It appears that everywhere you turn on the Internet you are graced with advertisements of all kinds. There are the more obtrusive pop-ups, subtle text links, and the trusted middle ground, the banner. It doesn't matter if you are surfing the web hopping from random site to random site or we are searching topic specific keywords in the Google search engine, advertisements will be there.
The majority of advertisements are running across multiple channels (i.e. social, search, etc.) to expand the overall reach of the campaign. Once an advertisement is clicked on, if the advertiser is doing his job, you should be directed to a landing page associated with the advertising campaign.
So, let’s take a little bit about landing pages.
Landing Page Explanation
In a nutshell to keep this simple and concise, a landing page is a web page that is specifically designed and built to support the message of an advertising campaign. It acts as an extension by including the proper sales copy and images to entice the visitor to perform the desired action (which is usually fill out a form or purchase a product).
Below is an example of a landing page that will be referred to throughout the post:
According to Omniture, you can see an increase of up to 25% in conversion rate using a properly structured, promotion specific landing page. This type of page is rather simple to accomplish as long as you are able to take into consideration the following five components of a successful landing page…
1. Convincing, Concise Sales Copy
Think about this, According to Nielsen Norman Group, the average website visitor will bounce from your site within 10-20 seconds and the average page visit is less than a 60 seconds. On a well built landing page you can expect a bounce rate of 70-90%. This is direct proof that your sales copy, whether text or video, needs to instantly deliver your message and be relevant to your audience.
There are a number of ways to write effective sales copy on landing pages. As a rule of thumb, keep these tips in mind:
- Use bullets or numbers when possible- no one likes to read more than they have too
- Write in the second person- it is about the web visitor not you
- Use shorter sentences and paragraphs- no need for a block of 500 words
- Focus writing language on action and value of the product or service you are offering- make people believe it will truly benefit them (and hopefully it does)
- Make sure the copy relates to the advertisement or campaign that is driving them to this landing page
The landing page example portrays an effective use of sales copy because it is visually appealing and organized into bullet points.
2. Strong Call-to-Action
Imagine you are walking down a street and you see a sign that says “1 million dollars right this way”. You decide to start heading that direction. After about a mile you get to the end of the road where there is a cliff, and nothing else. You look around and see a bunch of information regarding this 1 million dollars that could be yours. You see beautiful signs, you see awesome images of people throwing money around in the air, but you aren’t told how to get this million dollars you were told about.
This same situation is what can occur if your landing page doesn’t use a strong call-to-action. If you have the best advertisements in the world scattered all over the web for your campaign with click through rates of 90% (how awesome would that be), it won’t matter if people don’t know what to do when they get to your landing page. So the key is to inform website visitors exactly what the page is about and what you want them to do when they get there. And, it should always be focused on only one call-to-action, not multiple messages.
You will notice on our TakeLessons landing page there is a one centralized message and one main call to action; private English lessons and getting started is easy.
To make your call-to-action strong, just follow these pointers:
- Be direct and to the point- you don’t want to waste someone’s time (remember you have 10 seconds)
- Be demanding and create urgency- people are more likely to buy when they feel they will miss out
- Be simple- don’t make your message overly creative, witty, or wordy (follow the K.I.S.S. principle)
3. Design and Color Choices
Over 70 years ago Hedwig von Restorff conducted and experiment on human memory. Basically she wrote down a list of 10 items where 9 out of the 10 were black. The other one was a different color. The conclusion of her experiment showed that people remembered the item that was a different color easier than the others. This same theory applies today and should be leveraged on your landing pages, particularly involving sign up form (assuming your landing page has one- which it should).
The best way that successful marketers are able to exhibit this theory on their landing pages is by creating visual signals that allow the sign up form to stand out to visitors. There are a number of ways this can be accomplished, but I recommend these four strategies:
- Place a border around your sign up form or have the background color/image of the form be a different color then the main background
- Incorporate arrows or other directional design elements that point people toward the form where they enter their information
- The call-to-action button the user clicks on to submit their information needs to be a bright color such as a red, blue, or green
- The call-to-action button should always say something other than “submit”
You’ll see that in the landing page example the sign up form is exhibiting some of the mentioned points. The form has a dark grey top, light grey background, and the call-to-action button is bright blue:
There have been a number of studies conducted on color theory in relation to its impact on increasing conversions. A study by ContentVerve.com shows an increase in sales by 35% simply by changing the button color from dark blue to bright green.
4. Trust Symbols
Trust is one of the single most important factors in any relationship. Without it, we lack substance. We trust our friends when they tell us to check out a movie. We trust our parents as kids when they tell us we can overcome some childhood obstacle. And we should trust in the product or service we are choosing to buy. It is that simple. Think about this from Tim Ash, adding trust symbols to your landing page can increase conversions by anywhere from 20-40% (although I feel this is a bit extreme and the landing page must have been terrible to begin with).
There are a handful of different trust symbols that can be used on your website, but the most common are as follows:
- Reviews, star ratings, and testimonials from authority sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, etc.
- Badges of membership from associations like the BBB or other industry specific memberships that carry authority
- Security labels from sites like Verisign or McAfee show your website is secure and safe
- Miscellaneous badges that read “money back guarantee”, “doctor approved”, etc.
5. Minimal Number of Sign Up Form fields
This is extremely simple and applies directly to your sign up form. Less is more. Only ask for the necessary information you require from a visitor to your landing page in order to convert them or qualify them accordingly. If all you require is an email address and the person is good to go, then ask for an email address only.
As you can see, TakeLessons decided that they needed first name, email, and phone number to qualify people for a proper conversion.
I’ve had numerous clients come to me for consulting services and they want to add a form to their landing page or website that includes like 12 fields. No one wants to fill out 12 fields unless you are in a specific industry where this is necessary and expected. A perfect example is Adobe. Every form you fill out for an Adobe report of some kind requires like 10 pieces of information. I am still confused why I sign up.
QuickSprout provides an example where conversion rates increased by 120% from simply changing the number of form fields from 11 to 4. Interestingly enough, the same report notes that forms with 3 fields can expect a 25% conversion rate, 3 to 5 fields can see 20%, and forms with 6 plus will result in 15% conversion rate. Now I believe this to be an extreme case, but it is still interesting to see the impact subtle changes can have.
Money Making Conclusion about Landing Pages
I think the correlation here is very simple. By creating a landing page with great sales copy, a strong call-to-action, proper design and color selection, powerful trust symbols, and the correct number of sign up fields, you will undoubtedly see an increase in conversions. Even websites that are already highly successful like SEOMoz, were able to see a $1 million increase in sales from landing page changes when working with Conversion Rate Experts. No matter how large or small your business may be, if you implement these 5 guiding principles the money will start rolling in shortly after.
About the Author
Michael is an entrepreneur and Internet marketing mentor who specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), social media, web development, paid advertising and other areas of Internet marketing. He’s had the pleasure of working with everything from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies in Southern California. Check out his tweets at @michaelgkeating.