Let’s talk landing pages.
While it may not be the most glamorous element of online marketing, the ability to build an effective landing page is downright critical to successful lead generation. But you don’t need me to tell you that; you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post if you didn’t already know the importance of landing pages.
Ok, let’s skip to the good stuff: how do you make sure your landing pages are as effective as they possibly can be? How do you ensure that they’re easy to navigate, drive conversions, and keep visitors engaged with your site?
Luckily, there’s a wealth of information out there on how to optimize landing pages — and quite a bit on the Pardot blog alone. So I’ve taken a look through the Pardot archives (Parchives, if you will) and pulled out my all-time favorite landing page advice. Check out my top excerpts below, and see links to the full articles to read more.
Step 1: Build an actionable headline.
Your value proposition should be obvious the minute the page loads.
Good headlines tell visitors what they will get from your landing page; great headlines tell them how they can get it. Let’s say you’re creating a landing page to drive registration for a waffle-making webinar (yes, we’re big waffle fans here in the Pardot office). The headline shouldn’t be generic, like “Welcome to [Company Name].” Instead, you should remind visitors why they’re on your page the first place. Use a descriptive headline, such as “Webinar: The Art of Waffle Making” — or better yet, an actionable one: “Register Now to Learn the Art of Waffle Making.”
Step 2: Cater content to the stage of the sales cycle.
While stage-based marketing is often discussed in the context of content marketing and lead nurturing, it also applies to landing pages. Visitors to your landing pages will have different needs based on where they are in the sales cycle, and your page content needs to cater to those preferences. Consider including a quick bulleted list describing the benefits of your offer (for top of funnel prospects), client testimonials or case study logos (for middle of funnel prospects), and an obvious “Request a Demo” or “Start Free Trial” button (for bottom of funnel prospects).
Read more in 4 Deadly Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid.
Step 3: Consider ‘scannability’ with your design.
It’s an unfortunate truth that, no matter how hard you work to carefully craft your copy, the vast majority of visitors simply aren’t going to read it. The visitors are scouring the web for information, and an internet full of near-useless content has taught us all to expect little value. On a landing page, that truth gets amplified.
Here’s what we know about how visitors “read”:
Text is almost always scanned, and not read entirely.
Greater focus is given to words in the top and left side of the page. Text is scanned in what’s called an f-pattern.
Before a visitor leaves, they’ll read—at most—28% of the words on a page.
If you need more than a couple of short paragraphs of text on your landing page, make sure the first words in those paragraphs give an idea of what they’re about. If you can divide the content into groups, do so! Make sure you write clear, concise headings to help scanning eyes find the information they’re searching for.
Read more in 3 Ways to Optimize Landing Page Layouts.
Step 4: Simplify your path to conversion.
Want your leads to convert? Make it easy for them.
If you’re putting too many steps before your actual conversion point, you’re probably seeing a lot of dropout in the middle of the conversion process. Try keeping landing pages and forms short (we recommend 4 form fields or fewer, if possible), and don’t make your leads jump through hoops just to give you their information. Every new page you drive them to and button you force them to click is one more opportunity for them to abandon the entire process.
Read more in 4 Deadly Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid.
Step 5: Think twice about your call to action.
I can’t emphasize this enough: don’t let your call to action be an afterthought. Too often, this is the final step in creating a landing page, and marketers slap on a ‘Submit’ button without a second thought. This is the final hurdle before conversion; it needs to be compelling. Some points to consider:
- Placement. You’ve drawn them in with great writing and helpful facts — don’t lose your momentum now with a hard-to-locate call to action!
- Implied value. Instead of telling visitors what they should do (i.e. “Download Now”), tell them what they’re going to get (“Get Free White Paper”). Not only does this sound less demanding, it also does a better job of reinforcing your value proposition.
- Language. ClickZ recently wrote about an A/B test conducted by Unbounce and ContentVerve that tested the effect of pronouns on conversions. They created two landing pages that were identical except for the call to action on the form button. One version said “Start your free 30 -ay trial” and the other said “Start my free 30 day trial.” Believe it or not, the landing page with the first-person language had a 90% higher click-through rate. Other marketers have conducted similar tests, and the first-person CTA consistently performs better. (Read more in 4 Deadly Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid).
Step 5: Keep visitors engaged after they convert.
Just because a user has already converted, that doesn’t mean your work is done — keep them on your site with a compelling Thank You page. Make your Thank You page experience rich and compelling, and include additional points of engagement like videos, case studies, and links to deeper content on your site. Visitors will appreciate the fact that you still care enough to provide them with additional value even after they’ve already converted.
Read more in 4 Steps to the Perfect Landing Page.
Step 6: Don’t guess — test.
Don’t just guess at what messages will resonate with your audience; find out for sure what works and what doesn’t. The best way to measure landing page performance is by studying data compiled through A/B and multivariate testing. Using tools like marketing automation, you can test calls to action, offers, headlines, colors, and your teaser copy.
Step 7: Be consistent.
For optimal impact on your lead generation efforts, follow the steps above with each and every landing page you create — and use the checklist below to hold yourself accountable. Good luck, and let us know your findings in our comments section!