A landing page – otherwise known as a lead capture page - is the first page visitors arrive at when they click on an advertisement (Adwords, for example) or a link via a search-engine. It is a page that has one sole focus - a single target audience. It also helps position you and your business, as well as communicate the brand values of your organisation or company.
Landing pages tend to be aimed at new customers as the first point of contact as opposed to visitors who are already familiar with your website. What a landing page has to do in order to become effective is to persuade or convince the visitor to stay.
Attracting traffic is not the tricky part, it’s the converting which is and this is not always straightforward. For instance (and depending on your aim), visitors may need to complete a form, purchase an item or read a considerable amount of information – often which people regard as obstacles and they do not wish to do. This results in poor conversion rates. So, how do you convince people to do something they are adverse to in order to obtain a successful conversion? Step forward, the landing page.
Win people's interest
It is common knowledge that marketeers often only have a fraction of time to ‘win’ people’s interest with their sites. Getting the landing page ‘spot on’ is paramount. The best possible solution is for the marketeer to provide the user with the most useful and accurate information about what they have just clicked on. If the design elements lack focus and/or distract the visitor, then expect your pages to be abandoned by visitors en mass. People have needs to be addressed and questions to be answered when looking at a site, such as “Is this how I expected it would be?”, “Should I trust this site?” and “Will this take long?. It is therefore vital that their issues are all dealt with immediately.
The next stage relies almost entirely on the marketing copy and pitch – the sale. Intro copy, media content, testimonials, product information and design value all play a part in getting visitors to decide whether or not to convert – i.e. to accept the offer being promoted to them.
Even then, this does not equate to plain sailing as it is still possible to lose the conversion. If there are any hiccups or flaws in the way the site functions or any issue with usability, this can result in a lost conversion. It is therefore important to ensure privacy information is posted and there are no ‘blips’ in form processing. Another suggestion is to optimize your landing page. As part of Adwords, Google’s Website Optmizer is a tool that allows you to choose which elements of your landing pages you would like tested – be it headline, promotional text, image - to determine what will be most effective in obtaining conversions. Via accurate feedback from Google they then suggest a plan of action so that you can optimize your site for maximum effect. Google will also price your adverts based upon the content of the landing page, therefore relevance will not only impact conversions but also cost.
By implementing tracking code - "tracking urls" - you can then track and measure your conversions to monitor the success of your landing pages (Google’s Ad Tracking Code is free). Each time a visitor clicks or types in one of these urls, it enables you to keep track and analyse which responses come from which channels.
As not all landing pages are equal, you can also create more than one landing page and vary the content slightly to see which ones have the highest conversion rate. A/B split testing enables you to test two landing pages against each other in real-time. It is important to only change one element between the two versions. Multi-level split testing lets you focus on only the elements most likely to have a large impact on results. By concentrating on one variable on your page it provides several different options for each. In testing terms, this is known as testing one "factor" at several "levels."
Types of landing pages
It is possible for the landing page to be your homepage. However, in order to achieve its maximum effectiveness, it is not advised. If, for example, your advertisement relates to only a specific part of your business (e.g. ‘sofas in a furniture company), you would want to lead the user to the sofa services page of your website (as opposed to the homepage).
A landing page should make any special offers very apparent by giving it sole occupancy on that page. On the other hand, if your advertising campaign is marketing your business as a whole, e.g. ‘sofas’, it is in instances such as this that the landing page would need to be your home page, although this typically would not be best practice and is only best suited if your main objective were to raise awareness rather than response or if your business had a limited range of products.
There are essentially two types of landing pages commonly used: reference and transactional.
Reference landing pages
A reference landing page provides information that is relevant to the target audience. The idea is to highlight the best elements of your business and to sell yourself more than you might do on your other pages (known as ‘the white paper’). The aim is to attract specific new visitors or clients who feel that they have found something of use to them or they consider a good deal so that they return. Reference landing pages can be used to create a revenue stream through the sale of display ads on the page.
Transactional landing pages
A transactional landing page is designed to persuade a visitor to complete a step - a transaction - by promoting a single, prominent offer. The result is that the visitor then becomes a customer, thus the desired action of conversion takes place. If data needs to be captured, the page will usually withhold information until the visitor gives information such as an email address, name and telephone number which is then sufficient to "capture the lead" and add the person (prospect) to a mailing list.
Tips on how to improve your landing page
- Give the visitor what they want. This may entail a bit of research. Think about what your visitor is looking for and what offers work. It is important to keep a profile of your customer in mind when creating your landing page. Creating something generic often fails - keep everything “on target” and tailormade to suit them. The information needs to be compelling and relevant to the search terms that brought the visitor there.Your ad campaign already acts as a channel to bring traffic to your landing page, so a very fine-tuned message is expected by your visitors.
- Keep the visitor focused. Good use of text, format and colour is key. The aim is to reduce distraction as much as possible – the ultimate conversion killer - and visually lead them to the conversion exit. The flow of your message can either be enhanced or ruined depending on the balance of image or word placement on each page, for example. Placing near the middle of your page – the main body - is the ideal focal point.
- Provide Conversion Exits. You need to make it simple for your visitor to convert. Imagine that the flow of the page is like a mirror image “F” with the eye going from left to right and down. Therefore the call to action should be placed at the bottom right.
- Keep it short with fewer fields. Focus on the essential elements. By making forms on your transactional landing pages as short as possible will increase the liklihood of a visitor completing them.
- Test beforehand. Following completion of your landing page, it is important to test it with a small user group first.
A few points to bear in mind are:
- Have all distractions been minimised?
- Is the entire page focused?
- Are there sufficient conversion exits?
- Does the page embellish the brand?
This article was written by Claire Brown for Imre Ltd., a UK web design company. To find out more, please visit http://imre.co.uk