Have you ever baked a cake? You mix together flour, sugar, oil, and eggs, pour the batter into your cake pans, and wait for them to bake into moist, fluffy goodness. Letting the layers of your cake cool is near agony when you just want to take a big bite of your layer cake. While you wait, you whip up your buttercream, but then you look at your two layers and pause. You don’t know how to decorate a cake. And a cake without any pizazz isn’t a cake that will entice your friends and family, is it?
Website landing pages work the same way. You can have all of the pieces there—the design, the copy, the vital information—but if your landing page isn’t optimized, you won’t get conversions. Nobody will eat your cake. With a little attention to detail and an awareness of optimization techniques, your cake—err, landing page—will be display case ready, too.
1. Define Your Goal
Before you start building your landing page, you need to be clear about what you want it to do for your business. Every part of the page should reflect your goal. Are you trading contact info for a downloadable eBook? Are you using it to grow your email list? Do you want people to sign up for a discount or special offer? It’s a two-part question: what’s in it for your website visitor, and what do you get in exchange? Typically your landing page will provide something of value to your audience in exchange for contact information for you. To optimize how many people share their information, you have to define your audience.
2. Know Your Audience
Imagine this: you’re giving a presentation to a group of people. You’re blabbing away for a good 20 minutes until you notice a bunch of blank stares. You walked into the wrong room and have given your presentation to a community gardening group instead of your local marketing professionals’ meetup. They didn’t understand a word you just said.
If you’re speaking one language, but your audience speaks another, you’ll lose them real quick on your landing page. Define your audience, use the language they use, and optimize your landing page. You can start with your headings and subheadings.
3. Start With the Headings
The goal of a landing page is to take your audience on a journey, from the first heading to your call to action (CTA). If you’re heading isn’t optimized, they never complete the journey. A good heading is specific, engaging, and uses the least amount of words possible to get the point across.
Not all headings are created equal, and you can miss the mark by aiming for creativity over impact. It can be tempting to write “Magical Skincare for Everybody,” but it’s not a good heading. Sure, everybody loves magic, but magical skincare is hard to conceptualize. Instead, tell them what’s magical about it. Is your price tag way more reasonable than your competitors? Does your skincare line work for literally anybody, with no risk of rashes or sensitivities? Do your before and afters show there’s nothing else out there like it? Talk about real impact rather than using words that seem engaging on the outside but are hollow underneath. The same goes for your landing page copy.
4. Reduce Your Text
Less is more when it comes to landing pages. Eliminate any words or phrasing that isn’t necessary to get your message across. A good rule of thumb is to remove at least 30% of the copy you originally wrote. Most people skim websites, and text walls tend to overwhelm and lose people. Optimize your landing page by keeping your copy brief, impactful, and engaging.
We get it. It’s hard to be concise when writing, and it can be a true challenge to get your point across in only a few words or strategically placed bullet points. Ask yourself these questions:
What does the audience really care about?
What emotions does the audience feel about our offer?
What do they need to know to inspire action?
What is the most exciting part of our offer?
Use these questions to guide your copy. Minimal, but effective. Just like your CTAs.
5. CTA Your Way to Conversions
The end of your audience’s journey on your landing page is the CTA. That little button is where they choose to engage with you further or not, and if you optimized your content leading up to that point, chances are good! But you can put the icing on top by writing action-based CTAs.
Use your CTA button to tell your audience what you want them to do. Make it easy for them. Sign up. Learn more. Join us. Watch today. You can add time sensitivity to provoke action further a la “Join free for one month.” Think of a CTA like those neon signs off of the highway—Eat Here!
And color matters, too. Have your designers contrast the button with the background of the landing page so your visitors can’t miss it. Your designers can use their expertise to build pages that guide your audience’s eyes from each element of your page to another until they get to the CTA.
6. Guide Their Eyes
Designers can employ multiple techniques to guide your audience’s eyes across and down your landing page. For example, white space around a CTA can draw attention to what’s important (hint: the CTA). Graphics and images can subtly guide your audience’s eyes around the page, too. For example, if there are images of people and the people in the image look or point in a specific direction, your audience is likely to look in the same direction, too. Use this to your advantage. Top design talent also understands the delicate balance between too many images and not enough visual interest, and the benefit of color theory, strategic font choices, and page element hierarchy. And they know that all of the above should reflect your brand identity.
7. Build Your Brand
Your landing page is another opportunity to build your brand. Once you’ve established your brand identity—from voice and tone to logos and fonts—weave it throughout your landing page. It may not be conscious, but reminders about who you are and the face you present to the world can increase the chances somebody recognizes you, seeks you out, or tells others about their positive experience with you.
8. Use Social Proof
Word of mouth is huge in marketing, and we recommend including some social proof in the form of testimonials. If nobody can vouch for you, people may view you with suspicion, and let’s be honest, anybody can say they are amazing on the internet. Reach out to your customers, clients, and collaborators and ask them for a few words about your business’s impact. Other options for social proof include certifications, client or brand logos, and data like customers served. Another strategy to increase your chances of people finding you is to use SEO on your landing pages.
9. Weave in SEO
Besides blogs, SEO can come in handy on your landing pages as well. The same principles apply—include keywords in your headings and subheadings, and weave them into the body copy as well. If you run a landscaping service, have words like “landscaping,” “gardening,” “flowers,” and “plants” in your copy. Put your most important keywords front and center and shifted to the left, in the direction people read.
And we have to mention, include your alt text for your images. It’s easy to forget but is another avenue for Google to find and store your landing page in their searchable databases. And after you make sure your landing page is SEO-ready, double-check your forms.
10. Create Effective Forms
Depending on your landing page goals, you may have a form for customers to fill out, and that form could have any number of inputs. Make sure your forms optimize your landing page. How do you optimize your forms? Only ask for the information you need. If you just need their email address to start sending email marketing campaigns, you have one slot for them to fill in.
Remember that everybody’s time is precious, nobody enjoys filling out forms, and it’s more likely people will engage if you make it as easy as possible for them. Once your design is on point, your copy hits the mark, and you weave your brand and SEO throughout your landing page, you can test your elements for efficacy.
11. Test, Test, Test
Similar to email marketing, you can A/B test your landing page. If your website isn’t converting, don’t throw the whole thing out. Keep the pieces that work, and adjust the ones that don’t. One way to do this is by conducting A/B tests. A/B testing involves weighing the efficacy of one variable versus another. The key word here is one. Test two headings and see which one your audience prefers. Trying to decide between two CTAs? Let your audience decide.
Other testing methods include heat maps, scroll maps, and confetti maps. All of these tools help you analyze what parts of your landing page get the most attention. Once you know, you can make adjustments to optimize.
Say you do a heat map, and people spend a lot of time on one of your images, but not your CTA. It’s time to assess why that might be and make changes. Is the image distracting? Are the page elements aligned in a way that guides the audience’s eye to the image, but no further? Does your CTA need tweaking? Testing methods can hone in on areas for improvement to optimize your landing page and increase conversions. Your data can help you optimize too.
12. Use Your Data
Once your landing page is live, don’t forget to track your analytics. Depending on what service you use, you can dig into data about traffic sources, bounce rates, visit duration, and more. With this post hoc data in hand, you can continue the process of optimizing your landing page and continue to convert indefinitely. Optimization isn’t a time-limited process; marketing strategy evolves over time as there’s always more to learn about your business, your audience, and your place on the internet.
Are you ready to optimize your landing page? Great! If you’d like a little more guidance before you get started, get in touch with us. We can talk optimization all day!
Caitlin Lead Copywriter
Caitlin Knudsen is a writer, editor, and food photographer based in the Midwest. With a background in nursing and decades spent writing, she is a published eBook author and knows a thing or two about communicating complex concepts in easy-to-understand language. Caitlin spends her free time developing gluten-free recipes, reading psychology books, and wrangling two pugs and a Dutch rabbit.more posts by Caitlin →
Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Websites
Content Marketing, Websites
SEO, Content Marketing
SEO, Content Marketing