Your landing page should be geared to making visitors convert, whether that means buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, making a donation, or requesting more information. If it isn't doing the job, keep reading for some relatively simple adjustments you can make to improve its persuasiveness.
You'll find these and other landing page ideas in Erez Barak's article for Search Engine Watch. We'll start with the most obvious point: your call to action. When a visitor arrives on your landing page, do they know what you want them to do? Are you sure they do? You'd be surprised how easily a call to action can get lost among the rest of the text, images, and anything else you've put on the page.
Putting your call to action in a prominent place is like asking for the sale; lots of beginning salespeople forget to do it, but the pros in the field know better. If you don't ask, you won't get the sale. Barak recommends that you “Set the offer copy and corresponding call to action apart from the rest of the page to make it special. Use white space, a box around it, lines above and below and/or some sort of contrast to point out where the visitor needs to focus to obtain the item.”
Take your visitor by the hand and guide them where they need to go. Also, to keep from confusing your customers, tell them what will happen when they click on that link, fill out the form, or otherwise answer your call to action. Remember, they can't read your mind.
Also in the interests of avoiding confusion, consider exactly how your visitor got to your landing page. Was it from clicking a pay-per-click ad? Through a comparison shopping engine? Did a link in a blogger's post lead them to you? Wherever they came from, they probably formed certain expectations in their head. Your landing page's job is to meet those expectations.
Don't lead a visitor who clicked on your PPC ad for blue vibrating widgets to a page displaying your full product inventory of whatchamacallits, of which widgets are simply one specialized line. Make sure they click through to a landing page that focuses on those blue vibrating widgets, and lets them do whatever the PPC ad said they'd be able to do when they got there. Incidentally, this is why home pages usually make lousy landing pages.
Remember what I said earlier about distractions from your call to action? While making it prominent helps reduce this issue, you'll also want to simplify your landing page so that your entire message comes through loud and clear. As Barak explains, “The goal is to minimize distractions.”
How do you do this? Limit the font styles, colors, and sizes on your page. Think carefully before using any images and interactive rich-media content. Ask yourself whether it supports your goal (converting your visitor) and is clearly the best way to deliver your information. If your answer is “yes,” then you can use it. But believe it or not, a bland landing page often converts better than a busy one.
It's not just the style you need to pare down for clarity; it's also the substance. People may read a fair bit on the web these days, but they're often jumping from one thing to another. Don't curse those tiny attention spans; cater to them. Cut your text until you're left with simple headlines and short bullet lists. If you're using images, include short captions (those do get read). Do not use self-promoting marketing language; nobody reads that. If you must provide more detailed information, you can always link to it (near the bottom of your page so it doesn't distract from your message) for reading on supporting pages.
Give these ideas a try, and you just might see some improvement in your bottom line. Good luck!
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