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Landing pages are an integral part of marketing automation for businesses. People sometimes think landing pages are any page a visitor might “land on” on a website. More specifically, they might think about the main page of each section of a site as a landing page (what we refer to as an “index page” to help differentiate it).

For inbound marketing and marketing automation, however, a landing page is a page which contains a form and exists principally to convert website visitors into leads by capturing some amount of personal information through a form in exchange for something – either a piece of content, or offer of a consultation, demo or assessment.

Avoid Clutter

Landing pages should be free ofinfo visual clutter. This could be images, ads, navigation or other items that can overwhelm visitors and cause confusion about what action you want them to take. Use only one call-to-action –  the form submission button. You don’t want to give the visitor too many choices and risk him or her leaving the page before completing the form.

In the below example, the button doesn’t stand out, the visitor has a number of other link choices and there is no clear headline or offer.

Use Action Words

Make the button text action-based but avoid using “submit.” Try words such as “download,” “sign up,” “register” or other verbs that generate a sense of urgency. Combine it with additional text to restate what the visitor receives by clicking the button. Letting the user know exactly will happen can reduce anxiety and increase conversion success.

Draw Attention through Color

Contrasting colors, which are complimentary on the color wheel (such as blue and orange), go together visually but also allow one color to stand out when used more sparingly – such as on the the call-to-action button.

Use the squint test to check contrast. While viewing a page, squint. What stands out?

In the previous image above, the landing page used complimentary colors. However, because the blue and the orange are used in equal parts, no one element truly stands out. Compare it to the blue and orange colors of the Unbounce landing page below. The single orange element, the call-to-action, stands out against the blue and draws the user’s attention.

Directional Cues

Try using directional cues to help visitors easily identify what you want him or  her to do. Using photos of people allows you to utilize line-of-sight to draw visitor attention to the form or form button. Notice in the example below that the woman’s eyes are looking right at the form.

You can also be more obvious and use directional images such as arrows and lines to indicate where you want a visitor’s eyes to travel on the page. Or, utilize images such as roads that  have a directional element which will lead visitor’s eyes to a point on the page.

A Thousand Words…

Include an image or video. Sometimes words just aren’t enough to explain the product or offer. Using a video or image can help further explain the offer, make the page design more engaging and draw people in toward the call-to-action or benefits.

Don’t Ask for Too Much

Make sure your form is an appropriate length. Both long and short forms perform well depending on the goal of the form. If the goal is to create a large number of unqualified leads, use a shorter form. If the goal is to generate fewer high-quality leads, use additional fields to collect more information.

But remember that the quality of the offer can also dictate what users are willing to disclose in exchange. A checklist of tip sheet might not “be worth”as much information as a webinar or demo in your visitor’s mind.

The Proof is in the Reviews

Include social proof. Almost 63% of consumers indicate they’re more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. Social proof can be customer testimonials, case studies, social shares or embedded social media posts or trust seals.

Messaging

Make sure your attention-grabbing headline matches the ad or call to action the visitor clicked to arrive at your landing page. A headline that is off-focus or topic can be confusing at best and considered click-bait at worse.

Keep the message singularly focused and emphasize the offer’s value. Simplify the copy but make it engaging. The page and information should be easy to comprehend with a quick glance. You can always include additional information below the fold and the form.

Personalization

Don’t try to use the same landing page and messaging for all audiences. Create different versions of the landing page with messaging specific for the specific traffic source.

Design your page for different devices. There is no denying the growth of mobile usage among internet users, so make sure your landing page is responsive or can serve up a mobile version that is visible on various screen sizes and is finger-friendly (no mouse needed to access things like navigation).

Follow up with a thank you page which makes good on the promise of your initial offer. This also allows you to present a second, complementary offer to further convert and qualify your lead.

Test, test, test

And test again. While we have discussed a number of “best practices” for optimizing landing pages, it is important to always be testing. You can test any number of elements such as the position of the form (left vs right), navigation or no navigation, button color, button text, images, form length, messaging, or headlines. Ultimately, your site visitors and leads determine what is a best practice for your landing pages and optimal conversion rates.

 

For more on landing pages, download our free guide, “Creating Landing Pages: An Overview.

 

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