Peter VanRysdam / Development / September 22nd, 2014

Landing Page Lessons from INBOUND

I came to the INBOUND conference thinking I knew all there was to know about creating landing pages. I mean, we’re talking about a page with a form. Not exactly rocket surgery. Well, thanks to Niti Shah of Hubspot, I was proven wrong.

For this post, I’m going to assume that, like me, you think you know all there is to know about landing pages. I’m also going to assume you’re wrong. After all, we recently discovered that we were missing some AdWords best practices on some of our landing pages, and it’s likely you’re missing something as well. So, here are some of the pro tips I learned for taking your landing pages to a whole new level of conversions.

Header

This one might be obvious, but make sure the landing pages matches the design of your other pages. Returning visitors will feel more comfortable giving you their info if they are confident they’re on the same site. And, while we’re on the obvious stuff, remove all the links in your header. And your footer.  Oh, and don’t forget the links to your social media accounts. You’ve already brought them to the Promised Land. Why would you want to send them somewhere else?

Now for the expert tips. Make sure the text of the headline matches the text from the call to action the user would’ve clicked on. Again, that will lead to more conversions by offering familiarity. And if the CTA worked once, it should work again. Then put a specific benefit (i.e. “Reduce Costs,” or “Get Certified”) to drive the point home.

Body

Start by reiterating the benefit. People aren’t going to read every page word for word, so there is no harm in putting it again. And on that same note, avoid dense paragraphs that will cause even less people to read the content. Instead, go with go bullet points that hit the top points. You can even bold key phrases to help people skimming the page get the point.

By Desi Mendoza
By Desi Mendoza

Always include an image. Make it vibrant and make sure it’s optimized for mobile as well. Even if it’s a screenshot of the charts and graphs you’re going to get in your free whitepaper, it helps conversions. Niti had numbers to back this up.

Form

This is the most important part of the page, so optimization is key.  Start with the CTA again at the top of the form. It makes it clear that’s what you’re filling it out for. Next, only ask for the items you need. Are you really planning to fax anything to your lead? No, so don’t ask for it. (And if you are, well – just don’t. Trust us.) Link to your privacy policy to make people feel all warm and fuzzy that they won’t get spammed. And finally, change the submit button to say something more relevant like “Download the Whitepaper.”

Split Testing

Is the form working? Great. But could it be working better? You won’t know unless you split test it. You can take either the incremental approach or a drastic one to see how changes will affect your conversion rates. If you go incremental, isolate one variable at a time so you know what is influencing the data. Just like high school science class, we need a control version and variable version.

Always make the A version the control, because that’s what Niti said to do. It’s also easy to keep track of your reporting. And finally, give the incremental changes more time to run than the drastic ones, as the smaller change might take longer to show real results.

So there you have it – some steps to more successful landing pages. We’ll have more on landing pages in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. What things have you done to impact your conversion rates? Let me know in the comments!

How-Effective-is-Your-Sites-UX

Image credit: Forest and Kim Starr

  • Chelsea Burns

    Love the comment about the Promised Land. I think we are all guilty of wanting to add links to everything.

    • Peter VanRysdam

      Way to go not adding any links to that comment. That’s the first step.

  • Christopher Burns

    That’s an interesting idea about removing the social media links. I’ve been told that some users will go to social media to validate that the product is legitimate…but if we remove that link, I guess we’re forcing them to go search for themselves?

    • Robert Berris

      We have to remember what the point of the landing page is and map that back to the KPI’s we establish. If the point of said landing page is maximizing conversions and lead generation, then links to external sites that take away from that, compete with our primary call to action.

      Presumably, we’re using more than SEO and Content to drive traffic to these landing pages, so with paid media you want to be very specific about the promise you make on the upfront and the promise you deliver on when they arrive.

    • Peter VanRysdam

      Good points by Robert. Also, we don’t have to assume all landing pages are the first touch for a lead. It may be a piece of content lower in the buying funnel.

  • Robert C Hanley

    There was another blog post (https://www.352inc.com/blog/why-you-shouldnt-ignore-messages-from-google/ ) that said google lowers the quality score on pages that dead end (landing pages w/ no nav links included) how did they justify ignoring that or did they not even address it at inbound?

    • Robert Berris

      If we’re using paid media to drive traffic, I’m less concerned with the quality score that Google would provide because I wouldn’t rely on organic search to be a primary driver. On the other hand, if were weren’t relying on paid I probably would be more concerned around the quality score.

    • Peter VanRysdam

      This might be an issue for some landing pages relying on organic traffic, but most are destinations from social or email. In those cases, the page could even be no-followed so there is no knock on the site’s rankings overall.