The landing page is an essential part of a conversion-focused campaign.
Why? Because compelling landing pages drive visitors to click on your Call to Action (CTA) button, propelling them towards a sale or sign-up.
Even though publishing a landing page lends insights into your business, optimization helps in other ways, too. For example, optimization helps increase conversion rates, improve organic search rankings, and boost brand credibility and visibility.
If you already have landing pages set up, great! The optimization techniques included below will help you make them the best they can be while improving valuable conversions in the process.
What is a Landing Page?
We’ve all done it: looked at a homepage and confused it for a landing page.
So, before we go any further, let’s correct this common misconception: a landing page is not the same as the homepage.
What makes them different? While a home page is a place for visitors to learn about your business in general, landing pages are a location to drive paid traffic for conversions. In other words, unlike a home page, landing pages are a strategic element of marketing campaigns.
Remember: never link your campaigns to a home page.
Additionally, your campaign objective will help you define what a conversion is, and guide how you create landing page components. As a result, each featured element or piece of copy on the landing page will contribute to that conversion goal.
Of course, a better conversion rate and ROI depends on improving the landing page. This is where landing page optimization comes in.
What is Landing Page Optimization?
To improve landing page performance (how well it converts), we turn to landing page optimization. We’ve recently covered the Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page, which provides a helpful guide on the essential elements of a landing page. However, the conversion optimization process includes more than changes to the design.
Examples of these elements include anything that enables a visitor to focus on your product or service without distraction. A friction-free user experience will lower your bounce rate.
Landing page optimization is also a proactive way to maximize your return on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. If you ever pay for ads on platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, optimizing landing pages for conversions also means you’ll reduce your average cost per lead.
Landing Page Best Practices
So, where to start with a landing page assessment? We took a look at our most successful campaigns and outlined these elements that work together to create conversion-friendly conditions for your site visitors.
We’ve included those five essential landing page tips here:
1 – Make the Offer or Service Clear
Let’s begin at the center of the campaign strategy – the core offer. Whether a visitor continues or closes the window depends on how compelling the copy is. Check your landing page copy to check that your deal is presented well.
Start with your headline. The headline is what the visitor sees first post-click, and communicates the landing page’s purpose. A compelling headline should be brief, specific, and offer a solution whenever applicable.
The headline copy should incentivize people to stay on the page with a concrete action and positive tone.
For example, “Stop Throwing Money Away on High Internet Bills” doesn’t clearly communicate the benefit, nor is it encouraging. Instead, write something like “Get the Same High-Speed Internet at an Unbeatable Rate.” The value (high-speed internet) and benefit (unbeatable rate) is clear.
2 – Simplify Content
A cluttered page distracts from your offer and CTA. Make sure your declutter – ask yourself what each piece of the landing page is doing.
Cut anything that is irrelevant to the campaign goal or doesn’t build toward the call to action. To illustrate, consider the effect of negative space on design. “Empty space” creates a clean, modern look and makes content digestible.
3 – Put Important Content Above the Fold
When it comes to content consumption, what is above the fold (i.e., the content the browser displays first without additional scrolling) also plays a role.
Above the fold essentials include:
- The headline
- Some iteration of the CTA
- An image (optional)
- Something at the horizon that hints at additional content below
To give you an example of what a good use of this space looks like, imagine a fitness promotion. It would include a prominent headline, inspirational photo, and a CTA to sign up for the trial offer. If done right, the user will either sign up for the offer or continue scrolling for more information.
4 – Buttons With Clear Call to Actions
Undoubtedly, the most important part of a landing page is the CTA button. You’ll see some landing pages include it multiple times.This maximizes the user’s chances to accept the offer.
CTA buttons should be easy to read and relevant to the offer.
As for what words you choose, “Click here!” might be too generic. The words should correspond directly to the desired action. For example, if you’re hosting a webinar, the button might say something like, “Register Now” or “Claim My Spot.”
5 – Testimonials
It stands to reason that when a visitor continues to scroll down the page, they are interested in the offer. It also suggests that they are still undecided.
To help overcome remaining objections, we use endorsements. Referred to as ‘social proof,’ endorsements say, “these people trust us, and so should you.”
Examples of social proof also include industry awards, credentials, certificates, customer reviews, notable client branding, or a completed conversions counter.
While this list of best practices is by no means comprehensive. It covers landing page layout essentials you can start with to increase conversions.
Landing Page Techniques You Haven’t Tried
So, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at what you may not have tried yet. Consider applying these five principles to gain even better traction with your landing page optimization strategy.
1 – Form Testing
When the user claims an offer, the transaction frequently includes a form the user must complete.
By this time, the form is the only thing between the visitor and a conversion. A long or complicated form creates work and friction, causing interested prospects to bounce.
Of course, don’t abandon your effort to collect information or emails from leads. Just follow this advice: break forms into bite-sized chunks.
For example, capture basic, less intrusive info like a full name or user preference in the first part of the form. Move the prospect through and ask for an email address or contact number afterwards.
How you break up the rest of the form is up to you. We recommend three fields per window.
2 – A/B Split Testing
As you build your landing page, you’ll make several small decisions about each element. Do you go with this headline or the other one? Black background or white? Header image or none? By the end, you hope you’ve made the right call on each of these aspects.
A/B split testing is a way to evaluate whether these choices work. To perform this test, create one or more alternate versions of the landing page for the post-click presentation. Always limit the difference between each duplicate to one element.
For example, your team had a list of headlines they believed would communicate benefits. Pick two or three from that list to test on the alternate pages.
Once the test goes live, the headlines compete against each other. Note the one with the lowest bounce rate, the highest click-through rate, and most importantly, the most conversions.
Always trust the data (i.e., your target audience) to determine the winner. The benefit of A/B testing is that it removes guesswork from the landing page creation process.
The more you conduct A/B tests, the more accurately you establish what works to drive post-click conversions. If you’re serious about improving, A/B testing should be routine.
3 – Reducing the Navigation Bar
Earlier, I established that a landing page is not a home page. Another element that differentiates them is whether a navigation bar is present. This element is standard on a home page, but not for a landing page.
While it’s always essential to have site visitors, a navigation bar distracts from the conversion process. In fact, it’s an invitation to leave the landing page. Once they move off the landing page, they’re unlikely to return to it (and your CTA).
We typically see conversion rates improve after removing the navigation bar from our clients’ landing page. Navigation features include the header, footer, and hyperlinks to the home page. An exception to this rule are sites in industries like healthcare, who should keep some navigation elements for authentication.
4 – Mobile-First Design
A mobile-first approach to design is the most sensible. For one, mobile and tablet searches take up more than half of all searches. Also, Google prioritizes the mobile version of a site for indexing.
What’s more, mobile-first design is more efficient. While mobile doesn’t create desktop experience problems, the inverse is not true for desktop (which tends to generate lots of fixes for the mobile version).
If you haven’t already, check out the landing page’s mobile version, especially if you typically generate lots of mobile traffic. The chances are that it could use optimization.
5 – Show and Tell
While some detail may be relevant for conversions, too much clutters the page. Instead, encapsulate as much detail as possible in an image or video that succinctly demonstrates your point?
If you ever feel like brevity is impossible, visuals are extremely valuable. To illustrate, imagine that you’re promoting a product trial for a SaaS company. Explaining complicated technical features with copy is impossible. By contrast, GIF sequence, screenshot preview, a video to highlight the best your service has to offer might prompt your target audience to sign up for a free 14-day trial.
Get Creative with Optimizing Your Landing Pages
The post-click landing page experience is the make-or-break point for conversions. To tip the scale in your favor for better conversion rates, you must optimize the landing page.
Specifically, all parts of your landing page, large or tiny, must support the page’s purpose: either delivering ad promises or driving conversions (i.e., leads or sales, respectively). Mercilessly cut and revise any element that detracts from your CTA.
Any immediate improvements you make with these best practices are a great start. Remember that landing page optimization is ongoing — a constant cycle of testing, analyzing, and improving. Don’t be afraid to get creative, continuously run A/B tests, listen to the data, and modify accordingly.
The bottom line? Landing pages are essential to making post-click conversions and making the most of your ad spend. It pays to keep making improvements on it.