How to improve your website landing pages

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Every sales manager wants more hot leads. Every marketing manager wants a better return from their advertising and PR spend. So this article explains how to make your landing pages work harder for your business.

How to optimise a landing page

A landing page links your visitor’s needs with your products and leads them to some action. (If you’re landing page doesn’t do this, then it’s already broken.)

  • Understand your visitors’ needs. This is the fundamental point. You can’t sell them something they don’t need.
  • Talk about your stuff in their terms. Use their words and their language to describe what you’re selling and how it will help. Test copy on real people not on colleagues.
  • Have a clear call to action. What do you want them to do? Make it very obvious with a big Tonka-Toy button with contrasting colours and imperative text.
    Call to action
  • But just one of them. Don’t confuse the reader. More than one call to action is (probably) a failure mode.
  • Highlight the benefit. Tell them why they should act and what they get.
    Highlight benefit
  • Make it easy for them to act. The more fields you ask people to fill in on a form, the less likely they are to complete it. Similarly, the more steps they go through on the checkout, the higher the chance that they will abandon the cart. Make forms as simple as possible.
    Easy to act

Keep it simple, stupid

  • Remove distractions. Hubspot recommend removing everything from your landing pages except the copy, your logo, the call to action and social media buttons. They even say get rid of your navigation menus. Just focus the visitor on the action.
    Remove distractions
  • Cut copyShort words are bestShorter copy is also good. There’s no point filling up the page with words your customer isn’t going to read.
  • Search-enginge optimise. Pick one focus keyword that links your customers’ needs, your product and the copy on the landing page. Optimise your copy for that word. Use the keyword and relevant variants of it in your page title, headline, body text, link anchor text and image alt and title tags. For more on SEO, check out Google’s own SEO starter guide.
  • A/B testingOur own experience suggests that A/B testing can massively improve conversion rates. Google Content Experiments and Optimizely can help here.
  • Target your landing pages. Instead of trying to make one size fit all visitors, try producing variants of the page for different audience groups. For example, with Turbine, we get a lot of customers in hospitality and logistics so we’re planning on specific landing pages for these groups.

Use psychology to drive action

  • Reciprocity. Give to get. You want the visitor to give their contact details so you need to offer something in return. Typically, that’s something like a white paper or a webinar.
  • Urgency. You don’t want customers to take time to think or come back later because more often than not they won’t. You’re call to action needs to indicate immediacy, urgency and timeliness.
  • Scarcity. ‘Last five tickets’ is more compelling that ‘5,000 tickets remaining’.
    Scarcity
  • Social proof. People use other people as a short cut for thinking. If lots of people do it, it’s probably okay. So make sure they know that lots of people do it. (This is why people walk past five empty restaurants to stand in line for the crowded sixth.)
    Social Proof
  • Use design to guide the customer. Use size and colour to indicate importance: the headline and call to action should stand out. Images and diagrams should lead the reader to the action you want them to take.
  • Add social sharing buttons. Effective landing pages are valuable for customers and some of them will want to share the link. Make it easy for them do this with Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social sharing buttons. Not only will this increase the potential exposure of your page but it will also reinforce the social proof and SEO impact of your page. Of course, ineffective low-value pages will not get much action.
  • Your home page is a landing page. Every page on your website is a landing page. But your home page more than any other. Make sure that it has a clear call to action too.

Make your site work harder with our complete guide to website marketing.

Matthew Stibbe

Matthew is founder and CEO of Articulate Marketing.

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