A well-designed landing page can make or break a campaign. 

Sure, your ads or emails might be perfectly optimised, but that certainly does not mean guaranteed conversion once visitors arrive on your site. So what makes an effective landing page?

Subscribers can download the landing page chapter of Econsultancy’s SEO Best Practice Guide for an in-depth look at the topic, but in the meantime, here are a few key tips (plus examples) to help.

What is a landing page?

Before we get into the weeds, let’s start by outlining what we mean by landing pages. 

In basic terms, it refers to a page on a website that has been specifically designed to encourage visitors to take a particular action when they arrive from another marketing channel. The action might simply be clicking through to another page – perhaps a product page or special offer. Or the page could be used for lead generation, which means persuading the user to sign up or to download something, and in turn asks for personal data such as their name or email address etc.

1. Minimise distraction

One of the first things to consider is how the user came to arrive on your landing page. Did they click on an ad or email, and what did it say?

It’s quite likely that a specific message prompted the user to click through. This means that if they are then bombarded with huge blocks of text or imagery, they could become distracted, and veer away from their original intent.

Consequently, while it’s tempting to fill a page with lots of interesting information, remember that the page has one purpose, and the bulk of its content should reflect this (as well as align with the original ad).

This Black Friday landing page from Dyson is a good example of how to get the balance right.

With visitors most likely landing on the page from Black Friday-related searches, its headline confirms the promise of offers.

The page provides further information on popular products with the option to click through to specific offers, and then details of Dyson's value proposition (such as delivery and guarantee).

2. Make form-filling as easy as possible

If you’re asking customers to offer up their data, it’s important to make the process as quick and as simple as possible. Unlike ecommerce checkouts, where customers are perhaps already invested in making a purchase, B2B landing pages often centre around free trials or downloads.

In this instance, forms should be prominently displayed, requiring as few steps for the customer as possible.

One good example of this is SalesForce. Prompting users to take up its free trial offer, it reassures visitors that there are ‘no downloads’ and ‘no software to install’, and uses an entry form (with the option of a social login) to make it easy for new customers to access.

Another example is this page from Geico, which uses a simple ZIP code-entry to take visitors to the next stage. By asking for just a single bit of information, it instils the notion that the process will be fuss-free from there on in.

3. Make it relevant

Research suggests that visitors will decide whether to stay or leave within the first three seconds of landing on a page. Making it as relevant as possible (to both where they came from and what they’re looking for) is a vital way to make them stick around.

This means ensuring there is consistency – so again maintaining messaging and branding of the ad or creative they clicked on – as well as relevancy of the headline and the general look and feel of the page.

If a visitor searched using a specific term, for example, it could be helpful to include this (or a variation of it) in the headline or surrounding copy to reassure them that they’re in the right place.

This page from Sainbury’s is a good example. Having searched for ‘Christmas food’, the user is immediately reassured by both the headline and surrounding copy. The appealing imagery and clear category options also naturally prompt the user to click-through.

4. Convince with a call to action

While some believe the best place for a CTA is above the fold, this is debatable. Essentially, it all depends on the context of the page, and how much information is required to push a visitor towards taking action.

Perhaps even more important than positioning is the wording of a CTA, with clear, persuasive and enticing copy required.

If there is an option to either ‘buy now’ or ‘find out more’ – it’s helpful to include extra copy detailing the ‘more’ element, such as what type of information they’ll be discovering. Similarly, instead of lots of convoluted copy, it can be helpful to use videos or infographics to highlight the benefits of a product or service.

This example from LinkedIn includes many positive elements. The strong CTA lets visitors know exactly what they're signing up for, and the absence of a header menu helps to minimise distraction and focus attention. Meanwhile, the option to autofill the form allows the user to swiftly take action, and the surrounding copy tells them the benefits of doing so.

5. Make your copy clear

The clarity of the message is also of high importance. This landing page from Tesco Bank could potentially confuse visitors with its two CTAs – ‘get a quote’ and ‘retrieve a quote’. 

If you’ve never used an insurance service before, you’re probably unaware of the difference, and that’s also because on the surface, they both mean the same thing. However, one option takes the user to a preliminary T&C’s page and the other doesn’t. 

This landing page from Perkbox clearly lets consumers know what they’re getting. The copy above the form is concise, while the ‘show me how it works’ CTA is much more engaging and explanatory than the standard ‘submit’ or ‘enter’.

6. Instil trust

Whether it’s a micro-site or part of an existing website, a landing page that appears inauthentic or untrustworthy can increase bounce rates - and this is especially the case for smaller or unknown brands that may not have the same reputation or standing as others to rely on.  

Appearing too cluttered, overly sales-driven or even using clichéd language could diminish levels of trust. Conversely, integrating features designed to instil confidence can combat this. This includes features like secure payment reassurance, customer testimonials or reviews, company contact details, and product guarantees.

Crazy Egg’s landing page is rather simple in terms of design, however the headline – which emphasises the fact that it is the ‘leader’ in its field – promotes trust. Similarly, the indication that a number of well-known and respected brands have benefited from its service ramps up credibility levels.

7. Have mobile in mind

Fast load speeds are important across all channels, but never more so than on mobile. With 60% of all searches now originating on mobile devices, it’s important to create mobile-responsive landing pages that align with this user behaviour. This means avoiding large image files and unnecessary navigation, as well as using a prominent CTA. Other features such as click-to-call buttons and geo-targeting can also be useful, making it even easier for users to take action.

This page from running app Human is pleasing. Both the imagery and copy nicely align with the ad, and the CTA lets users know exactly how to take the next step.

Meanwhile, with everything largely covered, the brand takes the opportunity to provide social proof if the user decides to scroll down.

8. Test and test again

There’s no definitive answer to the ‘long vs. short’ page length debate. Long landing pages can sometimes increase credibility, with additional content being used to inform and educate visitors. On the other hand, this could potentially increase distraction. 

So, what’s the answer? It’s more a case of determining what is the most appropriate option considering the goal of the page, and of course, experimenting to see whether different variations prompt better action. A/B testing us the best way to do this - by changing a single variable (e.g the CTA or headline), you’ll be able to discover what’s making the most impact.

Further reading:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 5 December, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

Good advice. We used to create a lot of landing pages, back in the Email Reaction days, and I'd narrow it down to consistency. If prospects have clicked on one particular offer (or search term), that's what they expect to see more about when they click-through.

10 days ago

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Grahame Palmer, Marketing Director at All Things Ecommerce Ltd

Almost any "page" can be a landing page. If one uses Google Adwords for example, one should link specific ads to specific landing pages. When a visitor (to Google) clicks an ad, based on their search criteria, the click can take them directly to the relevant product on your website.

To get this right, the website owner needs to know what keywords and keyphrases to use to trigger the appearance of the ad on Google. The closer your desired landing page is to the keyphrase a searcher uses, the more likely the searcher is to react to your ad (in the first instance) and secondly, the more "satisfied" they will be if your landing page reflects what they were searching for.

So... at this point, you have their "eyeballs" - perhaps the most critical step in the whole process.

User behaviour can be broadly categorised into two basic groups:

1. "Sit Back" browsing
2. "Sit Forward" browsing

These definitions characterise the fundamental reason people are visiting websites. In the case of "sit back" browsing, the term (as is implied) refers to people who are curious or "interested" in something in a relatively casual way. They could just be whiling away their time, or have some desire to find something out. In these cases, there is little (if any) subsequent ACTION on their part. For example, someone might just be looking for ideas for xmas presents, but is not yet ready to start buying.

"Sit forward" browsing describes those who are looking to achieve something more tangible. They have a goal in mind (usually a very specific one), and are ready to act.

Search phrases that are very specific - such as an accurate description of a product - usually indicate someone in "sit forward" mode. They know what they want, are probably ready to buy it, and are now looking for the most reliable supplier. In these cases, your ad must trigger when such specific keyphrases are used, and more importantly, the ad must take the searcher directly to the PRODUCT page (ie: the relevant "landing page") where the action button is "Add to Cart".

It stands to reason therefore, that such a landing page needs to be well-structured, fast-loading and intuitively "logical" for the visitor.

Since Google started facilitating product-specific landing pages on adwords (some years ago), we have found that well over 85% of our visitors who reach us via an ad, never see the "home page" of our website. We use cross-linking and up-sell techniques on product pages to encourage more and relevant browsing, and have found that order values can increase substantially. Since 2012, our AOV's (Average order values) have more than doubled, as our site not only showcases exactly what a searcher is looking for, but offers enticements to buy additional items, or to "up-grade" their desired item to one of higher value.

Where it is possible to have a purchase ACTION on a landing page, the chances of a sale increase dramatically. And the quicker one can encourage this action, the better.

7 days ago

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