Thursday, 29 July 2010

Designing Great Landing Pages

What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent especially to trigger or drive a certain call-of-action or result. The goal of the copy and design of a landing page is to get the prospective client to take your desired action - to initiate some sort of response to your ad. This could be a PPC (pay-per-click) ad like Google Adwords, a banner or text ad, or even an email. A quality landing page is one that reinforces ‘conversion intent’ and gives clear path to the next step. To achieve this, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your visitor and provide just enough information to persuade them to convert.

Let us have a look at the various pointers for designing great landing pages:

Input form: Try to make completing your input form as easy as possible. Auto-populate any fields you can, and use ones that require only a checkbox action. Avoiding drop-down menus, in addition to having the input cursor hop instantly from field to field upon completion are good practices.

Relevancy: It is vital that you match your landing pages to your text ad copy that sent customers there in the first place. Use the same colour palette and visual elements from your ads on your landing page. It should be kept relevant to the person's search query. So, if you have enticed visitors on to your site with an ad for 'iPad deals' then they should be seeing a picture of an iPad together with a clear call-to-action, rather than a generic category or random page.This consistent flow is needed to help keep your prospect assured that they are indeed landed in the right place.

Smart layout/structure using various elements: How you present the page using colours, graphics, texts and icons play a big role in re-inforcing purchase intent. Minimise the amount of text on the page. Instead, make it easy for the visitors to understand your offer by using graphics. Avoid clutter, white space and overly big fonts. Put your most critical landing page elements in the upper 300 pixels of the page. Usability research shows that over half of the site visitors will not scroll “below the fold.” So, test placing the lead form above the fold and get right to the point. You can of course write long copy, as long as it's tight. Think longer copy when you’re looking to close a sale. But use a shorter copy for a subscription sign-up or something that doesn’t necessarily require a cash commitment. People read beginnings and ends before they read middles. Make sure you keep your most critical, persuasive arguments in these positions.

Offer something in exchange for the signup: It's a lot easier for someone to provide their information to you when they're getting something in exchange. Offer something like a free trial, free consultation, podcast or whatever is relevant to your product, in exchange to their information.

Optimise for small monitor resolutions.
Make your information and call-to-action available to as many people as possible, this means optimising for even laptops. Let your aim be to not force even the smallest screens to have to scroll. Having to scroll spells disaster.

Limiting Navigation: This is a bit debatable. An argument against limiting navigation is that by stripping a page of navigation to the website as a whole, it can act as a deterrent to some visitors; almost leaning towards SPAM. However, on the other hand, by removing navigation, you are creating a “sterile” conversion environment. This means that you are in complete control of what the visitor sees and interacts with, which will hopefully lead them directly to the conversion. It's a process of trial and error. As always Test, test and test!

Provide options for visitors that don't convert: It is still possible not to get any response, even with the perfect landing page; so give options to your vistors. Provide a clear phone number or call back option in case they prefer to purchase in this way.

Grammatical accuracy: First impressions count. Not only does incorrect spellings look spammy, it shows the quality(or lack of)and integrity of the company. Write in the second person – You and Your; because no one cares about you, your company, or even your product or service really; except only as to how it benefits him or her.

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