When was the last time you took a long hard look at your landing pages?
On paper, landing page optimization seems easy enough. In fact, you’re probably following some sort of formula to design your landing pages.
Follow a few basic principles, capture the attention of your visitors, put to rest any doubts they may have, urge them to purchase, and let the money pour in.
In reality, it’s not this easy.
My experience with landing pages has taught me that it’s hard work to design the perfect landing page.
There are principles to follow, sure. But there’s also a lot of information you need to gain before you can design that killer landing page.
- What are your customers thinking?
- How did they find your landing page?
- What headline is going to grab their attention?
- What device are they using?
- What pain are they experiencing?
- What’s going to make them convert?
That final question—what’s going to make them convert?—is the most important one.
You want to know what I really care about when it comes to landing pages?
I just want more conversions.
You probably do too. According to the studies, “only about 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.”
Let me get to the point. Here are 10 landing page tactics I’ve had immense success with and that can help convert even casual visitors into customers.
1. Keep it minimal
The “less is more” idea rings true throughout many aspects of marketing.
Science and research have shown that this minimalist mindset and strategy lead to breakthroughs in life and business.
What Minimalism is really about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff—the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities—that don’t bring value to your life.
What’s true in life is true in digital marketing too.
Your landing page is no exception.
The simpler, the better.
Saturate your landing page with a lot of unnecessary extras, and you’ll be sure to distract and confuse your visitors.
One area where marketers often go wrong is having multiple offers. In fact, 48% of landing pages contain multiple offers.
However, multiple offers can decrease conversions by 266%!
That means you need to keep things relatively sparse and avoid giving your visitors a cognitive overload.
Take a look at this example from Vimeo:
Bold and beautiful, right?
This landing page for Vimeo Business wants you to do one thing and one thing only: Get Vimeo Business.
There is no doubt in your mind what your next action should be.
- If you are the wallet-out-ready-to-buy customer, you’ll click the green CTA.
- If you’re the I-need-to-do-a-little-more-research kind of customer, you’ll watch the video or scroll down.
Either way, Vimeo’s got you hooked.
Why? Because this is a minimalist landing page with zero clutter, zero friction, and zero hurdles to conversion.
By avoiding complication and excessive choice, you will help your visitors to maintain better focus, which is a surefire way to boost conversions.
2. Use the five-second rule
The pop-it-in-the-microwave culture we live in means one thing for landing pages.
Stuff happens fast.
Instant engagement is essential, and you need to get straight to the point.
That’s why I like to treat it as if I’ve got only five seconds to capture the attention of my visitors.
How do you achieve this?
This goes back to my first point about taking a minimalist approach. Often a snazzy headline, an image, and a CTA are all it takes.
Also, keep key benefits above the fold so that visitors can be persuaded to buy without having to scroll down.
Craig Tomlin, a usability expert, explains why five seconds matter:
The reason five seconds is so important is because of research studies which demonstrate that visitors to websites take a very short amount of time (in some cases a fraction of a second, as little as 50 milliseconds) to judge the quality of a website.
What about those “research studies?”
Let me reiterate:
It takes five seconds or less for a user to decide whether or not they like your website.
Whether or not you realize it, you’ve proven the power of the five-second rule when you look at landing pages.
For example, let’s say you saw this ad in your SERP.
What happens next?
You see this page:
It took me 1.86 seconds to read the headline, subheadline, and CTA. (I timed it.)
Do I like it or not?
Keep in mind, I’m being subtly influenced by the color of the website, the image behind the text, and the negative space surrounding the information.
In less than five seconds, I’ve decided whether or not I like this page and whether or not I’m going to click on the CTA “get started now.”
That’s the power of the five-second rule.
3. Make load time lightning fast
As I mentioned in one of my posts on Quick Sprout, for every second delay in page response, there is a 7% decrease in conversion rate.
This ties into the five-second rule: visitors should be able to get the gist of what you’re offering and understand the inherent benefits of it within five seconds.
If your landing page is cumbersome and slow to load, scale back your content, and do whatever it takes to speed it up.
To test your website’s speed, use Google PageSpeed insights. All you need to do is plug in your website URL, and get a quick score.
4. Ditch carousels and sliders
You could make the argument that these look cool from an aesthetic standpoint.
Maybe that’s why so many marketers think that it’s a good move to use carousels/sliders above the fold on a landing page.
But in reality, this can be a deathblow to your conversion rates.
To prove this point, the University of Notre Dame tested a slider on its homepage and found that approximately 1% of visitors clicked on a feature:
Not exactly ideal, is it?
When users see something, they will click on it. If that “something” keeps changing, the likelihood that they will click on it drops.
The bottom line here is that such elements only add to the “busyness” of a landing page and detract from its value.
Decide what your landing page should display—instead of a slider or carousel—and stick with that.
5. Use plenty of white space
Today’s average visitor is a skimmer and scanner.
They don’t want to get bogged down with lengthy paragraphs and bulky blocks of text.
In fact, “a study found that good use of white space between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increases comprehension by almost 20 percent. Readers find it easier to focus on and process generously spaced content.”
You can make it easier for visitors to navigate their way through your landing page by following this principle.
Notice how Buffer uses white space on its landing page:
If I were to cram all that content together, it would take up a tiny corner of the page.
There’s not a lot of stuff. The white space on the page makes it easy for my brain to analyze the information and decide what to do next. The result? I’m more likely to make the right decision—the decision to convert.
Apple is famous for its use of white space. Its branding, product design, and even its store layout is founded on the importance of negative space/white space.
Its MacBook landing page shows the use of white space:
Take a page from Apple’s playbook, and use more white space.
6. Use social proof for leverage
It’s pretty undeniable that humans are social creatures by nature, and we’re all influenced by others, at least to some extent.
Often, all it takes to convert someone who’s on the fence is a bit of social proof.
For instance, you might include a list of some top companies who have used your product/service, along with their logos.
I’ve dubbed this term “logo porn.”
On Crazy Egg, I display some of the recognizable companies who have used the product.
This doesn’t take up a lot of space, and visitors can quickly scan your landing page without a lot of effort.
Leadpages uses the same approach on its landing page (which, ironically, is about landing pages):
This can really boost your trustworthiness and reputability in your customers’ eyes.
7. Make contact info readily available
Putting yourself in the shoes of prospects is critical for increasing conversions.
For all they know, you’re some charlatan, snake oil salesman who’s just going to take their money and run.
To alleviate their fears, it’s helpful to include your contact info so they can view it without having to click on anything.
I Done This, a team productivity tool, displays its contact information at the top of the landing page. If you’re so inclined, you can pick up your phone and give them a call.
This piece of information lets your page visitors know you’re a legitimate business with an actual physical location, which should put their mind at ease.
8. Pepper in testimonials
Although this tactic might not seem exactly cutting-edge or game-changing, it can still help conversions.
Testimonials (especially with pictures) can really hammer home the value your product/service provides.
Quip’s landing page provides a great example of how this works:
As HubSpot shows, testimonials that display a name, picture, position, and company logo are particularly powerful.
Sometimes, the testimonials can come from well-known people. Other times, they could come from ordinary people, more aligned with your target customer.
I Done This displays some testimonials from both groups of people. (Dan Pink is a well-known author.)
Testimonials like these can help a casual visitor start thinking about becoming an actual customer.
9. Add video
Did you know that using videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%?
That’s not a number to scoff at.
I realize that this seems to be at odds with me recommending a minimalist layout, but it’s possible to keep it simple while incorporating video.
Take a look at ClickFunnels. Its landing page displays a video that starts playing automatically when I hit the page:
It’s quirky. It has real people. It has dialogue.
After spending a few minutes of my life watching the video, I’m more likely to convert. Why?
Because I spent time watching the video. And because while watching that video, I realized the importance and usefulness of the product.
Just keep it relatively brief (five minutes max), and use it as an opportunity to educate and entertain your visitors and create a personal connection.
10. Add social share buttons
While the debate over just how much of an impact social shares have on SEO continues to rage on, you can’t deny that having plenty of social shares on a landing page can have a positive impact on conversions.
This is yet another way to use social proof to your advantage.
Even those visitors who don’t have any intention of buying when they reach your landing page can be persuaded to take action if you use the techniques I showed you above.
Landing page optimization can be complicated. It can be confusing. And it can take a lot of time to get in the mind of your customers and determine how to satisfy their needs.
I would never recommend that you shortcut the research, the persona development, and all the hard work that goes into creating a compelling landing page.
However, I realize that sometimes you just need a brief guide or a list of tactics like this one.
These ten methods will allow you to jump into any marketing situation, create effective landing pages, and convert those casual visitors into customers.
Are there any other specific landing page optimization techniques you’ve had success with?