Landing pages are a great way to generate sales from pay-per-click ads and e-mail campaigns. Folks click the ad and get a page tailored to their exact needs:
You get more conversions, the customers are happy. Unless, of course, your landing page sucks.
A few tips to make an instant improvement:
- Remove unnecessary fields. If you’re getting signups for an e-mail newsletter, why do you need their mailing address? Or their phone number? Remove those fields and your conversion rate goes up, I promise.
- Make a clearer button. For whatever reason, the Big Red Button works better than the little ‘click here’, every time. Replace that default ‘submit’ button with something big and graphical.
- Put the call to action in context. Instead of a button that reads ‘click here’ or ‘submit’, try one that reads ‘Sign Up Now’, ‘Buy Now’ or whatever else might be relevant.
- Get a better hero shot (the cute kid in the page above). If you have a photograph on your landing page, take a look at it. Is it directly relevant to the page? Or a cheesy stock photo? If the latter, remove it.
- Make sure your hero shot faces the right way. If you have a person in your hero shot, they should face towards the page or out at the audience. Not off the page.
- Compress your image. Back to the hero shot again. Last time, I promise. Make sure that image is compressed to as small a file size as possible. Faster load time means more folks stick around.
- Check your heading. Is your heading a great call to action, or a painful reminder of your C- in high school English? If you write your heading on a blank sheet of paper, it should instantly tell the reader what you’re selling and why they want it. If it doesn’t, try again.
- Use bullets. Pick the 5 most compelling reasons for the visitor to take action. Write them into bullets and put them at the top of the page, next to the hero shot or above it.
- Use short paragraphs. Never have a paragraph longer than 3-4 lines of text. Don’t argue, OK? Just trust me on this one. Folks don’t want to read War and Peace. These days, folks don’t even want to read USA Today. Keep your message short and sweet.
- Avoid long words. I’m really glad you know what supercilious means. Now replace it with ‘annoying’ or ‘patronizing’ or just ‘jerk’.
- Move everything up. The hero shot, bullets and headline should all appear ‘above the fold’ – visitors shouldn’t have to scroll down to read them. Make room.
- Test in all browsers. Make sure your page looks OK in Internet Explorer 6 and 7 (not 8 yet, thank God), Firefox and Safari.
- Validate. Make sure that, if someone leaves a field on the form blank, it’s easy for them to fix it. Clearly indicate the field they left blank, and explain what they need to do. Don’t wipe the whole page blank and make them start over.
- Set up testing. Use Google Website Optimizer to test different headlines, copy and graphics. Find the best combination. You’ll be amazed at the results.
[Bonus: Use analytics. I mean, you should be anyway. But this is your chance to nod vigorously, then slink off and get analytics set up. I won’t tell.]
No landing page is ever perfect. But make a few changes here and there, and see how much you can improve performance.