No matter what stage you’re at as an optimizer, it always pays to go back to the basics.
Landing page optimization is a really important skill to have. There’s a lot at stake.
That’s why I’ve chosen to treat the topic again, this time from the perspective of the basics.
Want to know why I’m going back to the basics?
- Because these are things that we all need to be reminded of.
- Because I realize that a lot of marketers who read Crazy Egg might not be familiar with all the principles of landing page optimization.
- Because there has been so much change in the marketing landscape, leaving us wondering if landing page optimization is still the same.
Don’t skip reading this article, even if you’re a seasoned professional. The basics are important for anyone.
If you make some strategic changes on account of this article, my mission will be complete.
Let’s go back to the basics.
1. Know Your Target Audience
I sound like a track on constant repeat. I find myself thinking this and saying this all the time.
But it’s important.
Know your target audience. Everything that appears on the landing page stems from an intimate awareness of this special group of people.
- The type of headline you use
- The colors you choose
- The font you use
- The length of your copy
- The size of your CTA button
- The images you use
- The everything about everything.
Yes, this is basic. But it’s so important!
The process doesn’t need to be complicated. It just needs to happen.
- First, understand what a buyer persona is.
- Second, do some research into your persona.
- Third, create a persona for your business.
You might want to expand your persona to include several different types of people.
The great thing about a target persona is that they stand as a representation of a larger group of people.
Once you have your target audience carefully laid out and thoroughly understood, you can engage in the rest of your landing page optimization efforts.
2. Define Your Unique Selling Proposition
What is a unique selling proposition? It is a concise statement that explains why your product is superior to the competition.
A unique selling proposition, also known as a USP, should communicate what you provide and why it’s so awesome. These two features should intersect with what customers want.
The result is an explosive assertion of value that can transform a landing page from a cookie-cutter experiment in futility into a gushing torrent of conversions.
Why am I including this business concept in my basics?
Because your USP should be communicated clearly on your landing page.
Remember, when users view your landing page, they are asking several questions. The three most important questions are:
- What is this all about?
- Why does it matter?
- What should I do?
A clear USP can answer the first two questions.
Wistia does a great job of this. Their landing page has a headline that clearly develops the USP.
It’s the “video marketing platform for business.” What else do you need to know? Boom.
Another great landing page is from Mention.com. Their website (at the time of writing) included a changing headline that explained clearly what they were all about, and why it mattered.
Headline variations included:
- People are talking about your brand.
- People are talking about your competitors.
- People are talking about your name.
- People are talking about your CEO.
This is a great example because it demonstrates how the USP is also an inviting come on for curious consumers. They want to know. Therefore, they do.
Mention.com helps brands to monitor each of those aspects. The call to action, positioned below, helps to move users to the next logical step.
The secret to motivating customers isn’t just having a shiny website or some slick design tricks. It starts at a deeper level — the basics.
Your USP is the key ingredient between the customer and your product.
That’s why I’ve chosen these two elements to comprise the first two basics of the landing page. Your goal with the landing page is to create a connection between your audience and your product. That connection happens with your USP.
Now, it’s time to move on to the next basic.
3. Create A Powerful Headline
Virtually every landing page has a headline of some sort.
It really, really matters. People are going to look at that headline, read that headline, and convert (or not) based on that headline.
Savvy conversion optimizers are constantly tweaking and adjusting the headline to make it more relevant, more sizzling hot, and more attractive to customers.
Headlines contain enormous marketing power. They give users the instant knowledge on which they base their decision to bounce from the page or to stay and find out more.
Take a look at this landing page (from an AdWords click). How does that headline pull you in?
If you’re interested in topics like “brand mentions” or “web mentions” then this headline will probably be effective.
The power of the headline lies in its superlative (“widest”) and keywords (“web mentions”). The sub-headline — “find every relevant mention about anyone or anything in a heartbeat” — promises even more power.
GoDaddy’s landing page for web hosting is also powerful. It contains hot words like “free,” and the keywords “web hosting” and “domain,” which keep the user engaged and interested in the page.
GoDaddy’s landing page will probably outperform the other pages that competed for the same query.
Why? In part, it’s because of the headline, combined with the design.
Most of the other pages have an unclear or incomplete headline, and a cluttered design.
The following page, for example, is unclear as to the purpose or intent of the product or service and leaves no clear direction as to what the user should do.
Headlines make a difference.
Notice the difference between the two following landing pages. One communicates clear value. One offers mere functionality.
Here is the functionality. The headline is bland and uninspiring.
And here is value.
The headline communicates just how appealing this website creator is — it can “set your website apart.”
Give your headlines the care that they deserve. Your landing page’s effectiveness depends on it.
4. Mobile First
It seems like a long time ago that mobile optimization began to be seen as important.
Today, landing page optimization requires mobile optimization. There’s simply no way around it.
But some sites still don’t have it! This site, for example, was viewed with a 360-width viewport, and here’s what I got.
I can hardly read a thing.
IBM’s website, by welcome contrast, has full mobile optimization for their landing page.
A successful landing page is one that allows customers to convert easily on their tablet, phone, or desktop computer.
5. Use An Obvious Call To Action
In my opinion, the most important part of your landing page is the call to action, or CTA.
While I won’t be able to reproduce in this article everything that I’ve learned, I will provide a few of the most critical ingredients.
- You must have a CTA. Believe it or not, some landing pages don’t have a call to action.
- The CTA must be obvious. Hiding your CTA is not in your best interests. I’ve experimented with landing pages where the CTA is below the fold, at the bottom of the copy, and other places. Each of these has its advantages. But none of them hides the CTA. Put plenty of white space around your CTA, make the button big, and use some visual contrast.
- Don’t create confusion around the CTA. I recommend a single CTA. Don’t give the user choices.
- Use strong, action-oriented language in your CTA button. The word “submit” is probably not the best approach.
The large pink button used by Lyft in the landing page below is a great example of a strong CTA.
6. Always Be Testing
The final point does not have to do with the landing page itself, but with the entire success of the landing page as a whole: Always be testing.
Your landing page is not a static entity. It should be changing on a regular basis.
The best way to improve your landing page is through regular, intentional, and accurate split testing.
Nothing can substitute for the data-driven, reliable, and action-oriented results of a good split test.
Your landing pages can be better. They can improve iteratively by testing your headlines, your images, your CTAs, your copy, your length — everything.
The better your landing page optimization, the better your business as a whole. Landing page optimization really does matter.
And the basics are important. As you’re trying to improve as a marketer, give your landing pages the time and attention they deserve. You won’t be disappointed.
What are some of the landing page optimization basics that you need to remind yourself of?
*Featured Image Source
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