Landing pages are the equivalent of your sales team in the online world.
As such, you can use landing pages to generate new leads, for example to gather email addresses or Facebook likes. Landing pages are also used to sell products and are often referred to as sales pages.
In the real world you'd make your sales team more effective by giving them sales training, or injecting them with a dose of motivation such as a performance-based bonus.
Online, to make your landing page more effective, you optimize. That involves tweaking every element of your landing page to give you the best possible chance of making sales.
An effective landing page is made up of three key elements: attractive design, compelling copy, and optimization.
In this tutorial, we'll look at how to optimize your landing page to maximize conversions. That said, all three elements of effective landing pages overlap and interact, so this tutorial will also touch on landing page design and copy.
What is Optimization?
Optimization is a long word with a simple meaning. In no-nonsense language, optimization means:
- Finding what works, and doing more of it.
- Finding what doesn't work, and doing less of it.
When you're optimizing your landing page, you start by monitoring the page stats using software such as Google Analytics. You then change different elements of your page, such as the copy or the design, and check to see if your changes improve or damage your stats.
It's as simple as it sounds, but it's a process that involves paying attention, which takes time. It also means knowing what to pay attention to, which is what this article will teach you.
Optimization is a science and an art. It's a science insofar as it involves tracking metrics and using experiments to make incremental improvements. It's an art in that it often involves intuition and creativity in working out what will boost your metrics.
Once a page is optimized, that doesn't mean your work is done. A perfectly optimized page today will likely need to be re-optimized in the future. Optimization is an ongoing process.
When Should You Optimize?
On the one hand, anytime is the right time to optimize. There's almost always something you can do to boost conversion rates. On the other hand, spending a full working day tweaking your landing page to increase sales by $5 a day is wasted time, especially if the page is already performing well.
The more you work on optimizing landing pages, the easier you'll find it to get a sense of when a page needs optimizing. That said, you should look out for the following:
Low Conversion Rate. This is the key indicator to look out for. Your landing page's conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take the action you want them to take, whether that's buying a product or sharing their contact details.
What counts as "low" depends on what's typical for your business and your industry. What's more, the source of your website visitors influences your conversion rate. Traffic from paid ads tends to convert better, but is higher cost. Organic traffic from search and social media has a lower conversion rate, but costs less.
As a benchmark, if your conversion rate is below 2%, your page definitely needs work, and if it's above 10%, you're doing well - but there's always more you can do.
- High bounce rate. Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website immediately after visiting your landing page. They don't click any links or explore elsewhere on your website. While less important than conversion rate, a high bounce rate shows your landing page is failing to grab attention and hold interest.
- Low time spent. Again, if visitors are only spending a few seconds on your landing page, that shows you're failing to grab their interest. On the other hand, having a landing page where visitors spend several minutes reading your copy but fail to convert into customers shows you are grabbing and holding attention, but somewhere in your landing page you're knocking your own credibility.
How to Optimize Your Landing Page
Step 1: Be Clear About The Action You Want Visitors to Take
What makes a landing page distinct from an ordinary web page is that it has one purpose.
Wanting your visitors to do several different things is a recipe for failure. Many business owners think along the following lines:
"Well, ultimately we want them to buy our products and become a customer, but failing that they could subscribe to our email newsletter or like us on Facebook."
For your landing page to be a success, you must be strict on yourself and have a single outcome as your aim. This single outcome is the goal of your landing page, and is how you measure conversions.
Step 2: Monitor Stats
Having identified the goal of your landing page, you can measure the conversion rate. As mentioned above, this is the percentage of visitors who take the action you desire.
Once you've calculated your average daily conversion rate, you're ready to start tweaking.
Step 3: Tweak Your Page
Landing page optimization is based on the premise that tiny changes can make a huge difference. Small tweaks to your headlines, copy, colors and call to action can all send your conversion rate shooting up. For example, the BBC World Service found that changing the text on its widget button from Widget to Install Widget tripled the number of clicks.
What can you do to tweak your page?
- Remove everything that's not relevant to your landing page goal. If it's not there to convince users to take action towards your goal, remove it. In particular, remove any escape routes such as links to other websites.
- KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Within 3-5 seconds, does someone visiting your page for the first time know exactly what your offer is? If your friends are bored with helping you, Five Second Test lets you try out your page on other designers, for free.
- Tweak the copy. Is your copy focused on your reader? Do you use short words, sentences and paragraphs? Do your headlines grab attention? Does your copy hook the reader and keep them reading? Do you emphasize the benefits of your product rather than the features? Have you included testimonials? Do you have a call to action?
- Tweak the design. Keep your design simple and clean. Having one relevant image to highlight your offer is essential. However, cluttering your page with too many images will reduce conversions. Test different page layouts and colors. Try out different themes to see what works with your audience.
- Make your forms simple and compelling. Are you collecting data from your readers? Make any forms they have to fill out as simple as possible. The fewer boxes they have to fill in, the better your conversion rate will be. Drawing attention to your form with eye-catching graphics can help too.
- Play around with buttons. Focus on buttons, because small changes to these can have a huge impact. Test different colors, shapes and fonts. Also test different copy on the buttons.
- Insert directional cues. Explicit cues such as brightly colored arrows attract readers' eyeballs and point them in the right direction. Implicit cues are more subtle. Examples include images of people or animals looking in the direction you want your readers to focus.
- Add trust signs. Testimonials, trust badges and guarantees all give you a credibility boost. Use them if they're relevant to your offer. For example, if you accept payment by PayPal, try including the PayPal logo on your landing page. Chances are, it will build trust and increase your conversion rate.
- Tweak your offer. Throwing in a time-limited freebie can encourage readers to buy today or risk missing out.
- Add a video. Research by Eyeviewdigital.com found adding a video to a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. Watching a video is easier than reading copy, and it keeps people on your page for longer, increasing the time they invest in learning about your brand.
Step 4: Monitor Your Stats
In other words, return to Step 2. Have the changes you made increased or decreased your conversion rate? If they've decreased it, reverse the changes. If they've increased it, think about how you can do more of the same.
Over to You
What have you found that works best in optimizing a landing page? What tweaks make the most difference to your conversion rate?