If you are at all social in any way, you meet people. You may build relationships with people, you do business with them, you work with them, you engage in life with them.
Traditionally we meet people face to face and extend a greeting and a handshake. If we are looking to build relationship, we offer something - a cup of coffee, a seat on the bench, a casual bite to eat - and we talk. We ask questions and get to know the other person; her personality, her hopes and her needs. If we are invited somewhere, we like to bring something to offer such as a bottle of wine, a plate of cookies, or a bouquet of flowers.
Doing business online is really no different at the core level. We do business online to engage with new people and offer services, products, and solutions to their problems. We meet people, get to know them, offer them something and (hopefully) we eventually engage in business with them.
A good landing page is like a greeting and a handshake. Okay, technically it is a webpage that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a form. This is usually done by offering your visitors a solution to their need in exchange for their contact information such as an email address. In essence, it is a trading of information just like we do when we greet and shake hands.
But there are ways to make good first impressions and bad first impressions.
A good landing page is one way to make a good first impression.
Many businesses send their leads to a webpage or a home page with no clear direction or solution to the visitor’s need. Your business is offering a product or service. You help people at some level. You want to invite them to become a customer - not to leave and go somewhere else.
You can increase the likelihood of converting those leads by using a good landing page - one that targets your visitors’ needs with a specific solution. A good landing page will prompt them to take a specific action. A good landing page is actually about your visitor doing something, not about you selling something.
So you ask, what makes a good landing page, exactly?
First of all, you need to create a valuable offer. If it is valuable or meets a real need, then you will have visitors who actually show up! A good landing page focuses the visitor’s attention on the offer; which can be in the form of a download, a registration, a trail offer, or a product to purchase. (Oh yeah- and FREE is always a good place to start :-)
Content headers should be clear and simple, calling your visitor to take an action. Instead of just a title, add a verb at the beginning. It is the difference between “Amazing Videos” and “Watch these Amazing Videos.” One describes, the other motivates! Motivate your visitor by choosing the right action verbs in writing your copy!
Your visitor is asking, “What’s in it for me?” whether they realize it or not. Your job is to give them the benefits before they even need to ask. A good landing page has an explanation of your offer, the questions it will answer and the benefits it provides. Get right to the point, don’t beat around the bush.
Give Clear Direction
Provide a clear direction on what you want your visitor to do. If you want them to sign-up, tell them to “Sign-up here.” If you want them to fill out the form to receive an offer, tell them to “Fill out the Form.” This may seem silly, but too many times we want to get “creative” with our headlines and form titles, and we can become too vague and forget to give clear direction. If you have ever been given vague instructions you may relate to the video below! Click the play button and watch-it’s only 30 seconds (and yes, notice I am giving you clear direction as to what I want you to do :-).
Use a short form that doesn’t ask for too much. You are asking to trade your offer for the visitor’s information such as their name and email address. If this is the first time they have visited your website and this is their first contact with you, it is like a first face to face meeting. You ask for a name and basic info. You don’t jump right in asking for intimate details and the visitor’s personal information in your first introduction. Take it slow and easy by making it simple. You are more likely to build trust and start a long term relationship when you don’t ask for too much at once.
The look of the page is a huge factor in what makes a good landing page. There are 4 basic elements to check off your formatting list:
- Remove distractions - Take off all other distractions including site navigation, social media buttons, subscription to your blog, or anything other than your offer. It’s called a landing page because your visitor has landed here to take a specific action. If you give too many choices, it causes distractions that lead them down another path. Have one door, not 7, have one button not 10. Keep them focused on the one solution-your visitor will be happier (just as the ketchup guy was happy to buy the specific choice of ketchup he was given) and you will have increased conversions!
- Use bullet points - Readers will skim your content and glance at it - don’t make your paragraphs too long. Break up your content into chunks of 2-3 lines or use bullet points to list your benefits.
- Placement above the fold - If your reader can’t see your headers or your form title without scrolling down the page, you are making them work too hard! Make it easy and place your actionable headers and form titles above the fold.
- Add Images - Add a relevant image that will help them visualize the offer. Humans are visual creatures and we like to see what we are being offered. So make sure your image connects your visitor with what you are offering them.
Do the Blink Test - in 5 seconds your visitor should be able to tell 3 things:
- The offer and what it is
- The value of the offer
- What they need to do to get it
Do you have too much content? Is it hard to read? Are your action words clear? Is the offer clear? Is there clearly one choice to make? Make the changes you need to be clear and concise!
Do an A/B test - create two different versions of your landing page and test to see which one coverts better. Does the form convert better on the left side or the right side of the page? Does the form with a button labeled “Download Now” get more submissions than “Click Here”? There are many small changes that may make a big difference for your audience. Don’t be afraid to test it!
Test, Test and Test again - One thing that makes a good landing page is testing and tweaking and learning from them. Don’t be afraid to try something, see how it works, change it, and test again. It is a learning process and you will find what works for your industry, your company and your visitors when you aren’t afraid to test the process.
Learn from your experiences!
When you were young, the adults in your life may have pushed you to practice being polite and greet someone. You were probably a little tentative at first but with practice you gained confidence. You learned what works and doesn’t work for your personality when it comes to meeting people and building relationships. We have all had those first impressions that went bad, or those meetings that were awkward at first, but we pulled it out and somehow a relationship was built. I encourage you to view landing pages in a similar way and practice what makes a good landing page: be clear, simple and direct, and build relationships that have value.