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Landing Page Design Best Practices

November 20, 2018

Landing page optimization is essential to improve your company’s conversions and sales.

Today, landing page optimization has become a science.  With some of the top performing companies out there yielding insane numbers like 40% conversion on some of their best performing landing pages.

So what’s the secret?  How do you take your landing page from spotty performance to an instant converter?  What are some steps you can take today to improve your landing page optimization by improving your CTR and other KPIs? What are some landing page best practices for design that can ultimately boost your effectiveness in communicating your value, and increase your sales?

Lastly, how does content marketing tie into making more effective landing pages that lead to increased B2B sales, or more customers?

Let’s take a deeper look.

K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple Stupid

We’ve all had that parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, mentor, etc… that gave us this golden nugget of advice at one point in our lives.  With landing pages, it is no different. Some of the most successful landing pages out there are the simplest.

Stripped down to just a few essential elements, they provide users with the exact information they need to make a decision, and the exact place to make that decision.

Here are some examples of extremely simple landing pages that have absolutely crushed it in recent years, regularly recording conversions over 30%.

best landing page designs 2018

What Elements to Focus on to Make the Best Landing Page

Let’s take a look at what these 4 examples had in common which made them successful.

These are things that if done right, every company, whether they sell SaaS products or Teddy Bears, can utilize in order to make a more effective landing page that converts.

1. Clear Calls to Action

Location, Color, Size, Shape

Despite what you may believe, the color, size and shape of your calls to action make a huge difference on the conversions of your landing pages.

Often times this is ignored, which is really sad because small and simple changes can make huge percentage difference in conversions.

Changing button colors, shapes, sizes and locations is super easy, and can have huge results.  It is simply something that has to be done in order to properly maximize your conversions.

For more on the specifics of CTA colors, fonts, and locations, read this awesome article by Optin Monster https://optinmonster.com/which-color-button-converts-best/

2. Proper Wording and Grammar

Grammar is always important in marketing.  Misspelling something or using the wrong context can dramatically transform your product in the eyes of a consumer.

When it comes to your landing pages, making simple changes such as changing the text of your CTA to say, “Download” from “Get Your Copy” or “Free Consultation” from “Set Appointment” can make a huge difference.  

When considering wording change, it is also important to use suggestive wording, and wording that makes the user feel important and specially catered to.

A great example of this is WriteWork, a service that offers essay writing for college students.  They initially had a button on their account creation page that read, “Create My Account”.  A simple change to “Create My Account & Get Started” caused a +31% boost in conversions almost overnight!

In another case, changing the wording of “Start your free account” to “Start my free account” increased conversions by 90%.

Wow. Imagine that?  Something as simple as adding a single word to a call to action brought in 31% or even 90% more conversions.  Now that is powerful. Discovering the dozens of little nuances like this are what makes the difference between an alright landing page, and a stellar one.

3. Making the Best Headings for Your Landing Pages

Obviously, the headings of your landing pages have a large impact on the decision to buy for potential customers.

80% more people read your heading than the rest of the copy on your page.  So in essence, if you are not optimizing your headings and subheadings, you are wasting a vast majority of your traffic and ad spend.

Testing these continually helps to hone in on exactly what works for each audience.

4. Visual Cues Towards Your Calls to Action

Additionally, adding directional hints and visual cues near your CTAs works quite well.  This can be something as simple as having an arrow that points to your CTA, or a sentence that tells the user what happens once they click.  

In another study, arrows and other visual cues were taken away from CTAs, which caused a 12.29% drop in conversions. Similar and even higher increases have been seen when adding arrows and visual cues to buttons throughout web pages.

5. Add Multiple CTAs to Your Landing Pages

One convention I disagree with, is the argument against having multiple CTAs on one page.

Although some marketers argue that it can distract or confuse the user, I believe that as long as multiple calls to actions are placed appropriately, they can be effective.

Obviously, you don’t want to place the call to actions right next to one another. Or for that matter, you don’t even want them to be very close to one another vertically.

Ideally, you want to have your secondary call to action towards the bottom of your page, once you have informed the user more about your product or service.

There is no one CTA that conquers them all.  It all depends on your audience, product, branding, etc… The best way to discover your most effective CTA and other effective landing page elements, is to test, test, test.

6. Test Calls to Action on Your Landing Pages

Testing is the basis for gauging all successes and failures when it comes to landing pages. Without testing, none of these discoveries could be possible.  I know you’re probably dying to figure out how you can begin testing so you can find what works best for changes among your audience.

how to optimize your landing page

Similar Locations for Heading, Sign-up, CTAs, and Information Sections

If you look at some of the most successful landing pages (some of which I have given links to in this article), you will notice that a lot of them are shockingly similar.  This goes back to our K.I.S.S. model. Don’t change what is clearly working!

If every single one of these pages has a heading in the top left that is approximately 40px in font size, with a subheading under it in size 28px font, then 3 bullet points under that in size 20px font with images to the left of them, and a form to the right of it, keep it!  Because guess what, these guys have huge budgets of millions of dollars when it comes to advertising.

Now I’m not saying make a clone of their pages.  Have more respect for yourself, your audience and your business than that. You still want to be original in your branding, images, copy and value statement.  But you do not necessarily need to mix up the fundamentals that make a landing page effective. These are the basics:

  • Heading
  • Subheading
  • Bullet points
  • Visual
  • Call to action
  • Form
  • Testimonials
  • Call to action (again)

Almost all successful online businesses that convert well have some, or all of these elements, and they all share a lot of similarity in terms of placement, size, color, and wording.

These companies hire some of the best and brightest marketers to help them trim percentage points wherever possible to maximize the returns on these ad expenditures. So you better believe if they all have some key ingredients in common between their landing pages, that there is a damn solid reason behind it, and a lot of statistical information behind that.

Most landing pages are organized in this exact fashion, with a few variations.  For thousands of great FREE ideas on how to create your landing page based on what has already proven effective among users for companies of all sizes in all industries, check out https://app.instapage.com/builder . They have thousands of outlines for landing pages, that you can use as visuals and starting points for your own.

1. Above the Fold Content

Content that fits within your screen when the page loads is called above the fold content.  This means that a user does not have to scroll to get to it.

You have about 8 seconds to truly make an impact on your potential customer.  After that window is up, you have either captivated their attention or bounced them to another location, probably a competitors landing page.

It is essential for this reason that the most valuable and captivating propositions are made at the top of your landing pages in order to have the best chance to get customers to stay and sign up.

2. Make Your Landing Page Like a Miniskirt

Long enough to cover the subject matter, but short enough to keep it interesting.

There are additional arguments out there that say you should only have content above the fold, and not make your landing page any longer than it needs to be.  I tend to disagree with this school of thought for two main reasons.

Number one, even if you are one of the most recognized brands on earth, like Nike or Microsoft, you are still going to be facing objections that you will have to overcome before getting users to become customers.  Even if people magically reach your page for the first time and know everything about your company, what you do, and how you can help them (which will probably not happen often), you will still run into objections that additional content can help your customers overcome.

Having no additional information other than a page that basically says, “sign up here and trust us blindly” is not exactly the best way to get people to trust you, or convert.

Secondly, if most people don’t scroll past the initial above the fold content, it is no skin off your back.  But for those who do, looking for more information, you want to provide them with all the relevant information they may need to make a purchasing decision.  

By providing additional sections to your landing page such as Use Cases, Success Stories, Testimonials, Tutorials, FAQ, etc.. you are putting yourself in a better position to fight off those objections potential customers may have, and also in a better position to establish brand trust and recognition in their minds.

Atop of this, studies show that long-form landing pages actually convert better.  Calls to action placed below the fold yielded an astounding 220% more conversions than their above-the-fold counterparts.  This is most likely because these CTA’s were placed after informational sections that established trust and product need within the eyes of the customers.

My professional suggestion is to have multiple CTA’s on your landing pages.  One at the very top, and one at the very bottom, or near the bottom close to an appropriate section that adds value and establishes the need for your product or service in the mind of the user.

3. Site Speed Effects Page Rankings 

If you are not familiar with the various factors affecting your site’s loading speed, I wrote about it here. Due to the fact that you only have 8 seconds to impress someone and capture their attention, loading speed is also a huge factor in the efficacy of your landing pages.

Landing pages that take more than one second to load saw a 7% reduction in conversion rate.

4. Contrast Matters on Landing Pages

Studies have shown that contrasting color schemes prove to be the most effective on landing pages.  This is because our eyes are naturally drawn towards them.

A study done by Unbounce also uncovered that by changing the color of a shopping cart button to one that contrasts more with the page, the client saw an increase of 35% in sales.  Not in clicks, in sales. Not too bad for just changing the color of a single button.

A great site like color.adobe.com can help you find the exact contrasting colors to any color you can imagine.  They also help you find complimentary colors, and other color schemes based around your color that can really help your content, branding and CTA’s pop to grab your users attention.

5. Make Your Contact Forms as Short as Possible

Have you ever went to sign up for a website and had to fill out forms for so long that you just left?  Me too.

The truth is, much like the 8 second rule described above clearly shows, we live in an impatient world of instant gratification.  There is no avoiding this. It affects us all. You can’t fight it, so why try? You might as well try to exploit this emerging need for convenience in everything you do in business.

Studies show that the average number of form fields on landing pages is 11.  That is insane. I mean what the hell are you even asking that you need 11 fields?  Even if you are registering new users for a portal based login, you should try to keep your form fields to 4 or 5, and then have them complete the rest upon logging in.

This can also be a highly effective tactic to still capture the data you need while keeping your form short and sweet and your conversion rates high.  A great example of this is to ask for their name and site, then say something along the lines of, “We are setting up your custom report now, where should we send it to?”  Then here, collect the secondary data you need like email, phone, or what have you.

Ideally, you want to use these fields to only capture the most necessary data on your customer as possible.  

A study done by Unbounce showed that by shortening the number of fields for sign up from 11 to 4, they were able to increase conversions by over 120%.  By reducing the number of fields even further, from 4 to 3, they were able to improve conversions by another 25%, and prove that 3 is the ideal number for form fields.

To take your form field game even further to the next level, it is usually considered a best practice to not ask users for their phone numbers. Studies have shown that asking for users phone numbers make them 5% less likely to fill out forms.  In some cases, this figure can be much higher.

For instance, Expedia changed their phone field from required to optional, and saw an increase from 42.6% to 80% in their conversion rate, which resulted in $12 million more in revenue.

6. Create a Captive Audience

You  want to minimize the places that they can get from your landing page.  For instance, it is considered a common practice to strip down your nav bar to only have a logo of your company and nothing more.

From there, it is also important to make sure that this logo has no outgoing links, such as one to the home page.  You want to keep people on your landing pages at all costs, and even little tweaks like this can make a huge difference in conversion.

To extrapolate on this point more, only 16% of landing pages have removed navbars.  However, a study done by VWO showed that removing the navbar on landing pages can have a 100% increase on conversions!

7. Testimonials Section

Research done by BrightLocal has shown that 88% of consumers read customer reviews in order to determine the value of a product or service.

Even more important, product specific reviews have been shown to earn more search traffic, but also, yield 15-20% higher conversion rates on pages that they are shown on.

If upwards of 88% of people are going to read a review before making a purchasing decision, and this number is even higher (92%) in B2B, how can you justify making a landing page that does not contain testimonials? Arguably, you can not.

8. Strong, Crisp, Relevant Visuals

Visuals make a huge difference when it comes to leading customers towards purchasing and developing an attraction towards your brand.

Studies have shown that photos of people using a product, or of people smiling have had the largest effect on conversion rates in the past.

For instance, 37Signals wanted to improve their home page email captures and signups.  After a redesign, where they implemented a photo of a woman smiling in the background, they captured 102% more conversions!  

We cannot assume the changing of visuals on your site can have the same results, but again, that is where testing comes in.

9. Use Video When Possible

Video is becoming more and more prevalent and is now one of the most effective marketing mediums in the world.  

Studies show that by 2020, over 80% of time on the internet will be spent on video.  Right now, this figure is already over 72%.

According to eyeviewdigital.com, video has been shown to improve landing page conversion by up to 80%.

There are a 3 main reasons that video helps to convert better:

  • Video allows you to say more in less time and space, while sending a stronger message through visuals
  • Video helps to create emotional connection, causing people to stay longer
  • People are lazy and would rather watch than read

Grab their attention and make your brand be known with a well thought out introductory video.  It is well worth the cost.

10. Use a Heatmap on your Landing Pages

Thanks to resources like CrazyEgg and Heatmap.me there are dozens of free tools you can use to track the movement of users on your website.

These are very powerful, especially on landing pages, to detect what areas of your site users are looking at for the longest.

From there, you can begin shaping your landing page by making changes and studying how the changes influenced user behavior.  You can also follow user behavior, and create a landing page around the path of least resistance.

By this, I mean that if users are commonly starting with their mouse in the middle of the page, and are then moving slowly down and to the right of the words in your subheading, then perhaps it makes sense to have a call to action located in that area.

11. Segment Your Audiences

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners often make on landing pages is not properly segmenting their audiences.

Studies show that 48% of all landing pages contain multiple offers.

Why?

More than likely, if you have multiple product or service offerings, they apply to different buyer personas.  

So why then would you not try to give them each a unique experience tailored to their needs, demographics, interests, objections, and questions?

The results of segmenting your landing pages speak for themselves.

A study by HubSpot showed that companies with 31 to 40 landing pages generated seven times more leads than those with 10-15, and those with 10-15 generated 55% more leads than those with just 1-5 landing pages.

Perhaps some of this is correlation, not causation. But still, even with that considered, segmentation still makes a lot of sense.

Different audiences will have different needs, different pain points, and will be at different points in the cell cycle.  

Therefore, we will want to try and capitalize on these differences by providing a unique landing page for their given buyer persona.

12. Test, Test, Test, and Test Some More

Everything I have outlined here is of almost no use to anyone without the additional implementation of A/B Testing.  For those of you who don’t know what A/B testing is, I wrote more about here.

While aggregate data and best practices are nice to use a reference point, A/B Testing is essential to developing an understanding of your own audience over time.  Nothing can substitute that data

You want to run a multitude of different tests for each one of your landing page campaigns.

Take into account all of the little things that we have discussed today. Elements of your landing page such as CTAs, headings, subheadings, visuals, page length, and testimonials need to be optimized and not an afterthought.

why landing page optimization is important

Why Landing Page Optimization is Important in Content Marketing

In conclusion, if there is one thing you take away from this article, begin testing your landing pages.

You want to have a multitude of landing pages for your various different product offering, for your various audiences, and the various stages they may be in your sales cycle.

The tiniest details can make the breakthrough difference you are looking for in conversions.  Details from your CTA color, text, placement, and the details around it. Or even your headline, subheadline, and bullet points make a rather large difference also.

Having additional information on your page such as testimonials also help to establish trust within the customer, and develop your brand story and product/service more as well.

Lastly, your form plays a huge difference in the signup process.  Don’t overwhelm users by asking for too much information to start, and if you need more, you are better off asking for it in two unique transitions rather than all at once.

Finding Help to Optimize Your Landing Pages

When it comes to optimizing and designing landing pages, as well as interpreting their success, and constantly tweaking them to improve key metrics and conversions, PoofNewSales has you covered.

Our experts have helped dozens of clients with their content marketing in the Greater Boston Area and beyond.  Contact us today to speak with a professional who can help you create the content your audience is looking for, and attract the audience you are looking for.

6 thoughts on “Landing Page Design Best Practices

  1. I have been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

    1. Thanks a lot Kristen! I am glad that you found our article to be helpful. Are there any of these tips you have put to use on your own site? If so, how did they perform?

      Is there anything you would like us to write more about?

      Best,
      Kyle Broussard
      Owner & Co-Founder of PoofNewSales

    1. Thanks Zvodret,

      We worked pretty hard on this one so it is good to get some positive feedback.

      What was your favorite takeaway from this guide?

  2. My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    1. Thanks a lot Folorum! We are happy to hear our blog helped to make your day :). Now get out there and make some awesome landing pages!

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