Want to know one of the fastest ways to boost results? It’s not getting a big budget increase. Or landing a partnership with an influencer. It’s improving your landing pages. The right landing page can spike results fast. Some landing page updates have resulted in a million dollars of extra sales. That’s right – $1 million dollars, all due to one simple landing page.
I even did this myself I few years ago, for a company getting most of its traffic from pay per click. They were spending $12,000 a day on clicks. One change to the copy of the call to action button doubled the conversion rate. There’s another story of the guys at Conversion Rate Experts making $1 million for Moz just by re-doing one landing page.
Obviously, nobody can promise you’ll net a million dollars by reworking a landing page. But it happens. And you can definitely improve your results.
But there’s a dark side to landing pages, too. When they’re bad… they really hurt your business. To help you avoid the dark side, we wanted to give you a checklist of the major sins of landing pages. Avoid these and you’ll be on your way to the million dollar club.
If you’re unsure about what landing pages are or what business value they hold, consider our essential guide to landing pages.
Landing Page Mistake #1. You aren’t using landing pages
Are you one of those people who sets up a marketing campaign… and sends the people who respond to that campaign to your home page?
Come on. I won’t tell. But you need to change. Because if you would just put up even a decent landing page dedicated to that campaign, you’d probably increase your results by about 30-40%. That’s the kind of lift most of the A/B split-tests that compare landing pages to home pages get.
Why does this work? It’s because of something called attention ratio. It refers to how many things a user can do on a page. If a user could do, day, 15 different things, the attention ration is 15:1. If a user could do only one thing on the page, the attention ratio would be 1:1. Landing pages work best when the ratio is 1:1.
Here’s a page with a 1:1 attention ratio:
There are two links on this page (they’re both in orange) but they prompt you to do the same thing.
Compare that page to this one, which has an attention ratio of 15:1. There’s too much on this page to distract the user from doing the one thing the company wants them to do: Sign up for a free trial.
Landing Page Mistake #2. You aren’t testing your landing pages
When you’re committed to testing, a beautiful thing happens: Every time you publish a new landing page, you can know it will only get better.
Why? Because through patient, statistically valid testing, your landing pages can only get better and better and better. That means your results can only get better and better and better. And that means your business can only get better and better. Like the pattern there?
This isn’t just my opinion. Split-testing landing pages was rated the most effective way to increase conversions for landing pages by the marketers surveyed for Ascend2 and WiderFunnels’ 2015 Landing Page Optimization Research Report.
Landing Page Mistake #3. You’re testing your landing pages the wrong way
Lots of marketers make this mistake. It’s so easy to see one version of a test do crazy-great for the first few days of a test. It looks like such a sure thing. And then you’ve got a client (or a partner) egging you on with “Geez – stop being so freaked out about this. Version B is obviously crushing Version A! End the test already! Stop being such a dork!”
It’s hard when you’re under pressure, but please don’t give in. Stick to the math. And the math says you gotta run that test long enough to have statistically valid results. I have seen over a dozen tests that looked like one version was an obvious winner at the beginning… and then, day by day, the winner’s lead slowly eroded. At the end, we had a tie. It’s a boring result, but would you rather be boring or base your business on a faulty test?
So please, let your tests run out their full course. That usually means at least one full week. For a more specific estimate, check a tool like Optimizely’s A/B Test Sample Size Calculator.
Want to know more about creating and split-testing landing pages in your GetResponse account? The video below will show you just about everything you need to know, including how to set up your first test.
Landing Page Mistake #4. You aren’t building your landing pages for mobile devices
You’ve heard how there’s more traffic on mobile devices than on desktops, right? So don’t build your landing pages for desktops only.
Kerry Butters wrote a whole post on how to design a landing page for mobile devices. Key takeaways from that post include:
- Keep headlines to 5 words or less
- Don’t forget to include your company logo
- Use simplicity and whitespace in your design
- Keep the form simple and the call to action button prominent
There’s even more information in the GetResponse Responsive Landing Page Guide.
Landing Page Mistake #5. People don’t understand what your page offers or what they’re supposed to do
Quick: If you put your landing page in front of someone who wasn’t familiar with it, would they be able to look at it for five seconds and then tell you:
- What’s the purpose of this landing page?
- What is it offering?
- What action does it want people to take?
- How do they take that action?
Try this test on a couple of different people. It’s even better if they’re in your target audience.
If your test subjects have trouble answering those basic questions after looking at your landing page for a few seconds, you’ve got a problem: The message of your landing page is not clear enough
This is fairly easy to fix. You’ve just got to rework the copy. Look for:
- The simplest, most powerful way to hook your visitors’ attention.
- Places you could use bullet points instead of paragraphs.
- Any paragraph that’s more than four lines.
- Any sentences you could simplify.
- Any words or phrases you could use that your audience will respond to.
- Anything you can cut.
Want to know more about how to write for landing pages? Check out the landing page ebook Peep Laja wrote for GetResponse – it’s got specifics on how to grab peoples’ attention and get them to act.
Landing Page Mistake #6. Your landing page loads too slowly
Pages that are slow to load crush conversion rates. So what’s slow to load? Anything over 2 seconds. Excerpt of the infographic “How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line” by KissMetrics:
Not sure how quickly your landing pages load? Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to find out – and to get instructions on how to fix any problems.
Also consider using the new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) markup to build your landing pages. It’s basically a simplified version of HTML. Google appears to be behind the new markup, and while it might not get you results within the next month, it’s something we all should know about. Consider adopting it sooner rather than later.
Landing Page Mistake #7. There is no image of your product on the landing page
You’re not off the hook if you’re a service business or a SAAS company either. For services – show your service being rendered. For SAAS companies – show a chart of results. And please, avoid stock photos if at all possible. They’ll hurt your credibility.
If you’re offering an ebook – show a 3D image of the ebook. There are a couple of good Fiverr gigs that can make a nice 3D cover of an ebook for you. Or use BoxShot. It’s a free online tool that will give you a decent 3D image of your ebook or report.
Want to know more? Watch Peep Laja explain how to pick the right image for your landing page in this video:
Bonus: Keep your messaging consistent between the first step in your marketing campaign and your landing page.
Don’t show people an ad that says “Start Your Business This Weekend” and then bring them to a landing page about a conference for small business owners. The messages are inconsistent. It’s especially important that the headline of your landing page matches the copy of whatever piece of marketing the user just saw.
Some conversion experts call this “keeping the scent”. Peep talks about how to keep the scent in point #5 of his GetResponse webinar, “Top 20 Landing Page Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them”.
That’s definitely not every mistake you could make on a landing page, but it covers the biggest problems and the most likely missteps.
Just to review:
- Don’t send people to your company homepage. Use landing pages.
- Set up an ongoing testing program.
- Let your tests run for as long as they need to get statistically valid results – at least one week or more.
- Your landing pages must be mobile friendly.
- The copy on your landing pages must be crystal clear.
- Your pages need to load in 2 seconds or less.
- Include an image of your product or service. Preferably a photo of a real person or product from your company, not a stock photo.
What’s your experience with landing pages? Have you had any huge wins? Share your thoughts in the comments.