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Landing pages are one of the most important elements of your website. It doesn’t matter how great your SEO efforts, how marvellous your product and how enthusiastic your staff; if your landing page doesn’t cut it, your customers will leave without purchasing.
A bad page will see your visitor bounce straight back to the search engine they came from.However, a good page will attract and hold their attention, while persuasively encouraging them to do whatever it is the page exists for. So how do you achieve this?
Earlier this year, I wrote ten tips for creating solid landing pages. Now I want to look at the more advanced discipline of enhancing the sales effectiveness of your pages.
Have a special offer
There’s a warm rush that comes with feeling you’re getting a bargain and a decent landing page should ideally hook the visitor with an offer. It doesn’t have to be a loss leader; it could be as simple as free postage. Just make the visitor feel special.
If you’re in a services industry, like SEO, consider offering a ‘free review’. This allows you to make your pitch while your potential customer feels they are getting something for nothing. Everyone likes that.
Cut out all distractions
Now, normally I love a site to be filled with internal links to other content a reader might be interested in, such as blog posts, but this is not necessarily right for a sophisticated landing page.
If your visitor has clicked on a paid link, then they are potentially ready to buy. Distract them with reviews or blogs or news stories and you could lose the purchase.
Let them click through to other sections of your site if they want to but don’t distract them from the big ‘buy now’ call to action.
Just ditch the pop-ups
Most marketers finally understand that pop-ups are one of the most loathed aspects of the web. So don’t do it.
It’s not just a distraction, it’s impertinent. Many people will leave your site without buying if you open windows on their screen without invitation.
Keep the best bits visible
Don’t underestimate the laziness of the online reader. Keep all your important information above the fold of the page, i.e. visible without the visitor having to scroll down.
That includes information about why the reader should buy the product, any testimonials and so on. A good page is also uncluttered, so this can be hard to achieve but a decent web designer should be able to produce something effective.
Keep your call to action visible
It’s easy to leave your ‘buy now’ call to action at the very bottom right of the page, but you should really make sure it’s visible at all times and, again, keep it above the fold.
All the information on your landing page is designed to encourage a sale, so make sure it’s easy for them to buy once they have decided to do so.
Use graphics carefully
This is where testing your landing page comes in useful, because it is not always easy to work out what will help and what will hinder the conversion.
Graphics can be a fantastic way to enhance your landing page and that’s especially true if you’re selling a high-end product, such as a luxury holiday, new car or popular gadget. Images can be aspirational and that can really boost sales.
However, images can also be distracting, especially if they overpower your ‘buy now’ button by drawing the eye away.
Keep that in mind during design and test different versions of your page to see what works.
Track everything your visitor does
It’s important to be able to follow and analyse everything your visitor does when presented with your landing page. After all, that is how you learn what’s working and what’s not.
Companies that don’t track this information cannot see where customers are abandoning the process, so they can’t test to see which incarnations of a page are working best.
Without tracking customer movements on your site, you’re working blind.
Do something useful once they’ve purchased
You need to focus on every page in the buying process, from the initial landing page right through to the resolution page.
What happens once they’ve made a purchase? What page do you present your customer with then? This is as important as your landing page because, even if you don’t expect them to buy again immediately, you do want to encourage them to return to your shop in the future.
Now is the time to distract them with the full breadth of your offerings. Show them different products and services, highlight your blog, invite them to sign up to a newsletter. Anything that builds habit and encourages them to return.
Summarise why the visitor is there
When someone has clicked through from a paid link in the search engine results page, you need to show them very quickly why your page is relevant.
If there’s a lot of information on your page and it isn’t immediately obvious how it’s going to meet their needs, they are going to click away very quickly. Think about how often you abandon a page because it doesn’t look immediately helpful.
Because you’ll be using landing pages that mirror the messages in your pay-per-click advertising (see my original post), you’ll be able to make that page obviously relevant.
Whether it’s: ‘Buy fantastic hand-tied bouquets in the north-west’ or ‘SEOptimise specialises in delivering expert search engine marketing and social media solutions for our clients’ – make it obvious that you can satisfy their need.
Show you’re trustworthy
Tip number ten. The trouble with dedicated landing pages is that they are not your homepage, so you can’t fill them with information about how great and reliable your company is.
Instead, they need to be dedicated to whichever product you’re pushing. But a customer who arrives on a landing page has probably come straight from Google and they do need to know that you’re a trustworthy website.
Your page needs to reinforce your credibility from the word go. Part of that is having a professional-looking site. However, you should also display any relevant security badges or validations, especially if you’re about to ask the visitor to enter card details.
A final word…
Most of the guidance on this page has been about encouraging and persuading your visitor to make a purchase, so there has been very little opportunity to urge you to keep the customer’s experience in mind.
However sales-orientated your landing pages are, try to offer value and information to the customer elsewhere.
The best corporate websites are not relentless sales pitches, they are informative troves of industry news, opinion and tips. That’s why they are successful and why customers return more than once.