Build a feather bed – not a trampoline!

You want your landing page visitors to feel comfortable and spend some time on your page doing the things you want them to do – not just bounce straight off it. So what is a landing page and how do you create a good one?

What is a landing page?

A landing page is any specific web page that site visitors arrive at  i.e. land on.
These visitors might have arrived from a search engine results page or a sponsored link or clicked a QR Code or some other promotional link of some kind, or come in via links in online articles or a blog. You might also be driving traffic to landing pages via links on pages in your own website.

Regardless of where your visitors are coming from, when they hit your landing page you definitely want them to stay around for a while – long enough for you to get them to take a specific action.What you do not want them to do is bounce straight off the page before you have had a chance to communicate anything.

How do you create a “feather bed” landing page rather than a trampoline?

Here are a few key things to bear in mind if you are going to create an effective landing page:

Set your objectives

Start by thinking about the objective for your landing page. What is the purpose of the page?

The landing page, ideally, should drive the visitor to take a specific action. In search marketing jargon this would be called a “conversion”.  A conversion can be anything from a sale (the ultimate conversion) to things like; a brochure request, a completed survey or the filling in of a contact form requesting more information or downloading something to list just a few.

Once you know what your call to action is going to be then you can work back from that point, building and structuring the page always with the end goal in mind.

Your landing page needs to take the visitor on a logical journey through the page to your call to action. By the time they arrive at the call to action point you should ideally have given them enough detail to make the call to action a seamless next step. (Yes I know – easier said than done!)

So here are a few tips that will help you achieve this. Remember you want to take the visitor on a clear and logical journey through the page to the call to action. Therefore you definitely need to consider the following;

Make sure your visitors know they have landed in the right place

If they’ve followed an article link or clicked on an advert for Quick Step Running Shoes your landing page headline and sub headings should be very clear that this page is about Quick Step Running Shoes.  Don’t talk about general purpose trainers – they came here specifically for Quick Step– so give them clear, relevant, specific information about Quick Step Running Shoes and then introduce your call to action.Pictures can work well on a landing page as long as they are used properly. Your images should be clear and relevant to the landing page theme. Sticking with the previous scenario – your page is about Quick Step Running Shoes so show someone running in Quick Step shoes or show a stylish pair of Quick Step shoes – don’t put up a picture of a couple walking in the countryside. They may well be each wearing a fine pair of Quick Step trainers but they are not running in them and some of your visitors will have left by now!

Check there are no obstacles, barriers or distractions

that will hinder or disrupt the smooth journey through the page to the call to action. If you put active links in your page text many people will click on them – at that point they will go off your landing page. You’ve worked to get them to your landing page so why encourage them to now leave it before they have done what you want? Afterwards by all means take them somewhere else but not before you have tried to “convert” them.
Make sure all text is specific and relevant to the theme of the page. Don’t overload the page with unnecessary text and images even if it is all relevant. Say just enough and show just enough to make your key points and then present your call to action.

Ensure the visitors can see your call to action

without having to scroll down the page. You might be amazed at how many pages have the most valuable information positioned ‘below the fold’ (that means the visible page) so viewers are required to scroll down before they see it – often visitors are not even aware that the info is there and never see it. Be aware that different browser settings could display the page differently – the way it appears on your screen may not be how others see it. Try looking at the page through different browser settings. Don’t assume that because it all looks fine on your screen it will be the same for everyone else.

Don’t make your visitors work!

Your landing page visitors have already taken an action to get to your page so don’t ask them to do more work before they can respond to your call to action. For example; if it is a registration form you want them to complete, embed it in the page – don’t ask them to click another link to a contact form. The less they are asked to do the better your chance of conversion. With this in mind keep the registration form simple and short. Only ask for the details you absolutely need and use standard tick boxes and drop down choices rather than asking them to type information in themselves. In this way you will avoid errors and the process will be less tedious to the visitor and more likely to be completed.

Give yourself the best chance of conversions, consider these techniques:

Going back to focus again on your chosen call to action – there are a number of techniques and suggestions that you may wish to test out or use to improve the chances of gaining conversions. Some of these are listed below;

  • Make sure that the call to action is specific and relevant to your landing page visitors. Let’s assume that your objective is to capture names and e-mail addresses by getting people to request a brochure. Staying with our running shoes scenario – if your visitors have landed on your page after clicking an advert for Quick Step Running Shoes don’t ask them to sign up for a brochure on your range of ‘All purpose walking / running / hiking trainers’! Offer them what they came for – a special brochure on Quick Step Running Shoes.
  • Do not confuse the picture with multiple calls to action. It may be tempting to put several calls to action on your landing page in the hope that surely your visitors will go for one of them. This is in fact more likely to distract your visitors from one main objective. Remember the opening point – start with your objective and work back. If you try to accommodate multiple calls to action you could well loose the focussed message your landing page should be delivering. Stick to one clear message and lead them to one clear call to action.
  • What’s in it for them? Your landing page visitors are more likely to take the action you want if they perceive something of value coming back to them. This may simply be your interesting Quick Step Running Shoe brochure of course, but if you can offer something else to entice them then you should. Perhaps you could include a 5% off voucher with every brochure, or everyone who requests a brochure gets entered into a prize draw. Whatever – it could be that extra little nudge they need to obey your call to action.

It would probably be a good idea to run a test to see how effective your extra “gimme” is. Run the page with the extra freebie included for a month, then try it without. It may be that your extra 5% off voucher makes a significant difference to the conversion rate, or it may not. If it doesn’t then you can save yourself that 5%.

Without a doubt there is much more we could write about how to construct an effective landing page that drives conversions. But this should give you enough to think about and to get started.

If you would like more help with landing page creation, increasing site visitor conversions  or any general Internet marketing issues please e-mail steve@searchinternetmarketing.co.uk  or just call me on 07816 998341. I’d be delighted to hear from you.