Landing page best practices

Landing pages are customised pages that your leads are directed to from a social media page, an email send, an event invitation, a paid ad, or a search engine result.

No matter how much time or money you spend on a campaign, if your landing page doesn’t resonate with your audience, they will leave your website— potentially never to return. The goal of your landing page is to keep a potential donor interested enough to keep reading—ideally, they will fill out your form and become a lead, or even better make a donation.

Most leads take only a few seconds to decide whether they’ll read a page or leave. Does the page make sense immediately, or is it hard to understand? Is it relevant to the link your lead clicked on, or does it seem out of place? While testing your landing pages is the most effective way of making improvements to your conversion rate, there are some best pratice for designing landing pages

Remove or limit extra navigation on your landing page

It may be tempting to include your main navigation links on your landing pages, but these can distract your leads from your CTA. In eye tracking studies, it’s been found that navigation panels draw attention away from your offer and conversion.

Remember that your main goal isn’t a visit to your website. A landing page is used for one purpose and one purpose alone – to encourage a visitor to take one specific action.  After they convert, feel free to send your leads additional information— just don’t muddy the waters at your initial interaction.

When visitors land on a page, we want to keep them there until they perform that action. Leaving the navigation might induce them to continue wandering. Remove main site navigation from the page so they don’t move off your landing page.

Keep your landing page short

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your landing page copy will be overwhelming — especially when it’s combined with a lot of visual elements. The very things that are supposed to attract people to take action are only serving to distract them.

Best practice is to keep your landing page short and sweet with a bold headline, one or two short paragraphs of explanatory copy, and bullet points to show your leads why they should click through. To engage leads without overwhelming the page, consider using interactive elements such as an audio clip or a short video. 

Keep the objective simple and clear

Don’t try to stuff too much information on your landing pages. Make it clear what the landing page is about and what you want the visitor to do. Limit the amount of copy, images, media, and links to only what’s necessary, and organise your content in a proper structure so objects are in logical order. It’s especially important that the call-to-action (CTA) is as crystal clear as possible for the visitor.

A great headline on your landing page

A great headline uses actionable, value-driven words. It should entice people to do something. In this case, that something is filling out the form, a petition or maybe making a donation. Make sure that your copy uses action-oriented words that communicate the value of the offer behind the landing page.

Every landing page should have an attention-grabbing headline that clearly indicates what the offer its featuring is about. When you present a clear value proposition — including what customers get as a result of reading, they’ll be more likely to continue on and see how your bullet points and features further reinforce the main offer in the headline.

If your landing page visitor read nothing else on the page but the headline, would she know exactly what she’d receive by completing and submitting the form or clicking the button? If it’s not clear, make it so.

Sub-header concisely describes the benefit of the offer

Think of your sub-header as a more practical extension of your headline. Your headline should be flashy yet indicative of what people will get by filling out the form. Your sub-header is a much less flashy tagline — it’s very clear on what the benefit is of the offer. 

Clarity not creativity makes a great landing page

People’s attention spans are short, especially online. This means you need to make sure your offer is as clear as possible.

Think of the most direct way to say what you’re trying to say, without the use of jargon and literary flair that detracts from the meaning of your sentence. Once you’re done crafting the copy for your landing page, read over it, and cross out every single word, phrase, and sentence that is not absolutely necessary to clearly convey meaning.

Make sure your landing page makes it totally obvious what your prospects will get out of completing your form. It’s not just enough to tell them that they’ll receive, you need to emphasize the benefits in it. Remember, you’re trying to convince your landing page visitors that filling out a form and providing their personal information is worth what they’ll get in return.

If it is a petition rather than a product like an e-book or a newsletter subscription, this means focusing on why and how this benefits the people you are helping and what you are campaigning to change.

Remove uncertainty

Studies on ambiguity aversion have shown that people would rather choose an option with known outcomes over options with unknown outcomes. Even in situations where the probability of coming out ahead is higher but the risks are unknown, overwhelmingly people will opt for the “devil they know.”

The Ellsberg paradox demonstrates this aversion to assuming any risk that is difficult or impossible to calculate. In multiple experiments, individuals were asked to bet on the probability of picking a colored ball out of an urn.

One urn had 50 black balls and 50 white balls, while the other urn had 100 balls total, but the ratio of black to white was not disclosed. When told they could win $100 by picking a black ball, participants routinely chose the urn where they knew the ratio between the ball colors.

Since we know that ambiguity can wreak havoc with the choices people make, simply adding the ticket price above or below the button can help to reduce any anxiety about what’s on the other side of the click.

Test placing micro copy below the button that tells them what they can expect as soon as they move on to the next page. You may find that it makes them more likely to complete the desired action.

Move that form up ‘above the fold’

You should make sure that your form appears above the fold, or in other words, that the visitor doesn’t have to scroll down on the page in order to see it. Immediate visibility is important, since your goal is to draw the visitor’s attention to the form. You also shouldn’t need to scroll down to view the content of the page.

Improve your form’s submit button text

Although it’s a tiny part of your overall landing page optimization plan, your call to action button is nevertheless one of the most powerful elements on the page. Done right, call-to-action button optimization can have a staggering affect on click-throughs and conversion rates

Focus your landing page around a single CTA, which must be relevant to the ad, email, or link that your lead originally clicked on. Avoid additional offers, or additional information about your company

Click triggers

Your copy brings a visitor to the button. It overcomes objections, gets emotions soaring, and makes the conversion happen in their head. Your click trigger is what makes them click the button.

A click trigger is any message that’s positioned near a key call to action, with the express purpose of compelling people to click the button. They knock barriers out of the user’s path, make worries go far away, and call dreamlike attention to what you want them to do, why they should do it, just when they need that information to make a decision.

For greatest impact, a click trigger should a) neutralize a key anxiety that is likely to keep your prospect from moving forward or b) amplify the value of proceeding, which is all about reminding your prospect of what motivated them to seek you out in the first place, what value you offer, what benefit they’ll derive. If you’re offering an incentive, your click trigger may be that incentive.

Add a visual (or a more compelling one)

We humans are visual creatures, so it’s no wonder we’ve seen an increasing emphasis on visuals in marketing lately. Hey, they don’t say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing. So if your landing page doesn’t include some kind of visual — or a compelling one, for that matter — adding one is an easy upgrade. Even though you’ve explained what the offer is and the value they’ll get from it through your copy, it can still seem like a mystery to your visitors. Thus, we recommend including a visual that more tangibly shows the visitor what they’re actually going to get.

Remove distractions

Think of your landing page visitors like kids in a candy store. If you put a lot of bells, whistles, and different choices in front of them, you’ll never be able to corral them. That’s why best practice is to limit as many potential distractions as possible on your landing pages. You want your visitors to focus on one thing and one thing only — completing the form to redeem the offer. So don’t include anything on your page that might prevent them from doing just that.

Eliminate distractions by removing all navigation and links to other parts of your site. Once the visitor reaches your landing page, the only action they should be able to take is filling out your form. Hiding navigation on your landing pages will help keep your conversion rates up.

Remove any website navigation so visitors aren’t tempted to visit another part of your website, and get rid of any other calls-to-action for other offers you might have on the page.

Create trust 

When your copy is presented in such a way that is contradictory or misleading, you’re giving your visitors a reason to think twice about taking you up on your offer… and trust in your message.

Make your landing page copy all about the offer on the page… not about something further in your sales funnel.
Choose one goal for your landing page and make sure all your copy supports it. When you focus on one goal, visitors are less likely to feel confused or misled.

I’d recommend creating a headline that uses the same language as the ad and other digital collateral to indicate to prospects that they’re in the right place.

Show social proof

If you have lots of customers or you’ve handled 10,000 orders in 24 hours, make it known. Social proof is a powerful way to create trust and encourage conversions.

Social sharing buttons provide a great, basic example. When those little buttons that let you tweet, share and pin a particular piece of content show lots of other folks sharing, you’re more likely to share, too. We’ve tested this and found that as the share count increases, the rate of sharing accelerates.

Another test for a client really drove this point home. We set up an A/B test for e-mail subscription landing pages: Version 1 espouses the virtues of the information you’ll receive. Version 2 does the same thing, but adds a single line:

“4,500 current subscribers.”

The client, a publisher with 1 million+ website visitors per month was concerned that 4,500 subscribers was too low and might drive away potential subscribers. Subscription rates on version 2 went up 20%.

Social proof. Use it.

Share testimonials on your landing page

Featuring testimonials from happy supporters and people who you have helped in your campaign landing pages is a great way to reduce any anxiety people may have towards your product and drive more of them to convert.

However, it’s not enough to just include a small snippet from a customer about how great your product is. People don’t trust these are genuine. Instead, you need to include the customer’s name and image to increase the credibility of the testimonial and make it more effective at reducing people’s anxiety towards your product.