No matter how compelling your email or how clever your social media post, your prospects won’t convert if your landing page doesn’t guide them through the next steps. By optimizing your landing pages using tried-and-true best practices, you can reduce your bounce rate and lead your target audience farther down the funnel.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a marketing wizard to put together a compelling landing page. Anyone with the right marketing tools and mindset can create the perfect conversion piece or lead capture opportunity.
Whether you’re an old hand or a marketing newbie, check out these essential best practices for landing pages.
1. Make your CTA pop
You may love the look of your brand’s colors, but if your CTA doesn’t stand out from the rest of the page, no one will find it — let alone click it. Make sure your CTA pops by choosing the right color, font, and position. If you follow a brand style guide, this is a great opportunity to do some A/B testing to see which colors perform the best against your usual color palette.
Don’t take this advice as an excuse to turn your CTA into a flashing, mid-2000s pop-up banner ad. The goal is to make it obvious, not annoying. Test a few different colors and positions, use the top performers for most of your campaigns, and continue to test new ideas every few months to keep things fresh.
2. Autofill forms to a reasonable degree
Make it easy for prospects to request more information or sign up for your email list by autofilling some or all of your form fields. The less work your visitors have to do, the more likely they will be to click your CTA.
Keep visitor privacy in mind as you decide how much to automate. You may have advanced tracking and automation tools that can identify visitors from all over the web, but some people find that level of foresight creepy. Limit your assistance to opportunities when prospects click specific links from social media or log in to their existing accounts.
3. Limit demand on the user
Once you have prospects on your page, you may be tempted to leverage that visit into more. Resist the urge. Social sharing buttons, recommended products, and other resources sound like nice additions, but if you lose your focus on the primary objective, your campaign will suffer. Strip away all the bells and whistles so your site visitors can complete the objective without distraction.
Feel free to add a follow-up after your visitors fulfill your CTA, though. While extra engagement opportunities may distract users in the beginning, opportunities to continue their engagement can increase their affinity for the brand and its value offerings. Instead of just thanking people for their submissions or purchases, leave a link to encourage social sharing or to show visitors other resources on your site.
4. Never bury the lede
Anyone on your landing page has already taken some action to get there. Now is the time to fulfill a request for information, not the time to sell to someone who’s already responded to a pitch.
Put the most relevant information above the fold so visitors don’t have to search for it. For landing pages, the most critical pieces usually include a headline, a clear explanation of the value offered, and the CTA. If you have more information on your landing page, consider locking the CTA to the top of the screen. This allows users to fill out a form or click a button, no matter where they go on the page — a must-have for mobile users.
5. Fulfill expectations immediately
Spammers pull bait-and-switch techniques. Real companies with real value to offer should never trick users into visiting a page under false pretenses. Match the copy, images, and style on your landing page to the copy, images, and style on the posts and emails that bring users to the site. Don’t copy and paste your email, but do continue the conversation in a way that makes sense and in an environment that feels familiar.
Once users fill out your form or click your CTA, don’t require an extra step to hold up your end of the deal. Immediately email the e-book or show the infographic you promised. If you try to force people to schedule a call with your sales team after they sign up for your email list, they won’t just get annoyed — they’ll perceive your brand as untrustworthy.
Marketers build thousands of landing pages every day, many of which go unused as bad practices drive prospects away. Don’t let your pages fall prey to the common mistakes that kill landing page success. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and keep it relevant to give your visitors what they want.
Marketing automation plays a vital part in your marketing campaigns. Find out how to “Go Further with Marketing Automation.”
Serenity Gibbons is a former assistant editor at the Wall Street Journal and a New York University alumna living in California. She is the local unit lead for NAACP in Northern California with a mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. She enjoys writing and interviewing people who are making a difference in the world.