Creating Effective Landing Pages (Part 3)
Over the last two months, we've explored how to create landing pages that convert. You've gone from a total beginner to understanding the secrets behind what gets results and what doesn't.
This month, I'm going to show you the best approaches to consider, when optimizing your pages to improve your conversions. And fine-tune your results even more.
We'll explore eight different elements of a landing page, and how you can test them to improve your response rate. You'll learn secrets such as…
How to go beyond your headline to improve your impact right from the start…
Why sometimes more is better…
And how a simple photo can dramatically affect your results…
The Best Place to Start
Your headline is the first thing your prospect will see when coming to your landing page. It can be benefit oriented, or help the reader to self-select that this concerns them, all related to the copy that brought your prospect to the page. While answering the most important question – what's in it for me?
Generally, along with a headline comes “deck copy”, which refers to the sentence or two underneath it. There are a couple of ways to leverage this space to your benefit.
- You can use it to finish a sentence: For example, in a test landing page for one of my reports, the headline states “How to Avoid the Time for Money Trap”, and the deck copy says “…from ExpertPreneur® Sheryl Wolowyk.”. The headline offers intrigue and the promise of a big benefit, and the deck copy establishes my credibility, by mentioning my name and status, the author of the report. Chances are, the prospect hasn't heard the term “ExpertPreneur®” so it furthers the intrigue, while being clear that I am an expert sharing this information.
- To support the benefit or claim, with an additional persuasive message: You can also use your deck copy to support the benefit or claim your headline presents. In the above example, to add on to “time for money”, you could say, “giving you the freedom to live life on your terms.” Or, “How to stop your business from controlling you.” Both sentences give potential ways to avoid the time for money trap.
It's important to test the headline and deck together, as one element. Pick the strongest combinations you have and split test them. When you've come up with a “winner”, you can start tweaking it to improve your response even more.
Pricing for Profit
I've talked about pricing at length before, but it's so important I want to reiterate it. You need to test prices early and often, in order to optimize your profits.
The highest priced item does not necessarily mean you make the most money. Nor does a large volume of sales of a cheap product guarantee you better profits. You have to find that perfect combination of price, sales and profits.
Landing pages generally don't involve monetary transactions. They facilitate opting in for a free event, report, or subscription. Monetary transactions are usually reserved for sales letters. Though landing pages can be used for short, simple offers like trial offers, or a product at a low price.
Many times you will assign a value to the free resource you are presenting. For example, a report worth $49. Or a webinar worth $150.
That value you assign the item should not be arbitrary. Even if you designed the product specifically to be used as a “bait piece”, you should carefully consider the value it provides, and the price it would cost if it were for sale. And test those prices to see which generates the most interest.
If you're going to create a landing page that asks for money, changing the dollar amount can have a tremendous impact on results. It is popular to have prices ending in a 7 ($7, $17, $27), but test different numbers to see which gets the best response.
Now here's another factor in optimizing your landing pages…
Design For Ease of Use
When you go to a website, what's the first thing that jumps out at you?
Our eye follows a very specific path when we get to a page, referred to as the Golden Triangle. Basically, your eye goes from the upper-left to the upper-right, then scanning down the page at an angle to the bottom.
So you need to make sure your page not only puts the most important information in that path, but is constructed simply enough to not confuse or obstruct the reader.
Typically, one of the best formats you can use is having the headline on top, value proposition to the right (with a headshot, if you have one), and one large column housing the main copy with the opt-in to the right and/or below.
It is optimal to keep your landing page copy path down the middle of your page, to keep your reader focused on what you want them to read, and what you want them to do.
However, even the smallest adjustment can affect your response. For example, I use “Claim Your FREE Income Acceleration Blueprint” halfway down the landing page for my report. Even if someone skims through and doesn't read anything, they can't miss this sentence because it is bold and in a bigger font than the rest of the body copy. This is referred to as dual readership path, and it's important you be aware of it, since so many people are in the habit of scanning web pages.
But what if you played with the font? Perhaps make it bigger, smaller, or italicized. That could dramatically affect conversions. Another option would be to change the message altogether. Go for a benefit-oriented statement related to the headline. Something like, “Earn More While Working Less”.
You never know what will do the trick, until you test.
To Charge or Not to Charge
A big conundrum for those creating landing pages is how exactly to pose the offer.
Do you have an opt-in for a free subscription that puts your prospect through a marketing funnel that ultimately leads to a sales page for a product or service? Or do you turn your landing page into a short sales page, asking for a small amount upfront, and put them through a different funnel?
I've talked a bit this month in my blog about consistency. Basically, it's the human psychological desire to buy from companies you've already spent money with. By getting your prospect to spend a small amount with you, you stand a better chance of them buying from you again.
When dealing with landing pages, we talk a lot about conversion rates and getting as large a percentage rate as possible. The problem is, that narrows the lens through which we make our decisions.
Think about it this way: if you tried these two options, one page offering a free report versus a page offering a $10 report, which would perform better? Chances are the free report may get better conversions, assuming all other elements are equal.
But what about the long run?
You will also want to track your numbers all the way through your funnel to the end, where you offer them a product or service for a substantial amount of money. If more people are buying your offer after spending $10, even though there may be a lower response rate on the initial $10 landing page, then you should stick with the lower converting $10 page, since it's making you more sales down the line.
All too often, ExpertPreneurs® sell themselves short because they focus on immediate results. You have to consider the bigger picture when working on each element. And see how your testing affects your sales process down the line.
A very common question in the marketing world is “How long does copy need to be?” The answer: “As long as it needs to be.”
When dealing with landing pages, copy length can have a significant impact on your results. And it can be counter intuitive to what you might believe is the best practice.
Believe it or not, long copy generally sells better than short copy. Despite the fact that people claim to have no time to read things. However, the web complicates things a bit when dealing with layout and “scrolling”.
You see, when you have shorter copy, you can create a page that rests “above the fold”; i.e., it all fits on a computer screen without having to scroll. Anything “below the fold” requires scrolling to some extent.
Though long copy can be better than short copy, sometimes having all of your info right in front of the prospect without making them scroll is better for conversions, especially with landing pages. Honestly, it all depends on the market you are dealing with, and the offer you are promoting.
For example, my Income Acceleration Blueprint landing page requires scrolling to see some copy on the bottom, but most of the important information is on top. However, when there is text “below”, you have to lay out the copy so your prospect not only knows there is more to read, but feels enticed to check it out.
Test your page with different-sized bodies of copy to see what works best. Try a trimmed down version against a medium version and finally a full-length version. Find out what your prospects like best. And which gives you the best results.
Having other people praise your product or service is worth a lot more than praising it yourself. This is even more effective when those people have used it and experienced transformation in their lives.
If you are offering a new product, and don't have testimonials yet, you can look to other popular figures in the industry for endorsements. Basically, words of support from people whose opinions matter, other authorities in your market.
“Social proof” is imperative to your success. With it, your readers are more likely to give your product or service a shot. Because, even if something is free, people still want to believe it's worth something.
But it's not just about having it on the page. How you present your social proof and the quotes you use will impact your response rate, as well.
With some landing pages, you want proof front and center. Especially if your unique selling point (USP) is really bold. (i.e., losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time.) You'll need more proof the bigger the promise you make.
Sometimes it comes down to what quotes you use. There's a real science to picking a quote that is both meaningful and informative, but also believable. Also, depending on who will be reading your landing pages, you'll want to pick testimonials or endorsements from people they would relate to.
18 year olds aren't going to care if a 60 year old had success with your product. They will want to see people close to their own age experience a transformation.
The Hero Shot
While it sounds like an odd phrase, the hero shot represents the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Truly, if you are going to use images on your landing pages, they need to count. I firmly believe you have to give them equal consideration as you would the copy itself.
Haphazard, pointless images will take away from the message you are trying to convey, and ultimately distract your prospect.
You want your prospect to empathize and connect with the image you choose. For example, if your report helps people cope with loss, a picture of a person leaving darkness and moving into light would be more appropriate than a stock photo of a smiling guy.
If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you could create a video to go in the place of a “hero shot.” Video is incredibly popular, and a quick way to relate directly with your audience. So if you're up for the challenge, it would be worth it.
One of the most important and easily overlooked segments of the landing page is the opt-in form itself.
How this is constructed has an impact on whether or not the reader will enter their details and click “submit.” If the opt-in form is too complex, they may become anxious and give up. If it isn't crystal clear, they may just leave.
Every opt-in campaign will require a different amount of information, but generally all you need to start with is a first name and email address. And unless you absolutely need more details, I'd stick to that. Research has shown that asking for a lot of information can lower opt-in rates.
You want the opt-in box to be big enough for them to notice, but not so big it's distracting. You also want the copy within the box to encourage them to opt-in.
For example, show the title of your report with an appropriate photo. Then have two clear boxes to input the name and email. And a BIG button saying “Send me my free copy.”
To test, you can change different elements. Try out different copy in the button, different images, fonts, even the colors used for your button… And it's always good to test a disclaimer stating their email is safe with you.
(And don't be afraid to test how you say that – it could affect conversions).
A Lot to Think About
I'm sure after reading this rather extensive article, you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by landing pages. There are so many different pieces to the puzzle!
And you'd be right. However, what is important is that you create something. Then slowly tweak it from there.
Focus on one element at a time, and do not fret if your conversions start out low. You'll eventually get to where you want to be.
Please read and re-read this whole series (you can get Part 1 and Part 2 here). Just by having a general understanding of what landing pages require, you will be much better off than many other ExpertPreneurs®.
And you'll eventually be developing high-converting, list-building landing pages of your own.
Sheryl Wolowyk is Founder of Expert Elevation a business coaching and entrepreneur® training company for “expertpreneurs®” who make a living sharing their knowledge and expertise. Sheryl shows “expertpreneurs® ” how to grow a lucrative business and influential brand with her income acceleration system & “expertpreneur® ” roadmap. She provides online programs, live events, coaching and VIP days to help clients develop an effective business strategy and utilize simple but powerful marketing and sales techniques to attract a steady stream of ideal clients, so they can live the life of their dreams while making a big difference in the lives of their clients. www.expertelevation.com