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A Comprehensive Guide to Landing Page Design In 2022 : The 80-20 Rule to Boosting Conversions.

As a digital marketing consultant and trainer, I frequently come across this question from different clients.

How do I drive more conversions to my landing page?

This comprehensive blog exactly addresses this specific question With simple definitions, and real time examples, this ultimate guide to improving landing page conversion will surely help you to try, test and implement these best practices in your own company.

Before we begin, let me clear the air.

1. Depending on your goals, conversions can as be as simple as a signup for a newsletter, a purchase, subscriptions, downloads, registration for an event or a webinar etc.

2. The best practices are suggestive in nature and is based on what worked in majority of the cases. You need to see what works and what does not in your industry ( With A/B testing or innovating ) and act accordingly based on the data and insight. I strongly believe that the best practices of today need not be the best practices of tomorrow. As more and more variables plugged in for A/B testing , new patterns emerge or gets uncovered and with that insight, one can continuously optimize the landing page for better conversions.

With these caveats in place, let me start.

When it comes to the question of maximizing or boosting conversions, the answer is not always simple and straightforward as it appears to be due to the interplay of many variables affecting your landing page conversion rate. It could be your core Value proposition ( in simple terms, what benefits you offer and the cost of providing that benefit ), Relevance ( how relevant your value proposition is to your customers ), Responsiveness ( how quickly your website or landing page loads and how adaptive they are across devices ), Brand strength ( awareness, trust, loyalty, credibility ) Quality of Content, Design layout or Security issues especially data and payment security.

While all these variables might not have an equal or direct play on the conversion rates, it is worth paying attention to these variables or addressing them first hand incase of an issue with any of these. Remember, these are necessary but not sufficient conditions to boost or optimize conversion rates.

So, let me start with 3 basic questions a beginner or a novice may have about landing page.

  1. What is a Landing page?

  2. What is the difference between a landing page and a website ?

  3. What is the purpose of a landing page?

What is a landing page?

A landing page is any specific page of a website where the visitor lands after clicking an ad from a Google, face book or an YouTube ad or from any other online traffic source. Most Importantly, what differentiates a landing page from a website is, a landing page is designed or created with one specific purpose in mind. To bring visitors to a desired page of a website to stimulate or influence an action. As I mentioned earlier, it could be as simple as a sign-up, subscription or purchase. Whatever the goals are, the landing page is designed to achieve this specific action or goal.

Here is an example of a landing page. Supposing a visitor checks for a online MBA program in Google search and ends up clicking on a paid ad or organic listing which then directs them to a specific page, ( In this case, the MBA program offered by the Swiss Business School) , this specific page where the visitor landed after clicking an ad or any other online source is said to be the landing page. Here the goal is to provide relevant information about the program and convert visitors into leads by encouraging them to fill the lead generation or inquiry form. The CTA or what is commonly known as the Call to Action for an educational institution can be Apply Now , Know More, Download Brochure or Start Application.

Here is another example of a landing page. Say someone is looking for a sales and marketing email template for startups and ends up clicking on an ad or organic search, they are then directed to a page which contains what the visitor is looking out for, that is an example of a landing page. Check out this landing page from @hubspot that give away free sales and marketing email templates for startups

Now that we have some grounding on the landing page, let's move on to our next question.

What is the difference between a landing page and website?

There are 2 important aspects that differentiates a landing page from a website.

1. Goals or Purpose

2. CTA or Call to Actions

Websites are designed to provide general information about the company, its products and services, credentials etc. The main goal or purpose is to encourage visitors to explore what a company does, what products or services it offers, the people involved in the company. (at least the leadership team) and where it is located. There can be multiple CTAs or call to actions in a website.

Check out this simple example from salesforce.

On the other hand, the landing page is designed with only one goal in mind. To convert visitors into leads by driving them to a specific page or a designated page when they are in search of a solution or a need.

Website may have multiple goals and CTAs where as a landing page have only one goal and one consistent CTAs to drive a specific or desired action.

Now the third important question is

What is the purpose of having a landing page?

I am sure, by this time you must have figured out the answer for this. The one and only purpose of having a landing page is to drive visitors to a desired page and encourage them to take an action.

With the basics cleared, let us get on with some actions.

What are the attributes or characteristics of a high performing landing page?

Step One - Customer First Design Next

In my perspective, the best performing landing pages always start with the user in mind. In other words, "CUSTOMERS FIRST APPROACH"

Allow me to explain.

High performing landing pages always starts with the customers in mind.

  1. Why do customers come to our landing page in the first place?

  2. What do they expect or plan to do or achieve when they arrive at our landing page?

  3. How do they navigate in our landing page when they arrive?

  4. Why they do what they do? In other words, why do they take or do not take a desired action?

Answering these questions upfront ( with Data, Intuition, Insights or a combination of these) addresses half of the problem that we are dealing with when it comes to boosting conversions.

Once you understand or get answers for these questions ( Through Surveys, Heatmaps, Analyzing GA metrics like Bounce rate, sessions, New Users and Average Session Duration etc. ), you can start building or optimizing your landing page.

Side Note : To find the Landing Pages report in Google Analytics, use the navigation sidebar which is on the left side of your screen: Home > Reports > Behavior >Site Content > Landing Pages

Do checkout this wonderful piece of content by @hotjar on Landing page optimization

Step Two - Understand the true value of Exchange

Great landing pages are built on the fundamental idea of value exchange. Visitors are not going to exchange their details if the value you offer is not compelling or difficult to receive. For instance, if your lead form is too complicated or lengthy, it might turn away some visitors into signing up or if the offer itself is not attractive, relevant or compelling enough, then visitors are more likely to turn away from signing up the form.

Ensure that the value you provide in exchange for the value you expect to receive is relevant and compelling enough to your target segment. How?

Try these simple techniques to better your conversion rate

The Bait - Tempt your visitors with with a relevant offering ( it could be an e-book, free to use templates, case studies or Infographics ) that drives them to provide or share basic details ( name, email address ) in exchange for the offering. Remember, this is just a small step in the conversion journey. Once a visitor agrees to subscribe or signup for your newsletter, then you can then nurture them until they are sales ready ( Signing up for a demo session or visiting the pricing page etc.). While downloading an e-book or registering for a free webinar or an event might not be the final conversion goal you may have, these are incremental steps that might lead to a conversion with proper nurturing process.

The Warm-up - Do not attempt to push your visitors too quickly in to signing up or taking a desired action. Sometimes, this intimidates customers and make them wary or too apprehensive. Instead of pushing it straight down to their throat, gently guide them to take a desired action. For instance, if you are an online marketing agency, gently guide your visitors to a desired action by allowing them to stay anonymous until the point where they are happy or okay to share their contact details. Asking them about the biggest challenge they face in digital marketing, their goals are simple examples of warming up visitors before asking them to share their contact details. Here is an example of how this company @klientboost warms up visitors before asking for their contact details.

If you look at their pricing page, it gently guides visitors using a 3 step process. In the first step, visitors are first asked about the solution for which they need pricing for, then their goals and finally the website address. Check @klientboost pricing page

The bottom line is simple. Show strong intent to your visitors that you are interested in understanding their challenges or needs first and then slowly build your way up by asking them to share their contact details.

Step 3 - The Landing Page Template

While there is no one size fit it all approach when it comes to landing page design, the winning landing pages do share some common attributes that gives them an edge over others. Do not expect to replicate the success simply by producing copy cats neither I recommend one but it is worth keeping these things in mind while designing your landing page. Ultimately what works in one Industry might not work in the other due to differences in the business type ( B2B or B2C ), stages in the buying Journey, (Awareness, Consideration and Purchase ) degree of involvement in buying the product or service ( higher the perceived risks of buying the product or service, greater the degree of involvement in terms of customer research, evaluation and purchase ), type of people involved in the buying process ( Decision-makers, Opinion leaders,, Gate keepers etc.) Therefore, do not throw caution to the wind by blindly following these steps. Use your own internal data, insights and research to understand what works and what does not. The conversion rate benchmarks varies across industries hence do not get caught in the whirlwind or get sucked up by mimicking or replicating others.

Here are some attributes or characteristics of a winning landing page.

1. Headlines and Images - Headlines by itself would not push visitors to signup a form immediately or take a desired action but they do play a small part in pushing the needle. Headlines that are focused on customer pain points, needs or desired solutions would help in hooking the visitors to your landing page. Write headlines that clearly communicates the product or service benefit that customers desire or expect to receive. Use appropriate Images that complements your value proposition. Here are some examples.

  • " The Ultimate guide to winning landing page design "

  • "10 proven methods to drive 10X website traffic "

  • " Still struggling with keyword ideas? Try our simple and proven SEO tool for creating winning keyword ideas and see your rankings go up."

2. Clear CTA or Call to Action -

CTAs are those colorful buttons you see at the end of completing an enquiry or a lead generation form. A clear call to action helps visitors take or perform a desired action. Sign Up now, Apply now, Subscribe now, Register now, Download now are some examples of a clearly defined CTA. Ensure that your CTAs are placed above the fold. ( the visible part of your landing page ) for your visitor to take an immediate action if they are convinced with your offering. It is fine to have more than 1 CTAs in your landing page as long as it helps to reduce scroll or boost desired action. For instance, one can have 2 CTAs like Download brochure and Apply now in different places to drive visitors to take a desired action. Some visitors might not be ready to click the apply button and may want to download the brochure to know more about a program or a product. In this case, this strategy works in boosting conversions

3. Responsive - While designing your landing page, ensure that it is device friendly. In other words, responsive to the screen size. Make sure the user experience is not compromised especially when they are on mobile. If your landing page design is not optimized for mobile, this will provide sub-optimal experience to your visitors and drive them away from taking a desired action. Also ensure that your landing page loads faster.

4. SEO - As it goes without saying, if your landing page is not optimized for search, the probability or possibility of visitors discovering your brand online gets diminished. Pay attention to the keywords, title tags and meta descriptions. Ensure that the keywords are appropriately placed within your main content, H1 tags etc. ( no keyword stuffing ), write for the users ( the content you provide should be relevant and useful or helpful for the visitors to take a desired action) and look for long tail keywords that improves your chances of ranking in the SERP.

5. KISS ( Keep it Short and Simple ) - While it might be tempting to put or add features in the landing page, the simpler you keep, the better it is. Adding too many features in the landing page will do more harm than good. It is counter productive in that sense. Go for a website if you want visitors to explore your product features or know more about your business. Remember the purpose of landing page is to drive visitors to take an action and you can't have too many distractions there.

6. Compelling copy - While writing the copy or main content, pay attention to the following

  1. Write clearly and concisely. Do not beat about the bush

  2. Make sure the content is relevant and helpful for the visitors to take an action.

  3. Follow all the branding guidelines if you have any ( Tone, style of writing, brand colors, logos etc.)

  4. Use the PSBS approach to writing a compelling narrative. Focus on the

P - Problem Statement of your Client or Target Segment.

S - The Solution your product or service provides. How your solution will address the client problem?

B- The Benefits your product or service offers. The tangible and intangible benefits your target segment receives and

S - The Social proof ( Use cases, client testimonials) to establish trust and build credibility

While one can add so many tips to this list, not all tips can impact the results in the same way. Remember the 80-20 Pareto Principle. 80% of the results or outcome comes from 20 % of the causes. This holds true for the landing page design. While there are many tips to improving the landing page design, not all impact the outcome ( in this case, the conversion rates ) the same way as few variables do. Understand that 20 % that works for you and focus on that.

When it comes to landing page design and best practices, always remember to TRR.

Test - Rinse - Repeat.

Do add your comments on what you think are the winning attributes of a landing page that boost real conversions....

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