Good Design IS Good Business Update Banner

                                                                                                             August 5, 2013 / Issue #9

Landing Pages that C.O.N.V.E.R.T.S. Visitors into Customers:
8 Elements You Should Include!

Written by Mike Hamers, Lightspeed     
Edited by Kate Hamers, Lightspeed and Kris Green, Turn Words 2 Money

So you have your marketing all ready. Your website is built and your pages are well optimized and generating good natural traffic. Your Facebook ads are bringing even more traffic. But you're not getting sales – those numbers aren't moving at all.

The solution is to make highly-effective Landing Pages. This is where the magic of conversion happens.

To identify where customers come from, use a different landing page for every inbound advertising campaign you operate. Perhaps you are selling multiple products or setting up promotional offers for different user segments. Your homepage can’t deal with this level of message differentiation. By using different landing pages based on how your client comes to your site you can provide a relevant experience to each input to the funnel. The style and effectiveness of your inbound marketing typically varies according to the source you use: pay-per-click, email, social media, or display banners.

8 Elements found in a landing page that CONVERTS:
= Call to Action
= Offer
= Narrow Focus
= Very Important Attributes
= Effective Headline
= Relevant Info Collecting
= Tidy Visuals
= Social Validations   


Your Call to Action can be a button stating something as direct as: "Sign Up", "Shop Now", "Order Now". Your goal is to make your Call to Action button compelling. Do this by using highly focused text, savvy layouts, and visual graphics that flow and create natural agreement so your website visitors say “Yes” with a “click”.

Understand your audience, their problem or challenge, and the solution you offer.

Clearly state how you solve their problem.

Have only one Call to Action per page. If you must have another Call to Action
on the page de-emphasize it visually in relation to your main Call to Action.

Have a separate Landing Page for every inbound advertising campaign.

Test, test, test! For example, change the words on the button and see what pulls best. Test color, size and placement on the page. Perhaps test the relatively demure text of "Support Our Cause" vs. "Donate Now".

Display the Call to Action at least once in a visually prominent, centralized area.

Make the link an obvious button-type link – don't make visitors guess where to click.

Draw the visitor’s eye with visual clues, such as arrows or graphics.

If you have content “below the fold” (that is, out of the area that first fills the screen when your landing page first appears), repeat the Call to Action in the lower portion.

Always make it easy and compelling for ¬the visitor to take the action you desire.

The Offer is whatever you give visitors in exchange for performing the Call to Action. What makes a good offer? Information that can solve their problem, a trial offer, a discount coupon, or even a newsletter subscription.

Describe what your offer is and why visitors should participate. With the Offer your goal is to make clear to the reader “What’s in it for me?” Do this by clearly identifying how what they get for completing the form benefits them. You must create and deliver value in the offer itself, as well as give value on your landing page.

Your goal is to pull users deeper into the conversion funnel. For example, a consulting agency might offer a free 60-minute consultation to give prospective clients “a taste” of what they can do.

Create a sense of urgency to give people a reason to NOT procrastinate and to take action now. When you give people a logical reason why they should “buy now”, more people will.

Here are three ways to make urgency valid without overt manipulation.

    1. Remind reader how you solve their problem.

    2. Remind readers why they need to act now to stop compounding their problem.

    3. Add an Act Now incentive: “Only 5 Seats left!”, “Today Only—50% off”,
       “Act Now and Get TWO for the Price of One!” Make your incentive
       honest and believable.

Make sure the Offer is conveyed simply and logically and leads to the Call to Action.

Narrowing your focus can also be expressed as the familiar KISS Principle – “Keep It Simple, Stupid!". Your goal is to make only one clear, relevant offer.

Research shows the more choices you offer people, the longer they take to make a decision, if they make a decision at all.  A narrow, single-minded focus helps your readers make and stay with the decision to “Click Here”.

Be Clear. The clearer and simpler your page, the more likely you'll get results.

Be Brief. Keep copy brief. Only say what you need to say.

Be Relevant. Keep copy relevant to the purchase decision.

Be Focused. Question everything that doesn’t drive readers to your Call to Action (so eliminate navigation bars or talking about your company philosophy on your landing page, for example).

Eliminate Distractions. Sometimes you must collect other data. To minimize that distraction, keep forms on your page short. Study after study shows that more fields equals fewer responses.

Guide Reader. Use page design to guide the reader:
     – Use visuals to help guide the eye
     – Use white space to set-off the core area of the page
     – Move admin links to a down-played footer
     – Make sure headers or side links don't distract from the Call to Action

Make Homepage a Landing Page. Design your Homepage as a landing page. All landing pages need to be clear of extraneous links, actions and content, and focused on the action you want the reader to take.

Focus on Call to Action. Always focus landing page content on the Call to Action. Move links to other sections and information about your site to well “below the fold” (the area that fills the screen when first landing on your page).
Why should the reader continue reading, or click on your Call to Action? How do you solve their problem or concern? The benefits your solution offers are the Very Important Attributes.

This shouldn’t be a long laundry list, but a bulleted list sets these off nicely. Your goal is to highlight the three to five benefits about your product or service that are most important to your visitors. Showcase those.

Describe what you’re selling from the customer’s viewpoint.

Explain what problems your product or service solves.

Describe your Very Important Attributes as:

   – Features which showcase the unique differentiators of your product or service.

   – Benefits which translate how features will help your visitor solve their problem.

   – Pain points which illustrate how your product’s features help your visitor
       avoid loss or embarrassment.

Test, test, test. Try different approaches to see what works with your audience. Test which attributes you highlight, how many you show, and how you describe them to see which result in more orders.

Make sure the list of attributes doesn’t distract from the Call to Action. You might tease attributes above the fold, and then locate fuller descriptions below the fold.

Set attributes off with icons or pictures to make the list more visually appealing and friendly.

Your goal is to attract the attention of your viewer and communicate the solution you offer as clearly and concisely as possible. The headline is often the first thing the reader sees. You want to make sure they quickly understand what you offer before they even think about clicking to another page. Customers have found your landing page because they are interested in what you offer. You have milliseconds to help a visitor decide to stay. Speak clearly to them about how to solve their challenge.

Be clear and relevant.

Avoid cute, coy and clever.

Answer how you solve a challenge the reader has.
     – For example, “Top 5 FREE Fat-Busting Ideas”.

Only make promises you can keep.
      – For example, “The 7 Surprising Ways to Increase Sales”.

Ask a question your product answers.
      – For example, “Do You Suffer From The Blues?”.

Write in the second person (“you” and “your” versus “I”, “he”, “she” or “it”).

Use action-oriented language to capture the reader’s attention.

Make the headline stand out visually even more than the logo of the site.

Use typography, size and/or color to make your headline stand out visually.

Chances are the reader of your webpage is there because they responded to something you offered. They want what you have! Now you want to capture their contact information so you have permission to keep marketing to them.

How do you capture information? Use a clear, concise form coupled with an enticing offer. The Form is a crucial element of your landing page. This is where conversion takes place. What do you include and how long to make your Form? Your goal is to collect enough information so you can contact and qualify the lead.

Match value. To entice someone to complete your form, match what you ask for with what you offer for the information. This means, if you ask for lots of information, you need to offer a significant “prize” for completing the form. You can offer enticements such as a discount, an ebook, a webinar registration or other items meaningful to your clients. If you ask for a lot from them, you must give a significant perceived value back.

Make ordering easy. If you ask them to buy something, make the purchase process as easy as possible. Just ask for the vitals: billing and shipping information. Give a confirmation screen before actually placing their order. Keep the ordering process as simple and concise as possible. Wait to ask for additional information until after their order is placed.

Make the Form Readily Accessible. Have the form appear above the fold – You don’t want the viewer to have to scroll down the page to give you information.

Be Clear. Define what you want (name, email address) for what you provide (huge discount, free ebook download, free webinar content). Ask for nothing more and nothing less.

Make the form stand out on the page. Surround the form with a colored box to make the form stand out from the rest of the content.

Ensure Privacy and Security. Rightfully, many people are hesitant when asked to provide sensitive information. You need to show your visitors they can trust you with their information. A simple way to do this is to include a link to your privacy policy.                   
Images catch a viewer’s attention instantly. Your goal is to use a relevant and captivating image to reinforce the benefits of your offer. Visual images used right can engage and entice the visitor to remain on your page longer. This improves your opportunity to capture their contact information as they discover you have the answer to their situation. As previously mentioned, make sure headers or side links don’t distract from the core mission of your landing page.

When using visuals to enhance your page:

Be Original. When possible, create an original photo or video demo rather than use a stock photo. Always only use relevant images; don’t put something on your page just because it is “cute”.

Use Videos. Videos pack a big impact into a small space and can increase conversions by 80%. Videos also make your page more interesting to Search Engines and so can increase your page rankings.

Use White Space. A clean, simple design with plenty of breathing room keeps people focused on your Call to Action.

Use Big Fonts to make it easy and compelling for your reader to understand what your site is about.

Use Bullets to make big blocks of content easy to scan.

Use Graphics wisely. Setting attributes off with icons or pictures can make a list friendlier and more appealing. Only use images and graphics relevant to your product and related to your audience; to support your message instead of diverting attention from it.

Test, test, test. Does your audience react better to photos or illustrations? To people or objects? Does showing the product in action make a difference?

Less is more. It's tempting to add dramatic swirls, exploding graphs, and stock photos of people looking deliriously happy. These are only helpful if they get the visitor to take action.

Speed matters. A landing page that loads quickly gets better response. Make sure your design doesn't slow down load time.
As social creatures, we tend to place greater value on things other people have already approved. Your goal is to show others already find your product or service valuable. That is why most sites often display social validation such as:
     • A list of current and former customers
     • Relevant, positive Media attention
     • Links to customer reviews
     • Testimonials. If you are just starting out, you probably don't have a lot
        of these forms of social validation. But even one or two can show
        site visitors that someone else has found value in what you offer.

To keep your message fresh and relevant you also want to:
Update Frequently. Include new press releases, updated user numbers and great customer quotes.

Highlight Social Media Connections. When displaying client or social media logos keep the design clean and focused. Make sure the logos are of uniform size and are placed appropriately on your page.

All of these recommendations can be summed up simply:
    1) Be clear about what action you want the visitor to take and
    2) Make it as easy and compelling as possible for them to complete that action!
Bonus Consideration – Include a Thank You Page
Once someone makes a purchase on your website, or signs up for your free offer, that is a perfect time to acknowledge them. Present a “Thank You” page to tell them you appreciate their confidence in you and/or your product or service. You can also take advantage of the viewer’s attention by asking them to do something else after the initial conversion. For example, this is an ideal time to ask them to sign up for your newsletter or to join you on social networks. –MH

Follow these simple steps, and you, too, can have a landing page that CONVERTS!

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Editing and Proofing by
Kris Green,
  Turn Words 2 Money

Link to C3 Writing, a quality writing and editing service company




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