There are tons of marketing channels that can be used to drive conversions, and digital marketers are eternally debating which platform is the most effective.
Between Search Engine Optimization (SEO), retargeting, paid search, content marketing and display advertising, there’s one thing they all have in common: the landing page.
Even though the Landing Page is an undisputed cornerstone of digital marketing, it is often overlooked and under-optimized. This is obviously a huge mistake because most marketers are relying on that landing page to cinch the sale.
In this article, we will highlight the top mistakes businesses make when creating their landing pages so you can avoid suffering the same fate.
Mistake #1: No Call to Action
The singular goal of your landing page is to turn visitors into conversions. To do this, you need to be fairly obvious with your calls to action (CTAs).
This isn’t to say other elements of your landing page are unimportant. You still need great content, dynamic images and a good slogan to nudge visitors toward conversion. However, the CTA is your chance to draw their eye and start the conversion process.
Your conversion doesn’t always have to be a financial transaction; it can be anything from an email signup to submitting contact information. When adding a CTA to your landing page, that goal needs to be clear.
Ensure your CTA has these important elements:
- Visible: You might think the best place for your CTA is at the very end of your copy, once the visitor has finished reading. Wrong. Users shouldn’t have to scroll to find what they’re looking for. The CTA should be one of the first things they see on your site. If your CTA is already above the fold but still not getting clicks, it might not be in the best place. Use a tool like Crazy Egg that works like a heat map to discover where users are clicking on your site. If users tend to click on the left side of your page, move your CTA over that way.
- Distinct: Your CTA should stand out from the rest of the content on the page. The most effective way to do this is with color. This can be a delicate balance because you want a bright color that contrasts with the overall design of the page, but it shouldn’t clash. Color isn’t your only option, though. You can use arrows or animated elements, as long as it catches the user’s eye and doesn’t look too spammy.
- Non-ambiguous:There should not be any confusion as to what clicking the CTA will do for the reader. The text should clarify what the end result of the action will be: a free trial, adding a product to a shopping cart, signing up for a newsletter, etc. It’s smart to avoid generic language like “buy now” or “click here,” because users are conditioned to scan right over that.
Here’s our final piece of advice on CTA optimization: don’t overwhelm the user. You might think it’s smart to include many calls to action on a page, so the user is bombarded with the chance to convert. This will only confuse the reader. Which one should they click? Signing up for a newsletter? Submitting their contact information?
Chances are, your user will get frustrated with the conflicting choices and leave your site completely. If you don’t have any CTAs on your landing pages right now, don’t overcorrect with adding more than one per page.
Mistake #2: Ugly Design
Obviously, design is crucial to the success of your landing pages. Did you know that users form an opinion about your site in the first half secondof looking at your content? In fact, 95% of those opinions have everything to do with the visual design.
There is really one guiding principle when designing your landing pages: don’t make your visitors think too hard. You should aim to get your message across with a minimum amount of words and strategically placed visual elements.
These page elements should be your focus:
- Primary CTA: If it makes sense for the page and for the campaign, make your CTA the focus of the entire landing page. Since your goal is conversions, the CTA needs to be the most important and obvious element on your landing page. Use colors or design to visually set it apart.
- Headline: Remember, less is more. Make sure your headline’s value proposition is clear and concise. For a heating company, for instance, the headline “Stay Warm!” is perfect. If you have a seasonal or special offer, you can add a sense of urgency by including the expiration date or a countdown timer as a subheader.
- Product Information: Product or service information should be as brief and digestible as possible. Don’t make people think! Try to focus your copy to demonstrating how your product/service will make their lives better. Use a few sentences to elaborate on how you can help users achieve their goals. This isn’t your homepage, so you can get slightly more verbose here – but don’t go overboard.
- Visuals: In marketing campaigns, images can be your strongest ally. If you use them incorrectly on your landing page, though, you could tank the conversion rate of the whole campaign. Stock images are not always the best choice; using custom images can boost your conversion rate by 35%! > Stock photos don’t have the ability to show off your specific product in action.
Mistake #3: Erroneous Messaging
You have set expectations in your ads and search snippet (the title, URL, link and description of your page displayed in search results). Fail to meet these expectations and your audience will disappear. If you don’t match what you’re promising to what they’re getting on the display page, you will most definitely lose their trust.
Here’s how inaccurate messaging can impede your marketing efforts:
- High Bounce Rate:If you promise a product or offer, your user should be able to obtain it as soon as they land on your page. Otherwise, they are going to leave the page without engaging with your site at all. This is horrible for your SEO, because it informs search engines that your site is irrelevant or gives bad user experience.
- Low Quality Score: This is Google’s secret formula to determine an ad’s relevance to a keyword. Landing pages that don’t match what the ad promises will bomb your Quality Score. A low QS means you are going to have to bid a lot higher for your ads to appear in search results.
- Retargeting: Retargeting is a super effective way to recapture users that didn’t convert the first time they visited your page. But, if your site isn’t matching the ads that brought people to your landing page in the first place, they certainly won’t trust the retargeting messages. Worse still, if you follow people around the internet with an offer you don’t actually have on your pages, you will look like a scam company and do major damage to your brand.
If you are advertising a discount or a deal, reinforce that prominently at the very top of the landing page, so visitors can’t miss it. Never advertise products or services you don’t have. If your advertisements mention a specific feature, you need to detail that right away in your landing page content.
Mistake #4: Complicated Conversion Process
Every business is familiar with abandoned shopping carts. They are unavoidable, and should be considered leads to convert during retargeting.
You could be inadvertently contributing to your leaky sales funnel, though, if you make the conversion process too complicated. If you optimize your conversion process, you will minimize the opportunities your visitors have to drop out.
- Don’t demand too much information from your users, only ask what you need. Chances are, you don’t need someone’s physical address to set up a free trial.
- Get rid of unnecessary steps. People want things to be simple, so every additional step you add to your conversion process is going to make you more unlikable. Try to consolidate the information needed onto the landing page itself (contact information, newsletter signup, etc.).
Keep in mind, every additional page you send your users to is another chance for them to bounce off of your site. You can limit those opportunities by making conversions simple and intuitive.
Mistake #5 – Failing To Analyze and Optimize
As digital marketers, tracking your progress and making adjustments should be second nature. Landing pages aren’t exempt from this process.
Unfortunately, lots of people focus on optimizing their ads for click-through rates and conversions but don’t pay enough attention to their landing pages.
Here’s what you need to do to maximize your landing pages’ effectiveness:
- Keep an eye on the traffic coming to the page. Google Analytics can help you track events and set up conversion goals so you can track your sales process. Sure, you are probably able to get a good sense of your campaign’s health without a granular look at your analytics. But, without tracking the source of your traffic and conversions, you won’t know what specifically is causing your campaign to succeed (or fail).
- Optimize your pages based on your analytics. You can change elements of your landing pages to find the most profitable combination. Analytics will help you understand what is working well and what isn’t.
- Test your changes! You won’t be able to see what changes are helping or hurting your conversion rate if you don’t have a set of control data to test these changes against. The best way to do this is to run an A/B test of the two pages at the same time of day, day or the week, or other performance-impacting variables. Remember to use the rel=“canonical” tag to help with duplicate content issues.
Digital marketing doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it seems. Give yourself the best chance for success by creating the most effective landing pages for your marketing campaigns.
If you sidestep the common mistakes listed above, you are already in a great position to drive conversions.
If you want to discover how well your landing page is optimized, run an audit on your page to find issues that could be problematic for your visitors