Landing Pages - How to Optimize for Conversions
To achieve high conversion rates, it is crucial to optimize landing pages according to best practices. A well-optimized landing page ensures that visitors have a smooth and engaging user experience, increasing the likelihood of them taking the desired action.
CONTENT MARKETINGINBOUND MARKETINGBEST PRACTICESCONVERSIONSLANDING PAGES
At the heart of every good marketing campaign is the landing page. The final destination must close the transaction or compel the visitor to download a document and sign up for an event. If the landing page fails to resonate with visitors, all the time, effort, talent, and expense that had brought them to that point is for naught.
Unfortunately, for many companies, the landing page is an afterthought. Hurriedly put together so the campaign can run and never thought of again. Having a landing page that is designed to best practices, and optimized for conversions, can take a mediocre marketing campaign and deliver stellar results. Today, we will demystify how to create a landing page that will be the hero of your marketing efforts.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a standalone web page designed with a specific purpose in mind, such as capturing leads, promoting a product or service, or driving conversions. It is surprising to learn that many marketers will have their website be the final destination for campaigns that they are running. They argue that the homepage of their website has been optimized to tell their story, so why not use it? The reason is focus.
Unlike a website's homepage, a landing page is focused on a single objective, making it a powerful tool for marketers to generate targeted leads and maximize conversion rates.
When it comes to marketing, the ultimate goal is to convert visitors into customers, subscribers, or leads. Landing pages play a crucial role in achieving this goal by providing a seamless user experience and guiding visitors toward taking the desired action. Whether it's filling out a form, making a purchase, or subscribing to a newsletter, a well-designed landing page can significantly increase the likelihood of conversion.
What is a Good Conversion Rate?
Conversion rates vary across industries, due to factors such as the nature of the product or service, target audience, and overall market conditions. It's important for marketers to understand the average conversion rates within their industry in order to set realistic goals and benchmarks. The problem with that statement is getting accurate data. There is a lot of conflicting information. Most of the confusion seems to be because they combine the data for websites and stand-alone landing pages.
We found that Unbounce had compiled a report that reflected our experience. The Unbounce data was from a large sample (over 44,000 landing pages with 33 million conversions). They used artificial intelligence to create meaning to all that data. They reported the following:
E-commerce: The average conversion rate for e-commerce websites is around 5.2%. However, top-performing e-commerce sites can achieve conversion rates of 12.9% or higher.
Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS companies typically have a conversion rate of 3%. However, this can vary, depending on factors such as pricing, competition, and the perceived value of the software. Top-performing SaaS landing pages achieved a 9.5%
Financial Services: Conversion rates for financial services can vary widely, but the average conversion rate is around 6.2%. This is due to the complex nature of financial products and the need for trust and credibility. The best-performing landing pages for the financial services industry were 15.8%
Healthcare: Healthcare websites typically have a conversion rate of 3.6%. However, this can vary, depending on the specific healthcare service being offered. The landing pages crafted to best practices achieved 7.4%
Agencies: Maybe the most surprising statistic was the poor performance of landing pages for agencies. The average is a 2.4% conversion rate with the more optimized landing pages achieving 8.8%. Either we are not following our recommendations or people are not fond of the industry.
It's important to note that these figures are just averages, and individual businesses may experience higher or lower conversion rates based on various factors specific to their industry and target audience. In our case study below, we will share how optimization can result in spectacular returns.
Best Practices for a Landing Page
One of the key reasons that some landing pages perform better than others is not the quality of the product or offering, but whether it incorporated best practices in both the design and messaging. A well-designed landing page not only captivates the visitor's attention but also guides them smoothly through the conversion process. By incorporating attractive visual elements, intuitive navigation, and compelling content, businesses can create a seamless user experience that drives conversions. Additionally, employing persuasive messaging techniques, such as clear and concise call-to-action statements, benefits-focused copy, and social proof, further enhances the effectiveness of the landing page. By focusing on optimizing user experience through strategic design and messaging, businesses can significantly increase their conversion rates and ultimately achieve their goals. We will examine each of these elements.
Messaging – To know your buyer personas is to know your messaging. When crafting the messaging for your landing pages. There are three rules to keep in mind:
1. Buyer Personas - Always stay true to what you learned when you created the buyer personas. If you have utilized a formal process, you already know the messaging that the buyer needs to see to convert. If you have not yet developed your buyer personas, you should not be creating any content or conducting any marketing campaigns. Stop whatever you are doing and read: How to Create Buyer Personas and Buyer Personas – the Foundation of Strategic Marketing.
2. Create a Soft Landing - What language was the exact language that was used to convince the prospect to click through to the landing page? They need to see those exact words in the header of the landing page. It needs to ratify and reinforce their decision to click on the call-to-action (CTA).
3. Laws of Influence - Incorporate one of the Laws of Influence to help ensure that the user completes the conversion process. We always require our strategists to use one of the following laws to help seal the deal. One of the following is usually best suited for landing pages:
Law of Authority
Law of Liking
Law of Scarcity
Law of Unity
Sell the Benefits – Nobody cares about the features of your product or service, they only care about how it will solve their problems, make their lives better, or how it makes them feel. When you showcase your benefits, always remember the power of threes. There is a behavioral science study that showed that sharing three benefits is more convincing than any other amount. One or two reasons don’t seem enough, and about three is considered boasting or just wasting their time (Online Influence).
Use Visuals – It is critical that when they first see the landing page, besides messaging that validates their decision, they see an image that does as well. You want the prospect to see a mental image of the brand’s offering. It will make it more real and inviting. So, if you promised them an eBook, give them an image of that eBook. If you promised them a webinar, show the pictures of the speakers.
Give Them One Option – A landing page is meant to only serve one purpose. It is meant to convert the transaction that was the reason the visitor came. In some cases that is to purchase an item; in other cases, it may mean the exchange of contact information for the promised eBook or registration at a webinar. Remove EVERYTHING that does not contribute to this purpose. That means the landing page is a dead end. If they get there and decide not to proceed, there are no other options. There is no navigation bar, no back button, and no links to social media. Convert or close the page.
Collect Minimal Data – If it is an e-commerce site, and the purpose of the landing page is to finalize the data, there may be quite a bit of information you need to collect to get you paid and ensure that the right product is delivered to the correct address. But, if you are a B2B Business, and you want to build your lead list, the ONLY data you should be collecting is the first name, last name, and business email in exchange for the promised material. Armed with these data points, you can use a number of resources to find everything you may need to know about the individual and the organization they belong. Eliminate any friction that may dissuade them from completing the engagement. If you ask them for anything more, the odds are they will just leave the site.
Get Permission – It is important that, at the time they are downloading the content, you obtain permission to send them additional emails. Use an opt-in statement right above the call to action (CTA). Phrase the opt-in statement so the subscriber sees the value of granting permission. We use the phrase, “Send me updates when new information is available.” There is a high degree of certainty they will opt to use a statement like that. If the original information was valuable, certainly updated material will be as well. In addition, the Laws of Commitment and Consistency suggest that once a person commits to a course of action, they are more inclined to take follow-up steps that align with that decision.
Say Thank You – You are trying to build a relationship with the subscriber. Once they exchange the sought-after contact information, and click on the CTA, they should immediately be taken to a thank you page where they will be provided the option to immediately access the promised content. They should also be given a secondary CTA to either access different, but related, content or to contact a salesperson for further information.
We recently had a B2B SaaS client whose landing pages were performing well below the industry average of 3%. They were violating every one of the rules we outlined above. As part of our engagement, we committed to optimizing these pages. The very first thing we did was to optimize the landing pages according to best practices. That alone brought the conversion rate to 10.27%. That was already above the expectations a SaaS business should have for a well-optimized landing page. We, however, received the client’s permission to try for 30 days to see if we could further optimize the conversion rate.
We began A/B Test one element of the landing page at regular intervals. The client had enough traffic to the landing page that we could usually see definitive results after 30 hours. Whatever version received the highest score became the standard for the next test. At the end of the 30-day trial, the landing page had a 19.76% conversion rate, well above expected industry standard rates for the best-performing landing pages.
To achieve high conversion rates, it is crucial to optimize landing pages according to best practices. A well-optimized landing page ensures that visitors have a smooth and engaging user experience, increasing the likelihood of them taking the desired action. By implementing best practices, such as clear and concise messaging, compelling visuals, and strategically placed call-to-action buttons, landing pages can effectively communicate the value proposition and drive conversions.