Strictly defined, a landing page is a singular web page that’s built to receive visitors from a defined subset of a target audience. These pages are responsible for persuading visitors to heed calls to action that will fulfill a marketer’s conversion goals.
The average person may think that all landing pages do is capture email addresses, but that’s not the case. Landing pages may also be used to facilitate downloads, persuade visitors to subscribe to newsletters, show videos, pitch sales, upsell existing customers, or offer other navigational options.
Technically, any web page that’s being used as the go-to destination for advertising and SEO can be classified as a landing page. This is particularly true in multi-channel marketing where different promotional avenues may require different configurations and styles of landing pages that are best fitted to receive the kind of traffic that each channel pushes.
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Optimizing a Landing Page
Advertising and SEO aren’t enough to turn visits into qualified leads. Most of the time, marketers have to do varying levels of optimization to make sure the pages get good visibility while serving up good user experiences that encourage conversions. Here are nine steps to optimize a landing page for various promotional channels:
1. Determine the Landing Page’s Purpose
The first step in creating a functional landing page is deciding what it’s for. Are you using it to generate leads? Perhaps to pitch a sale? Whatever it is, the purpose has to be solitary and focused. Trying to get a visitor to do more than one thing usually leads to confusion and failure.
The landing page’s purpose sets the tone for everything from its headline to the body text and right down to its call to action. Keep in mind that Internet browsing attention span is short and volatile. If you bore or confuse your audience, your conversion rate suffers. Keep the messaging simple and united at all times.
2. Identify and Set the Value Proposition
In marketing, it’s never about you and what you want. It’s always about what’s in it for the target audience and how you can leverage that to get what you want in the process. That principle applies strongly to landing pages. It’s never about you, your mailing list or your sales figures. It’s always about the perceived value that your audience will get from absorbing your content and heeding your call to action.
When writing the copy, make the promise explicit every step of the way. Tell the reader how your offering either increases their pleasures or takes away their pains. Write about that in the opening paragraph and make it lead nicely to the benefit statement. Underscore your offers other benefits by enumerating them in short but impactful bullet points. Lastly, make it clear that your audience can only help you fulfill your promise by taking on your call to action.
3. Create at Least Two of Each Element
Landing page design and copywriting aren’t the most exact of sciences. You may have every reason to think that one headline or color scheme is better than another, but the majority of your audience could think otherwise. For that reason, testing is an essential part of landing page optimization. It provides empirical data straight from the field that helps you assess which parts of your landing page are working and which ones need to be improved.
Practically anything in a landing page can be tested. Headlines, buttons, calls-to-action and color palettes can be exposed to a sample set of the audience to gauge visitor responses. Tools such as Google Analytics can streamline the process and help you crunch the numbers for accurate result analysis.
There are two main types of testing used in landing page optimization: A/B testing and multivariate testing. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is the type that switches out singular landing page elements to see which one performs better. Multivariate tests, on the other hand, are experiments that measure which combination of elements performs best.
4. Determine Where the Page Fold is
In newspaper parlance, the fold is the not-so-imaginary line separating the top half from the bottom half of a broadsheet. The most important headlines, images, and news stories are placed above the fold while everything else is positioned below it.
We may be in a day and age where news publications have gone online and folds no longer exist as we knew them, but they go on in a different form. As far as web pages go, “above the fold” pertains to the area that’s immediately visible when the page fully loads. This area is prime online real estate and it will determine whether or not the majority of your audience will stay and scroll down.
Having said that, it’s crucial for a landing page to position vital elements such as the headline and important images above the fold. The promise of value has to be sensed by the audience within a few seconds and without scrolling down.
Granted, users will vary in devices and screen resolution preferences which means the fold may vary from person to person. However, you can compensate for that by planning for what the majority will use. For desktop devices, it’s a safe bet to assume that the average screen resolution will be 1600×900 or close variants of that.
Smartphones and tablets may have totally different display specifications and you’ll want to cater for them with either mobile-friendly counterparts of your landing pages or well-planned responsive webpages that scale down accurately to the devices viewing them.
5. Apply Basic SEO
Search engine traffic is still the best driver of qualified visitors to a landing page. Make sure to use keywords in important elements such as title tags, header tags, image alternate text and body copy. Make sure you use canonical URLs and if you can direct some internal and external links to the landing page, by all means do so.
Even when you’re not relying on organic search traffic to feed visitors to your landing page, you should still apply these optimizations. Title tags and meta descriptions display prominently when your landing page URL is shared on social media. PPC bots also crawl landing pages and award relevance points when these important SEO elements are filled in accurately. Basic SEO doesn’t require a lot of effort but it will reward your landing page in more ways than one.
6. Make Sure It’s Mobile-Friendly
By the end of 2014, it was reported that mobile Internet use has officially surpassed desktop usage. This is a huge development and the trend seems to only be getting started.
The mobile web is a big, open market and early adopters are bound to be rewarded. If you want to tap the latest evolution of the Internet as we know it, it’s in your best interest to make your landing pages mobile-friendly.
7. Remove Unnecessary Links
Think of links within your landing page as exit routes. The more of them you have, the greater the chances that visitors will wander off somewhere and never come back. To maximize your conversion rate, it’s usually best to have only one clickable item: the call-to-action button. This helps you funnel your traffic more easily towards the kind of user action that results in the fulfilment of your conversion goals.
8. Add Social Proof
Social proof is the psychological phenomenon where people assume that the actions and thoughts of others is the correct one. More often than not, adding elements of social proof to a landing page helps increase conversion rates by reducing the audience’s perception of risk.
By that token, badges, testimonials and statistics help you build a better case for your call to action. Social proof widgets are usually placed either on the sidebars or the bottom part of the landing page. They’re completely optional but they’re great to have whenever you can get hold of them.
9. Track it All with Analytics
No matter how good your landing page does when you launch it, there’s always room for you to improve it en route to better conversion rates. Track it with Google Analytics or other web analytics platforms and monitor key metrics such as bounce rates, average times on the page and conversion rates.
This will help you measure user engagement and understand visitor behavior. It will also shed insights on whether or not you need to make adjustments in order to get the most out of the page and the promotions you’re doing.
Using landing pages for multichannel marketing isn’t the most exact of sciences and it needs constant testing with corresponding adjustments to yield the best results. Keep refining your craft and better traction won’t be far behind.