10 Ways To Optimize The Effectiveness of a Landing Page

Before you continue reading, please take a moment to look around this web page.  Would you call it a landing page?  Does it meet the elements of design and development ordinarily associated with landing pages?  More importantly, how does it influence your next action within this page?  You may resume reading now.

The answers to the above-mentioned questions are just some of the considerations to make when crafting a landing page.

Within the realm of internet marketing and e-commerce, landing pages are crucial to the online advertising campaign and overall Return on Investment (ROI) effort.  A landing page can be defined as a place on the World Wide Web where visitors are taken to after they click on an external link.  In order to be effective, a landing page must engage the visitor, present a valid argument and a demonstration of what is being sold or otherwise offered, and convert the visit into a more valuable interaction (i.e., filling out a signup form or completing an e-commerce transaction).

Homepages usually serve as landing pages, but they don’t necessarily have to adhere to this convention.  Some landing pages aren’t even part of a website, but it is generally recommended that they are.  Effective landing pages do a lot more than simply introducing a visitor to a website; they rather dispense with formalities and go straight to the point, so they should be designed and utilized as highly effective ROI vehicles.

A landing page should be treated as an ROI conversion module, or as the last page a prospect sees before becoming a customer.  Therefore, it is very important for web designers and developers to pay close attention to the courses of action that landing pages take customers on.

The 10 tips below are ideal for web professionals to keep in mind when designing landing pages:

1 – Concentrate on Results

The process of designing a landing page is decidedly different from that of a website.  Homepages and business websites are usually designed with an approach that is informational, creative and commercial.  Landing pages should be focused on the task at hand: getting conversions.  This means that only the very basic elements of web design should be implemented.  Clarity, branding and style should always be observed, but anything beyond those elements may become distracting to visitors.  If the intention is to get visitors to register, then a web form should be prominently displayed.  If the desired result is to establish voice contact, then a phone number should conspicuously appear on the landing page.

2 – Consider the Source

Where are your visitors coming from and how can your landing page help them?  The design and content of the landing page should be basic and general enough to get to the point, but it should also be mindful of the source of the inbound links.  For example, if a Google AdWords campaign includes placement in websites catering to a Spanish-speaking or Hispanic audience, the landing page should have adequate language options for the visitors to choose from.  Different landing pages can also be created to match different sources of each marketing campaign.

3 – Eliminate Clutter

In keeping with the goal of concentrating on results, landing page designers should keep the number of images, animations, columns, form fields, bullet points, font changes, links, and keywords down to a minimum.  Only those items that support each specific transaction should be kept on the landing page.  High conversion rates from landing pages are almost exclusively observed on designs that border on simplicity.  It’s OK for visitors to be dazzled prior to arriving at the landing page, not during the signup or purchase process.

4 – Provide Support

Some visitors may have arrived by mistake or may not have clearly understood the purpose of the link or ad they clicked on prior to arrival.  This is common with incentives and promotions such as those ubiquitous iPod Shuffle giveaways of yesteryear.  Since landing pages tend to be spartan by design, those visitors who aren’t clear about why they landed there may need some gentle guidance.  This situation calls for support links that direct perplexed visitors to pages where they can read pertinent marketing materials.  Providing a full explanation on the landing page should be avoided, as it would be too lengthy and distracting.  Typical support links take visitors to disclosure pages such as Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

5 – Optimize the Call to Action

Each landing page must include a call to action that must be clear, concise and eye-catching.  It can be preceded by a measured amount of promotional or supporting content, and it should include an offer that’s made in plain language. The call to action should be the focal point of the page, and it should be designed accordingly with contrasting elements that will set it apart.  Nothing on the call to action should amount to confusion, especially when it comes to a web registration or an e-commerce transaction.  The purposes of form fields should be explained, as well as the actions that may arise when clicking on a submission button.

6 – Go Easy on the Images

Visually appealing images are always a nice touch, but on landing pages they must be used sparingly and with a high degree of functionality.  Images and other graphics should be used as visual markers or guiding objects for visitors to find the call to action.  Large high-resolution images should be avoided, as they tend to slow down page load times.

7 – Don’t Forget About Branding

This is a good time to establish the brand and highlight branding associations of the product or service being offered.  Any positive media coverage should be linked to, and media logos should be displayed as long as clearance has been obtained to use them.  If the intended result is an e-commerce transaction, the proper logos, badges and seals that are associated with the security of payments should be clearly shown.

8 – Add Social Media Integration

The worth of a landing page can be augmented with the proper leveraging of online social networking tools such as badges, buttons, ribbons and plugins that allow visitors to comment, share or even register for services through major social media outlets like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

9 – Track the ROI

It’s easy to track down the number of successful conversions from landing pages, but tracking ROI is a bit trickier.  A simple formula that can be used to get a rough idea of ROI is [revenue – costs] / costs * 100.  The costs should not be limited to design costs and pay-per-click budgets; they should also include web hosting bills and internet access fees.

10 – Test Different Landing Pages and Check their Google Quality Score

Closely following the Google Webmaster guidelines is requisite for all facets of web design, and that includes landing pages.  This is the single best argument for ensuring that landing pages are part of a business website, as Google is more likely to assign a better Quality Score for the entire website if the landing page is designed with the above-mentioned tips in mind.  Testing different pages to gauge their response and Quality Score is a good way to determine what actually works.

Mike Spadier is the marketing manager for InMotion Hosting, a web hosting company based in Los Angeles that specializes in virtual private server solutions.

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