Landing Page Optimization: How your peers improve their pages


open mic on landing pagesIf you regularly read the MarketingExperiments blog, you know that we’re just weeks away from our first-ever Optimization Summit. Personally, I’m looking forward to not just presenting, but attending to see what I can learn from all the case studies presented by brand-side marketers as well.

Leading up to the Summit, we’ve asked Boris Grinkot, Associate Director of Product Development, MECLABS to share what he’s learned from brand-side marketers while writing his latest book. You can tune in to find out this Wednesday at 4 p.m. EDT during our next Web clinic – Optimization Researched: Latest findings about effective LPO practices based on data from 2,673 marketers.

But first, as we customarily do, we turned to you and asked to hear the biggest LPO lessons you’ve learned. Here are a few of our favorites.

Please take these with a grain of salt. You can’t simply plop some recommendations on a page and think you’ll see an improvement (heck, what works for someone else’s audience might actually hurt conversion with your audience).

Simply look at these as some helpful suggestions as you plan your next tests…

Consider the process

There are many factors involved in Landing Page Optimization for effective conversion. It is a thorough process that combines product value proposition, while ensuring credibility to resolve any anxiety your customers/leads may encounter during a checkout process, for example.

Before stepping into Landing Page Optimization, you need to consider not only the product landing page, but the whole process starting with your initial channel (organic SEO, mass email, direct mail, TV, radio, PPC, social media and so on…) leading up to your landing page, into a conversion method, followed by a feedback/report process.

Each channel will require a specific design with its own “Call to Action” method to create leads for a specific landing page. You may need to create different landing pages for each channel you are targeting, but the conversion process (forms) should be simple—as in: short, easy, and fast.

For leads coming from organic SEO, you have to make sure you target the correct keywords/terms (long tail), correct page titles, with pages containing relevant subject matter. Make sure you have the correct call to action while using action words. This concept can be used on single product pages or shopping cart sites, to which I would add related and comparable products and reviews.

Whatever you do, you have to make sure you have customer reviews, local affiliations/associations, related product information, and secured website SSL seals (if secured connection is required) to help reduce anxiety.

Since you’ve done all the work to get the customer from your landing page into your conversion process, it only make sense put a little bit more and use email remarketing to recapture those leads which dropped from your funnel.

But nothing is written in stone, so you have to make sure you TEST the whole process – not just the landing page – in order to find your best conversion rate.

Marcelo Martins, Search Engine Specialist

Every page should be a landing page

In the context of WCM (web content management), SEO (Search engine optimization) and E-commerce, the landing page concept is outdated and widely misunderstood, simply because every published Web page should be designed as a “landing page.”

There are few exclusions of this rule, such as usability testing, for example, where landing pages are used for split testing (A/B testing) or a specific case of Google Adwords where highly relevant ad copy (landing page) is required for each Ad in order to improve Quality Scores, and therefore reduce the minimum bid (minimum CPC).

So, rule of thumb – Consider every page as a “landing page,” because users will search, find, click and land on all kinds of pages on the website. But can you afford to let them hit the “Back” button simply because only a few selected “landing pages” are designed to convert visitors to customers?

Follow the RAFF optimization principles on your pages…

RAFF (Relevant, Adaptive, Fast, Focal)

RELEVANT: Make your page relevant to the advertisement (where users are coming from). Relevance for landing pages goes without saying, but it’s shocking how often it is abused. Marketing departments should be educated that misleading or tricking Internet users to do something they didn’t agree to will only cause reputation damage to the enterprise at best, and get you blacklisted at worst.

Keys to success: Always use an “it does exactly what it says on the tin” policy, keep visual similarity between advertisements and target landing pages.

ADAPTIVE : Display your landing page according to the user’s desires. Most adaptive systems are based on complex user models, but there are a few simple things which can be done without setting up complicated and expensive attentive systems.

Employ segmentation of the visitors – first timers should be shown a more informative landing page, because they don’t know who you are. IP Address Geolocation is fairly simple to implement and can be used to serve different language versions of the page, as well as display the user’s currency (and pricing) or specific cultural taglines.

Key to success: Show the page version according to the user location: currency, pricing, return specifics, availability of the product specifics, language and/or spelling (British vs American can go a long way).

FAST: Make your landing page lightning fast. This is more important than the look and feel of the page, because one of the main purposes of landing pages is to convert visitors into customers…visitors who are passing by and have no time and sympathy for you. Speed impresses people. Use Yslow from Yahoo! to optimize your landing page.

Keys to success: Reduced graphics, no Flash, no heavy tracking Java scripts, no loading gadgets, static HTML page.

FOCAL: Make your landing page to serve a single purpose. The focal point of such page should be the element that is most important and grasps the user’s attention. Your visitors should understand what you want them to do in under one second.

Keys to success: Single purpose, no scroll, no Flash, no loading gadgets, crisp short ad copy, large price tag, clear call to action, no choice

Andrei Vesselovski, CEO, Netcomposite

Start with a headline

Start with a headline that will keep your visitor there long enough to be converted.

Then write for fast company folks using bullets and brief summary of all important benefits with supporting features.

But include long copy for those who are ready to be engaged. Length is not an issue. Over and over again tests show long copy often outpulls short copy even online. What’s important is relevancy, speaking to your prospect, pre-empting doubts/concerns, providing potent proof. And then – always crucial – a clear, specific call to action.

Sarah Clachar, Natural Health Copywriter

Related resources

2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report

Optimization Researched: Latest findings about effective LPO practices based on data from 2,673 marketers Hear Boris speak at this free Web Clinic, Wednesday, May 18, 4-5 PM

Optimization Summit 2011 – June 1-3

Landing Page Optimization: How an engaging headline and revamped layout led to a 26% conversion rate gain

Landing Page Optimization: What cyclical products can learn from CBS Sports

Photo attribution: eschipul

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