As an internet marketer, or a SEM, you website’s landing page is probably the single-most important component of your online portfolio and your presence on the internet.
Online marketers are constantly producing bigger and better offers. Marketers almost always have to produce a new landing page to go with their latest and greatest. This means that creating a new landing page becomes a repetitive exercise.
While there are tons of tools that let you create some brilliant-looking landing pages, little or no emphasis is placed on the optimization of the page – something which would most certainly have an adverse effect on the performance of your page, especially in terms of traffic, leads and revenues.
The following is a list of things that every SEM should consider in order to optimize and improve the performance of their landing pages:
1. The Headline
First and foremost, start off with reassessing your headline. Ideally, your headline should be short and precise (a one-liner, instead of being a paragraph no one’s probably going to read), it should be prominent (make it bold, use a fancy font), and it should stand out. But perhaps above all, your headline should always instantly be able to tell the viewer/reader what your offer’s all about.
Clarity should also be another important aspect of your headline. Ask yourself this: will a potential visitor be clearly able to know what your offer is about, and what benefits would he or she be able to receive from your offer?
Doing all this in just over a couple of words will be a difficult task, and the marketer who is able to nail all these aspects in 10 or so words will ultimately end up with a headline that’s compelling and attractive.
In addition, make sure you use your keyword(s) at least once in your headline as well, essential from an SEO perspective.
2. Text and Clutter
A landing page should NEVER look like a blog post, and should never have large amounts of text on it. Only put the most essential information on it, focusing more on the graphic aspect by adding graphics and images to it, and as less text as possible. Only the essential text should be added. Keep the details and explanations on another page, and link to it from your landing page.
A good substitute for a lot of text is video. This is precisely what Dropbox.com have done. Instead of putting up tons of text explaining what Dropbox does, they have a bog video box on their landing page, accompanied with a download button.
Less is more. By keeping it clean, uncluttered and free of text apart from short descriptions, your visitors are instantly able to have an idea about your offer and the value that it provides.
Equally important is to reduce the number of things which might ‘distract’ a visitor from your CTA, which could be anything from a flashy background or a header, to an image or a graphic. You want your visitors to focus on one thing – your call to action. Distractions in form of images or text will prevent them from doing just that.
3. Clear Value Proposition
The sole purpose of your landing page is to be able to convert as many visitors as possible. In order to do so, your landing page should be able to communicate the precise value that it provides to its visitors. In other words, what exactly will they get out of what you have on offer? Why would they provide you with their personal details, and why would they be bothered to fill out a form?
Place special importance on the value, not just the product. You might be selling a Wordpress plugin that automatically optimizes images for SEO, but what benefits would your readers get from buying your plugin?
Make your value proposition worth your readers’ time and worthy of them providing you with their email IDs and other personal information. Because when you do, you will have convinced them to fill out the form or do whatever your CTA wants them to do.
4. Above The Fold
Your Call-To-Action should almost always be above-the-fold. This means that visitors shouldn’t be required to scroll down too much to redeem/avail your offer, or scroll down a lot in order to fill a form, or click on the buy-now button.
If this is the case, it would be a good idea to move it up and make it more prominent, making it easier for people to be able to find it. No one wants to scroll up and down a page, just to fill out a form or click on a button. It is your responsibility to make your CTA as easy as possible, e.g. filling out a form.
Forms should ideally be as short, precise, concise and to-the-point as possible. Because the simple fact of the matter is that the more fields your form has, the less likely that people will actually fill it out. Because lets be perfectly honest, no one likes to fill out lengthy forms that ask for irrelevant information or info that is not even required.
Shorter forms will allow you to generate maximum leads. Everyone can easily space a minute or two to fill out a form that has a couple of essential fields. However no many will be willing to fill your form out if it asks for 10 different fields to be completed. The fewer the fields, the more the people willing to complete the form, it’s as simple as that.
6. Submit Button
According to studies, tweaking and changing your submit button might also be a good idea, because, apparently ‘pages with a submit button have lower conversion rates than pages that used a substitute/alternative word. The difference between the two was 4% - with buttons that used alternate words getting as much as 17% more conversion rates, as compared to the 14.5% conversion for buttons with submit.
In addition, make your submit button stand out, but using a different color scheme, or perhaps a different shade or contrast of the color. Make it more prominent by making it large in size. Most landing pages use this tactic to great effect, as often times, the largest single thing on the page is a ‘Buy,’ ‘Download,’ ‘Products and Pricing,’ ‘Get Started’ button or a similar one.
7. Social Integration
Social integration remains an important aspect of blogs and websites around the world – and your landing page is no exception.
If you allow people to be able to easily share your page on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you can get a lot of exposure and expand the reach of your page to many different circles and potential customers who might be interested in what you have on offer.
If your offer is good enough, people will want to share it with others people in their networks. Why not make this process as easy as possible, by adding a Share/Like on Facebook, Tweet on Twitter and +1 on Google Plus icon on your page. Depending on the platform that you’re using, this can be as simple as adding the necessary widget, placing them wherever you want to, and that’s it.
In addition, offer your visitors with an incentive to Like, RT or +1 your page. For instance anyone who Likes your page stands to receive a 10% discount on all your products and service, or anyone who Tweets your offer and your page on their Twitter is eligible to a free bonus download with $30!
A lot has already been said about the CTA – it should be clear, it should be valuable-enough, and it should be simple and straightforward. In addition, there should always be a single CTA on your blog. You want your visitors to take one, single, clear action, instead of confusing them with multiple different ones.
Every good landing page always has one, single CTA. The example of Dropbox.com comes up once again; they have a big, blue button which makes it crystal clear to the visitor what he needs to do, once he lands on their page.