This is a first in a series of posts about improving conversion rates for different types of content on a typical website. Check out the post about case studies.
What does it have to do with website conversion?
Conversion rate optimization, on the surface is about increasing the click through on call to actions on a site. But dive deeper and the whole subject starts looking like a tapestry with strands of marketing psychology, design, copywriting and other stuff woven in.
Let’s talk about conversion rate optimization for landing pages today.
Why landing pages are so important
Landing pages, in the B2B context, are designed to perform a certain role- converting the traffic that has landed on the page into something more valuable like email addresses,requests for demos or even outright sales.
An ideal landing page is like a toll gate or a valve, diverting traffic in a fixed direction.
But since we live in a less than an ideal world most landing pages behave more like a trampoline, bouncing visitors off the page before they have completed the call to action.
That’s not really a great state of affairs, especially when landing pages are responsible for bringing home the bacon.
Let’s fix this, shall we?
Increase conversions for landing pages
Every product or service needs a customized landing page that should go through multiple changes before an optimal design is arrived at. But a landing page for training service is going to look very different from a landing page for an enterprise software suite.
So I am not going to give you a bunch of tips because I don’t intend to write a book. Besides, no one became a good photographer by learning about a particular lens or camera; they became one by learning about light and composition and storytelling.
These are a few principles to keep in mind as you go about designing that kick ass landing page.
1. Understanding reader personas
You can try all the fancy tricks in the book but unless you have a handle on why visitors are on your page and what exactly do they want you have a snowball’s chance in hell of making the sale.
This is where reader or buyer personas come into play. A complete buyer persona means you won’t have to guess what your market really wants from you. You will know it exactly, with perhaps an error margin of a few percentage points.
2. Clean design
A landing page should be designed in such a way that it does not distract the reader and helps them advance on the next phase of the buyer journey.
You can achieve this by
- removing most of the outbound links and the navigation bar,
- keeping visual elements like images or video relevant and to a minimum,
- making data collection forms intuitive and short and
- implementing frameworks like responsive design (the link leads to a case study) so that the page looks beautiful no matter what device it is viewed on.
- There are other elements involved along with plenty of testing before you get to a high performing page. But hey, you gotta start somewhere.
3. Headlines that strike a chord
Like any other place headlines have a massive of impact on landing page performance. Headlines will determine whether your reader bounces off immediately or stays on the page long enough to do what you want them to do.
As with every where else, headlines need to be benefit oriented, and reinforce the the content on the referring link. Check out this cool bunch of resources on headlines from Copyblogger.
Pro tip: DO NOT get cutesy or pun-ny in landing page headlines. Headlines that are simple and get to the point immediately are what attracts buyers like a nectar laden flower attracts bees.
4. Benefits packed copy
Next to the headline, this is probably the most important part of the landing page and will determine whether your page is a hit or a flop. Your copy can either be long or short, but it should be informative enough to convince readers that you are worth investing time and money.
While writing great, attention grabbing copy is a hard job, advanced legwork on user personas will make it simpler. Don’t neglect keywords and SEO, and above all, do multiple tests on the copy and design.
5. Social proof and shareability
One of the most important things that has the chance to sway readers in your favor is having social proof on your page.
This social proof can be anything: testimonials from your customers, either in text with a photograph or in video, logos of marquee clients or real life results achieved by using your product or service.
Another thing that can increase traffic to your landing page is making the page easily shareable by adding social media icons. Focus on those social networks that are popular with your audience (easy if you have done the work with buyer personas).
Sample landing pages that convert
Check out some awesome landing page designs to help you get started
Notes: You have social proof, strong headline, a short form, a compelling call to action and social sharing. Bam!
Notes: Copy that segments readers based on needs and provides clear benefits along with compelling CTAs.
Notes: Clean, minimalist design with plenty of whitespace, an attention grabbing headline supported by copy that’s benefits heavy. The video demo and the no risk trial period will increase conversions.
And finally, check out this infographic that brings all these elements together for a perfect landing page. (click here for a bigger view)
This post has merely scratched the surface of what’s involved in designing a landing page that converts like gangbusters. If you want help in improving conversions of your B2B landing pages contact me.