Catchy headline? Check. Clear message? Check. Nice picture? Check. CTA? Check. Seems like you’re ready to go with your new landing page. But before you share it with the world and start counting leads, take a quick final look. You might have missed one or more details that often spoil the effectiveness of your landing page. Here’s a list of seven things you should pay attention to before adding another landing page to your campaign.
Page title vs other titles
When you’re building an online campaign, a landing page is somewhere in the middle of the road between ads, social media and specific places on your website (e.g. banners on blog posts). In terms of the overall campaign message, everything may seem fine, but did you check if the subsequent elements of the campaign have matching or complementary titles?
This refers particularly to elements that link directly to the page, e.g. ads or banners. When creating copy for both, make sure they relate to each other and that the link or CTA leading to the LP clearly states the goal of the page.
For example, if all your campaign assets linking to the LP state you’re about to see the “top-notch TV speakers”, the visitors may be confused when the ad takes them to a page with an offer for one particular set of speakers. Even worse if it’s out of this person’s price range.
Effective campaigns are usually built over keywords. It will make creating titles much easier for you if you apply the keyword in all pieces of the campaign’s content – even the ones that are visible exclusively to those who entered a certain stage of the funnel.
Lights, camera, license
Most marketers realize how important it is to use visual elements in marketing materials – and that’s great. However, the overuse of images or videos has caused a few problems which are not often discussed.
Let’s start with image licenses. It’s a shame how many marketers use stolen images in their marketing materials. Not just on landing pages, but also in social media, banners, blog posts and other forms. Rarely do they realize that copying and pasting an online image without the author’s consent is a crime. I’ll bet you didn’t know that making your content look good could turn you into an outlaw!
Before you include this cute kitten or delicious looking cupcakes you found on Pinterest, make sure you do a so-called reverse search on Google Images to check if the picture is protected by copyright. Prepare yourself for the bad news – it most cases it will be.
There are several sources of pictures you can use without the fear of stealing someone’s hard work:
- Creative Commons search. It helps you find images that can be legally used in your materials. Before you start exploring, learn about different kinds of licensing to make sure you’re not violating any of them.
- Paid stock. There are dozens of image stock service providers on the net with various budget options.
- Free stock. If you’re not keen on spending money on a source of professional pictures (for whatever reason), the Internet offers several resources of free off-license pictures, e.g. Unsplash, Pexels or Pixabay.
Speaking of stock images, both free and paid, there’s another bad practice you need to avoid.
We want real humans!
Page visitors are increasingly distrustful of stock images. A marketing experiment by MECLABS proved that an image of an actual person, e.g. a company’s executive, converts better than a stock image of a model. Whether we like it or not, a pretty model’s face won’t be a guarantee of a conversion bump anymore.
Another risk is that many sites might use the same image in their materials, which is especially common among blogs. I’ve seen countless publications by different companies that have used the same photos that I did. Shame on me, shame on them. The bottom line of the stock image search is: try harder.
Look for pictures that have a more realistic feel than your typical studio light, perfectly green grass and winking puppies. Did you find an image you’re happy with? There’s a chance your competitors liked it, too, so run a quick search to see if they haven’t used the image earlier.
Of course, the best option is to use your own images, produced exclusively for your company. It takes more time to obtain materials like this, but it eliminates the risk of violating intellectual property laws. You don’t need to start right away with a magazine-like photoshoot (and budget to pay for it). In some businesses, a quality photo taken with a smartphone will do just fine. It all depends on your brand and its communication style.
Too much information
Even though the sad news about our diminishing attention span (being shorter than that of a goldfish) turned out to be a myth loved by the media, the necessity to compete for attention is still true. This fact should determine the amount of information you want to put on a single landing page and the volume of text you need to convey it.
There are very few clear boundaries to follow because the subjects of your campaigns may have different complexities. If I were to list just a few golden rules, they would be:
- Plan the information structure across your campaign. We’re talking about landing pages here, but it’s worth remembering that every element of the campaign can be used to distribute information in different ways. You don’t need to put every detail on a landing page – maybe mentioning something in an email or a blog post will be just fine.
- Align the message of your landing page with the campaign goal. There must be one main goal to every campaign and it can be captured in one simple message. That’s what the copy on a landing page should relate to and where it should lead your visitor.
- Cut out as much fluff as possible. Did you know that more than 30% of verbal communication is fluff that doesn’t convey any necessary information? Avoid that effect in your copy. Shorten the phrases, simplify sentences, make sure each one conveys new information instead of repeating the same thing as the one before it. Of course, don’t go past the point when a visitor will have no idea what you’re talking about! A good way to check if your copy reads well and includes all necessities is to let someone else read it, preferably someone who hasn’t seen any previously prepared campaign content.
A landing page should belong solely to a marketing campaign – connecting it with other places is not a way to go.
- Navigation bars. In research on the effect of navigation menus on landing pages, Peep Laja of ConversionXL presents a few examples of this mistake made even by companies operating in the area of online marketing. A navigation menu will allow them to escape the page, which leaves you with a lost lead and a missed conversion goal.
- Banners. Just like navigation menus, they might let your visitor leave the page too soon, but that’s not the main problem. The question is: why would you put a banner on a landing page? What page did you link to the banner? Does it bring you closer to the campaign goal? Placing too many links on an LP can be a sign of an unclear goal of the campaign itself.
- Confusing conversion goals. If you’re running a campaign with two conversion goals instead of one, which is quite tricky by itself, be careful about distinguishing them. The visitor of the landing page may be confused and not convert at all if they won’t know their choice. The solution, in this case, could be placing CTAs of different colors and explaining the benefits of each choice in clear, short page copy.
The thing with all these distractions is that they miss the point of the landing page itself – to keep the visitor on the site until he or she completes a specific action. Navigation menus are dedicated to pages that have more than one goal and are located in a broader matrix of web content prepared by your company.
Poorly optimized forms
After many observations during my content marketing work, I realized there are different skill levels in creating contact forms:
- Field types. There are multiple ways to ask the same question and the same thing applies to form fields. Instead of applying text forms everywhere, you may use dropdowns, sliders, tick boxes, visuals (e.g. clicking on pictures instead of text), and much more. For reference and inspiration check out Typeform, one of the most popular form-building tools online.
- The number of fields. After years and years of being educated about those, it seems that marketers are more aware of the necessity to cut down on the amount of information they want from a first-time visitor. Of course, you may still find forms that resemble an FBI investigation, but luckily these happen rarely. The type of information and the way to obtain it can be multi-step.
- Data quality. Do you pay attention to how many mistakes visitors make when filling out your contact forms? Use features like character limits, numerical fields, format recognition, error messages, (e.g. warning the visitor about the wrong email address if it doesn’t contain the @ sign). If you’d like to know more about this topic, take a look at our article about building quality customer databases.
- Personalization. A contact form that adapts to the visitor’s profile is a lifesaver for marketers. The fields in a personalized form change according to the information you already have about the lead, e.g. when he or she enters the zip code, you don’t have to ask about the city. You may also choose to use dynamic content and display only the fields that will be relevant to the lead (based on your previously gained knowledge, e.g. which ad brought them to the page).
Which level are you on?
Le grande finale: CTA
The CTA is the landing page element that A/B testers look at first, and for good reason – it’s the last step on the conversion path. Since it’s a small element, every detail counts and you need to pay attention to things like:
- Visibility. There’s no point in analyzing other features of a CTA unless it’s clearly visible. This depends on its placement, size and color. An ideal situation is when the CTA is placed right next to or under the form and has a vivid color with a contrasting background.
- Offer or benefit statement. General calls to action like “Contact us” or “Download now” do not fulfill one of the key functions of a CTA – they don’t point to the exact benefit the visitor will get for sharing his or her personal data. It’s a good practice to follow a simple formula – state the motivation of page visitors by saying “I want to [your CTA]”, for example: “Get the guide” or “Download the ebook”.
- Grammar. When direct, personal CTAs became a common practice, many marketers stayed with addressing visitors with “you” and “your”. There’s nothing wrong with that but try using “me” and “my” and see what happens. It turns out you can get a 24% increase in conversions by changing just one word. It’s definitely worth some A/B testing.
- Multiple CTAs. Sometimes you may have a selection of offers within one campaign and address them to different users. Just as with contact forms, you can personalize the CTAs with different colors for each offer.
A landing page by itself is always worth optimizing. But it can only become perfect if you align your campaign message through all elements – ads, emails, website banners, etc. Once you do that, adjusting the landing page will get much easier. Make sure the goal of the page is visible through the whole copy, images, form fields and CTA’s.
When optimizing any piece of marketing content, switch on your inner critic and be picky about every detail. It can take time to comb through everything like this but works like a charm. I wish you lots of successful campaigns and beautiful landing pages and I hope you enjoy being a critic of your own work!