Today I’m going to talk about CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) – before you tune out, bear with me – I realise that the internet is, quite frankly, riddled with advice about this particular topic, there’s always more to be learned.
Preaching to the converted
Not dissimilar to the whole ‘water into wine’ thing, CRO is essentially the process of turning website visitors into customers. There are lots of ways of doing this and everybody has their favourite – whether it’s crunching the numbers to see what makes customers tick or, spending time optimising the running and useability of a website. These are both really good ways of performing CRO – and certainly shouldn’t be overlooked, however, in this article, I’m going to be examining the benefits of using landing pages to improve conversion.
How the land lies
A landing page is a standalone web page which is created for one particular purpose. Although not actually a part of your website, a landing page is branded to your business and is designed to persuade visitors to perform one single action. One of the benefits of a landing page is that you can create this even if you don’t have a website – which means that it’s kind of like a mini site all by itself. The main advantage of using a landing page for a specific call to action is that it is tailored specifically to one topic. For example, you may be looking to sign customers up to a newsletter and, so, your landing page will only contain information about the newsletter and will mirror the content of the platform from which the customer has clicked. This is advantageous as people tend to have short attention spans and, if you send a potential customer to your home page which doesn’t contain the relevant information, they may quickly lose interest and move on.
Typical uses for a landing page are to persuade a visitor to:
- Subscribe to your newsletter
- Apply for a quote
- Receive information about new products
- Get access to a discount or special offer
- Download an ebook
In terms of CRO, your landing page couldn’t be more important as the object is to get your visitor to complete just one specific action – which means that getting it wrong could spell disaster. Don’t worry though, I got you! In our next section, I’m going to take you through the dos and the don’ts of creating a convert website.
Come fly with me
If it’s your first time building a landing page, there are a few important rules to follow. Whilst the pages on your website might be brimming with lots of different pieces of information about your brand, your landing page should be much much simpler. Here’s how it’s done:
Just one glance
I’ve already mentioned that your landing page should be kept simple – and I meant it. This means no flowery language and no rambling sentences. Once your visitor goes skippety skipping from ad or social media platform to your landing page, they should be able to get the gist immediately without having to plough through lots of text – nobody has time for that! Most people are leery of large text and big spaces in their online presence but, in this instance, it’s entirely appropriate.
One page one message
I know I seem to be hammering the point home here but, it’s worth repeating. A landing page is there to result in one specific action – don’t confuse the visitor by including more than one message on your page – you can always create more for other activities. See chillifruit.com
The value bit
When your visitor clicks onto your ad, there’s only one thing in their mind – what’s in it for me? For this reason, the value bit should be up front and personal and should immediately communicate the value being offered. Again, in terms of text size – go large or go home (page).
So, I’ve said that your page should be simple and not too ‘wordy’, however, it does need content. Because I’m being mean with the amount of text, it’s important to make your content count. Take the time to condense your message into two or three concise and easy to understand sentences.
Once you’ve put together the draft, show it to a friend and ask them to tell you the first two or three words that jumped out at them. If they’re the wrong ones, try again.
Below is a great example of a landing page with a crystal clear message.
A picture paints a thousand words
I don’t need to tell you that your landing page should have some great images…..do I? I’ve long since understood the power of imagery in advertising and online content and, so, it’s vital that your landing page contains at least one really strong image or video clip.
Many brands make the mistake of throwing a stock image or logo at their landing page and calling it good – which it certainly is not. For a start, your visitor has probably seen the image before (therein is the nature of stock images) and, if the image is not tailored to your landing page, there’s a good chance that it will be irrelevant enough to make the visitor lose interest.
Your imaging should be bold, eye catching and reflect exactly what it is that you want to say.
Landing by design
When looking at the design of your page, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, colour matters. For us humans, colour evokes a variety of emotions – for example, red signals urgency or danger whereas green denotes safety. Examine your message to figure out what kind of colour suits the theme and, then, make this the predominant colour. Secondly, each and every part of your design should point toward your call to action (more about that shortly). Text and images should lead naturally to the CTA in a naturally flowing way.
Just because your landing page is light on text, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use your SEO. Choose a couple of your very best keywords and use them no more than once each. Any more than that and your content is likely to come across as unnatural and spammy.
Most marketers tend to go a bit ‘link loopy’ when it comes to their online presence but, when it comes to your landing page, just don’t. With such a small amount of text, too many links will be a distraction and may steer your visitor away from your all important CTA (yes, yes, I’m coming to it!).
If your CTA is going to involve a contact form, you need to pay particular time and attention to this. Have a really good think about the information that you actually want or need and include this – and only this – in your fields. A needlessly long contact form is almost guaranteed to turn your visitors off before they’ve finished completing it. In this spirit, include autofill if at all possible just in case your visitors are super lazy.
Call To Action
……….fanfare and drum roll. Here it is, the single most important part of your landing page – so pay attention.
Your CTA is, quite literally, the make or break point for your landing page – and the entire point of building one. Not to put any pressure on you but, this is the whole reason that you’re here in the first place. Let’s get it right.
Your CTA should take up around ⅓ of your landing page and should always be above the fold. In the case of landing pages, the old marketing adage ‘Keep it in sight, keep it top right’ just doesn’t apply.
For some reason, people really really like buttons on the world wide web so, where appropriate, this is a really good CTA for your page. Your button should be a striking colour so that the eye is naturally drawn to it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a shouty pillarbox red but, a good strong primary colour always works well.
When it comes to the wording on your button, less is more and, where possible, you should try to keep this to one simple word such as ‘Submit’, ‘Download’ or ‘Contact Us’.
Finally, make sure that you test your landing page for mobile use as this can look very different, and you may need to make some adjustments. This may be a pain but, with an increasing number of people using the internet exclusively on their phones, this is a chunk of society that you don’t want to miss out on.
Artificial intelligence, or machine learning, is creeping its way into almost every aspect of our lives these days – and CRO is no exception. As the technology becomes more widely available, it’s being used in a number of ways to improve our understanding of the customer journey and the decision making process as well as to offer more personalised options and information.
In the world of marketing, one of the most important ways of using AI is that of Sentiment Analysis. For newbies, sentiment analysis is the use of an online tool to creep around the internet (in the nicest possible way) in order to find mentions of your brand, product or service. These tools then use machine learning to determine whether each mention can be considered ‘positive’, ‘neutral’ or ‘negative’. It then collates the mentions to provide an overall picture of the ‘sentiment’ behind these comments. In some cases, users can view the actual comments for a more in-depth insight.
That’s all very interesting, I hear you say but, what, pray, does that have to do with my landing page?
A sentimental journey
Firstly, knowing what people are saying about you online can only ever be helpful. Whether it’s a case that you want to know if there are any specific issues that you should be looking at, or you’re facing a full blown crisis to be averted, knowledge is power. In terms of landing page optimisation for super powered conversion, this can be more than invaluable:
It’s Only Words
Sentiment analysis can allow you to analyse the kind of language that interneters are using in terms of your brand. This, in turn, can help you to put together the content for your landing page; effectively mirroring the language that is being used by your customers and potential customers.
Once you drill down into the comments from your sentiment analysis results, you’ll find that, in many cases, what you’re seeing is a wish list. For example, a commenter may say, ‘I really like this app, but the checkout is really slow and annoying’. You might then take this on board and, subsequently, your new landing page content may include, ‘Now with speedier checkout’.
The internet is a great place for a whinge and sentiment analysis is great for picking out specific problems or issues that customers perceive about your brand or product. Your sentiment analysis results might reveal that a number of commenters have complained that your app isn’t available in their language. When creating your new landing page, you can target these people specifically and include a message such as, ‘You asked for more languages – we heard you! Now available……..’ Most sentiment analysis comments come from social media and social media is an incredibly effective way of engaging with your customers and potential customers. Engaging with customers through social media posts and comments is great – but a fairly obvious way of doing so. In comparison, using sentiment analysis to form the content of your landing pages is a much more subtle – and yes, we’ll admit, more sneaky – way of targeting specific groups of social media users.
Mastering the art of using landing pages for conversion rate optimization is an acquired skill and there’s no better way to learn than those who have earned the title of Landing Page Legend. To end this article, I will hand over to some of those legends who chose to share their wisdom with us:
Andrzej Biedafrom Landingi
Content is King, but Context is God
Keep your content in the same context across the whole lead generation funnel. It’s essential to sustain your audience’s attention on a decent level, all the way through your funnel. Copy, design, goal, call to action should communicate the same value for the customer.
Focus on just one goal, seriously
Don’t try to kill two bats with one stone. Select just one goal your landing page should achieve. One landing page = one call to action, simple as that. Eliminate any external link that may cause leaving your landing page and don’t smuggle any alternative CTAs.
Ewa Wysockafrom Tribe47
Before you go into technical aspects of your Landing Page, make sure the copy stands out – especially the part of the copy which is visible above the fold. If I can do only one split test I always choose to run the test on headline and potentially on sub-headline (if there is one). Even if you are 100% sure about the key message (your unique selling point) that you want the page to communicate, there are always at least 3 different ways you can convey it, like fact-based, curiosity-based and via social proof.
Making If Short No Matter What
The mistake I see most often is trying to shorten the page up, squeeze everything above the fold, making sure people don’t have to scroll too much. The more your visitor interacts with your page the better, so it is actually very good if they scroll! The other thing is trying to remove sections (without the split test!) based on heat-map analysis. The fact that visitors did not gaze longer on your testimonial section does not mean it did not impact conversion. So be gentle with removing sections and trying to make your Landing Page too short.
Theresa Baiocco-Farrfrom Conversion Max
Clarity Crushes Clever
Unless you’re a household name, don’t try to be too clever; very few brands can successfully pull off Mad Man style advertising with memorable catchlines. And your site’s visitors don’t want to have to decipher the meaning behind your message.
When they first arrive on your landing page, they simply need to know WHAT you sell, and WHY they should buy from you, rather than a competitor. They take a maximum of five seconds to figure that out before they bounce.
They look in these four places to figure that out:
- Your headline
- Your subheadline
- Your logo/tagline
- Your hero shot
Use Usability Hub’s 5 Second Tool to see how well your landing pages explain WHAT and WHY in the first 5 seconds.
Don’t Be a Copycat
Although it’s important to keep track of what your competitors are doing, don’t copy their landing pages. Most likely, even the successful players in your field don’t know what they’re doing.
Instead, take the time to know your target market’s pain points and how you’re uniquely qualified to solve them. Your customers want to know what makes you different. If you can’t answer that, take a step back to define your unique value proposition, then convey that in all of your ads and landing pages.
Brian Masseyfrom Conversion Sciences
The Caption Test
Images are one of the best ways to communicate value on your landing pages. Unfortunately, we spend all of our time writing the copy that a small number of people read, and little time on the images that everyone will at least glance at.
Did you know that captions are read as often as headlines?
Try this with every image on your page, even the background images. Write a caption for it. If the caption is ridiculous, or is forced, it’s not a good image. Try again.
Then caption it! You can caption with overlaid text or below it with HTML text. Both work.
Failing to keep the promise
There are only two jobs of a landing page:
- Keep the promise made in an ad, email, social post or link
- Get the website visitor to make a choice
Generic landing pages often break the first rule. If you don’t or can’t repeat the specific promise made to the people visiting, your conversion rate will go down. Technically, you’re not working on a landing page if you can’t mail both jobs.
For extra points, make the page look like the ad that links to it visually.