Landing pages are a useful tool in any digital marketing campaign, because they represent a significant opportunity to receive traffic and increase the chances of conversion, regardless of the shapes and types used. To fully exploit the potential of the landing pages, however, we must integrate them into an effective strategy, which can really maximize conversion rates: these are the main steps to make no mistakes!

A study on landing pages

To guide us in this path is a document elaborated by SharpSpring, the American platform of Marketing Automation, and spread by Search Engine Land, which is simply called “Creating Landing Pages That Convert” and, in a score of pages, outlines the process that leads to the creation of a landing page that converts and works.

To be precise, there are 7 elements that characterize a valid landing page, which can really facilitate conversions, but before going into the technical aspects we have to take a small step back to give some informational details.

Let’s remind what landing pages are

Let’s start by saying what is not a landing page: the homepage of the site, a product page, the price page, the one of the contacts or “about us” are not a landing page!

In a marketing perspective, the landing page is a specific page that has been designed specifically to achieve a goal, which can be to accumulate email addresses and other personal information of visitors, or to allow the download of a pdf file, registration to a webinar or direct purchase of goods or services.

Whatever the purpose, it is important that the landing page is built and focused only around it, because that is the only way we will not disperse its potential and achieve the desired conversion actions.

How are landing pages structured

These special pages can be made in “any shape and size“, the study tells us, and can be “extremely simple or terribly complex” depending on the site and the data available. Apart from these extra elements, however, and also from the targets and goals we set, all the landing pages have some characteristics in common that distinguish them.
  • A headline, a title that represents the first thing people will see and read and that generally describes exactly what we offer.
  • An offer, that is the reason why the user must perform the action, which is achieved by highlighting what we offer and the benefits that result from it.
  • A call-to-action, the element on which people will click to perform the action: usually it is just a button, but it can also be a link or form to fill in.

Simplicity and clarity to acquire leads and conversions

“And that’s it”, continues the document: even though most of the landing pages have some other elements, such as images and trust indicators, in order to be effective these three factors only are enough and, indeed, keeping the page and the message as simple as possible allows us to get better results. If anything, according to other experts landing pages with multiple offers get 266 percent less leads than the one with a single offer, so let’s focus on simplicity.

The importance of the landing pages

Convincing any user to perform a single, particular action on a standard web page is very complicated: our attention threshold is increasingly narrowed (an average of 8.25 seconds had been calculated in 2015, but it is shrinking more and more with the passage of time and with the evolution of the technologies) and the classic web pages offer too many distractions.

Even if the user reaches us with a purpose in mind, he can get lost and distracted with a navigation bar item, a link to another resource, a page advertisement and so on. On the contrary, the beauty and strength of the landing pages are in their ability to go straight to the point, limiting the visitor’s options to a single choice: accept or give up the offer.

Since there are no navigation bars, sidebars, footers, and focusing design and copy to achieve a single result, users are guided and pushed towards that goal, making a path that has indeed a binary term. Meaning that the person can complete the programmed action or leave the page, there is no alternative (tertium non datur, to put it Latin). And when the user completes the action, we get our lead.

How to plan and create a perfect landing page

Leaving these theoretical premises behind, we now enter the most practical part of the construction of a perfect landing page. First of all, we need to be clear about who our audience is and what we want to achieve, the kind of thoughts that precedes and guides the phases of creation and technical design.

Defining the audience

An effective landing page is built tailored on the users we are trying to involve: the more this page is customized, the more conversion opportunities we will acquire. So, it is crucial to define the target we want to reach, so we can figure out what the best language to speak and introduce ourselves to this audience is, what graphic look to use, which devices will be used to access the page and which are the personal wishes of the users.

For instance, highlights the SharpSpring guide, if “your product is aimed at older people, it would be better to use a larger font size, have a well-placed call to action above the fold and write the contents in a style that can be convincing for them”. Such landing page will inevitably differ (even in appearance) from one designed for the Millennials, which will probably land on it with a smartphone and are used to scroll a site and also discover any below the fold parts.

Defining the goals

Equally important is to understand what are the real and concrete goals that we can achieve according to the nature of our site: as we said, a landing page can increase the conversion rate, but what does conversion mean for us? Such pages can serve various purposes, such as:
  • landing of campaign clicks;
  • increase of subscribers to blogs and newsletters;
  • registration of participants in webinar;
  • increase in the sales rate of an upsell;
  • anticipation of the launch of a product;
  • something completely different.

The look of an ideal landing page

Each of these goals creates a completely different landing page, adapted to the specifics of our interest. If we first described the basic anatomy, in order to be excellent a landing page must also have other (few) elements that help to maximize the conversion rate.

Starting from the assumption that “there is no such thing as a perfect landing page” and that every job can be improved, there are however some tips that allow you to optimize your chances, by never forgetting, though, that everything must be included in a superior plan and strategy. A “successful landing page is larger than the sum of its parts”, says Sharpspring.

The 7 central elements for a landing page that converts

And so here we are with the practical tips, the 7 elements that can make our page a high conversion rated one:
  1. An appealing headline
  2. A winning offer
  3. Images that attract attention
  4. A nice video
  5. Trust indicators
  6. A clear call-to-action
  7. A post-conversion page

Writing a convincing title

As with normal web pages, titles are crucial because they are the first – and sometimes only – thing that visitors will read, and so we have to be good at promptly convincing them to stay and complete the action. The key is to explain the benefit of what we offer on the page in a single sentence.

Therefore, the study advises, do not talk about functions, but rather about what people can achieve thanks to our proposal, focusing the title on the user and devoting to its writing the same time and attention that is needed to make the rest of the page. Researches show that 90% of people reading a headline will also be reading the CTA.

Presenting a valid offer

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” has become one of the cult phrases of The Godfather (at the absolute second place of the best quotes in the history of cinema according to the American Film Institute) and this is the secret of an excellent landing page: we can build a technically perfect page, but if the offer is poor we won’t get results.

If the goal is to get new subscribers to the blog, you will probably have to offer some free insights, such as a guide on a specific topic. If you plan to enroll people in the webinar, you will have to highlight the peculiarities of the event: what will they learn and how can they use these information? The offer is the second thing that users read, and therefore the copy must be adapted to the tone and style chosen for the title.

Appealing images

Some people may not waste time reading the content: for this reason, if we use related images we can intercept their gazes and succeed in this work of persuasion. But we should not use old stock photos, because the images of the landing are a sort of second headline and must be powerful, communicating the strength of the product and offer immediately.

Taking advantage of the videos

Even more functional than the images can be the videos: if a photo “says more than a thousand words”, a video brings this “figure” to exceed the million! Studies confirm that videos are an excellent strategy to increase conversion rates, and even the inclusion of such multimedia resources in a landing page can increase conversions by 86 percent.

Supporting voices and testimonials

Trust indicators can also play a persuasive role: inserting contents (of any kind) by testimonials, user reviews, logos ofcompanies we collaborate with or certifications obtained help to create a relationship of trust towards our landing.

Anche i trust indicators possono svolgere un ruolo persuasivo: inserire contenuti (di qualsiasi tipo) da parte di testimonial, recensioni degli utenti, loghi delle aziende con cui collaboriamo o certificazioni ottenute aiutano a creare un rapporto di fiducia verso la nostra landing.

A straightforward call-to-action

CTAs are a (the) decisive part of the landing page, and in order to be effective they should be clear, dominant and assertive. On the web we will usually find dry phrases such as “Subscribe here”, “Download now”, “Add to cart”, which could work, but we must always remember to make a call to action tailored to the public we have targeted and the offer we propose.

A post-conversion page

In many cases, the conversion process ends with the action or, at most, with a thank you page: in doing so, you lose the opportunity to “beat the iron while it’s hot” and to try and get other results from the user we just caught. It may therefore be useful to create a post-conversion page that can present a new and different offer (a product to sell or subscription to a newsletter).

Customizing pages with dynamical contents

Some tricks can help us boost conversions, and in particular the use of dynamic contents can be a good solution. These are customized contents tailored to the user, thanks to previously collected data, which can therefore make better his on page experience: for instance, we could welcome him on the landing by entering his name, adapt the content according to its location or provide purchase suggestions based on the latest products purchased.

Tips to test and optimize the landings

Creating the page does not put an end to our work and to maximize the conversion opportunities there are still some steps to be performed, by doing tests and intervening with optimizations on the parts to be improved.

In practice, all of the landing components should be subjected to a verification process, starting with the title and passing through images, body of the copy, CTA and button color, background page color and size and font type chosen for the texts.

Essentially, there are two possible approaches to this test phase: the A/B test and the multivariants test.

How to perform the A/B test

Also known as split testing, the A/B test consists in comparing two versions of the same web page by changing a single detail, to find out which works best. In the case of the landing, we can for example test a new headline, showing the original A variant in the middle of the audience and the B variant (with the new title) in the other half, analyzing and evaluating the conversion rates.

It is history that, in the 2008 presidential campaign in the United States, the candidate (and future president) Barack Obama managed to get $60 million more in donations thanks to an A/B experiment performed on his landing page.

How to perform the multivariants test

The other type of experiment involves a greater combination of variables to understand which works best: for example, we could test at the same time a new title, a new image and a different CTA. As a result, users will not only see two options, but one of the eight or twelve variants determined by the number of modified variables.

Which test to perform

There is no such thing as a better method of experimentation in absolute, because much depends on the type of site and the time we have available: the A/B test provides excellent and certain answers, because it analyzes only one element, does not need much traffic but takes time to complete all aspects to vary and verify.

The multivariants test is much more quicker, but it needs a lot of traffic to verify all the variables.

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