This is a guest post by Wes Towers. His mission is to empower a new breed of entrepreneurs with cutting-edge websites that attract more leads, graphic design that converts more sales, and systems that multiply results affordably and fast. He is also the owner of Omnific Design and author of: The Simple Manifesto – Marketing principles to save you time, increase profit and create your dream business in a SNAP!
Having a landing page that is professionally designed so it’s aesthetically pleasing and visually beautiful does not mean it will convert well.
As a graphic designer by training and now as a web designer, it pains me to say this but it’s true. I appreciate beautiful, creative design and all the design techniques I learnt at Uni, but I also understand the purpose is not to win design awards, but to win more business for the client. This is important for all website design and development, but it’s even more crucial for landing page design. General business websites may be for branding purposes, where they may not need to generate an immediate response. In these cases the visual appeal plays an important role; however, when it comes to landing pages, the primary purpose is to generate a response, typically to opt-in or buy immediately.
Landing Page Design
The common mistake clients make when briefing a designer for a landing page, is to focus on their own personal style preferences. A landing page is not a ‘branding’ exercise. While it’s important to feature your logo and use your visual branding elements in your business website, these are secondary for landing page design. Sure, there should be a level of consistency, maybe you use the fonts and colours from your brand; but then again, maybe it’s better to experiment with other options. Your logo doesn’t need to be featured at the top of a landing page. Your logo doesn’t need to be on the landing page at all. The key item that should hit you between the eyes is your core message, typically communicated by a strong headline.
When having a landing page designed, the style must be congruent with your offering more-so than your overall brand. For example, if you are selling a premium priced program, the design should have a premium feel. Likewise, if you are selling a quick and cheap “DIY” solution, the design should be suitable for that market. You might need to dirty up the design in this instance (something most designers hate to do). If you are selling “fast food” your website shouldn’t look like “fine-dining” and vice-versa. When your design is congruent with your offering, that’s when you will experience a higher conversion rate.
A/B Split Testing
All good marketing requires testing, measuring and tweaking so you can improve its performance. Landing pages are great for this process since there are limited variants, unlike your typical, multi-page website. Test different headlines, imagery, Calls-to-Action (CTA)… the list goes on.
A/B split testing sounds like a long and cumbersome process of trial and error, right? There are ways to speed up the process. For instance, you don’t need to start from scratch; model from websites, particularly those in your niche. I know what you’re thinking - when I say model, I don’t mean directly copy a landing page (naughty you). Take a look at what others are doing successfully and make some educated guesses as to why they work. Leadpage.net has templates that you can sort by ‘conversion rate’. That’s a handy tool to see what’s working, even if you don’t sign up to Lead Pages. You can also check out Clickbank.com. They publish pages’ conversion rates for the benefit of affiliates who may want to promote these landing pages. We can use this information as a research tool to find what might work for our own landing pages.
As I said before, with any landing page design, you’ll need to test, measure and tweak it to improve its performance. You will be making assumptions that may be incorrect. The trick is to get started and measure your assumptions, making further educated guesses as you go.
Here are a few quick and dirty tips to help get you started:
- Present your main benefits in bullet-points, preferably using a font that stands out. You can use facts if they reinforce your message, but focus on the benefits for your ideal customers.
- Use authentic, heartfelt video to communicate your offer. Videos on a landing page almost always increase conversion rates. Not at all surprising, since it’s easier to quickly communicate your message through video. Videos also give you the opportunity to build trust with customers by featuring a friendly person from your organization.
- Make sure the headline and the rest of your content work together. There should only be one core message communicated on your landing page and everything should support that one message.
- Only have one CTA per landing page. Having multiple CTAs on your landing page can confuse visitors, who will not know what to do first, and as a result end up doing nothing at all.
- Don’t use links to any other website or webpage. There should only be one option for visitors to respond to, your CTA.
- Don’t use social media sharing buttons on your landing page. Use them on a thank-you page when someone has just responded to your CTA. This will help spread the word about your offer without being a distraction featured on your landing page.
- Include testimonials. Whether they are short videos or written quotes from happy customers, testimonials help visitors trust your business and, as a result, buy from you.
- Increase the trust of the landing page by featuring partner logos and any other third-party endorsement relevant to your offer. The more, the better!