Handing someone you just met at a networking event a piece of scrap paper with your details scrawled on it won’t get you too far. Doing this is much like promoting your ill-constructed landing page. More often than not, your landing page is a visitor’s first impression of your product, and your best chance to convert that visitor into a customer.
You don’t need to be a rockstar designer to create a beautiful, high-converting landing page. Follow this checklist and you will be well on your way to a rapidly growing customer base.
1. Keep It Simple
Every bit of information about your brand or product does not need to appear on your landing page. A landing page has one goal: lead capture. If you bombard your users with too many quotes, pictures and text, all you’ll end up with is a higher bounce rate. Instead, creating simple and easy-to-digest sections will have a much more positive impact on new visitors.
Suprpod keeps the text to a minimum on their landing page. Offering up simple graphics to explain exactly what the platform does at each stage, visitors can quickly absorb, understand and evaluate the startup.
2. Use Smart Graphics
Graphics on your landing page are like attention-seekers at parties. They are the first to get noticed, and people either love them or hate them. Using a cheesy stock image for your landing page is a total party foul.
We recommend using a screenshot of your app or a professional photo of your product. Whatever you use, make sure it’s authentically you. If you’re a startup with a brand new concept, it would help to turn your product description into a simple graphic (e.g. the three graphics in the Suprpod example above).
The Gijit landing page has one commanding image: the product. It makes the page clean, simple and informative.
3. Be Credible
If you’re a new startup, visitors will love the fact that you’ve been featured by TechCrunch, Mashable, CNN – whatever. If you’ve partnered with Amazon, Dropbox, Twitter or any other well-established brand, shout it from the rooftops. Adding these accomplishments to your landing page footer will make your visitors feel comfortable signing up or purchasing. It’s an easy way to convert early!
4. Use Fewer Input Fields
Less is more in your visitors’ eyes, especially regarding how much information they have to give. The more “required” fields you include on your registration page, the less likely visitors are to give you anything at all. You want to remove every obstacle possible between the initial visit and the conversion.
Instead of asking for first name, last name, date of birth, address, phone number, email address and mother’s maiden name, start with just an email address. You can collect the rest after conversion. Using email notices, drip marketing campaigns and incentives, you can collect everything you need later. Once you have the initial lead, you have a method of later contact.
Imperva has asked for everything and the kitchen sink on their landing page. In reality, all they need is a name and an email address (industry or business name might be nice too).
On the other hand, Zipongo only requires an email address and zip code, the minimum amount of information they need to provide valuable deals to customers.
5. Make Registering Irresistible
It’s too easy for new visitors to bounce from your page. If you don’t have a great call to action, they will. If your page has so much real estate that visitors have to scroll to view it all, include more than one call. You need to give visitors that push to commit and enter the customer acquisition funnel.
Use actionable words such as donate, download, create, call, buy, register, request and subscribe to encourage conversions. Here’s a trick to test just how good your call to action really is.
A. Stand six feet back from your screen and look at it. What do you see? What element stands out the most? It should be your CTA.
B. Sitting at a normal distance from your screen, tilt your head sideways and slightly squint your eyes. Again, your call to action should stand out the most.
6. Offer Something
As awesome as your landing page and brand is, offering a little something extra for new registrations will often seal the deal. Something simple like giving the first hundred people a discount, an eBook or early access will maximize those conversions.
7. A/B Test
Unless you’ve done a ton of research, you won’t know for sure what font, colors or copy lead to the most conversions, but A/B testing will tell you. Landing page specialists like Unbounce let you cleanly test your page. A/B testing involves creating two versions of your web page: an A and a B.
Avoid using multivariate testing. Multivariate involves testing many different elements at the same time (i.e. B has an alternate color palette, different graphics and different copy). By doing this, you’ll be unable to isolate which specific elements are most effective. Performing simple and clean A/B testing will help you create the best possible landing page.
For example, Manpacks A/B tested their landing page to determine what brand messaging results in the most conversions.
8. Be Social
Creating a network through social sharing is the easiest way to get exponential leads. That said, having a button for every social network available is overkill. KISSmetrics gives visitors the ability to share through Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Mashable adds LinkedIn to that lineup. Figure out what networks your audience is using the most and focus on those – the rest is just noise.
Using a tool like ClickToTweet allows you to create a link that shares predetermined text via social media. The rule of thumb is to keep the message short and sweet, especially on Twitter where you should leave extra characters for retweets.
9. Create Excitement Through Copy
None of the above will be worth anything if your copy reads like a children’s book. Don’t ignore your copy because it is often what visitors will base their opinions on. Keep it short and sweet: state the problem, your solution and a call to action. All other information is secondary.
It’s worth it to consider hiring a professional writer for your landing page. The cost will pale in comparison to a stronger conversion rate. Plus, writers know how to turn your 1500 word article into 140 characters. Try services like Scripted and Elance to find top quality writers.
Optimizing your landing page will ensure that it is not your last point of contact with potential customers. This checklist will undoubtedly help you create a high-converting landing page in no time. When in doubt, always test your hypothesis. Landing page development is a science!