More options means a higher chance of converting, right?
Stick an extra button here, make another offer there and your prospects are certain to find something they want on your landing page. Judging from the huge number of ‘busy’ landing pages I come across, I’d say it’s a belief that’s shared by a huge number of website owners and marketing managers.
Unfortunately it’s also completely unfounded.
The belief that a huge selection will convert well comes from thinking like a consumer. Multiple options might be what the consumer thinks they want, but studies like the Jam Study have proven that an overextended selection causes distractions.
Now I know you might be thinking that distractions aren’t all that bad. You’re probably thinking that your offer is distraction proof, that it’s so good your prospects will have a difficult time doing anything but focusing on it. I hope for your sake you’re right.
The truth is distractions are camouflage for the action you want prospects to take . Instead of being able to focus on what you want them to do, their attention is pulled every which way causing them to actually miss out on the action you want them to take.
Instead of clicking through to the next stage in your funnel, you’ll find more people clicking through to that top ten listicle you recently published or in extreme cases, exiting your site.
Here’s a great example of how easy it is to miss what’s really going on.
When there’s too much going on with your sales page your primary action becomes the moonwalking bear. Undoubtedly the most interesting thing going on, but when it’s hidden behind unnecessary distractions it’s easily missed.
Distractions are conversion killers. Head to your landing page now and remove the below distractions and I promise you’ll thank us for it later.
Too Much Information
Information in itself isn’t so much a distraction, but putting too much on a page hides your primary selling point. Offering too much information is a real conversion killer.
Reducing content on a page isn’t easy. I know that you’re proud of your product and want to write a full academic essay on its plus points and merits, but you simply cannot include everything.
Huge blocks of text aren’t just off-putting for your reader but also take the focus off your main point and what you’re trying to achieve. If your product or service’s main benefit is saving a client money, that’s what you focus on. Prospects often don’t care about the inner workings or intricacy of your delivery systems, they want to know how the product will help them.
Focus on the largest benefit your service offers and decide what action you want prospects to take. Anything that doesn’t contribute to moving your prospect toward your desired action needs to be cut.
Shopify has created an amazingly simple landing page where they’ve managed to cut everything but the bare essentials.
Brevity is the soul of wit and the driving force for punchy, high converting copy.
Ask yourself if the information you’ve included is absolutely necessary or whether you’re including elements that are important to you, but not your potential customers.
Landing pages aren’t the place to be creative and you’re going to have to kill your darlings. Killing your darlings is hard, but don’t worry, you can use all the extra money simplifying your page brings to dry your tears.
The Rule of One
A clear purpose to your landing page is vital for it’s success . It’s probably the most important aspect of creating a high converting page.
Without defining specific goals there’s little chance you’ll create an effective page. Before you write any text or design the layout, you need to understand what it is you’re trying to achieve.
An unclear focus is what leads to the many confusing pages that litter the Internet. You know the kind I’m talking about. The pages where there’s multiple CTAs, several products on offer or no solid direction resulting in confused customers.
To steer clear of confusing, low converting pages you need to implement the rule of one.
What is the rule of one?
Well, the rule of one instructs us to focus on the singular. Your landing page should only have:
More than one purpose is confusing for the prospect and makes creating content far more difficult for you. You need everything on your page to work in concert. Headlines outline the benefit which is outlined in your compelling body content, testimonials offer proof of the value you’re offering and the CTA finishes off the page by highlighting the value of signing up or purchasing. Having more than one purpose for the page makes creating a cohesive, consistent, supporting page incredibly difficult.
I shouldn’t have to explain this one. You’ve defined your landing page’s purpose, now create a single, simple CTA. Defining a clear, single purpose of the page first is crucial as without it, you’ll likely end up with a generic, uninspiring CTA. Don’t add in extra CTAs like ‘share this with your friends now’ or ‘why not also sign up for our webinar’. If it requires a click or an action it’s a CTA and if it’s not your primary CTA it needs to go.
One Point of Focus
I’m no designer, but if you’ve got flashy graphics and autoplay videos going on left, right and centre your prospects aren’t going to know where to focus. You want your prospects to have a clear point of focus at all times. Don’t pull their attention away from the compelling elements of your page with completely useless elements.
Now of course the rule of one isn’t universal. When it comes to things like social proof, three testimonials are obviously going to be better than one. Your job is to make sure that they stay within a single point of focus.
The question you’ve got to ask is whether having several similar elements is going to help increase conversions and add value to your single purpose or detract from your overall message.
If you’re being brutally honest, you’ll often find that the answer is no, they don’t add anything worthwhile. When you identify an element that doesn’t add to the primary aim, it’s time to get rid of it.
Boredom leads to distraction.
It’s like going to a party and getting stuck with that guy who only talks about his job selling sewer pipe. Sure he might be a nice guy, but it’s a boring topic. After a few minutes with him your mind will be firmly focused on jumping on the first opportunity to escape.
Boring copy is the online equivalent of sewer pipe man. It doesn’t hold attention and forces prospects to click away from your sales page in an effort to find anything that’s even slightly more interesting.
Now I’m not saying that you need to go down the bombastic route and create a hyped up page with Buzzfeed-esque headlines.
It’s a difficult task and one that many websites fail at. CTAs are often the biggest offenders using copy with the generic submit or order defaults. Needless to say this doesn’t work, you should actually try to focus on creating a call to value instead of a call to action.
Hubspot actually tested various landing page buttons to see what came out on top.
Personally I’m not a huge fan of any of the above. However, the generic buttons that lack anything resembling excitement or compelling behavior performed far worse.
Find the words that excite your prospects and use them in your copy . It’s a simple step, but one which easily fixes the problem of boring copy.
I’ve seen a lot of landing pages where the CRO has taken much of the above advice to heart. There’s only one CTA, the headline and copy are in full support of the primary action goal and the copy included is short, clear and concise.
But there’s one element that’s escaped their notice.
The navigation bar. According to Marketing Sherpa only 16% of landing pages have removed the navigation bar!
Sure it’s a necessary component for your audience to find their way around your site, but it’s one of the most distracting elements on a landing page.
You’ve spent so long removing all of those unnecessary links that take prospects away from your landing page, but you’ve left a full width bar which often has a minimum of five links in one of the most visible spots!
This isn’t your home page and you’re not trying to herd your prospects through different pages to build trust. This is a landing page which has one purpose, to sell.
The guys at Hubspot tested the effect of removing navigation links and saw up to a 28% increase in conversions.
Remember the rule of one? Does a navigation bar contribute to your primary goal, or does it offer a distraction from it?
It’s not necessary and it doesn’t help. Get rid of it.
What do you really need to know about your prospect?
Name? Email address? Surname? Star sign? Shoe size?
You might argue that collecting as much information as possible is going to make it far easier to segment your audience and target your messaging later on. I can understand the reasoning, but it’s well known that asking for too much information actually lowers conversions.
According to a study by Neil Patel over on Quicksprout, reducing the number of form fields on your sales page by even one or two can have a positive impact on your conversion.
Cut everything out of your form fields which doesn’t directly apply to your product or service. Does a shoe company really need to know the company you work for? Not really.
Ask yourself if you’ll actually use the information you’re asking for to segment your audience later on or whether you’re just giving yourself options you’ll never explore.
If you’re including items and fields that you aren’t actively using for segmentation, then they need to be deleted.
There’s little out there that can convert as highly as a well optimized landing page. Unfortunately, very few are well optimized. The biggest offender is simply that there’s too much going on, offering too many distractions from the desired action.
Instead of trying to do everything on one page, pick one goal and focus on in intently. Be ruthless and cut everything that’s not directly related to you achieving that goal.
The above five steps are a good starting point on optimizing your landing page, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list.
I’m sure you’ve got one or two little tips and tricks that have brought some great results and I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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