Using your web presence to find new customers is one of the best ways a company can use technology. But research shows that out of 100 visitors, only 3 will show interest in your products, that’s only 3%. Learn what it takes to increase this rate by as much as 800%.
The overarching idea is this:
How you engage with your visitors exactly mirrors how they engage with you. Get overly boring and unfocused, and you’ll lose them. Offer concise, organized and to-the-point pages with a clear primary call to action, and visitors will act.
1. Tailor-made Landing pages, have lots of them
Where people come from dictates what they want to see, so make sure you have a landing page for each campaign you run, whether that’s SEO, or paid search, or banner ads, email or social media. All these campaigns, also known as Pre-Click, are geared to bring in traffic on your site.
Once visitors land on your site you have very little time to get them to do something on the page. Leaving it is not Completed Goal. This Post-Click phase is where visitors are sold on coming to your site, and now the landing page needs to convert them into subscribers or customers. If you did a good job in segmenting visitors and guiding them to a matching landing page, the Post Click phase will be relatively easy because the landing page should mirror the motivator that got people to come to your site in the first place. However, improving the conversion rate of the landing page shouldn’t stop with segmenting. Research data points that well-optimized landing pages can easily increase the conversion rate by 800%. If it’s a sales page, do the math and see how much a good landing page can increase your business.
After a visitor converts, you can have yet another landing page that will nurture the relationship in this Post-Conversion period. The longer you keep a visitor engaged with your site, the more you increase the value of your clients. This post-conversion landing page can be a call toFollow us on Twitter, Join our Facebook Page, Visit us on Linkedin, or a Newsletter Signup.
2. Message match: deliver what you promise
Make sure to match the Ad and the corresponding landing page, or the message that led to a click, whether that’s from SEO or email or social sharing.
Over some clicks, you do have control, such as SEM (PPC), Banners, Emails and Affiliate. You can control where these visitors end up. With some campaigns, you cant control where people end up, this is mostly from Search (SEO) and social media. So you can organize optimization for controlled campaigns and lead people to correct mirroring pages.
With organic traffic you have very little marketing control, you have people coming in at different stages of an imaginary funnel: some are just looking (press, window shoppers), some are comparing products (prospects) and some may be in for the shopping experience. There’s very little that you can do in controlling where these people end up on your site, but you CAN influence where they come from search if you have landing pages optimized for these three stages of the conversion funnel, so that window shoppers land on a page optimized for their search phrases, the prospect lands on a page optimized for research intentions, and hot traffic ends up on the sales page where they need just a bit of a nudge to buy.
Campaign traffic on the other hand comes from specific ads or banners, so you can directly influence where these visitors end up. In this case the Ad and the landing page should be as closely matched as possible. When this happens, conversion can be increased 400$. This in turn reduces bounce rate. This high correlation lets visitors know they’re on the page they want to be.
Give the gorilla the banana: deliver what you promise on the Ad, or match the message on the Ad and the corresponding landing page. Most visitors are trying to rule your site out, and if they see your page does not match their expectation, they leave. Tightly matched pages improve conversion multiple times.
3. Fine tune Forms
Are you drowning your visitors with forms? You have to have forms if you rely on the Internet to get leads. However, forms are hurdles, they stand in the way of visitors to get what they want. Even if the form is a simple one to fill in. Long forms usually have a focus on what the company needs, so it communicates a message that “We dont care if you have to jump hoops if that does good to us”. Not a smart attitude.
Instead, it’s better to focus on what the visitor wants, and they usually don’t want to fill up long forms, or report correctly how they ended up on the site, what they do and where they live. Too many questions will just give visitors more incentive to answer incorrectly. This is why we end up with tons of forms saying that people live in Alaska, they’re in Aeronautical industry. This clearly points that people just selected the first state and industry from the dropdown lists. So your form created unnecessary friction for visitors to move forward, and you didn’t get anything useful.
Most of the forms have fields for a full name, company, phone, email, website and Question/Comment. These forms can convert the Search traffic up to 10%. The same form with one or two more elements drops the conversion down to 4%. So make sure you REALLY need that extra field. Streamline as much as possible and your forms will convert better. This however will diminish the quality of leads, so there must be a ballance. The question is how much each field helps Sales to close a deal. If you end up with tons of Aeronautical engineers from Alaska, it’s time to get rid of some elements on the form.
In some cases, a multipage (3-step) form may be a good idea, where the people visually get a sense that it will be easy to “Sign up”, and once they start, they usually go all the way. The principle behind this is that once you get people to start interacting with your site, they want to go all the way. Most of the tests point that a 3-page form usually converts more than a single page lengthy form, but run a test, dont take it for granted.
4. Think outside of the box, outside of a landing page
Too many people stick to the landing page best practices, this is why most of the landing pages have a headline, subhead, text and call to action: BORING. Not too interactive, not alluring to fill up or convert. MarketingSherpa says on average landing pages convert 3.84% because most hold down to LPO best practices only, and there’s no incentive to think in terms of competitive advantage: what we can have that others don’t.
5. Preconversion segmentation: think beyond the page
This is very important for improving conversion. In this way you can create a better experience for the visitor, leading to better conversion. For example, you can have a page that segments visitors to Small business/Midsize business and Enterprise solutions by offering these three links which in turn lead to the corresponding pages. In this way the visitor gets funneled to the place where they fit in best, without even asking them to evaluate themselves using a dropdown checklist. So with a good design you get visitors to segment themselves, and you get a relevant data on the visitor.
This segmentation leads to smaller bounce rate and greater conversion. Just make sure that every next page speaks directly to say, Small business, and you don’t talk there about enterprise issues.
6. Make a good pitch
In ecommerce, companies make good pitches, but when it comes to lead generation, we don’t use as good a copy and images. But landing pages are opportunities to sell, not to publish a press releases. So don’t be boring. Focus on the pitch, not the content.
Also, this pitch must match the promise on the Ad, email or social link.
Pitch is not only a strong headline and a value proposition. Every element on the page should support your offer. And finally, make the call to action to jump off the page and grab the visitor.
7. Keep your pages simple
If there are tons of text, bullets, images and so on, visitors can’t focus on all that and they just leave. Instead, landing pages should be no-brainers, containing only the essentials.
Each element is a focus element, and all of them are screaming for attention: the navigation menu, the Search bar, text, image, bullets, security badges and so on. All of them create clutter and try to capture attention individually. Depending on how much real estate you devote on the page per element, that determines how much of the focus elements get. The best way to go is have only the essentials, a compelling headline and subhead, fllowed by a short bullet list, and a form to fill up. Also, make sure to have a single eyepath, left to right, top to bottom. In this way, you get the visitor following Your narrative instead of making up his/her own story from your page elements.
8. Test, test, and test some more
Don’t take anything for granted, instead, test every change you make. This is the only way to know if that change does you good or not.
In general there are four areas of testing
- Trivial: copy (long text vs. bullets), colors, images. These are easy (trivial) things to test.
- Contextual: message match, competition, seasonal
- Tactical: offer, flow, format, design, (this is where you test timing of message, tone of voice, feel etc.)
- Strategic: segmentation, branding, messaging. (This is where you test your strategy of segmentation, branding, SMS messaging etc)
If you don’t test, you’re definitely leaving money on the counter. This is why each landing page should fulfill a specific goal in the overall conversion strategy.
- DHL did a test with a female image on the pitch page and they got 25% more leads rather than the exact same page with a male image.
- With an Iomega test the task-oriented segmenting vs. a technical expertise segmenting boosted 300% improvement.
- Another example with a simpler graphics got a 60% higher conversion compared to a more graphics heavy page.
- On another test exactly the opposite happened, a 65% lift from a graphics-heavier page.
This is why it is crucial to test and see how your visitors react. Usually the easiest way is to do an A/B test, or measuring apples vs. oranges.
Multivariative tests MVT is testing more elements rotating various elements and seing which combination performs best.
First you can do an A/B test to see if it’s better to have a microsite or a LP. Then you can go to MVT and refine the design. A/B is finding a diamond, MVT is refining it.
9. Stay disposable
Don’t over invest time/budget/energy. Take reasonable time, not more than a few days to redesign a single landing page. Don’t try to get it perfect, just get it done. DO it, and test it. When doing Landing Page Optimization, have in mind that it does take time to perfect each element.
Q: Is it better to have a form on the landing page, or a call to action that will lead people to a form.
A: It depends on the traffic source: if traffic is from Ads, use a landing page with some informative copy to warm them up, and offer them a call to action. If it’s from email, you can send them directly to the form hoping that the email warmed people up enough for a fill up.
Q: Navigation element on landing pages: Yes or No?
A: Navitagion usually leaks out traffic. Especially for lead generation. 99% of the times, Navigation hurts. For ecommerce it’s usually not the case, but for lead generation landing pages, it’s best to leave out Navigation. If it’s a microsite then you can allow some 3-4 navigation elements but not a full site navigation.
Q: How much copy is enough for a landing page?
A: Focus on persuasion and education. Presentation is key, so if it’s a 4 paragraphs text, maybe it can be presented in 4 scanable bullets, and allow for clickable tabs for people to go through the details. You can do a test to see how much copy is needed for people to get convinced. In some cases long form pages work better with one person offering something. For B2B it’s better to keep it scanable.
Q: How many calls to action can we have on a landing page?
A: You want to have a hierarchy in conversion elements, that is created visually. Don’t put more than 3 choices. Social Psychology researches this, how much is too much, and they came to a conclusion that too many choices quenches decision making. You always help visitors to the ideal call to action by visual aids: colors, shapes, size. The bigger the button is in relation to other elements on the page (such as image, bullet lists, text), the more focus it attracts, and the greater the chance visitors will click on it.
Websites are great business tools to get more leads and make more sales when possible. But as people now grow more and more focused on what they want to find, each landing page needs to speak as consistently and focused as possible. This is why it’s best if you have a dedicated landing page for each traffic-building campaign: Paid Search, SEO, banner ads, email, social media activity etc.
Each landing page needs to be in sync with the message/promise made on the ad, so that visitors know they’ve landed on the correct page. When they get on your site, try not to overwhelm them with long forms or overwhelming text. be focused in the web copy and design to such extent that each element on the page plays a very specific role in the conversation with the visitor. Don’t bother them with details, just get them engaged and move them forward in the conversion funnel.
Lastly, don’t rely on best practices alone. Use them, but then test everything. First use split testing, or A/B testing, to set the right direction, and then use multivariative tests (MVTs) fo fine-tune your page so it has as high of a conversion rate as possible.