The reality of sales is that you usually only have five minutes to make your pitch. Whether we’re talking about a pitch to Hollywood executive, a car salesman, or even a website marketing a product, that famous “five minute” presentation is going to decide if you make the sale.
That means that your landing page, possibly the only page your lead will ever see, has to be quickly effective and communicate the message in a user-friendly way. Understand that many people do not enter from the homepage. You may envision in that way, in a cohesive structure that begins with an intro and progresses steadily over a series of page. However, landing pages are usually the only page a user will read, and there’s certainly no guarantee that they will read the page in its entirety.
From the moment your page is clicked, usually because you used a keyword that Google found relevant and the user found enticing to their needs, you are on a timer. Google, Bing or whatever search engine you use has done you a favor by matching up your landing page with a query. And the reason it has matched you up is because the algorithm found the keyword content authoritative, trustworthy and helpful. Now it’s up to you to keep the good work up and motivate them to read the entire page.
The landing page is where your traffic enters and leaves and if and when the user decides that your page looks good, he or she will check out the other pages of the site. However, many users will actually buy the product straight from the buy button link and may never see the rest of the site. No problem, because your landing page should be enough to get the message across and make the sale.
Landing Pages – Helpful, Interactive and Timely
The landing page is what you might call a customer service page, one that contains helpful information for targeted users. Every landing page you design (ideally, more than one) will be created to coincide with SEO target keyword use or PPC text ads. Therefore, you could say that these pages have a goal in mind and that they are helpful to viewers looking for specific information.
That means that you need to think about resource pages or something else that gives the information they want. Even if it’s just a product info page, designing it to be useful in terms of the
Will ensure that the viewer does not become annoyed at the long-winded presentation and can fast-forward to the point of it all. This page should also be interactive as much as possible, encouraging users to visit other linked pages (social media accounts, for example) and with ways to interact with the product or company.
Just look at how Amazon does this; they have a “look inside” feature for books, pictures of electronic products and technical specifications.
Try to think of the “intent” of the user, meaning you consider why he or she is typing the phrase and what kind of page and information they expect to find. For example, a “haunted hotel in Dallas” seems like a common search. If your landing page returns a bunch of salesy nonsense about how great your product is, it might not be a great conversion page.
However, if you give them the information you know they want, such as experiences of ghost hunters or haunting in the area, they’re going to read the whole page. Then, at the end of the page you can make a call to action offering the tie-in product. This is an example of a resource-oriented landing page.
The call to action can be almost anything. For example, a buy now button, a download button, an online game, a newsletter sign up, or a link to another website for registration. The key is, interacting with the person and not simply giving them the resource for “free”. You drop the ball when you don’t give them something specific to do, or at least think about.
So try to organize the landing page according to the formula: first the resource, the information stage, then the call to action. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a sales link if you think that’s too forward. Just an email signup would work wonders.
Designing a Logo
Designing a logo doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment. It’s true that a lot of companies pay top dollar for a professional quality logo, but all it really is, is a symbol representing your brand. Your brand is what your audience will come to know, appreciate and trust. The symbol must be recurring and one that is stark, one they can easily associate with your values as a business.
The logo should be prominently displayed on the landing page so that the viewer will associate your site as a place that is trustworthy and memorable. Besides, most sites link the logo to the home page. So if you’re that keen on having the homepage read, be sure to include a logo at the top that links to the homepage. The longer you keep the viewer reading or watching, the better.
Creating the “Offer”
Admittedly, it IS easier to design a resource page than an offer page, but that’s the creative challenge. What seems to work is inciting an emotional reaction from your audience. This could be a sense of urgency (such as a discount if you order now) or focusing on the (emotional) incentives that the audience can expect.
- How will the product make them feel?
- What will the desired end result be?
- What needs will your product address?
- Writing too much dry information or salesy nonsense is going to bore your viewers and result in no action being taken.
Descriptive copy is an underrated need. This could also be why a lot of fairly good websites fail. If you don’t understand the importance of descriptive copywriting then how can you expect to excite your audience?
The descriptive adjectives you use, as well the images you put in your reader’s mind will directly influence how they feel about the offer. This is the sort of effective copywriting that sells, because it gives people vivid descriptions of what to expect from the product and why it addresses their need.
So critically analyze your copywriting and determine if it seems weak in areas.
Is it too fact-based and not imaginative enough?
Are the promises too over the top?
Is the sales writing not really addressing the keyword and the targeted audience?
We live in a web that’s catered to visual images, as well as videos. If you have a product it only makes sense to create attractive and prominent images as part of the sales pitch. Of course, search engines don’t read images and so this is why there is a field for the alt text. Be sure to label your pictures’ alt text, captions and description so Google will have something to index.
Be careful about including too many irrelevant pictures or cheap looking clipart. Poorly chosen graphics can make the site look very 90s which is usually a turn off for viewers. Keep the images clean, meaningful and relevant to the keyword research, and always attractive emotionally.
How Many Calls to Action?
Have you ever thought about how many calls to action you need for a landing page? Maybe right now you’re thinking, “I thought I only needed one?”
Wrong! Landing pages are long for a reason—because it is your only chance to sell, and you want to keep the conversation going. But let’s say that you make the sale in the first five minutes. Are you really going to insist that the viewer keep reading for the entire page?
Big mistake. Once the viewer has decided he wants to buy, that’s when you give him or her a call to action. Otherwise, forcing them to scroll all the way down to the end could be a turn off.
Therefore, most landing pages have several calls to action, and usually one “per scroll” meaning as the viewer scrolls down reading further, he receives another call to action after the new paragraph(s).
When creating buttons, try to avoid lots of buttons since this can be annoying to viewers looking for information. Instead, aim to use text links that are creatively worded. They should also stand out with a contrasting color.
However, don’t go overboard and litter the page with calls to action as this would scare away potential leads and perhaps get you a penalty with Google, who does check for an abundance of irrelevant links on keyword landing pages.
References always help to sell a product, especially if they seem objective—as in “third party” reviews. If and when you receive them make it a special point to link out to third party citations and references, as this will improve your linking structure. Homegrown reviews are just too suspect to be effective.
Contact information is not just to provide interaction but also to establish trust. Talk about what the business is, add legitimacy and make this—essentially—another sales page in which you promote brand trust. Some webmasters list store locations, hours of operation and multiple contacts for improving their reputation.
Linking to other web pages (your own as well as outbound link) is part of an effective linking strategy. Contrary to what you might have read, linking out has not gone out of style—it’s just “cheap” links, usually ones bought and paid for through article directories, have lost favor. As long as your outbound links are authoritative and within the context of the keyword and product, you will be fine.
Do you have to link out to other companies and websites? No, and if your links seem arbitrary or “spammy” then don’t bother doing it. Use only natural links so that Google and other search engines don’t penalize you for link baiting. Any links you have should have a specific purpose.
Multiple Pages and User-Friendly Design
Landing pages are single page sales pages, but a user-friendly design is still important, as is matching the homepage of your site and the rest of the tabs. Nagivation-friendly design insists on having clearly labeled tabs, and sometimes even headers or footers that make the site look professional. You can also enter pages that promote brand trust like privacy policies, customer service contact, and a secure store for shopping online.
When it comes to design some companies leave these issues to the professionals and choose a commercially designed theme for WordPress or Joomla. It makes sense, but customizing your own page and tweaking in to perfection can help in making your content and site stand out from the norm.
Just remember to choose colors that are easy to read. For instance, black backgrounds might be okay, but should not be used with large paragraphs of white text. Gray is a better color for black backgrounds, and most black backgrounds don’t have long paragraphs at all. They have “scan-able” pages, that allow for fast reading.
Is your site mobile friendly and tablet friendly? Choose a theme that automatically displays on all three devices. Google recently announced that sites that do not display properly on mobile devices will probably sink in SERPs, since the majority of users click away anyway.
You owe it to the audience to make sure of these little details. You ought to spend several hours or even days researching how your site (and each landing page) looks on multiple devices.
Think like your audience. Examine it critically and ask yourself when the viewer might be tempted to click away. For more on professional landing page development take a look at this resource page. The answers are all there for you, and once you spend a little time getting to know what works, you will start to notice a difference in sales conversions.