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How to Build Landing Pages that Convert

Not all landing pages are created equal. “Static page,” “destination page,” “lead capture page,” “single property page” — these are all names for the coveted landing page, which is a web page generally set up to promote an offer. The goal of said landing page is to lure visitors into the tractor-beam of your marketing strategy: First you get them in the sales funnel, then you guide them through the suite of services your business provides. Simple enough.

Except here’s the rub: Prospective clients can crash-land on a landing page and not “convert” — that is, act on the deal being advertised. The average conversion rate on a landing page is 2.35%. The top quarter of companies enjoy conversion rates north of 5%, while a rate higher than 11% is bragging rights. So how do you build landing pages that convert in the 5–11%+ range? That question has befuddled many a marketer and agency, but here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way.

Be Transparent

“Get them in the nose!” That’s an old newspaperman’s line about blasting the reader with the most important information in the first few sentences, and the same advice applies to landing pages. Figure out your core message and slap it in the header so your audience knows what the landing page wants them to do. Enter a raffle to win a truck, buy an all-inclusive trip to Kauai, take a virtual tour of a senior living community — whatever the conversion is, hone in on it and make it clear why your visitors are here in the first place. 

Show, Don’t Tell

Whatever you’re selling, show it. If you’re a vineyard, don’t just bullet out the perks of being a member. Include pictures of bottles of cab sauv and pebbled courtyards where you can get pleasantly snockered on those bottles. Feature testimonials from happy customers — but make sure they’re real (people catch on). Add in case studies, which fulfill much the same purpose. And, of course, you must connect with users on an emotional level. “Buy an all-inclusive trip to Kauai” is clear, but an effective landing page design will embed videos of waterfalls pouring through rainforest canopies or work in descriptions of whales singing beneath the waves.

Up Your CTA Game

Another reason you should remove clutter from landing pages is to make sure your CTA is easy to find. Place the CTA above the fold so your audience doesn’t have to unfurl the Dead Sea Scrolls just to get to it. Copywriters, this is not your moment to be clever. Visitors with vision impairments may be clicking around your site with a Screen Reader, which translates on-screen copy into speech. So to make CTAs accessible, keep them informative. 

What’s an accessible way to ask a visitor to subscribe to your newsletter? Something like “Subscribe to my newsletter.” If that sounds humdrum, that’s the point: Avoid addy-style puns that confuse the purpose of the page. And include no more than one or two CTAs. Remember, simplicity means sales.

Boost Your Cred

Landing pages often have forms that ask for a visitor’s name, email, and even credit card information. The more security you can provide, the more likely strangers will cough up the most important data in their lives. Especially if you’re a known quantity, trot out that logo — the Starbucks mermaid, for instance, will stamp considerable trustworthiness onto any landing page (a Starbucks landing page, of course). A data security badge also conveys that you’re legit. And go over your spelling with holy fervor. Nothing kills your cred quite like janky grammar.

Monitor and Optimize

The best landing pages buoy up to the top of Google searches because they’re optimized. To boost your page ranking, incorporate keywords into the headlines and body copy and the metadata in the back-end. Run A/B testing to gauge what’s working and what’s not. Let’s say Option A is performing at a conversion rate of 1%. Embed a new video (or shorten it if it’s over three minutes), swap out the headlines, mix and match the brand colors, and — boom! — you’ve got Option B, which now sports a conversion rate of 10%. Whatever the numbers are, keep tweaking the layout and settings till those numbers trend up, up, up.

Finally, consider adding in additional links or related content that redirect your audience to your larger website or blog. Connecting all your channels lets users extend their journey and find more information about what you do and how to contact you in case they want you to create a landing page for them that’s a cut above the rest.

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