It was a dark and foggy October night when it happened. Halloween has always possessed a spooky aura, but this year it was just too much.
Rick was happily married, a father of 2, and a small-business owner. It started after a night of trick-or-treating with his kids when a loud thumping noise began echoing from his attic.
The noise got louder and louder as it gradually neared closer and closer to where he was sitting in the computer room.
“Who is that?!” Rick yelled.
“What is going on!?”
“Please don’t!”, he yelled. “I have worked so hard!”
“PLEASE I PROMISE I CAN CH–”
But it was too late. Rick had become victim to something scarier than a bump in the night. What attacked him was scarier than Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason X. Suspicious signs had been popping up left and right, but Rick foolishly ignored them. And now, Rick has paid for it. Rick has fallen victim to poor conversion design.
Investigators had seen this case many, many times before, but it was too late for them to help. Fortunately, Rick survived to tell the tale. In this article, I am here to help you learn from the mistakes of the many business owners who fell victim to poor conversion design like Rick. Fortunately for you, there is a way to prevent this from ever happening to you and your business.
Think of your business’s landing page like a bag of trick-or-treating candy. You empty the candy out on the floor, and you immediately see that there’s some candy that you have too much of and some candy that you don’t have enough of.
Your landing page possesses the same characteristics. There are elements of your page that you over-did and those that you under-did. This list will break down the do’s and dont’s of landing page design in order to get your page to it’s full conversion and sales potential.
1. Too Much Text. Roughly 5 seconds is all you have before a prospect decides whether or not to stay on your page or visit a competitor’s. It’s for this reason that their first impression is everything. In general, people don’t like to do more work than they have to. It is for this reason that you should make it as easy as possible for them to find out what exactly it is that your business can do for them. Keep your text short, simple, and engaging to make the experience of visiting your site as easy and efficient as possible for them. Lengthy content is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is better to show visitors the value of your offering as soon as possible. The example below is a landing page created by Squarespace. Notice how this page uses a single sentence to communicate exactly what the site is going to do for you.
2. Too Many Call-to-Action Buttons. A landing page should have a single promotional purpose. Typically, the best thing your business can benefit from a landing page is a prospect’s email address. In order to ensure that the prospect takes your intended action, you need to direct them towards that intended action on a path as narrow as possible. Have only one call-to-action button on your landing page. Multiple call-to-action buttons will distract prospects and confuse them as to what it is that you want them to do. Some businesses try to get prospects to enter their email addresses, download an ebook, and like them on Facebook all from the landing page. Rather than trying to kill 3 birds with one stone, direct your leads towards your intended actions one at a time as they continue moving down the funnel.
3. Too Many Lead Capture Form Fields. In the past 2 years alone, powerhouse companies such as Target, Facebook, American Express, MasterCard, Google, and Yahoo have all been hacked and millions of peoples’ personal information was leaked. Rightfully so, people are weary to give away personal information. When prospects see lengthy opt-in forms, asking everything from their name to their zipcode, they are immediately scared away. When implementing an opt-in form on your landing page, only ask the absolutely necessary information. Focus first on getting their name and email address, and you can find out the other information later on. Despite all of the previous company hackings, research shows that consumers are still willing to give up their personal information in exchange for some sort of benefit. In addition to offering a benefit in exchange for customer information, your business should also reiterate what exactly it is that the information you are gathering will be used for. Continue providing incentives, such as free newsletters, ebooks, or webinars, but don’t expect prospects to give up their middle name, employer, birthday, and where they hide their spare key in exchange for it.
4. Too Many Distractions. Distractions can refer to 2 things:
While it is definitely important for your landing page to be visually appealing, engaging, and innovative, too much of any of those elements can become a distraction. This concept of visual complexity refers to the idea that different elements of your landing page are competing for the viewer’s attention. More important than all of the fancy banners, motion graphics, and videos is your call-to-action button. Don’t create a landing page that is so interactive and engaging that your prospect is too distracted to even take your intended action. Animated images or lengthy diagrams are popular elements of landing pages, but can also be distracting. Use all of your different graphic elements in moderation.
Too many options or offerings is another common distraction on landing pages. As stated earlier, you should have one intended action in mind that you want your prospects to take. Do not overwhelm them with all of your product offerings or all of the free materials you offer on your landing page. People, in general, do not like too many options. This study on effective email campaigns shows that too many options tend to overwhelm visitors and decrease sales. Below is an example from that same study showing an ineffective landing page with too many options vs. an effective landing page with limited options. In the image on the left, there is just too much going on. There are 6 different ebooks to choose from, in addition to a CTA for buying the eReader and a $10 off promotion. In the image on the right, there are just 2 CTA buttons that serve to get the visitor to take the same intended action. There are also many less links and images in this landing page, which means less distractions for the visitor.
1. Appealing Headlines. As a rule of thumb, always include your call-to-action in your headline. By doing so, you will immediately remind prospects what you can do for them and how they are going to get it.
Litmus’s landing page design does exactly this. This headline states the call to action, the sub-header explains what the business is offering, and the call-to-action button corresponds to the headline. When all three of these elements match up, the prospect feels more confident and comfortable taking the intended step of action because they know exactly what they are signing up for.
2. Test Runs In All Major Browsers. Since you are putting all this time into creating an effective and visually appealing landing page, you want to make sure that everyone can view it the way you intended. It is extremely important that you test how your page runs on all major browsers. Functions that do not work properly and graphics that show up distorted will decrease your conversion rates and hurt your business’s brand reputation. Here at Yazamo, we recommend using BrowserStack to test how your website looks running in different browsers.
3. Credibility Factors. For many of the visitors who come across your landing page, this will be the first time they are hearing about your business. One of the most important things you can do to ensure that they sign up and proceed to your actual website is establish credibility. This can be done using client reviews who have had positive experiences with your product or services. Keep them short and simple, but also do not use generic testimonials.
Always try to put a name to a face and include a picture with the testimonial. This reassures prospects that you have helped everyday business owners, and you can help them, too.
4. Sources of Communication. Always provide a medium for contact on your landing page. This could range from a phone number, to an email address, to a chat box. The landing page below demonstrates a company that provides a phone number so that, if necessary, prospects can speak with a specialist prior to even giving out their personal information. If you can set the tone for your prospects that you will be there to speak with them from the beginning, you can demonstrate that you will be there for them throughout the rest of the buying process, too. This will lead to long-term increases in conversion rates, and higher customer satisfaction.
On a final note, keep in mind that you should never settle for these best practice recommendations. While they have proven success for many businesses, they did not work until they were tested again, and again, and again. Each target audience is different, and how your business meets these differences is dependent on how well you monitor and test the changes you make in your conversion design.
What experience have you had with effective landing page conversion design? Let me know by commenting below!