The #1 goal of a landing page is to convert visitors to customers (or visitors to leads if you’re running a lead generation campaign).
In this article, I’ll explain the 8 elements of a landing page that are critical if you want to improve your conversion rates.
If you’re just starting a new campaign, then use this article as a checklist before you turn your ads on. If you’re already advertising, then you can use this article to find areas to improve and optimize.
There Is No ‘Magic Bullet’ Design
When designing or trying to optimize a landing page, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the options. Everywhere you look there’s another online marketer pitching the latest and greatest landing page design guaranteed to double your conversion rates :)
But design and layout are not key elements of landing pages that sell. They are important factors, but design and layout will not convert traffic to customers and this is a common mistake among new online advertisers looking for a shortcut.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet design when it comes to creating landing pages.
The 8 key elements found on all great landing pages require serious thought and a clear understanding of your prospect. If you understand and study copywriting then you’ll recognize the following 8 elements:
- Strong Headline/Sub-headline
- Relevant Copy
- Benefit Focused Copy
- Specific Numbers
- Social Proof
- Credibility Indicators
- Risk Reversal
- Call to Action
Now let’s go through each one in a little more detail.
1. Strong Headline/Sub-headline
The most important element on the landing page is the headline (followed by the sub-headline). This is the first thing a visitor will read and make a split-second decision whether to keep reading more or click the back button.
The goal of the headline is to reassure the visitor is on the correct webpage and compel her to keep reading.
So it’s important to relate the headline to the ad text the prospect clicked on before landing on the webpage. If you promised a “free trial” then make sure your headline restates the free trial offer.
2. Relevant Copy
Assuming you have a strong headline, then your prospect is going to keep reading the page copy. Again, your copy needs to be relevant to the prospect based on the ad that was clicked on.
For example, if your advertising a red iPhone case, then make sure you’re landing page talks about red iPhone cases. Don’t be lazy and send both red and rainbow iPhone cases ads to the same landing page.
More products not related to the original ad will lead to indecision, which leads to no decision (aka no sale).
3. Benefit Focused Copy
In addition to being relevant, landing page copy should be benefit focused rather than feature focused.
As the owner of your product or service, it’s easy to get caught up in all the great features and think that’s what is important to your prospect.
However, people don’t buy because of features. They buy because the product or service will benefit their overall well-being.
So rather than explain how fast your computer program completes a task, explain how much time your customer will save. Or even better, relate the time savings to actual money savings if you can.
In other words, translate every feature into a benefit for your customer and you’ll increase your sales.
4. Specific Numbers
This one is simple and related to believability. If you’re prospect senses your statements are not believable, then she’s not going to make a purchase.
One way to make your landing page more believable is by using specific numbers. We all like to round numbers up or down so it’s easy to overlook this element of the landing page.
If you have served exactly 718 satisfied customers, then use that number instead of “over 700.”
Over 700 is nice, but it’s easy for a prospect to discount the power of that number because it’s not 100% accurate.
However, when a prospect reads 718 satisfied customers, then there’s no room for doubt. The preciseness of the number makes it more believable and leaves a stronger impression because it’s assumed to be based on hard facts.
So use specific numbers whenever you include stats on your landing page.
5. Social Proof
Social proof (i.e. testimonials and reviews) is an absolutely critical component in landing pages that sell.
When done properly, social proof will reassure your prospect that:
- She’s not the first person to try this product
- Other people in her situation have tried this and it works
The first concern is obvious. Nobody wants to pay hard earned money to be the guinea pig. We want to buy proven products and services that have all the kinks ironed out already. So testimonials and reviews provide proof that other people have already tested the product or service.
The second point in italics is important enough to repeat. The social proof you include on the landing page must address the prospect in her situation. This element will separate you from your competition.
Generic testimonials will address the first concern listed above, but they still leave room for doubt because they aren’t specific to the prospect.
For example, if you’re selling a home beer brewing kit then you probably have two big categories of prospects: first time brewers and brewmaster veterans.
The best landing page will include a testimonial from a newbie who successfully brewed his first batch and a veteran who has tried all the other kits, but found yours to be the best available.
6. Credibility Indicators
Online shopping is still a little scary with all the horror stories of hackers and fraudulent websites. Unless you’re a big name like Amazon, your prospects are going to think twice before clicking the “Order” button.
There are many credibility indicators and here’s a few that will improve your landing page:
- Contact information like phone number, live chat, physical address, or at least a support email. The more contact information you include, the better because it proves that you’re a legitimate business.
- Well known groups and associations logos like the Better Business Bureau
- 3rd party trust seals like McAfee and VeriSign
- 3rd party monitoring services like BuySafe
I recommend testing a few credibility indicators and measure the impact on sales. In my experience, the more credibility you add to the page the higher your conversion rates so this is worth the effort.
7. Risk Reversal
Risk reversal is a staple in all good sales page copywriting. The goal here is to make your offer irresistible by eliminating the risk of purchasing.
Some common examples of risk reversal include:
- money back guarantee for X days
- double your money back guarantee for X days
- free trial for X days
- try it for X days and if you don’t like it we’ll buy you one of the competitor products to replace it
I don’t have time to get into all of the copywriting details of risk reversal, but the point is to make sure you have something in place. Remember your prospect is always skeptical so if you remove the risk and make your offer a “no-brainer” then you’ll sky rocket your conversion rates.
8. Call to Action
Last but certainly not least is a strong call to action. You can do everything right, but if you don’t ask for the sale and give clear directions, then all of your hard work will be wasted.
One of the number one reasons why people do not buy is because they are confused about the next step. I have personally tried to purchase from many websites and gave up because I couldn’t figure out how to do it!
The key is to make your call to action prominent on the landing page and don’t confuse your visitor with multiple options.
Now in the beginning I said design and layout are not key elements, but they are very important. Once you have the 8 key elements above, then focus on designing and structuring your page to make the important elements pop out of the page.
Remember that every browser has limited space so make sure the top of the page (aka above the fold) includes your relevant headline, benefit focused copy, and a compelling reason to continue reading the rest of the page.
I hope this was helpful and you have some ideas to design your landing page or improve an existing campaign. If you have any questions, post them below.