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Landing pages are a central part of every inbound marketing strategy. When visitors land on your page, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and increase your conversions. Basically, they can make or break your business.
While it’s fairly easy to create landing pages without knowing how to code, conversions are still a hard-fought battle for most digital marketers. So it pays to be aware of what exactly makes a poor landing page and how to avoid fundamental landing page mistakes.
There are many reasons why visitors to your site may not decide to buy your products or fill out your forms. But at least you can be assured it isn’t because of the landing page if you bypass the following blunders.
1. Overly-complicated forms
Most of the time, when someone arrives on your landing page they are only in the Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. That means they are only just beginning to comprehend that there is a problem or challenge that they need your help to solve.
At this stage, they probably have little knowledge of your brand or offering. They’re just seeking answers and information. It’s definitely a prime time to offer them a little perk, such as a free eBook or a valuable download, but don’t involve a lengthy sign-up form in obtaining that perk.
Even if you have the best eBook in town, no one is going to read it if you ask them to complete a form which requires info about everything but their blood type. At this early stage in the brand-consumer relationship, you haven’t earned the right to be so nosy yet.
Remember that your website visitor is automatically going to be protective of his or her information and that, at this point, all you really need from them is a name and an email address. If you integrate a pop-up form on your landing page, ensure it only asks for these details.
Just having their email address will provide you with many more opportunities to continue the conversation and nurture the relationship. So start small. Building a relationship takes time, both in real life and in the digital world.
This landing page from a consumer reporting agency demonstrates what NOT to do. This form is for a typical Awareness stage offer, however, instead of simply asking for a few key pieces of information, it requests eight different types of information. It will almost definitely deter clicks and ultimately conversions.
2. Self-aggrandising language
A landing page should be a masterclass in the art of persuasion. This persuasion isn’t centered around how awesome your brand is, it’s about how your offer – whether that be content, a webinar or a demo – can benefit consumers and make their life easier. And if it’s done right, it should be subtle.
There’s no shame in being confident, however, this doesn’t give you an unrestricted license to use every superlative under the sun. That’s not confidence, it’s fluff. Use clear, concise language – especially in your call to action – to resonate with audiences. Watering down your language with too many adjectives or propositions just comes off as unsure and cocky, which isn’t at all what you want to project.
Here’s an example:
A. It really is that simple. Learn how we can change the way you come across to others.
B. We’ve tried hard to remove the day-to-day challenges in the arduous process of becoming a more confident person. Learn more about how to boost your confidence by putting your confidence in our completely straightforward eight-step process.
Do you see the difference? The first example is confident and authentic. The second example is wordy and confusing.
Use strong language, not self-aggrandising language.
3. Generic calls-to-action (CTAs)
Did you know that there are thousands, perhaps even millions, of CTA buttons on forms that simply invite people to ‘click’, ‘submit’ or ‘download’?
It seems like a minor detail, but the words you choose can really impact your user’s response. When you use generic CTAs, users don’t necessarily get an expectation of value.
When you use specific language, on the other hand, users gain an expectation of what will happen next. Expectation is a vital part of the brand-consumer relationship.
Being vague or falling short can change someone’s mind. So correct this by being more specific.
Want some specific phrases that will work better than the weak words listed above?
Here are a couple:
- Get your guide
- Read your eBook
- Experience the program
- Take me there!
4. Lack of context
To create a solid and well-optimized landing page, you must consider how the user landed there. Did they click through from social media? Or find you through organic search efforts? Perhaps they were tempted by a pay-per-click ad?
Understanding the source allows you to infer the consumer’s stage in the buyer’s journey and their familiarity with your brand.
If you are using a landing page that ranks well for a popular keyword, then the majority of your traffic will probably be from Google or another search engine. You can therefore reason that the user is seeking answers to a problem and may be currently unfamiliar with your brand. Knowing this means you can create a relevant offer like an eBook download.
One of the biggest mistakes brands make is filling a landing page with paid ads offering the opportunity to get a quote or schedule a demo. You’ll know if this approach is killing your conversions simply by measuring bounce rate. This type of landing page just comes off too strong.
Having a variety of landing pages that consider context and the buyer’s journey will help the overall quality of your conversions.
This is a landing page that came up from searching ‘digital signage best practices’. The intent of the search was to find a resource or content. This paid ad from Planar, however, immediately offers a quote yet no content. Consider it another example of what NOT to do.
5. Crowded design
When optimizing the design of your landing page, you should always keep conversion-centered design in mind. The biggest takeaway from The 7 Principles of Conversion-Centered Design is to keep your users focused on one specific action you want them to take.
This means simplicity in design and self-explanatory site navigation should be a priority.
When a user lands on your page, they usually scan the text because in our digital world, reading is becoming extinct. So in that couple of seconds of scanning, he or she needs to know immediately what the offer is and why it matters. They won’t figure this out if the font is hard to read, the colours are jarring, the formatting is distracting, or the headlines are competing with each other.
The easier you make things for your visitors, the better user end experience you will provide for them and the more likely they are to become customers. For your website’s design, remain true to your brand, but don’t get cute.
Above are two sections of the same landing page from Bookkeeping.com. The page has over-design syndrome. The use of both images and icons is confusing and seems incompatible. It’s hard to know what to look at or focus on first.
Have a look at your current landing pages and find out if some – or ALL – of these sneaky saboteurs are lurking around to stuff up your conversions.
If they are, it’s time to make changes. However, make all your changes incrementally so that you will know exactly which leads to improved conversions. Monitor your traffic as you go.
Moving forward with new pages, make sure your:
- Form is equal to the offer or stage
- Language is confident but not condescending
- CTAs deliver the click
- User gets the experience expected based on source
- Context is considered and catered to
- Design is simple and clear
Let me know if you have any more suggestions below – I’d love to read your comments.
Guest Author: Beth Osborne is a writer, storyteller and content marketer. She helps brands grow with content and inbound marketing strategies. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.