Remember the saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression?” Landing pages are like that, but harder.
When you first meet someone, usually you want to make a good impression. You want to look and act a certain way. This is fairly straightforward, but anyone who’s ever been on an interview or a first date can attest to how stressful it can be to get a first impression right.
.Every little thing counts
Landing pages raise the bar on first impressions. Not only do you have to make your landing pages look good and act nice (i.e., load fast, read well and work), but you also have to convince your visitor to act… and you’ve got mere seconds to do it. Any confusion about your message, or glitch with how your page functions, and your page will fail to make a good impression. It won’t get the conversion..
Before this gets too daunting (and we risk crippling social anxiety), take solace in the fact that all your online competitors face the same hurdles. High conversion rates are rare. A 15% opt-in rate for an email capture page or squeeze page is very respectable. Most marketing managers would be impressed.
Also consider how well landing pages support email marketing. They’re worth the extra investment of your time. Marketers that create landing pages for their email marketing campaigns generate 87% more results than those that don’t. Landing pages also help those marketers grow their lists 132% faster.
With results like that, it’s worth risking a little rejection.
Decisions in the fast lane
We form impressions at hyper-speed, analyzing what we like and dislike about landing pages (and people, and everything else) at almost a subconscious level. In the online world, again, it’s harder to connect: The back button is always a click away.
People don’t have to actively dislike a page to leave it. If your visitor even flinches or frowns as they “meet” your page, they will have simultaneously moved their finger over to the back button. Some of them will even read your page with their finger poised over the back button, waiting for a reason to back out.
And poof: They’re gone.
So is all the work you put into getting them there.
Don’t think website, think billboard
Steve Krug, who wrote “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” urges his readers to think of web pages like billboards along a highway. Basically that means designing every page to be a snap to understand and to use. Anything less, and you’re losing people. But like first impressions, this metaphor falls short for landing pages. Landing pages are harder.
Not only do people have to read your landing page as they whizz by, splitting their focus between two to five different things (their deadline, their coffee, their coworkers, the other people on the street or – yikes! – that oncoming car), but you’re also expecting them to trust you with personal information, type in their email address, and then click a button.
That’s one compelling billboard.
But that’s what you need to make. The good news is it’s actually easier than it sounds, once you’ve got the right mindset. If you use the new GetResponse Landing Page Creator, you’ll have even more of an edge. The Page Creator takes all the technical issues out of making your landing page and lets you focus on your message to your visitors.
To help you get started crafting that message, here are a few tips to creating a landing page worth stopping for.
5 qualities of effective landing pages
Give your visitors customized landing pages, hyper-specific to where they came from.
For example, if you’ve just written a guest blog post, the link in your author biography should go to a page that welcomes readers of that blog. If you’re sending people to a landing page from your Facebook page, make sure you specifically welcome Facebook visitors. For pay per click traffic, put the keyword the user searched for on your landing page.
2. Easy to understand
A visitor should understand what your landing page is about and what you want them to do in the blink of an eye – literally. Advertisers have known for decades that confusion kills sales. It also kills email opt-in rates.
3. Easy to read
Use bullet points and subheads, action verbs and the active voice. Trim every single word you can, and don’t let any paragraph run on for more than five lines.
There is an ongoing debate over whether landing pages should be short or long. Generally, email capture pages should be short, like 300 words or less, but that’s not a universal law. Some landing pages have to be long because they’ve got a lot of convincing to do – they have to bring the visitor through several stages of persuasion and education. But even those pages should move the visitor through the decision making process in a concise way.
4. Make it load fast
Visitors with fragmented focus and split-second attention spans want pages to load fast. Very fast. The faster the better, though under 5 seconds will do.
5. Make it feel safe
Trust is the secret sauce of landing pages. If visitors trust you, they’ll forgive a lot, even slow load times and clunky forms. But if they don’t trust you, even the fastest, sharpest-looking landing page may flunk.
There are many ways to build trust – secure server icons, testimonials, being a trusted brand and looking professional are all a good start. You can also build trust by demonstrating you understand your visitors and know exactly what they want, which brings us back around again to customizing landing pages to specific audiences.
There’s a fine art to landing pages. Entire books and careers have been spent refining the skills listed above. But you don’t have to spend a career or even a huge amount of time creating a workable landing page that can get good, if not excellent results.
Your landing pages don’t have to be perfect to make a good impression – they just have to communicate a clear and simple message. That’s enough to get your audience’s attention, and to get you on the road to being one of the marketers getting 87% more results from their email marketing, just by using landing pages.