Five seconds. That's the amount of time you have to convince a customer who has clicked your ad that your product is worth further investigation. Though that seems like an impossible amount of time, the right landing page can boost that likelihood and lead to conversions.
Landing pages aren't just for the customers, either. Google factors these landing pages into your Quality Score; according to Google, a landing page's value relies on "how relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is." And as your Quality Score increases, your cost-per-click decreases. A well-designed landing page's benefits are thus twofold: higher conversions, lower CPCs.
Start From Scratch
Don't be tempted to use an existing page, such as the website's homepage or individual category/product pages.
- Define the goals of the landing page.
When a user clicks on ad, they have an expectation of what that page will be, e.g., a page where they can find a free research report that they can download. The page should reflect that expectation-and only that expectation. Don't add content that doesn't directly relate to the ad, and be clear in your value proposition (Tweet This!). To develop the content (and especially the headline), review some questions the consumers will ask:
- What are you offering?
- How will signing up/downloading/registering benefit me?
- Why is this a better value than your competitors?
Use the Psychology of Web Design
The layout is a huge factor in how long people stay on the page. For great insight on how to improve a page's effectiveness, utilize research that examines how users interact with websites.
- Use eye-tracking data to find the hot spots.
Research in eye-tracking shows that most people read website pages in the form of an "F"-they start in the upper left-hand corner, follow to the right, scan back to the left, and then back to the right (Tweet This!).
While it is not a rule to conform to the "F" pattern, paying attention to how a consumer views your page can help to avoid over-designing.
- Choose color palettes that consumers will love.
According to the study titled "Consumer Preferences for Color Combinations" published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, many consumers prefer complementary or closely-matching colors; however, they also respond well to one highly contrasting accent color. This, combined with the Isolation Effect, which purports that people better remember items that "stand out like a sore thumb" (think a red button on a white page), can make for a great call-to-action button. Additionally, people favor simpler palettes of up to four colors rather than larger ones (Tweet This!).
- Don't clutter the page.
Coco Chanel's famous fashion advice, "Before you leave the house, take one thing off," applies just as much to landing pages. Too much on the page, whether it is images, videos or paragraphs of content, can muddle the message and confuse the consumer. Keep it streamlined and clean, while employing visual hierarchy to make sure the important information stands out.
Customers want to make sure that the brand is trustworthy; this can be supported by displaying endorsements from fellow consumers or a familiar, authoritative person or company. Choose one to three customer reviews or testimonials and place them conspicuously on the page.
The Call to Action
As the most important factor of a landing page, the call to action (of which there should be only one) should be clearly visible.
- Don't just say "submit."
The button shouldn't just direct the consumer to "register now" or "sign up." Instead, the call to action should reiterate what it is the consumer is receiving in exchange for their information. "Receive my free report" or "Download the e-book" is more specific and attention-getting (Tweet This!).
- Simplify registration forms.
Internet users like speed and registration forms often slow them down. Try to keep the registration forms as short as possible and restrict it to one column. Pre-populating the cursor in the first field of the form can also save busy consumers a little time.
- Include point of action assurances.
These days, many consumers are wary of supplying information on the Web. By placing these trust icons from near the call to action button, consumers feel that the company is valid and trustworthy-increasing the chance that they will follow through and finally click the button.