could get call tracking and call analytics with it to help you tweak the ROI of your landing pages.
Landing pages are where all of your digital marketing efforts turn into leads or sales, so they need to be optimized to achieve the highest possible conversion rate.
Ensuring your page loads fast, looks good on any device, has copy and graphics that get attention, and provides visitors with a way to contact you later are significant steps toward generating more conversions.
Dan Annetts is the Director of Outreach & PR at 800.com Dan comes from a content marketing and technology background with a passion for SAAS technology. When he’s not burrowed in his laptop, you will often find him in the fields with his beloved dog, Lola.