April 28, 2016
10 Key Elements of a High Conversion Landing Page
Generally speaking a landing page can be any page of a website where a user can “land” by clicking on a search engine result page, online ad or any other inbound link for that matter. More specifically, in online marketing, a landing page usually refers to a webpage that is separate from the rest of the website. That separation is done mainly in terms of navigation, as a common landing page design practice is to remove all links that point to the main website. The reason for this is to keep the user focused towards your conversion goal. That being said, I have to outline one important thing about landing pages: not all landing pages should follow the same principles. What works for one website/industry will not work for others. One key aspect of a landing page is matching elements of a high conversion design with each industry or website specifics. A landing page for a mobile app should not look the same way as a landing page designed for a car dealer or a shoe retailer. They are created for a similar purpose, but the industries are different, the target user has different needs and the conversion funnel has its own specifics.
Elements of a landing page
When designing/building a landing page we cannot just stack random elements of a high conversion page into our design hoping that it will work. A successful design begins by researching the industry specifics, the website, the product/service and of course the competition. We then need to choose the best possible landing page elements we will use in our design. There is no magic recipe that will give you the perfect design by following it every time. You have to remember these elements will be different for each website, and sometimes different based on the campaign specifics. Bellow I will list and try to give you more details on some of the key elements of a high conversion landing page.
1. Above the fold – does it still matter?
The “above the fold” area was originally used when designing newspapers and it refers to the upper half of the frontpage. Because papers were most of the times folded when sold, this area was particularly important for editors as it featured the most important article/advertising area. Naturally the above the fold area was used in visual design to define the website area that a user lands on that is visible without scrolling. There is a bit of controversy surrounding the above the fold area in web design, as there are older studies that show users do not like to scroll much below the fold, and there are newer studies that outline the fact that the web has changed and with it the behaviour of the user which is now more accustomed with scrolling than ever so the “people don’t scroll” statement is nothing more than a myth. Scrolling has become a natural component of using the web. With that being said, it doesn’t mean we can simply ignore the above the fold area for one simple reason: even though users scroll, the above the fold still remains the first thing they see when they land on your page. Rather than designing for the above the fold we need to focus on designing for better usability. Keeping that in mind let’s go through a few of the key elements that influence a landing page’s conversion rate.
2. The call to action
One important aspect about the CTA is its location within the page. They need to be strategically placed relative to other elements like content, logos, images, etc. in a way that the user is inclined to click them. To do that we use colour theory and the psychology of colour. Contrary to some common beliefs it’s not the actual colour of the CTA that makes it work, it’s the contrast with the surrounding elements. CTA’s should be placed on complementary background colours to make them stand out. A good CTA design is not about a specific colour, it’s about using contrast in a smart way, so forget about Red Vs Green. If there was a colour that would universally work, everybody would use it.
Directional cues are elements strongly related to the call to action as they encourage the user to click the CTA. There are several types of directional cues which range from the very obvious like using arrows or people images that look towards the CTA to more inconspicuous ones like clever white space usage, encapsulation using contrast and vanishing points.
Forms are a great way to capture leads. They follow some of the same principles as the CTA’s like encapsulation, using contrast and white space. One thing to keep in mind is that forms need to be optimized for each landing page and even for each campaign. In some cases the user simply does not have the patience to fill a long form, in other cases they have no problem doing just that. It’s all about choosing the perfect form design for each situation.
4. Social proof & testimonials
Using social proofs and testimonials is a good way to show the potential client your business is trustworthy. Using them increases user engagement and brand credibility. Showing the user your business has been featured in a newspaper, known blog or has good reviews from other clients increases the conversion rate of the page.
5. The logo
The company logo is one key element that should not be missing from a landing page. Just remember the logo is not your entire brand, but one small part of the brand communication so don’t rely on it alone to tell the whole brand story to a potential client.
6. UVP’s vs UCP’s vs USP’s
I’m sure you’re confused right now by so many acronyms you read about every day on your favourite online marketing blog. To put it simply, the UVP, or the unique value proposition, is what you are as a company in a few words. It should communicate your strengths and your personality. By reading your UVP, the user should immediately know why he should work with you or buy your product/service. The UCP, or unique campaign proposition, is closely related to the UVP but it’s only applied on a specific campaign. Just as any company needs a UVP, a campaign needs its own UCP. That can be useful sometimes because some campaigns simply push some brand boundaries for a limited time.
A USP, or unique selling proposition, is a short phrase obtained through the process of simplifying communication with the target user and making them want to try the product/service. Let’s take for example a USP from FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” That is a clever use of a USP. By applying a simple and friendly language it allows the brand to communicate to its potential customers that the company provides the best possible service. A good USP should communicate the essence of your product/service in such a way that it inspires the user to try it.
7. Image quality
Using images has become the standard nowadays on the internet. Even if a page is focused on content only, images usually help you tell the story in a better way. Landing pages make no exception to this rule. By using poor quality images you can lose potential clients. Sourcing the best possible images for your landing page is a time consuming and sometimes very expensive process but it’s one that can bring a big ROI in the end. For some landing pages you will simply not find the perfect image by using stock websites (because of the nature of some industries) so you might need to consider hiring a photographer or graphic designer to come up with custom imagery. In the end, the quality of the images you will use on your landing page will reflect on your brand.
Using a video on a landing page can be a powerful tool. Just be careful to produce the highest quality video content in order to help the client make its decision. Using video can increase the engagement and will keep the users longer on the page. Just keep in mind that using videos on a landing page is not suitable for every product/service and might do more harm than good.
9. Mobile landing pages
One common mistake these days is not to optimize and customize the mobile version of your website. That might have worked a few years ago, but that’s not the case anymore. According to studies the percentage of all global web pages served to mobile phones has increased from 0.7% in 2009 to 38.6% in 2016. The process has slowed down in the last 3 years, but it’s still increasing towards the 50% figure.
Basically if your landing page doesn’t have a mobile version you are missing out. It’s not enough just to design a responsive page, you need to make sure the mobile version is designed specifically for mobile conversions. That usually means that the elements in the desktop version need to be reorganised and sometimes some of them need to be simply excluded from the mobile version.
10. A/B testing
Last but not least we have A/B testing. You have to remember that unlike any other website page which will get updated more or less often, a landing page is always a work in progress. By doing A/B testing you ensure you are always optimizing your page based on the realtime response you get from the behaviour of the users. We do this in order to adapt to the market and continuously improve the landing page’s conversion rates. The most important thing you must learn here is that A/B testing is a key element of a landing page design not just a side process so you must include it into your workflow.
If you would like to know more about creating high quality landing pages for your business then make sure you get in touch with a friendly member of our team here at Absolute Digital Media by calling 01245 287 864.