Would you like to see more sales and signups from your landing pages? If you’re not happy with your conversion rate, you can certainly improve your results. However, it takes a commitment to a long-term strategy to see significant results that stick.
Creating a high-converting landing page requires more than just writing some quick sales copy and publishing it on a webpage. From start to finish, creating a landing page takes research, planning, testing, adjusting, and more testing.
Optimizing a landing page to convert at a high rate requires multiple revisions sandwiched between multiple tests. Landing page optimization is an ongoing process. Even highly optimized landing pages can be further improved. Unless you have a 100% conversion rate there’s always room for improvement.
If you’re tired of minimal conversions and you’re wondering what you can do about it, you’re in the right place. This article will explain several ways you can increase your landing page conversions.
As a brief summary, to increase your conversions you need to identify opportunities for improvement and then implement the necessary changes. You can identify improvement opportunities by performing tests, which will all be explained below.
Here are X landing page tests you can run – and X changes you can make – to improve your landing page conversions.
Optimizing your landing pages to increase your conversion rate will rely on testing. Although you should hire a professional marketing agency to set up your tests, here’s a general idea of how it works.
Once you create a landing page, that landing page is considered your “control.” Then, you create copies of your control page and change 1 or 2 elements on the page – preferably just one change at a time. Then, you market those pages through ads to the same target demographics and see which pages convert better.
When you identify the highest converting page, that page becomes your “control” and you can tweak additional elements to test those changes. This process is repeated on a regular basis.
Here are 4 landing page elements you’ll want to create variations for when running your tests. Since PPC ads begin the process of conversion, that’s where you’ll want to start optimizing first.
Traffic to your landing pages will almost always come from PPC ad campaigns. There are other possible sources, but most people stick with PPC ads. Whether you’re using PPC ads or another ad source, start testing variations of your headlines and copy.
Headlines are the most important part of any ad. An effective headline will capture someone’s attention and influence them to click. The easiest way to capture attention with a headline is to promise to solve a big problem. Granted, your landing page copy will need to make good on that promise if you want conversions.
Your visitors will be heavily influenced by whatever they are exposed to right before arriving on your landing page. In other words, your PPC ads aren’t just a way to get clicks – they’re actually the beginning of the process of persuasion.
You can use your PPC ads to create a state of mind that will make visitors more perceptive to your marketing messages on your landing page.
Persuasion expert and author Robert Cialdini explains how this works, in detail, in his book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. However, he gave plenty of useful information in an interview with Forbes.
In the interview, Cialdini explained that researchers generated a higher participation rate from people by asking a question to get people thinking about how they are helpful people. When asking for help with a marketing survey, only 29% would participate. When asking a pre-suasive question, “Do you consider yourself a helpful person?” 77% of people agreed to participate.
If you’re running your own tests outside of a marketing agency, be willing to continually test ad headlines and copy. Improvement is an ongoing process that takes time.
In addition to your ad copy, your ad images (where applicable) have the potential to influence conversions. Before you start randomly testing images, read what other people have discovered to save yourself from having to reinvent the wheel.
For example, most people have learned through trial and error that proper contrast is more important than specific colors. Although, blue tends to be a good choice for a specific color scheme.
Wherever your ads display images, keep your images simple and relevant to your ad. Avoid gradients and complex graphic details that will make your image hard to see.
Your landing page design consists of the following:
There are seemingly endless variations you can create to test landing page elements. Unless you’re running a large budget marketing campaign, it’s important to start with one element at a time. For example, you might create variations of your landing page that includes all testimonials at the bottom of the page and another variation that sprinkles testimonials throughout the content.
Just like you’ll test your PPC ad headline and copy, you’ll want to test your landing page headlines and copy. Remember that people tend to scan copy rather than read it from start to finish. Because people scan, powerful, influential headlines will help your conversions.
The most important heading on your landing page is the top heading. Work on that heading first and then optimize the remaining headings.
For the most part, the changes you’ll make to your landing pages will depend on what you’re testing. However, there are 5 basic changes you can make to your landing pages that will optimize your conversions.
Distractions make it hard for visitors to know what to do next. Should they play the video or click on a link you provided in your sales copy? Or should they keep reading your sales page?
It’s important to create your landing pages to be free from distractions. You’ll probably want to create a custom page template to start with a blank slate. It seems natural to create your landing pages from an existing web page as a template. However, doing that will create multiple distractions for your visitors.
Landing pages need to be free from distractions. Distractions divert visitor attention away from your sales copy and can kill your conversion rate.
What counts as a distraction? Technically, anything that stops a visitor from reading your copy or pulls them away from the page is a distraction. Elements like:
Any and all links you insert into your sales copy on your landing page should place whatever item you’re selling into your visitor’s shopping cart. Aside from links in the footer, any other links will hurt your conversions.
Avoid linking to content in your landing page sales copy. You don’t want visitors to land on your sales page, click a link, and start wandering around your website or someone else’s website. You want visitors to stay on your sales page until they make a purchase.
Every link you publish on a sales page is one more opportunity for visitors to bounce without making a purchase. Don’t give visitors a reason to wander away from your sales page.
Navigation menus are the worst distraction for visitors on a sales page. If a visitor sees a navigation menu, they might start exploring your site instead of reading your sales copy.
You’ve probably seen landing pages with navigation, and there are exceptions. For example, navigation is okay if your landing page is a self-contained mini-website designed to provide visitors with important information. In that context, navigation is helpful.
On dynamic landing pages designed to generate sales or signups, a navigation menu will be a distraction and kill your conversions.
If you use your main web pages as a template for your landing pages, make sure to eliminate the sidebar. Sidebar content will distract visitors and if it’s clickable, they’ll end up bouncing.
No matter what the content, sidebars don’t belong on landing pages – not even if the content is related to your product. If you have so much information that you want to present it to visitors in a sidebar, your landing page is already too complicated.
With few exceptions, landing pages should be straightforward, simple, and clean. No navigation, no non-sale-related links, and no sidebar content.
Do you know the difference between a content writer and a copywriter?
If you’ve hired a content writer to write your landing page sales copy, you’ve hired a professional in the wrong industry. You need a copywriter, not a content writer. While both types of writers can be highly skilled, they’re entirely different professions.
Get your landing page copy written by a professional copywriter. It’s important to find a copywriter and not a blogger or content writer. Although content writers and bloggers can be phenomenal writers, high-level writing skills can actually prevent someone from writing effective sales copy.
Effective sales copy requires speaking directly to a well-defined target market using persuasive copywriting techniques that often defy grammar, punctuation, and other writing ‘rules.’
Say you’re an SEO firm selling an SEO Mastery Course that teaches entrepreneurs how to get high-level results. Your sales copy will directly influence your conversion rate and it won’t be based on perfect grammar.
You could have a landing page with well-written copy, perfect grammar and punctuation, and your conversions might still be low. Why? Good sales copy isn’t defined by the same standards as a good blog article. In fact, effective sales copy often uses incomplete sentences, incorrect punctuation, and a conversational tone that would make any English teacher whip out a red pen.
The point with sales copy isn’t to write perfect copy – it’s to persuade the reader to take a specific action. That often requires breaking the rules of grammar, punctuation, and style.
“Our SEO Mastery Course will show you how to get big results. Our expert SEO professionals will teach you how to increase your ranking in the search engines using several powerful techniques not available to the public.”
“If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ve learned a little SEO, but it’s not enough. You want agency-level results without the price tag. You don’t mind doing the work – if only you knew the secrets.
Imagine learning 2 closely-guarded SEO techniques that will make leads pour in faster than you can follow-up with. Imagine generating instant sales from leads who have no prior contact with your brand. Marketing pros do it all the time and you can, too.
When you take our SEO Mastery Course, you’ll learn some of the top SEO secrets marketing gurus keep from even their top students. When you implement these strategies, you’ll get breakthrough results you never thought possible.”
Both versions of copy are well-written, but the copywriter’s version is specifically written to persuade the reader to buy the SEO Mastery Course.
The biggest difference is in the style and tone. Content writers are trained to create informative, factual, well-researched copy. Copywriters create persuasive copy using specific techniques to influence the reader.
If you’re on a budget, work with a marketing agency to get access to copywriters. If that’s out of your budget, start poking around online to find copywriters for hire.
When you find a possible copywriter, ask to see a portfolio, and if possible, e the stats for how well their copy performs. Good copywriters get paid royalties for their work. They should be able to provide statistics on how well their copy has performed for past clients. If a copywriter doesn’t know how well their copy performs, keep looking for someone who can provide you with that information.
Good typography is critical for conversions. Although, with typography, less is more. You don’t want visitors to notice your typography – you want all typography to blend into the experience of reading your sales page or watching your video.
Simplify your typography as much as possible. Use a web-safe font face, preferably Arial or Times New Roman. Don’t use background colors other than white or off-white with black or dark gray main text. It’s okay to use colors in your copy and as headings. However, avoid the high-contrast color schemes that use black or dark backgrounds with light text.
If you really want to dive into the art of persuasion using typography, read up on the 2012 experiment run by Errol Morris published in the New York Times. In the experiment, 40,000 readers read a passage from a book and were asked if they agreed with the passage by stating ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The experiment utilized 6 different typefaces and determined that:
Typography can be a tedious element to optimize, but if you have the time and dedication it’s worth the effort.
Simplifying your landing page design and colors, and reducing the number of elements used will support an increase in conversions. Ideally, your landing pages should be as plain as possible – almost boring in terms of design. Plain or ugly landing pages convert better than fancy landing pages.
Why do ugly sites convert more than fancy sites? Technically, it’s because plain and ugly sites contain little to no distractions and just offer the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the content. In other words, a website’s value is more accessible on an ugly site than a fancy site. There’s no eye candy, which is perfect for conversions.
When you create plain or ‘ugly’ landing pages, you’re stripping away all the bells and whistles and presenting pure content. It’s a natural way to prevent yourself from creating unnecessary barriers to the sale.
Another element that might seem strange is using large ‘buy’ buttons. At first, it might seem cheesy and spammy to use huge ‘buy’ buttons that take up most of the viewport. However, just like the ugly site phenomenon, large ‘buy’ buttons increase conversions.
If you’re not sure about using large ‘buy’ buttons, you can always split test your buttons against your highest converting page.
Optimizing your marketing strategy is the final component required to increase your landing page conversions. Here are 4 changes you can make to your marketing strategy to get better results.
How well do you know your market? How long has it been since you researched your market? Have you researched your market or are you guessing?
Finding your target market is a lot like generating a keyword list for SEO; both require extensive research and your opinion might not be accurate. For example, many business owners make the mistake of thinking they are their own target market. So, they craft marketing messages that appeal to them. In reality, their main market is usually an entirely different demographic.
No matter what your product is, only research can pinpoint your target market. Even when your market seems obvious, you can always go deeper. For example, if you sell socks, your obvious market is everyone. However, you won’t sell many socks marketing to everyone with a general message. Even when you sell a product as universal as socks, you still need to define a smaller group of people so you can craft specific, targeted messages to the group.
Market research will open the door for you to discover more about your market than you can gather from your own thoughts. With in-depth market research, you can discover multiple sub-niches that are also individual markets you can target with even more detailed and tailored marketing messages.
Most products and services have more than one target market. However, some markets are more profitable than others. Still, if you can target multiple niche segments of your market, you’ll increase conversions.
Specific marketing messages tailored for your market segments will increase conversions. Here’s how that works. Say you’re selling frozen black bean burritos. You can market your burritos to people who love black bean burritos and you’ll generate decent conversions.
You can also market your frozen black bean. burritos to people who don’t have time to cook and you’ll probably get more sales – even from people who aren’t too thrilled about black beans. Why? When marketing to that segment, the product is convenience. When marketing to burrito lovers, the product is the black bean burrito.
This is where having a professional copywriter will help you the most. They’ll know exactly how to write unique sales copy that reaches multiple market segments.
You’ll get landing page conversions when your marketing message is effective. To be effective, your marketing message needs to be targeted. Sales and conversions will increase as your marketing message more specifically targets your market. However, it’s important that you direct your marketing message to a specific target market rather than creating a general marketing message.
The world’s top A-list copywriters get results because they write sales copy that targets specific markets. They’ve perfected their craft over many years and often earn tens of thousands of dollars – plus royalties – for writing just a few paragraphs.
For example, the late copywriting master Dan Kennedy was routinely hired by large corporations to see if his copy could outperform the company’s control piece. When Kennedy was allowed to run with his ideas, his copy outperformed the company’s control by a landslide.
However, Kennedy ran into the same problem with nearly every company that contracted him. He would go into a marketing meeting and people would toss out random advertising ideas based on the product’s features. If the company was selling a perfume, they’d toss out creative ideas for a product name, what colors to use, how to package the product, and what kind of music to put in the ad.
Nobody in the marketing meetings would talk about the target market.
In these meetings, Kennedy would redirect the conversation and get people talking about the target rather than the product.
Thinking of the target is the only way you’ll develop effective marketing messages. Effective copy speaks directly to the target rather than about the product.
The difference between copy that speaks to a target and copy that talks about the product is a small, yet critical distinction. Here’s a simple example:
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The difference between these two marketing messages is huge. The first message that simply discusses the product’s features is not a targeted message and won’t be that effective. There will always be some people who will buy items without targeted messaging, but it’s a small number.
The second message speaks directly to a target market consisting of busy people who don’t have time to make coffee in the morning, but can’t function without their coffee. This isn’t the most specific target possible, but it’s targeted enough to give you an idea of what specific targeting looks like.
Once your landing pages contain professionally-written, targeted sales copy, there’s one more step to ensure success. Your traffic source needs to be highly targeted as well.
It’s easy to manipulate people into clicking on PPC ads. However, that tactic will only decrease your landing page conversions.
Your PPC ads create an expectation for what the content will be your landing page. When people click on your advertisement, they expect the target page to be relevant to the ad. If the content doesn’t deliver on the promise in your ad, or if the content was hyped up in the ad, your visitors will bounce.
Additionally, if you’re running PPC ads to random demographics, you’re wasting your marketing budget. There are people who click on ads that look casually interesting even if they’re not part of that market.
The solution is to first work on defining your target market’s demographics. Then, optimize your PPC ads to be displayed for your target market. Ultimately, you’ll increase your landing page conversions when you target the right people with relevant and influential messages.
Although there are separate components, it’s all one continuous experience, from your PPC ad to your landing page.
You can’t increase landing page conversions by only optimizing your landing page. Increasing conversions is a trifecta that includes optimizing your landing page, your PPC ads, and your target demographics.
The tips and strategies outlined in this article will help you optimize your PPC ads and landing pages to generate higher conversion rates. However, your ability to get conversions will always hinge on how well you know – and target – your market.
Don’t skip market research, and don’t confuse market research with checking out keywords using Google Analytics. Market research is a fundamental aspect of marketing that has been somewhat lost in the DIY marketing revolution of the last decade or so.
It’s understandable if you’re on a tight budget and you can’t afford to pay a research firm for information on your target market. However, not having access to that information will hold you back. However, there are things you can do on your own to discover more about your market.
Are your conversions lacking? Does DIY marketing sound too exhausting? Get more conversions effortlessly by partnering with PPC.co. We’ll help you create a powerful PPC ad campaign that reaches your most profitable target market and we’ll create landing pages with professionally-written copy that sells.