Landing Page Design

11 Ways to Improve Landing Pages

You’re about to launch a big online marketing campaign complete with media buys, search engine placement, banner ads and blog buzz. You’ve tested your creative and your clickthrough rate is strong. You know once you go live, tons of targeted traffic will be hitting your site.

Even after a customer has decided to accept your offer, the conversion can be lost. Any flaw in site functionality and usability can cause you to lose the conversion, so ensure your privacy information is posted and there are no hiccups in form processing.
Time to sit back and relax, right? Not quite yet.

Conversion’s the Word

Upon arriving at your site, you want the visitor to dosomething (e.g., register for your newsletter or buy your product). Your site is not successful until that desired action is taken. When a visitor takes that desired action, you’ve had a conversion. If you have millions of visitors coming to your site daily and no one converts, not only do you have an unsuccessful marketing campaign, but also a big hosting bill.

Attracting traffic is easy. The tricky part is converting it. And that’s the purpose of your landing page.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is the page visitors arrive at after clicking on your promotional creative.

Your landing page has to convince the visitor to stay and (depending on your goal):

  • Fill out a form (but people hate filling out forms)
  • Provide personal details (but people hate getting spammed)
  • Buy something (but people hate being scammed)
  • Read a lot of information (but people really hate reading)

As you can see, there are some major obstacles to getting visitors to do what you want on your landing page. You have to convince people to do things they hate. This is why typical conversion rates are extremely low. Here are some rates from the Fireclick Index.

Conversion rates from Fireclick Index
Vertical Conversion Rate (%)
Catalog 6.1
Specialty stores 3.9
Fashion/apparel 2.2
Travel 2.1
Home and furnishing 2.0
Sport/outdoors 1.4
Electronics 1.1
All verticals 2.3

We’re talking about a very low rate, from 1-6%.

Before we get into the details about landing page design, let’s think about the visitors.

Think About Your User

Most people don’t come to your landing page and look at every single design element. They come looking for clues to quickly answer their questions.

They want to know:

  • “Is this the right place?”
  • “Is this how I imagined it would be?”
  • “Should I click the back button?”
  • “Does this look trustworthy?”
  • “How much time is this going to take?”

Your landing page needs to address all these issues immediately. If your design elements are not focused enough and/or distract the visitor, expect high page abandonment.

Next, visitors think: “Should I accept this offer?”

This is where your marketing copy and pitch comes in. Visitors will scan your intro copy, media content, product information, testimonials, and design value and decide whether or not to convert.

Even after a customer has decided to accept your offer, the conversion can be lost. Any flaw in site functionality and usability can cause you to lose the conversion, so ensure your privacy information is posted and there are no hiccups in form processing.

11 Tips to Improve Your Landing Page

  1. Define Your ConversionBefore you start to design your landing page, define that page’s conversion activity. For a newsletter landing page, the conversion activity is entering an email address into a form and clicking “Accept.”
  2. Do a Little ResearchA little demographic research goes a long way. Figure out what your visitor is looking for and what offers work. Build a profile of your ideal visitor. Keep this person in mind when creating your landing page. Do not construct the page for anyone else—generic and broad pages are proven to fail—and keep everything “on target.” Your ad campaign already funnels traffic to your landing page, so visitors are expecting a very targeted message. Tailor the pages to them.
  3. Eliminate unneeded ElementsDistractions kill conversions. Strip any unneeded elements from the page. This is not your home page. Anyone who comes to your landing page has already been screened by your ad. They expect a very specific message.
  4. Match the CreativeThe landing page and creative should match. The easiest way to clue visitors in that they have arrived at the right place is to use the heading from your ad creative.
  5. Remove NavigationIf you can, remove the navigation bar. Of course, don’t remove it if it is essential to the conversion process. Remember your message, and if a link has nothing to with it—chuck it!
  6. Stay FocusedAvoid the urge to promote or link to other areas of your site. The point of the landing page is to prevent your visitor from wandering. You want them converting, not clicking around to other parts of your site and marveling at your Flash animations. Imagine if GAP encouraged shoppers entering their stores to leave and walk around the mall. Once they stop thinking about your offer, you’ve lost them.
  7. Important Elements Above the “Fold”Pay attention to the virtual fold (the bottom of the screen before scrolling). Place enough content above the fold to allow your visitor to make a decision about continuing on the site. If a visitor has to click or scroll to figure out what your site is about, the only thing they’ll click is the back button.
  8. Provide Conversion ExitsMake it easy for your visitor to convert. Place conversion exits above the fold and at every scroll-and-a-half of screen space.
  9. Lead the EyeUse typography and color to your advantage. Lead the eye along the page towards the conversion exit. Thoughtful use of whitespace, large copy and graphics can make a long page seem much shorter than it really is. Be careful though—a great image will demand a lot of eye time and if misplaced can ruin the flow of your message.Place the important stuff (whether it’s your copy or your image) close to the middle, and never distract your user from that focal point. Avoid putting interesting material in sidebars. This pulls the eye away from the main body. If it’s interesting and valuable, keep it close to the center and use it to direct the eye.
  10. Fix FormsOptimize your forms. Make the input cursor hop to the next field after a user finishes the current field. Allow the user to tab around fields. Auto-populate any fields you can.Remove all unneeded fields. Don’t ask for city/state/province if you ask for a Zip or postal code. Focus on the essentials.If you’re asking users to register for a newsletter, ask for only an email address. You don’t need their name now. Get rid of the reset button. It’s dangerous for both the user and you.
  11. Test, Test, TestAfter you have finished the design of your landing page, test it with a small user group. Go over a checklist with your design team:
    • Is the whole page focused?
    • Does the message match the advertisement?
    • Have you reduced all distractions?
    • Is critical information above the fold?
    • Are there enough conversion exits?
    • Does the page enhance your brand?

Landing page design examples  from smileycat.com designs

+++contents from digital web magazine

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