Landing pages, landing pages, landing pages. If you are driving clicks through paid advertising, you are probably using landing pages. And if you are like most marketers, your results are probably “so-so” or “unremarkable”. On average, only about 3% of paid clicks convert. That’s a lot of conversions left on the table. Luckily, there are things you can do right now to help immediately and dramatically improve your online conversions.
- No More Landing Pages
Make a paradigm shift to stop thinking in terms of “pages” and focus instead on creating conversion-focused experiences. It’s hard to convince a respondent to convert by dumping them into a single page. But a well-designed conversion experience can seduce a lot more conversions from your audience by creating a relevant path from the click through to the conversion.
- Message Match
Make sure your ad message and your landing experience match. And I don’t mean colors or pictures. I mean messages and promises. In order to get the user to click, your ad implies a promise: CLICK HERE. GET THIS. Your landing experience needs to immediately, directly and simply pay off that promise. Whatever your ad says, make sure your landing experience fulfills that message and promise. When you do this, you will build trust with your respondent, and when you build trust, you will automatically build desire. We call it the conversion path trust cycle: Make a promise, pay it off on the next page. Continue doing this until you ask for, and receive, conversion.
When you have message mismatched ads and landing pages you are damaging your brand and making your respondents less likely to click the next time they stumble upon you. Ouch.
- Keep It Simple
When users click on your ad they aren’t making a considered choice. They are reacting to a simple little ad message. Whether a banner, an email or a paid search ad, the click on your ad is a split second impulse. Either the user saw something that caught their eye, or they were searching for something and your ad seemed like it might lead somewhere relevant. When we dump those ad respondents onto a landing page with a ton of copy, links, choices, or a form, we are breaking the rhythm and expecting them to do all the work. No wonder our conversions are at 3%! This “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to building landing pages doesn’t work.
In order to keep users flowing through our conversion experience we have to simplify each page. Get rid of all the distractions. When we simplify the page, including the message, the copy, and the choices, users will ultimately flow through at a much higher rate of conversion. Create an experience that keeps them in the “split second” flow that they are in when they click on the ad. Keep them moving by presenting them simple, relevant choices and letting them flow through a conversion path to the point of actually converting. When you simplify your experience, your conversions will increase.
- Offer Choice
The way you can keep your experience simple is by using strategic respondent choices within your experience. A page with a ton of copy, links or a form is WORK for the user. Too many choices, too much distraction. Rather than putting everything on the page, create a simple page with a couple of choices. Once the user makes a choice, the next page pays off that choice with relevancy.
Let’s say I am running an ad for a credit card. I could dump respondents on my application form. Or I could send them to a page of long copy about the credit card and then take them to the application form (if any of them actually make it through my long page of copy).
Or, I could usher respondents to a simple landing page that has three-way choice for information on the card that’s right for establishing new credit, rebuilding bad credit, or rewarding great credit. I give the respondents a simple choice (they know which group they fall into) and they don’t have to think; they can make that simple choice and move on. Once they have made the choice, the next page can pitch and persuade in a meaningful way. Rather than reading about the card that’s right for everyone, the respondent sees copy thats right for them. I’ve created an experience rather than a page, built trust by matching the ad, and kept the pages simple by giving the respondents choice. Bang, my chance of conversion is going through the roof!
Giving your respondents choices lets them have a more relevant experience. And when an experience is more relevant, you will be far more likely to get a conversion.
- Think Apples to Oranges
The final thing you can do right now to improve your landing experiences is to test, test and then test some more. As opposed to page optimization, around here we talk a lot about “apples to oranges” testing in order to achieve dramatic improvements to conversion quality and quantity. If you test a single page to optimize it (headline color, image, call to action), you will probably increase your conversions a little. And when you are testing the footer font on test number 5,488, you have definitely lost sight of the big picture.
Rather than focusing on optimizing elements on a page to increase conversions, think about testing widely differing experiences in order to see what really moves more people through your funnel. Sure, maybe the headline size on my credit card landing page is going to entice a few more people to convert. But by testing the choices I offer, the number of choices, and the total number of pages, I have a lot more freedom and flexibility to see which experience is most conversion-friendly. Take a big picture, somewhat heretical, approach to your testing and you will see bigger changes in your conversion rate.
If you implement the five action items above, I know you will increase your online conversions or improve your conversion quality. Above all, have fun and start thinking out of the box with your landing experiences. And gosh darn it, No More Landing Pages.