Businesses spend a lot of time, energy and dollars driving traffic to their websites. What they don’t spend money on—and should—is conversions. In fact, for every $92 spent on acquiring visitors, just $1 goes to converting them! If you want to turn website visitors into customers, you need to focus on conversions, and the best practice is building effective landing pages.
Landing pages are, simply, the page that a visitor lands on when they click on a campaign link. Those links can come from ads, emails, feature boxes on your website, or social media. A common mistake that marketers make is sending people to an existing page on their website—or worse, the homepage—rather than creating a page specifically tailored to the campaign.
We’re constantly testing conversions here at AddThis, so we have a pretty good idea of what works when it comes to landing pages. Read on for the eight landing page best practices.
1. Minimalist Layout
What is your conversion goal for your page? Notice we didn’t say goals. Whether you want to make a sale, get a newsletter sign-up or subscriber for your service, your landing page should be focused on getting the visitor to do one thing. And every element on that page should support it. That means stripping out navigation bars, links to other pages on your website, and footers. Embrace whitespace—it will draw more attention to the action you want a visitor to take.
2. Strong Calls to Action
Brightly colored buttons are more eye-catching and effective than text for getting clicks, and the stronger and more concise the text on them, the better. Tell visitors exactly what you want them to do, whether it’s BUY NOW, START YOUR FREE TRIAL, GET STARTED or SIGN UP FOR ALERTS. Keep copy short—no more than three or four words. Focus on the action you want them to take.
3. Highlighted Benefits
Why should a visitor convert? Think about what you have to offer that your competitors don’t, and incorporate it into your messaging. Set expectations for potential customers, whether it’s the last day they can order for Christmas delivery or how often they can expect to receive your newsletter. You’re not just letting them know how awesome your goods or services are at this stage—you’re also establishing trust.
4. Appealing Visuals
You don’t want to overdo it with visual elements on your landing pages, but you do want to make them appealing. A compelling, relevant image, graphic treatment of a customer testimonial, or video explaining the product or process can enhance your overall messaging. Try to avoid generic stock photos—it’s better to not have photos than to have ones that don’t add anything persuasive to the page.
5. Ease of Use
You may want to collect a lot of information about a new user or customer, but the landing page isn’t the place to do it. If you want email subscriptions, ask for an email address only. The more fields a user has to fill out, the more likely they are to abandon the process. Make every step of conversion easy and quick, and on as few pages as possible. Focus on getting visitors to convert now—you can always ask questions later.
6. Continuity Elements
Your landing page should look like its source. If your visitors came from a visual ad, make sure images and colors are replicated on the landing page. For a text ad, carry the messaging over. For feature boxes or newsletter promotions, use the same calls to action and images. Think of the ad and the landing page as a single campaign, and carry all assets through the conversion process.
7. Mobile-friendly Design
Users are increasingly turning to mobile for browsing the internet, making purchases and using social media. They may be accessing your landing pages on a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone, and you need to be ready for all three. If visitors click through to your landing page on a mobile device and don’t have a good user experience, they’ll abandon your website before converting. Responsive design adapts to any device or platform to ensure a smooth conversion process.
8. Thank You Pages
Once a user has completed a conversion action, you should thank them for a few reasons. First, they’ll know that the process was completed and what the next steps are. Second, they’ll feel like you appreciate their business. And third, it gives you an opportunity to market to them further by telling them where to go next. Offer them related products or services, push your newsletter, or keep them engaged with popular website content. Thank you pages are also a good place to offer social buttons, so customers can share their experience with your business with friends and followers in their networks.
Good landing pages increase conversions, but they’re also great for testing. Because they’re so minimal in terms of design and copy, it’s easy to swap out elements for A/B testing. You can compare different calls to action, colors, images—anything on the page! Over time, you can refine the page elements that really resonate with your target market, turning your entire conversion process into a well-oiled machine that drives sign-ups and sales.