With the competition for organic and paid online spend getting more and more intense, it’s essential to make sure your landing pages are optimised for conversion in order to see a healthy return on your marketing spend.
At Noir agency, I work with some of the world’s most ambitious companies to optimise their online presence to reach, engage and convert new customers.
It’s a tough time to compete online. The digital marketplace is busier than ever, making your potential customers even harder to convert. Within such frenzied commercial circumstances, even minor flaws in your marketing funnel can make your ROI suffer in ways that will make you wince.
This notion pertains especially to your dedicated landing pages, so making sure yours are properly optimised for conversion will give you an instant boost to the ROI of your marketing spend.
In this guide, we’ll talk about your marketing funnel and where landing pages fit within it. Then, we’ll dig into some of the key fundamentals, including attention ratio and the importance of message matching, before wrapping up with the five critical elements that every landing page needs.
Understand your marketing funnel
First of all, you need to determine where your landing pages fit into your marketing funnel.
Consider where your funnel begins. At the very top, funnel traffic can come from a wide range of sources; Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Ads, Facebook or any other place where you’re trying to move a prospect from some other piece of content or call to action to your web properties.
For example, imagine you’re using Google Ads to drive prospects to a page where you want to collect lead information to book a consultation. The landing page is the area your prospects will land on after they click the call to action in your campaign.
In this instance, the landing page exists after the click (ie. ‘post-click’), and it’s where the conversion will take place. But before we continue, let’s pin down what we mean when we talk about ‘conversions’.
A conversion can take any number of forms, and it’s largely up to you to define it in relation to your business goals. It could be a callback request, an e-book download, or a competition sign up; for e-commerce, it could be a button that leads to a specific product page or even an instant add to cart.
Ultimately, a conversion is the key driving motivator for your campaign. In other words, it’s the main action you wanted your prospects to take when you started the campaign in the first place.
For the purposes of this guide, we’re not going to view a landing page as just any web page, we’re going to define it as a campaign-specific page, with a single call to action.
Achieve the ideal attention ratio
Now that we’ve covered where landing pages fit in your marketing funnel, let’s dive in and look at why landing pages are critical to use instead of another page on your website.
If you’re going to get more conversions, let’s say like more ebook downloads or more newsletter sign-ups, you could work at driving more top of funnel traffic (essentially getting more eyeballs on your stuff), but that can be really costly, difficult and most crucially, highly inefficient if the pages they’re landing on aren’t optimised for conversion.
Picture a leaky bucket. If you have holes in your bucket, you can fill it up as quickly as you like, but you’re not going to be retaining any water until you actually plug the holes. In terms of your paid or organic campaign, an effective landing page is the solution.
But first – why isn’t any page on your website great for marketing campaigns? Well, your website is a jack of all trades. It’s going to house the majority of the information about your company or your brand. It needs to represent your brand well. It’s going to house any marketing resources that you’ve created. Usually, it will have a ton of content for SEO purposes. Sometimes, it will have information about your team, your brand history, case studies and so on. All of this information is great for people who want to explore and find out more about your company and your business.
But when you’re running a campaign with a call to action, you don’t want people exploring your website. You want to focus them on your single call to action, which is why you want to work with a dedicated landing page instead.
This balance between the actions prospects can take on a webpage vs the number of actions you want them to take is called attention ratio. Whenever you’re putting together a dedicated landing page, always bear this concept in mind.
Think of it this way; imagine you’re running a marketing campaign for new real estate development and your campaign goal is to get prospects to fill out a form and request a tour of the new development. That form fill is your one call to action of the campaign.
What might this look like if we’re sending prospects to the website’s homepage?
The homepage may feature the main call to action, and the form fill where you’re asking prospects to request a tour of the development. But from this space, site prospects are also encouraged to look at and download floor plans, check out any other developments that your company has built, see awards you have won, look at the team behind the project, and then, of course, find you on social media.
The problem here is that everything that doesn’t help convert them will eat into the ROI of your marketing campaign. If they see your social media icons, they might hit the F and suddenly find themselves scrolling through Facebook again, completely forgetting about the page you paid to direct traffic too.
This is because your website’s traffic attention ratio is too high. On a non-specific landing page, the things prospects can do are likely to overpower the one thing you want them to do.
Asking prospects to convert on a site like this is like taking a 10-year-old to an arcade and telling them that they should spend the whole day playing on a single game. It doesn’t matter how good that game is, their short attention span will soon be distracted by the 20 other bleeping arcade cabinets in the same room.
In summary, as attention ratio decreases, conversion rates improve. For your marketing campaigns, the ideal attention ratio is one to one (1:1). Essentially, this means limiting the things that prospects can do on your page to the one thing you want them to do.
This 1:1 attention ratio keeps them focused on your call to action, improving the likelihood that they’re going to convert.
The only way to achieve this is to create a dedicated space for your campaign with a single call to action; in other words, a dedicated landing page.
In the past, creating dedicated landing pages for every single campaign would have been near impossible. Nowadays of course, we have the tools available to us to do so, allowing us to take full control of the campaigns from start to finish, deliver output as well as outcomes as part of a fluid marketing strategy.
Match your messaging
Now that we’ve talked about where landing pages sit in your marketing funnel and why they matter, it’s time to dig into how we make them the perfect grounds for conversion.
While attention ratio can help you focus your visitor’s attention on your call to action, it’s important to make sure the content you show them is relevant enough to their expectations to keep them on the page.
This concept called message match. By putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes and imagining things from their perspective, you can create focused, attention ratio-friendly content that will lead directly to a conversion.
Let’s pretend you’re scrolling through your Facebook news feed, and you come across an ad for a high-powered mini-drone that captures your attention. You click the ad, and land on a product page full of different drones. You scroll around to find the specific drone that caught your attention, but it’s nowhere to be found. The truth is, it’s probably on the page somewhere – but you got so frustrated scanning over drones you weren’t interested in, you clicked back onto Facebook after 10 seconds to continue with your scrolling. The expectations that were set for you in that ad with the mini-drone have not been followed through after you clicked.
In this example, we’re talking about a physical product but exactly the same notion applies across any kind of messaging. If you set a particular expectation with your ads and someone clicks that ad only to land on a page that doesn’t meet their specific expectations, your visitors will think that they’ve made a bad click and leave. Worse still, they’ll be more likely to ignore any further messaging they receive from you next time you reach out to them.
That’s an example of poor message match. So how do you flip this around and make sure you do it properly when you’re running your own campaigns?
The example we’ve been using so far is for property development. so let’s stick with that. Imagine we’re running Google ads for waterfront condos. Your ad copy says ‘Elegant waterfront condos! Register today to book your free tour.’ When a visitor clicks that ad, it’s crucial the landing page they arrive on contains content relating directly to fulfilling that action. With relevant messaging in place, they’ll feel that they’ve made a good click, helping to keep them longer and reduce instant exits – ultimately increasing the likelihood of conversion.
By bearing the concepts of attention ratio and message match in mind when creating your landing pages, you’ll begin to see a sizeable increase in your campaign conversion rates.
With these key concepts understood, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Here are the following five critical elements of every landing page that will make sure conversions even higher.
5 elements of a successful landing page
Just like any cake recipe will include flour, water, eggs, oil and sugar, there are five essential ingredients every landing page needs to effectively inform and ultimately convert your visitors. These are important, so take note!
1) Your unique selling proposition or USP
2) Hero shot
3) Your features and benefits
4) Your testimonial or social proof
1) Unique selling point
The first of the five elements is your USP, or your unique selling proposition (sometimes called a UVP, or unique value proposition). This is a clear statement that describes the specific benefits you offer, how you solve your customers’ needs, and what distinguishes you from the competition.
On your landing pages, your USP doesn’t have to be a single statement. Instead, it can be a story that you tell throughout your whole landing page. There are a lot of ways you can break this down, but today we’re just going to consider your USP in terms of your headline and your subheading.
Your main headline is going to be the first thing that people notice when they hit your page, so it’s really got to do some heavy lifting. It’s the main headline’s purpose to keep people on your page and tell them that they’re in the right place, so take some time to create one that’s engaging, well-written, and most importantly, to the point. If your headline doesn’t tell prospects they made a good click and that they’re where they’re supposed to be, you need to re-write it.
For your supporting headline or subheader, it’s useful to think of as the second half of your headline. But where your main headline’s purpose is to keep people on the page, your supporting headline gives you the freedom to go into a bit more detail; give them an idea of what to expect and maybe what your call to action is, encouraging them to scroll further down the page for more information.
2) Hero shot
Whoever said a picture is worth a thousand words must have been a digital marketer. In the online realm, where attention spans are becoming increasingly more divided, an eye-catching, relevant image can be exactly the marketing collateral you need to cut through the noise and make a conversion.
Whatever you’re offering, the shot you include on your landing page should be a visual representation of your product or service that’s relevant to your value proposition. Images are comprehended much faster than text, so they offer a unique opportunity to immediately let your prospect know they’ve made a good click.
Even though we think about your USP and your hero shot as two different elements, it’s really important to think about how they work together. Yes, your USP will tell your visitors that they’re in the right place and keep them on the page, but your hero shot will also reinforce this point and tell them what the page is about visually.
3) Features & benefits
You’ve captured their interest with a relevant headline, an informative subheading and a dazzling hero shot. They’re engaged, and ready to hear more about your service or product.
With a clearly displayed list of features and benefits, you’ll get them excited about taking the action you require, as they’ll have a more detailed understanding of how your service can help them.
The benefits are the ways their lives will explain which problems you’re able to solve, while features are the specific ways you’ll go about solving them.
It’s helpful to think about them in terms of buyer needs. The people who come to your pages are going to have key needs that motivate them to look for a solution, so your features and benefits are your opportunity to let them know in no uncertain terms how you’ll do it.
Beware, however, of falling into the trap of talking about your features in terms of technical specifications, or the kinds of things you want to sell. Prospects are interested in having their problems solved, not the ins and outs of what you do. Speak to them on the terms they arrived on your page for, and they’ll take action. Simple, right?
Remember though – your features and benefits need to be incorporated into the overall narrative you’re building into your landing page. You set the expectation for your prospects with your ad, email, or whatever it was that got them to click in the first place. When they arrived on your page, you reinforced that concept with your headline, then your subheading told them what to expect and encouraged them to scroll further down. Your hero shot reinforced all of this messaging visually, engaging them even further. With this story told smoothly, your features and benefits are just one more step down the funnel along the way to your call to action and ultimately conversion – so make sure they’re just as relevant to the initial reason the prospect landed on your page.
4) Social proof
If you’ve followed the previous steps effectively, your prospect will be satisfied that your offering has fulfilled their post-click expectations. But do they trust you’ll be able to deliver on the promises you’ve set out? Overcoming this hurdle is essential to any effective marketing campaign.
In the next section, you’ll see how you can leverage social proof to build trust with your prospects and show them that you can make good on your offer.
As much as you might think you’re trustworthy, trying to persuade your prospects on your own will only get you so far. Whatever you say is going to be so much more credible and believable if you have someone else who isn’t necessarily on your side backing you up.
Your prospects are going to look to see if you already have some loyal customers, or if there are other brands who can stand behind you. It’s classic social comparison theory; ‘if other people are happy with it, it must work.’
With social proofs on your page, not only will your prospects see evidence of others approving of you, you’re demonstrating confidence that your offering holds up to public scrutiny. What better way to show someone how confident you are that what you do is worth converting for?
You can incorporate social proof onto your landing pages in a number of different ways.
You could look at customer quotes from people you’ve worked with in the past who have great things to say about your product, service, your brand or the experience of working with you.
You can incorporate them as case studies, which may be really in-depth studies with successful customers who’ve seen really great results from what it is you’re offering. It could even be a badge or a review from a third party review website, such as TripAdvisor or Kelkoo.
Remember to bear in mind that the social proof you use on your landing page should be contextually appropriate, fitting smoothly into the overall narrative you’re building. If you’re talking about a particular feature or benefit or a particular offering, it’s ideal if your social proof can reinforce that key aspect. If not, it’s okay for it to reinforce your brand overall.
One key aspect to remember with social proofing is that the purpose is to earn trust. So, if you’re going to be using case studies or testimonials, you need to use real quotes, from real people. Ideally, it’s great if you can use a photo and their name. If nothing is really at stake for anyone, there’s nothing gained from the endorsement.
If you’re ready to incorporate social proofs, be wary of including social share icons. While they’re engaging and certainly able to add credibility to your offering, they can significantly eat into the 1:1 attention ratio, potentially negatively impacting your main goal of increasing conversion.
5) Call to action
You can gussy up your landing page as much as you want with punchy headlines, stunning imagery and relevant information, but you won’t convert anyone without a call to action, or CTA.
The last of the five key landing page elements, your call to action is where you finally ask your prospects to take the action you wanted them to do when you built out the campaign in the first place.
So if for example, you’re running a campaign to earn newsletter subscribers, then your call to action would be the form and the form button where you ask prospects to sign up for your newsletter.
Whether it’s a big BUY NOW button or a link to somewhere deeper in your marketing funnel, including a CTA is essential. Like the finish line at the end of a marathon, the rest of the prospect’s journey through your landing page won’t mean much without this logical closure point in place.
With this information, you should be all set to start putting together dedicated landing pages that will supercharge your marketing campaigns.
If you need any help with optimising your landing pages to increase conversions. Get in touch today.