How to Make a Landing Page That Works

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  • February 08, 2016
make landing page that works

Our last article covered the basic phases of a display ad campaign. One of them is creating a winning landing page optimized for conversions. Having a great landing page plays a vital part in your quest for display success. Below are the reasons for this, along with several tips on how to get there.

Let’s define it.

You’ve reached the phase of your ad campaign when you already created a great banner ad, you’ve figured out the copy, spent time on the design, but now that your customer clicks on your banner, what’s next? They’re taken to your landing page.

Why is the landing page important?

Your landing page is the logical continuation of your online campaign. Having it optimized is one of the ways to increase your campaign’s performance and maximize your ROI. But first, let’s see what a landing page can do for your business.

1) generate leads more easily – many businesses are already sending their traffic to their homepages. But having an optimized landing page can capture your consumers more easily and increase your leads. Next time you’re planning a campaign, have this in mind – instead of driving consumers to your homepage, be specific for each campaign you prepare. And once you collect insights about your leads, your can segment them and plan your steps accordingly.

2) support your offer – your offers alone won’t achieve their goal if they don’t lead to a specific, customized page.

3) collect data about your prospects – with each visit on your landing page, you’ll collect valuable data about your leads. You can use this data to gain insights about the types of visitors that are converting (along with the base of information you already have about your current and potential consumers).

Key elements

1. A headline

Your headline is the first thing a consumer sees and reads. Everything starts here – a good headline attracts visitors’ interest. It’s the crucial aspect of the landing page. It should be a mix the following things:

  • be short and simple
  • be engaging
  • grab user intention

Mailchimp does a real good job at being simple and declarative with their headline, and the brief and clear explanation just below it:

mailchimp_landing

2. A subheadline

The headline grabs user attention, but the subheadline will make them stay. You can always decide not to include one, but if you do, then make the headline as short and as punchy as possible, because you’ll have room for clarification in the subheadline. That’s what it’s all about. Keep an eye on the following:

  • The subheadline usually goes directly under the main headline
  • It should be persuasive – you’re pushing the main idea of the headline further here
  • It should provide a bit more detail than the headline

Hootsuite’s example below is one of an effective and supporting subheadline:

hootsuite-com-pages-landing-enterprise-smms-1455023443311

3. A brief description of your offer

The user should understand what you’re offering – otherwise, you’re losing them. No matter the form (bullets, a paragraph), it should be there. The best ones are very direct, without any additional details.

  • You can include your description within the headline or separate it.
  • Your description can be a combination of elements from several sources – headline, subheadline, image, or a separate paragraph. All of these together should provide your desired description.
  • Your description should be focused on user benefits. It’s not enough to just state “We make {X} work for you”. Be consumer-focused – try adding “Get the {X} that will skyrocket your business”.

4. At least one image or short video

One of the pieces of the puzzle is the image you’ll need to visually represent your offer, which will help people better understand it.

1. Photo(s): They should be relevant to what you’re offering.

  • If you’re selling a product, include an image of it.
  • If it’s a service, the image you choose should demonstrate relevance to the service and be engaging.
  • Always opt for high-quality images. Even if you lack design skills or have a limited budget, there are still many options to choose from.

2. Video: An included short video is an even more compelling way to present your product because it’ll keep visitors longer on the page – which means there’s a better chance for them to explore your offer.

5. Include some type of social proof

This adds credibility to the existing content and offer by third parties, and can boost conversions. Think about adding some testimonials, search social media to find consumers who are satisfied with your product – maybe they’ve shared something about it or mentioned your business. Share that! If you have data on how many consumers downloaded/subscribed for your product, use this on your landing page. “Join 4K satisfied consumers who already have this at home”, for example, is also a booster! Airbnb’s page below immediately informs the visitor about their reach.

airbnb_social_proof

Common examples of social proof include:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Customer reviews
  • Social media reach
  • The number of customers you have
  • Awards (especially if they come from well-established organizations)

6. A clear call-to-action

Your CTA is crucial for conversions because that’s the goal – it’s what you want people to interact with. Think long and hard about the design, placement, and the copy.
Usually, the CTA is in the form of:

  • a button (“Buy now”, “Learn More”, “Subscribe”, etc.)

evernote_premium

  • a click-through page (as the name suggests, the goal is to persuade the user to click through to another page – it warms up the visitor and gets them closer to the purchasing decision)

dollarshaveclub_click

  • a lead generation form (asking the visitor their name and email for certain content: report, newsletter, ebook, etc.)

hubspot-landing-page

Your CTA is the one thing that should really stand out. Visitors should always be able to see it clearly, whether it’s a button or something else – the statement on the action they should complete must be very clear and visible.

Optimization tips

  • One objective at a time.

This means have one goal in focus. If you clutter your landing page with several different CTAs, your visitors may get confused and take no action at all.

  • Have the page in line with your campaign.

Make sure that the landing page matched the message of the ad that brought the visitor to it. If you use the same generic page for all your campaigns, it’s the same like taking them to your homepage, which is a waste. Everything on the landing page should match the ad itself.

  • Include a reason to act now.

Think of a reason for visitors to act immediately. Create urgency with a statement, whether it’s a week’s sale, limited edition, or other offers based on a deadline and put this on a prominent spot. The higher the urgency, the better the chances for a conversion will be.

  • Emphasize the value of your offer.

You may want to put yourself in your consumer’s’ shoes and ask “What’s in it for me if I buy this /sign up?” Your value proposition should have two prominent elements – the element of uniqueness and the promise to solve your consumer’s problem. It basically is a statement of the results a consumer will get if they buy your product.

  • Be as clear as possible with each element.

This means keep it simple and straightforward with everything – from the headline or subheading, the CTA, the bullets, the copy, the overall design, the images or video. Consumers today have a much shorter attention span, and if there are too many things on your page, they might leave the page feeling frustrated. Eliminate possible distractions and unnecessary elements, as well as any content that isn’t related to the ad.

  • Design your page to work on mobile devices.

If we look at some of the forecasts for this year, it’s easy to conclude that the mobile expansion will accelerate even more. Consumers already see their mobiles as their go-to device, and since they use it for many different purposes, including content consumption, the focus should be on reaching out to them on any possible device.

  • Work on your credibility.

The media space is not only rainbows and butterflies when it comes to consumer experience. There are tons of stories about people not getting the product they ordered, or being victims of identity theft with online shopping. With all this, make sure your visitors feel safe and that you’re honest about business. For starters, provide full contact information. If your business is brick and mortar, you can also include a map. Some web pages even have a pop-up windows for a real-time chat. All of these options will add a note of reassurance among your visitors.

  • Test your page.

If you’re thinking this isn’t worth the trouble, you couldn’t possibly be more wrong. By testing different variables, you’ll soon figure out what’s really working, and dismiss things that don’t. Testing will improve your page’s performance. Experiment with the following elements:

The copy. Is it too long? Can you go with a shorter one? When making the changes, just don’t go too far by making a very short one that doesn’t explain anything. Experiment with more versions and see what brings results.

The image. Images can boost your page, but with some products/services, this might not be the case. If your product/service is a bit more complex or abstract, putting some random image just for the sake of having it there won’t be a good idea. Like all the other elements, the image you place on your landing page has to resonate with the placement. Try different images and placements, and see what happens.

Your CTA. The impact of the CTA depends on a) the placement and b) the wording. Even though above the fold is considered the best possible position for most of the content, you might want to think twice about this with the CTA. Ideally, you’d want to go step by step – first introduce the product, and then gradually lead visitors to the CTA. This will give them time to digest the content before taking an action.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, think of your landing page as the final, most important destination of your entire campaign – it’s the last puzzle, the place where all your efforts will be rewarded with a conversion. If you master the practices explained here, it’ll be the point where visitors will click, buy, and you’ll end up profiting. And don’t worry if you don’t succeed at first – building a great landing page is a never ending process in which you can always do better.

Do you have any tips for more effective landing pages? Feel free to share them in the comments!

 

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Vojdan Vrchakovski

I'm a co-founder and Ad Operations Director of Bonadza, an online advertising network utilizing RTB technology. As an Ad Operations Director, I'm responsible for choosing quality inventory for our advertising platform as well as establishing and maintaining relationships with our advertising partners.

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