What follows is a list of resources that can be applied specifically to landing page optimization, originally repurposed from ConversionXL and other great websites around the web.
We’ve organized everything to best simulate a visitor’s experience on a landing page from first click to final conversion.
To get the most out of this guide, please use each resource to focus on one area of your landing page experience at a time. Trust me, this will help you later on when you’re wondering what to test next.
I recommend you bookmark this page so you can come back to it when it’s time to create that next landing page.
Step Zero – Really Understand Your Target Market
Do This: Really get to know your market. Conduct surveys and interviews to understand your customer’s pain points. If you want extra credit, make a list of websites they’re exposed to, and build a picture of what their “typical” online experience is.
- Who are you – your age, job, position in your company, etc.
- What are you using our product for?
- How is your life better thanks to it?
- Do you consider any alternatives? Why?
(note: If you’re a start-up, you’ll want to use customer development questions for your page to resonate with future traffic)
These questions help you uncover trends within your market and tell you things analytics alone can not. All of this is to inform a landing page design that follows your target market expectations which plays a huge role in reducing the amount of friction it takes for them to convert.
The biggest problem I see in landing page design and optimization is the page has no understanding of who the visitor is or their level of online exposure.
Surely, what’s “appeals” to a 54-year-old mother of 5 who goes online to check Facebook and Metafilter will be vastly different from a Google Glass wearing, 27-year-old power-user of social networks you haven’t even heard of yet.
Landing page design isn’t a game where you flex your own aesthetic prowess.
It’s about connecting with the viewer and communicating value as quickly as possible. The more you accept that connection is on their terms, not yours, the better your pages will be.
Step One – Set Up Actionable Analytics
Do This: Set up your conversion goals in Google Analytics.
Ask Peep Laja from ConversionXL about analytics, and he’ll tell you,
“Metrics are there to provide actionable insight. You need to look at a metric, ask “so what?” – and have an answer.” “Conversion rates for our top Adwords are way up. So what? We should increase our Adwords budget.”
Seems simple enough, and yet “Conversion” Analytics looks so intimidating that many of us skip this step so we can get straight to making money.
If you don’t have actionable analytics you’ll never get the full story on your landing page activity. You’ll end up throwing away money and guessing what to do next. Take the time. Learn to interpret your analytics data and make the most of it. Your marketing budget will thank you, I promise.
- 50 Resources For Getting The Most Out Of Google Analytics (older, but relevant)
- 10 Optimization Experts Share Their Favorite Analytics Reports
- Building Your Marketing Funnel With Google Analytics
- The Conversion Funnel Survival Guide
Image credit: KISSmetrics.com
Step Two – Make Sure Your Ad’s Message Matches The Landing Page
Do This: Check the bounce rates on the landing pages where you’d like to generate more business. If they’re too high and conversions are too low, you may have a message match problem.
To know for sure, look at the ads pointing to the page that receive the highest click-through rates.
Does your page use similar language to what’s in the ad? Do the images in display ads re-appear on the landing page?
If you miss the mark on this, your landing pages are destined to fail.
Nine times out of 10, messages in the ad don’t correspond directly to what’s on the page.
Ad images and headlines that don’t correspond to landing page headlines and the page, generally speaking, are not what the user expected when they clicked the ad.
They land on the page and feel ungrounded. Where’s the headline that grabbed their attention? At the very least, have you inserted the keyword they were searching for in a prominent place on the page?
Lack of conversion is the result of lazy conversion optimization.
Instead of creating one page and throwing multiple, loosely targeted ads at it, create a handful of highly targeted landing pages that focus on tight-knit group of keywords. If your budget allows, experiment with a dynamic keyword insertion platform.
- Give Your ROI A Serious Boost By Maintaining Scent
- The Science Of Landing Pages & How To Build One Backwards
- Gmail Ad Fail – How Poor Message Match Can Kill Your Conversion Rate
- [Message Match] Project Management Software
Step Three – Evaluate Your Landing Page’s First Impression
Do This: Search for your landing page’s primary keyword and click on the pages your primary competitors are creating.
The idea isn’t to copy what competitors are doing (many times, they don’t know what they are doing, either), but to get an idea of the first impression they’re trying to make.
The opinion they’ve subconsciously formed in between 1/13th to 1/50th of a second will influence every decision they make on your page.
These strong first impressions are why it’s vital that your message match is strong. It’s also why you should be designing your pages with some degree of familiarity.
Is your page laid out in a way that’s intuitive to your user? Do your product shots meet the standards your target market has from their web browsing experience?
Because the brain registers information faster than your user can perceive, if these elements are even slightly “off”, it becomes an uphill battle all the way to conversion.
- 13 Milliseconds – The Time It Takes For Your Brain To Identify An Image
- How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line
- Why “Simple” Websites are Scientifically Better
Notable Examples Of Good First Impressions:
Step Four – Does Your Page Have Emotional Resonance?