How to Build High Converting Landing Pages

Fifteen seconds: that’s the maximum time the average visitor will spend on your website – and the maximum time your landing page has to capture this visitor’s attention. To capture attention, every part of your landing page needs to do its job.

Yes, platforms like Instapage, Wishpond and Unbounce can jumpstart your landing page creation process. Before you get started with these platforms, however, it’s essential that you understand the elements that comprise a high converting landing page. You can’t improve conversion rates if you do not understand the basic landing page elements that are essential to getting the job done.

Audience Matters: How Intention Drives Landing Page DesignThe purpose of every landing page is to drive conversions. But how each landing page accomplishes this purpose will differ based on the call to action goal, target audience, and message. For example, a landing page targeted at marketers for a B2B social media strategy conference will be very different from a landing page selling vacation travel packages to families.

A host of factors like audience, product, value proposition, messaging and cost will differ between these pages. There is no “one size fits all” design that’s guaranteed to drive conversion rates. However, there are basic elements that every landing design page MUST include to be successful. The layout, color and messaging of these elements may vary based on the target audience, product and page goal. But a landing page cannot be successful without including these five elements.

The 5 Elements Every Landing Page Needs to Be SuccessfulThere are endless design variations for landing pages. But no matter what button color you choose or what your headline says, every landing page MUST have a version of these five elements to be successful.

1. Persuasive Headline The most effective landing page headlines instantly grab the audience’s attention. They’re concise, clear and compelling. They instantly convey key information and do so in 20 words or less, ideally no more than ten.

2. Eye-catching Visuals It’s a cliché for a reason: a picture really is worth a thousand words, especially on a landing page where you have 15 seconds or less to capture your visitor’s attention. Visual clutter or lengthy copy obscures your key messages.

Eye-catching images that are relevant to your product or service instantly capture audience attention and visually convey key messages. For example, if you are giving away a sample product, use a large visual to help explain this product’s best features.When selecting images, opt for large, high-quality images. Avoid generic stock photography that lacks product or service relevancy.

3. Value Proposition Every lead wants to know: “What’s in it for me?” The landing page is where you clearly convey these key benefits. A word of caution: don’t drift off the mark and focus too much about your company’s philosophy or how you’re changing the world. Your audience doesn’t care. A benefit is not, “we’re a fun company.” A benefit is “our product/service is fun to use.”

Next, personalize this value proposition. How will your product or service improve your lead’s quality of life or solve a problem? For example, “You will have fun using our product.” Always ensure your value proposition is customer-oriented.

4. Trustworthy TestimonialsEffective testimonials eliminate perceived barriers to conversion by building trust. Your visitors want to know they can trust your company or product. Testimonials help buyers overcome their skepticism with candid, unbiased feedback. For testimonials to be effective, they must be credible. Credible testimonials contain personal, identifiable details like a client’s name, title, and company location/name. If possible, include a photo or other social proof (like a Twitter handle or LinkedIn account) to further bolster credibility.

Finally, keep an eye on length. This is not the place for a full-blown case study. Pull out the most relevant details in a short, compelling quote and place this quote front and center on your landing page.

5. Compelling Call to Action The last landing page element is also the most important. Everything hinges on your CTA. A few must-haves: Use a button. We’ve all been trained to click on buttons to submit forms, download samples or simply learn more. This is not the place to change things up. People expect buttons. Give them what they want.

Stand out. Sure, you can A/B test a million button colors, but as a basic rule of thumb, you need button color that stands out against the rest of your page. Don’t force your audience to hunt around for where to click. Contrasting colors immediately attract attention. Never use the word “submit.” Instead, choose a more explosive, exciting action-oriented word or phrase. Even tried-and-true options like “try it free”, “get a demo” or “join now” are more compelling than "submit." Like button colors, you can A/B test endless versions of your CTA. It’s worth testing a few different options to learn how the message impacts conversions.

Designing High Converting Landing Pages: 5 Optimization SecretsYou’ve built your landing page and you’ve confirmed it contains the five elements discussed above. But your landing page conversions aren’t as high as you’d like them to be. So what gives? These are five starting points for improving your landing page optimization:

1. Align CTA and headline content Start by considering the journey your lead went through to arrive on this landing page. Did they click through from a PPC ad? Did they arrive via organic search? Did content published on your blog or another industry website bring them here? If there’s a mismatch between the messaging that brought your lead here in the first place and the actual content on your website, then you’re setting your lead up for confusion.

Consider this example: your lead clicked on a PPC ad for content marketing strategy and landed on a web page selling social media management platforms. Sure, these marketing tactics are in some way related, but fundamentally they’re separate issues. Your lead wants to know more about content marketing, not sign up for a new social media management platform.

Even if you’re not using a questionable bait-and-switch tactic like the example above, it’s still critical that you immediately reassure your lead that they’ve landed in the right place. Reiterate the key message points in your headline and then keep them engaged with compelling visuals.

2. Simplify your page Remember, anyone who reached your landing page clicked here with a specific intent in mind, be that a free trial offer or a white paper download. In addition to ensuring consistent messaging alignment (per our previous point), what you don’t say is just as important as what you do say.

Keep your landing page content focused on your goal: driving conversions around a particular product, service or offer. This is not the place to introduce additional information about your other product lines or a new service. Everything from your headline to your visuals to your CTA needs a singular, crystal-clear focus centered on your end goal. Remove anything that doesn’t contribute to achieving this goal.

3. Write customer-oriented value props that address pain points We mentioned the importance of customer-oriented value props earlier, but it’s worth including again here. All too often companies include a laundry list of benefits on their landing pages without personalizing these benefits for their customer. It can be as simple as changing the wording from “We offer XYZ” to “You will have XYZ.”

Customer-oriented value props should address pain points. What do you know about your target audience and the business challenges they face? What solutions do you offer to alleviate these pain points? The theory of loss aversion states that we’re more likely to be motivated by avoiding pain rather than gaining a benefit. In other words, discovering an extra $100 in savings would be great. But losing $100 because of a mistake we’re making would be far worse. If your customer-oriented value props aren’t connecting, re-think how you’re addressing pain points.

4. Optimize lead generation forms From placing your lead capture form ABOVE the fold to using directional cues and visual design elements, optimizing your lead generation forms is an essential part of landing page optimization. The most essential element: eliminating extraneous form fields. The more unnecessary form fields you eliminate, the higher your conversion rates.

Carefully consider the information you’re gathering in each form field. Is it relevant or unnecessary? For example, if your company will be sending a white paper download link via email, requesting address and zip code information can seem unnecessarily invasive. There are better ways to gather geographic information on your leads. Simply eliminating these two fields could have a significant impact on your conversion rates.

Want to up your lead generation game? We’ve covered the top five most important elements of lead generation form optimization here. 5 Tips for Building Highly Effective Lead Generation Forms

5. A/B test your call to action Is your call to action falling short? Earlier we touched on a few elements that make a compelling CTA: button, color, and message. Your company should A/B test these three elements to determine the most effective combination.

We recommend starting with the actual message in your CTA. Why? Landing pages are asking leads to give up personal information. Leads need a compelling reason to give up this information. This reason needs to be distinctly stated in the call to action. For example, let’s say the reason is a free eBook download that will help the lead solve a common business problem. Consider these two possible CTAs: “Download your eBook now” and “Boost conversion rates in 5 steps”.

The first CTA is pretty generic and doesn’t convey a value prop for downloading the eBook. The second CTA gets specific: when the lead downloads the eBook, they’ll get a 5-step solution to their conversion rate problem.

While it’s safe to assume the second option will be more effective than the first, it’s worth A/B testing a few different variations to hone in on the right messaging.

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