5 Tips for Landing Pages that Convert

August 11, 2011 by

If you want to generate leads using PPC (pay-per-click), banner ads or other online advertising, those ads have to drive traffic to a registration or “landing” page. But getting prospects to view your landing page is only half the battle. To convert those visitors into leads, you have to get them to fill out your registration form.

These five proven techniques will boost your landing page conversion rates.

1. Strive for continuity between your ad campaign and your landing page.

The content of your landing page must be directly related to the content of the ad that is driving traffic to it. For example, if the link in your ad says, “Learn how to simplify agile process management”, then the headline of your landing page should include the phrase, “how to simplify agile process management.”

When readers click that link and arrive at your landing page, you need to immediately confirm that you’ll be addressing the topic that brought them there. You need to assure them they’ve landed in the right place. If your headline says something different, your visitors may become confused or feel they’ve been misled.

And while the headline is the most important part of your landing page, you should strive for continuity throughout the page. Stick with the idea that brought the visitor there.

Many marketers make the mistake of trying to use a variety of different ads to drive traffic to the same landing page. Sure, they get more traffic. But they also get lower conversion. According to web copywriting expert Nick Usborne, thousands of test results have demonstrated that continuity between source traffic and landing page is probably the most important factor when it comes to conversion rates. (i)

In other words, you’ll do much better if you write a different landing page for each campaign.

Your prospect will be driven by the message of the ad that he or she responded to. You must write your landing page to the intentions of that visitor.

2. Format your landing page in a single column.

Landing pages must be clean and focused. You want your visitors’ attention focused solely on the sequential flow of your copy. You don’t want anything to distract them.

So even if the rest of your website is in a two- or three-column design, your landing pages should be formatted in a single column.

Remove all navigation bars. Remove all side bars that contain links to other parts of your site. If your website platform doesn’t allow for single column pages, leave the side columns blank and use only the center column.

Don’t let landing page visitors “look around”. If they get distracted, they’ll never register. Once they’ve registered, you can take them to a confirmation page that allows full navigation.

3. Place your “hero shot” on the left.

A “hero shot” is an image of the product being offered on your landing page. Most landing pages include a hero shot. And for good reason: they make a huge difference in conversion rates.

That’s why you see download-only trial software and PDF files represented by images of boxed software packages and thick, hardcover books. People want to see what they’re registering for. And they want to see that what they’re getting has some “weight”, even if that weight is only conceptual.

Be sure your hero shot is created for the web, so it can be read easily when reduced to a thumbnail. Then place the image flush against the left margin, below the headline, with your opening body copy to the right.

Studies show that landing pages work best when the hero shot is on the left. It’s a question of eye path. The image draws your attention. If it’s on the left of the text, it naturally brings your eye back to the start of the next line. On the right, it creates a distraction, drawing your eye away from the copy.

4. Put a caption below your hero shot.

As just mentioned, your hero shot image will draw your prospect’s attention. Take advantage of that by placing a caption under the image.

But don’t restate the obvious. Don’t simply say, “Yours FREE!” or “Get your copy now!” Tell your prospects something important. Highlight a benefit they’ll get from your trial software, or some strategic information they’ll find in your white paper or e-book. Tell them something that will make them want to register.

Captions get very high readership. Don’t let that space go to waste.

5. Ask for as little personal information as possible.

If you want to capture leads and market to them, you’re going to have to ask for some contact data.

Problem is, every piece of personal information you ask for gives your prospects one more reason to bail, one more reason to question whether they need your free offer. So ask only for those data you absolutely need.

Which personal information you ask for will depend on your offer. Are you offering a subscription to your newsletter (so you can market to these prospects on a regular basis)? Name and email address should suffice. A white paper or trial software? Adding company name and title can help you track results and qualify leads. An in-house demonstration? Obviously, you need a phone number for confirmation, and you may want to know if the prospect has an urgent need in order to prioritize appointments. But don't go beyond that.

Ask only for what you really need. Nothing else.

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Want some help with a landing page or an online marketing campaign? Call me at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or send an email to info@copyengineer.com.

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Footnotes

(i) Usborne, Nick, Copywriting 2.0, American Writers & Artists, Inc., 2010.

1 Comment

  1. Celia R. Rankin

    Thank you for clearly pointing out these guidelines. I just started learning about PPC and with my self-confessed still-thin understanding of its concepts, even an effective ad copy becomes useless when its corresponding landing page doesn’t sell.

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