If you engage in inbound marketing, chances are your website is at the core of your efforts. More specifically, you will likely build a variety of landing pages on which your visitors land.
Ideally, these landing pages are centered around a lead-generating form that helps you capture interested visitors and nurture them toward becoming customers. But how do you make sure these landing pages actually convert visitors to leads as well as they could? Follow these 10 steps to creating the perfect landing page for conversion optimization, and you’re on the right path.
1. Determine Your Goal
As with any marketing effort, the first step in creating your landing page should be determining, and formulating, what exactly you’re trying to achieve. In most cases, that will be lead generation. You want visitors who arrive on the page to fill out a form. Formulating that goal first allows you to ensure that all following steps will be working toward achieving it.
2. Choose Your Reward
If the goal of your page is lead generation, you need something to entice your audience to actually sign up. It’s the reciprocity principle: as human beings, we feel more compelled to take an action if we feel like it’s repaying a favor.
Simply telling your visitors to fill out a form won’t lead to much success. Instead, you should offer them a benefit they will receive upon form submission. Depending on your target audience, that benefit can take on multiple forms, from long-form content to a webinar registration. The key is to offer your audience something they won’t mind giving you their contact information for.
3. Compose Your Copy
Now that you’ve established the perimeters for your landing page, it’s time to start working on its bones. Start with the text, which should include both your headline and body copy.
The headline, of course, needs to follow marketing writing guidelines: keep it short, convincing, and benefit-oriented. The same is true for the copy, though you should take special care that you adhere to the ‘short’ part: our online attention span is now 8 seconds, which means you only have a limited time to convince your audience of the benefits of becoming a lead.
4. Add Your Supplementals
A landing page is incomplete with only a headline, body copy, and a form. It simply won’t look attractive enough, or be convincing enough, to help you get to a high conversion rate. To achieve that, you need additional content that supplements your core message.
That additional content can come in a variety of ways. Adding visuals is a crucial part; colored visuals increase your audience’s willingness to read your content by 80%. Another is adding social proof, in the form of testimonials or case studies, that showcase real customers taking advantage of your product. You can even combine the two, adding video testimonials that visually convey the benefits of your brand.
5. Create Your Layout
After you know the content that will live on your landing page, start thinking about its layout. This can be a difficult step, because in short, there is no perfect layout that has been proven to outperform its alternatives. Even the formerly common knowledge of placing your form ‘above the fold’ may not always ring true.
So how do you ensure that your landing page converts as frequently as you desire? First, take a look at some of digital marketing’s best landing page examples, and draw from their design. Then, understand how your audience actually views your content, and create a visual hierarchy that matches these patterns. Finally, test a few alternatives – but we’ll get to that later.
6. Remove Your Links
Every decision you make when creating your landing page should aim to support your overarching goal of lead generation. But when you offer your audience a variety of options to leave the page without filling out your sign up form, the chance of them leaving without taking your desired action increase greatly.
We discussed the concept of attention ratio in our post about bounce rates, and the same holds true here. Ideally, the only action your visitors should be able to take on your landing page, other than hitting the ‘back’ button in their browser, is to move forward by submitting your form. Anything beyond that, such as links to other parts of your site, can significantly depress your conversion rate.
7. Design Your Form
Speaking of your form: Naturally, you should pay special attention to how you design it to maximize your lead conversions. First, it needs to be short; each additional field adds hesitation to your visitors’ resolve in filling it out.
Only ask for the information you absolutely need to get them into your funnel, even if that is as little as first and last name along with an email address. You can always ask for more later. As a general rule, your conversion rates will begin experiencing a steep drop off after 7 fields.
8. Customize Your CTA
You probably don’t think the little ‘submit’ button at the bottom of your form deserves much attention. In fact, leaving it with a generic call to action like ‘submit’ can have a significant impact on your conversion rates.
Research shows again and again that CTAs perform best when they are action-oriented and describe the benefit your new leads will get upon filling out the form. Wording like ‘get my free eBook’ or ‘register for the webinar’ simply work better than their more generic ‘submit’ or ‘sign up’ counterparts.
9. Connect Your Strategy
Even after every element on your landing page is complete, you’re not quite finished. To truly optimize your conversion rates, you need to integrate your landing page into your overarching lead-generation strategy.
First, the landing page should match your visitors’ channel of origin, in both style and text. For example, if they landed on your page as a result of a social media campaign, that campaign should use the same type of wording and value proposition of your landing page.
But the same is also true for anything that happens after your visitors become leads. The confirmation page and email, along with any following messages, should match the branding of your landing page. If it doesn’t, your visitors and leads will experience cognitive dissonance, and your credibility takes a hit.
10. Test Your Elements
Finally, testing should be a crucial part of every step we described above. To truly optimize your landing page for conversions, you should begin by following digital marketing best practices – but don’t trust them blindly. Your visitors may behave differently than the average internet user, and that different behavior can affect your conversion rate.
That’s why A/B testing is a crucial part of landing page optimization. By testing your content, form, and more (one by one, of course, in accordance to A/B testing rules), you can ensure that the most possible visitors sign up to become leads. It’s a constant process, but one that will pay off significantly in the long term.
Following these ten steps, you can begin to create landing pages that both delight and convert your visitors. Once they’ve entered your sales funnel, your lead nurturing efforts can kick in, ensuring they’re slowly nudged toward becoming customers.
Examine your current landing pages. How many of the above 10 steps did you follow in generating them? If the answer is less than 8, you may need some help in optimizing your landing pages toward the maximum possible conversion rate. Contact us for professional help on creating landing pages that convert.