This post originally appeared on LaunchPeer’s blog.
Working with over 300 startups, we’ve seen countless landing pages. We’ve seen some good examples, but we’ve also seen our fair share of lousy ones.
Unfortunately, landing pages are often like a terrible first date. They either provide too much information or force the visitor to play an uncomfortable game of 21 questions.
Sorry, but other than your mom, no one wants to answer your lengthy questionnaire. Your customer’s time is valuable and her interests are divided. Your landing page should be efficient and direct.
In your digital marketing efforts, the importance of this standalone web page can’t be overstated. A good landing page will create lead generation and increase conversions. But overlooking the essential elements of a successful landing page will prevent you from reaching your ideal conversion rate.
The greatest product can’t overcome a poorly executed landing page. You need to be willing to test and make adjustments to see what works best.
Before your high bounce rate or poor conversions causes you to bang your head against the desk, let us provide you with 21 things your startup’s landing page needs to optimize conversions.
1. Start with a solution
Your potential customers arrive at your landing page with a problem they expect you to solve. Maybe he wants to land his dream job or maybe he wants to lose weight. Whatever problem you are solving, you need to make sure it’s clear.
If you’re going to help him land the dream job, then clearly state your solution: “Land Your Dream Job With One Simple Tactic.” And if you’re going to help him lose weight then say, “Lose 20 Pounds With This Simple Four Week Program.”
But don’t make the mistake of burying the solution in a wall of text — clearly state your solution in the headline of your landing page.
2. Match your landing page copy and design with your marketing campaign
Your visitor shouldn’t experience any confusion once they’ve arrived on your landing page. Too often we see landing pages that are inconsistent with the ad that directed them there. Your marketing copy and design should have a similar feel to your landing page copy.
A common temptation within marketing is to try to use one generic landing page across all campaigns. However, as Neil Patel points out, “You will have to create landing pages that are tailored towards each of your marketing campaigns.” Implementing a one-size-fits all strategy will ensure the failure of your landing page. A unique landing page should be created for each campaign.
Consistent messaging prevents confusion and also helps develop trust with your customers. Ensure your landing page follows through with the feel of your marketing campaign.
3. Define who should be using this product
Have you ever been captivated by a headline, only to read through the sales copy and be left wondering if the product is right for you? Isn’t it confusing?
Yeah, we’ve been there before too. And this is not the sign of an optimized landing page. When it comes to the ideal customer, there shouldn’t be any gray area. Make sure that your customers know whether or not this product is right for them.
4. Make sure your page loads under 2 seconds
We’re impatient people and we live in a society that caters to our need to have it now.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the expectation of your landing page is the same. Your page load speed is very important. In fact, every second counts.
According to Kissmetrics, 40% of people abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
5. Keep your content above the fold
We like things fast and we like things to come easily. According to Eyal Katz, Head of Marketing and User Experience at AdNgin, less than 20% of your visitors will actually go below the fold to read to your content.
Yes, it might sound ridiculous (and a little lazy), but your visitor doesn’t want to scroll when she lands on your landing page. So if you want to improve conversion rates, place your Call To Action above the fold. And make sure this CTA is prominently visible in the center of the screen so she can’t miss it.
6. Include as few fields as possible
Whether it’s an email opt-in or some other form on your landing page, ask for as little information as necessary.
The results of a study conducted during the 2013 MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit showed that using just one additional form field decreased conversions by 11%.
When creating the form for your landing page, determine the minimal amount of information needed from your visitor and ask no more.
7. Give your visitors tunnel vision
So far, we’ve seen that your customers are impatient, possibly a little lazy, and now we need to mention that they’re easily distracted. You and I are no different, though, so there’s no judgement here.
But to prevent your potential customer from being distracted, remove any non-essential components to your landing page. This would include things like a navigation bar and other non-essential CTAs. The goal of your landing page should be to get your visitors to take one, specific action. If your landing page has more than one goal, there’s a good chance your conversion rates will fall through the floor.
8. Use testimonials
The use of testimonials is a simple way to reduce risk and provide social proof. Make sure that the testimonials you use are brief (preferably 1–2 sentences), and talk about the benefits your company provides.
Personal compliments or kudos to certain members of your team should be reserved for internal motivation, not landing pages.
9. State the benefits of your product
We get it — highlighting everything that your product can do feels good. But have you ever heard the phrase “Features tell, but benefits sell”?
We’re not saying to avoid listing the features of your product — that’s important — but it’s even more important to tell potential customers exactly how your product will solve their problem.
10. Provide a guarantee
While running BrainQUICKEN, Tim Ferriss instituted a 110% money back guarantee. Not only did this provided peace of mind to his customers, it also established credibility within a competitive industry.
Are you that confident about your product? You should be. And if you are (the specific details of your refund policy are up to you) then consider providing a no-questions-asked refund policy on all purchases. This reduces risk, and any money you might lose from returns will be more than covered by an increase in sales.
11. Use action verbs
Your landing page is not a time to become passive. The verbs you use should motivate your visitor to action.
A couple of examples you might consider would be, “register now,” or “grab yours,” or “reserve your seat.”
12. Test variations of your CTA button
Whether your CTA button says “buy now,” “order now,” or something else, you’ll want to test the way different buttons perform.
Although they may seems like minor adjustments, the placement, color, size, and CTA text on the button can all have an effect on the performance of your landing page. Test different variations to see which ones perform best.
13. Use a chat tool
Remember the last time you were on a company’s website and you had a question about their product? You either had to scan through their FAQ or find their customer service number, call, and hope you didn’t have to sit on hold all afternoon.
But you can prevent your customers from having to deal with the same headache. Provide live chat to help answer questions and alleviate any concerns your potential customers may have.
14. Keep input fields optional
If you absolutely must ask for numerous fields of information (see number 7), try to make the fields optional, rather than mandatory. This will increase the likelihood that visitors will complete the form. You can always ask for additional information later through surveys if needed.
15. Use high-quality images
You may have spent hours scouring through your favorite stock photo gallery, but we’re sorry to inform you — we can spot your stock image a mile away. Photography is not the corner you should cut.
Using generic stock photos will send the wrong message to your visitor about your brand. Stock images are often a symptom of laziness.
16. Test your landing page color combinations
Take a look at your shirt. Consider its color. Is there a reason you chose that color of shirt today? Maybe you were really excited about the day and chose red. Or maybe it’s a shade of blue to match your relaxed state of mind.
It’s no secret that color has a powerful influence on our emotion and perception. Red can evoke feelings of excitement or passion, while blue promotes tranquility and trust.
Consider the palette of your landing page and test different colors to see which provides the best results.
17. Don’t offer too many options
Unless you’re serving ice cream, no one wants 31 flavors. In his 2005 TED Talk, Barry Schwartz explained how people actually become paralyzed when provided too many options. Rather than making a decision, we avoid the decision all together when faced with too many options.
To prevent your potential customer from decision paralysis, provide as few options as possible.
18. Include a clear value proposition
You and your team know the value of your product, but your visitor may not be aware of it yet. Inform your visitor why your product is special. Explain how your product is different than your competition, why it’s better, and why they should invest their money in it.
19. Use directional cues
No, we’re not telling you to place flashing arrows throughout your landing page. But you should direct your visitors’ attention to important elements through page structure, design, and other visual cues.
20. Use video to humanize your brand
Today, every digital platform is promoting the use of video. Your landing page is a good place to test the use of video as well. Using video on your landing page is a simple way to connect with your visitor on a more personal level and show the personality behind your brand.
21. Consider the overall design of your landing page
You could write some of the greatest copy, but if your landing page design sucks, your visitors won’t hang around. It takes a visitor only .05 seconds to form an opinion of your landing page. And if you need further proof about the importance of design, 94% of your visitors’ first impressions are design-related.
If all the other elements of your landing page are spot on, but you’ve fallen short on design, chances are it won’t succeed.
The key to a high converting landing page is to test and test some more. But don’t be satisfied with testing one feature. Continue making adjustments until you reach your desired conversion rate.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to developing your startup’s landing page. Just because something worked for one website doesn’t guarantee it will work for yours. Test and make adjustments until you find what works best for your startup, and then run with it.