By Dino Kuckovic

August 31st, 2017

Marketers everywhere pour time and money into driving potential customers to their website. Landing pages are an excellent route to generate targeted traffic and can provide a snapshot of particular products or services people are searching for online. What’s the catch? There isn’t one. In addition to generating leads that hopefully convert, the use of landing pages is beneficial to showcase the wider brand and its activities.

Landing pages are a powerful marketing tool, but what do you need to know to achieve the profitable results you desire?

Let’s start with a pyramid scheme (the good kind)
The Inverted Pyramid Method is just as applicable to lead generation marketing as it is in journalism. Basically, the inverted pyramid method is designed to create messaging that grabs visitors’ attention (the headline), then builds excitement (establish urgency) and closes with a call-to-action (optimized for conversion).

Social landing pages

Source: GetVero.com

Here are 11 strategies, processes and techniques you can use to upgrade your landing page. My goal here is for you to take your landing pages to the next level. Many of the insights below have the potential to significantly increase conversions, just ask the Falcon users that use Build to optimize their branded campaign pages.

1. Make sure you ask for one thing
I attended Gainsight’s Pulse conference this year and one of the sessions discussed landing page makeovers. One of the concepts that stuck with me from the event is a quote from Oli Gardner at Unbounce:

“The ratio of links on a landing page to the number of campaign conversion goals. In an optimized campaign, your attention ratio should be 1:1. Because every campaign has one goal, every corresponding landing page should have only one call to action – one place to click.”

Translated to your landing page this means that in an ideal world you should have an attention ratio of 1:1. In other words, the only thing that people should be able to do on your landing page is the thing that you want them to do.

Every other button or link is merely a distraction. In reality, you must ask yourself if your landing page has dozens of different vantage points competing for visitor’s attention instead of that one action you want them to take. If so, lose them.

After all, you still have a website to provide more depth if need be. There, the inverted pyramids–yes plural–could look something like this:

Social landing pages

Not that this is a bad thing, it’s just too much information for a landing page. You don’t want multiple action items battling for a viewer’s attention.

2. Use intuitive, dynamic, intelligent forms
Forms are difficult to get right, believe it or not. Ever heard of the Goldilocks principle? It applies to forms as well, as they have to be just right. Too long, and you risk intimidating visitors from filling it out. Too short, and you may not gather information that you must have.

Remember, the key thing about forms is that they should steer an easy and natural conversation. Look at it from your users’ point-of-view, and design your questions to be as intuitive and logical as possible. Error messages should also be clear and actionable.

Tip: these days there are a number of tools, such as Typeform, that enable anyone to create forms without any coding skills.

3. Write calls-to-value, not calls-to-action
All landing pages should have a call to action (mostly in the shape of a button telling the visitor to do something, e.g. “Read More”). While usually clear about what should be done, most calls-to-action lack any clear value proposition. Why should I read more?

Rather, write calls-to-value – an action that has a value proposition attached to it. For example, if you run a travel advisory firm a good call to value might be “Save Money Traveling” or “See Recommended Places”. Not only are these more specific, but they clearly give a visitor a reason to perform this action.

A common mistake is to put too much emphasis on the action needed, “fill in this form”. This can be off-putting as your visitors may feel they need to work too hard to gain the value on offer.

4. Motivation first, ability next
According to Stanford professor BJ Fogg, there are three factors that influence the likelihood that someone will take a particular action. You can either increase someone’s motivation to do that action, or you can increase the ability, ultimately making it easier for them to do so via certain triggers.

Social landing pages

Source: Behaviormodel.org

This behavior model shows that three elements must simultaneously intersect for a behavior to take place: Motivation, Ability and Trigger. When a behavior does not occur, at least one of those three elements is missing.

Advice on optimizing landing pages usually zooms into the page’s design and making it easier for visitors to take action. But what leads one person to click and another to wander and exit? For example, if users do not carry out a target behavior like rating your services this model would help see what psychological element is missing.

Ultimately, every visitor comes to your landing pages with a desired outcome, e.g. solving a pain point or knowledge gathering.

5. Boost relevancy by seeing double or triple
If 600 people visit your landing page it’s likely that they represent different cohorts of your audience. What you’ll most likely see happen is that your visitors behave differently depending on their geographic location, budget size and many other factors.

Instead of offering the same experience to all visitors you can tailor your landing page to different people to make it more relevant. If you want to do location or geo-based personalization, you can do this either with browser redirection or with content swapping based on IP address.

If you want to personalize the landing page experience based on other factors such as the vertical, you could do this by using a dynamic form that redirects visitors to a different landing page based on their answer to the question in the form.

Tip: check out free WordPress plugins like Custom Content by Country.

6. It’s all about you
I’m going to be blunt for a second. Sometimes people don’t care about your company or product. They care about how it can help them achieve something they desire. In his fascinating book Neuromarketing, author Patrick Renvoise outlines a range of tips for targeting the part of our brain that is responsible for the majority of our buying decisions. Shopaholics, you’re in trouble.

One of the simplest, yet most influential tips that I took away from this book is using the word ‘you’ more often in marketing copy. We’re hardwired to pay attention to things that are all about us – simply adding a few more ‘yous’ is a surprisingly powerful selling technique.

7. Urgency and scarcity
According to WiderFunnel’s LIFT model, increasing the urgency of the offer will improve the value proposition on a landing page. The model recommends that designers also increase relevance and clarity while also reducing distractions on a page.

Social landing pages

Source: WiderFunnel.com

There are a lot of things to consider when adding urgency and scarcity to your landing page. Consumers are increasingly savvy in spotting faux-urgency in messages like “Hurry! Sale ends soon” when historically speaking they know the sale usually lasts several weeks. This tactic isn’t nearly as effective as the real urgency of a limited-time offer or a vintage product that sells out quickly.

8. Show the social proof
There are two types of social proof: ‘Authority’ and ‘People Like Me’.

‘Authority’ communicates that your offer is expert- or authority approved. ‘People Like Me’ clarifies whether what you’re selling is relevant to the viewer – this is where customer logos, testimonials etc, are important.

Trust signals via company or product reviews play a huge role in the conversion process. Social proof is one of the most effective ways to improve the credibility and trustworthiness of your offer.

9. Check your spelling
Do you trust a website with poor spelling and grammar? I didn’t think so.

This point doesn’t need much embellishing – just check and then double check that your spelling and grammar are correct. It costs $10 to hire an English graduate to proofread your landing page on Freelancer.com, so there’s really no excuse.

A final recommendation is to install Grammarly, a free plugin that will highlight spelling or grammatical errors in your work. Shoutout to our client Grammarly on that note.

10. Cover your tracks
Like all great salespeople, a clever marketer tackles objections before the visitor can even think of them while on your landing page.

Before going live with anything (including landing pages), I like to step away from the screen and write down every possible visitor objection I can think of. 

Every landing page is different but here are some basic questions to consider:

  • What if I don’t like the product?
  • What payment methods are accepted?
  • Is this product trustworthy?
  • When will I receive this product?
  • How much does it cost?

You could even install a live chat plugin like Intercom on the page for the first 1-2 weeks to monitor incoming questions. The replies you get from people could be added in the FAQ section of your landing page.

11. The right picture
The old saying of “a picture is worth a thousand words” is only half right and trust me, this is hard for me to say as I’m all about the visuals. For an image to have a potent impact, it must convey a complex or difficult concept in very simple terms.

Boiling your value proposition down to a single image is not an easy task, but it’ll be worth it. Whether it takes you a few hours or months to identify that specific image, getting this right has the potential to transform your landing page conversion results.

In addition, speaking from my own experience here at Falcon.io, it’s important that any social posts or other drivers to your landing page match closely in terms of the visual impression. Our A/B testing has demonstrated that any mismatch in imagery or messaging can have a marked effect on conversion.

What now?
Revisit and truly digest point four above. Optimizing for motivation rather than ability alone is the best secret weapon for those of you out there working on landing pages.

Why? Because optimizing for motivation forces you to start asking questions. How intensely do you want to provoke emotions? What images will provoke your desired outcome? Should you be using a playful tone of voice? These are a small selection of the type of questions digital marketers should be asking. If you already are, I’m sure you’re killing it.

Let’s be honest. Landing page best practices are just that – best practices.

We can take what’s worked for others and copy it, but ultimately it comes down to trying different things. As Zuckerberg puts it, “move fast and break things.” 

So follow the experts to begin, then start experimenting. There are a lot of variables that alone or together could make a huge difference to your conversion rate. As with so many things in marketing, learning is doing.

Are there more things to consider when building landing pages? I’d love to hear your ideas, so tweet us @FalconIO. For more on this topic, check out this on-demand webinar

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