Here is your Landing Page Inspection List
- Using audio and background music
- Working with testimonials
- Verifying your trust elements
- Crafting your headings
- Explaining any jargon
- Incorporating urgent language
- Making sure the price is right
- Conducting a focus group
- Making your landing page different from a home page
- Placing critical information above the fold
From creating our own landing pages and working with others to develop theirs, we’ve identified several factors that commonly hinder conversions. In no particular order, we include ten questions you can ask about your page to identify potential trouble areas on your site.
Keep in mind that we base our advice and tips on personal experience. You don’t have to spend a long time online to find experts that give different advice than you find here. Why? Because a lot of landing pages are a bit of a gray area more art than science, in other words, and the marketing strategies used for one demographic doesn’t necessarily transfer to another. The best-case scenario is that you combine all the advice you see and then make your own ten-point inspection list. To get you started, the following sections describe our ten-point inspection list.
More and more landing page developers opt to use some form of audio greeting and background music. Are these effective? Well, that depends. Background music and sounds can be used effectively on some sites to get more feeling into it. This music can be an appeal to emotion; for example, using rock guitar riffs for a landing page selling snowboards or the sounds of ocean waves and seagulls when selling seaside condos. You can also use audio greetings as an appeal to trust by familiarizing yourself to the visitor.
All audio content really can go either way, though. Some demographics typically don’t warm up to audio content as others do. Repetitive content you’re forced to listen to every time you go to a landing page can be disastrous. If you use audio content, test whether it helps or hinders your conversions. One way to test whether your audio content works is to set up a focus group and get honest feedback. Another way is to split-test — use one landing page with sounds and music and leave the other without. Use your tracking software to determine the impact the audio content has.
With that, if you’re running a landing page and want return customers and visitors, audio content can grow tiresome fast. Visitors can get sick of your catchy tunes or peppy greeting if they have to listen to it over and over. If you want that return business, be careful with redundant audio.
No doubt testimonials can have a huge impact on making visitors feel more secure about you and your product. However, split-testing on some client sites shows that there may be a limit to the number of testimonials that can be used effectively. Believe it or not, adding too many testimonials may actually decrease conversions. Who knows why this is — online shoppers are a fickle bunch. Assuming some testimonials help, just how many are too many? The only way to know for sure is to perform a split-test.
To make things even more complicated, you also have to consider the type of testimonial. The language used in the testimonial needs to appeal to your demographic. The best way is usually collecting many testimonials and then testing them. Sometimes a strategy of keeping a catalog of testimonials and then rotating them to make the site appear fresh works best.
One last thin, on testimonials: Are they believable? Getting your mom to write a glowing review on your product may not carry the sale or build trust, not to mention fake testimonials raise some serious ethical questions. Testimonials need to be genuine and accurately reflect your demographic/ As much as possible, make them specific; for example; include a picture, a full name, and a general location of the person in the testimonial – not just the initials or other minimal content. You don’t want to appear as if you’ve been creating your own testimonials
Conversion rates suffer if your trust elements aren’t in place. Trust elements are those features used on a landing page that let the visitors know that you’re on the up and up. This may include logos from professional affiliations, testimonials, and even a clear Return Policy. Trust elements make all the difference. Would you buy products or services online if you weren’t sure that the site was legit and associated with established secure sites? Not convinced? Run a split-test that features one landing page with trust elements and one without. You may be surprised. (See Chapter 12 for more information on split-testing.)
We spend countless hours researching, testing, writing, and rewriting headings because they’re the first thing most visitors read when they arrive at your site. If the heading isn’t working, the rest doesn’t matter. When you inspect your landing page for trouble spots, pay close attention to those headings. The good news is that you can go to plenty of places to get inspiration for your headings. Many Web sites, such as Yahoo.com or CNN.com, use great teaser headings to get visitors to click. Read through a few of their news of the day headings. These headings encourage you to click and read the entire article. Check them out.
If you use a pay per click (PPC) campaign, consider matching the language of your ad to the language of your headings. This goes a long way in ensuring visitors that they’ve landed on the right page. For instance, if your ad includes World’s Best Cat Litter, you may find that having cat litter in the heading really helps. Visitors know that they’ve found the site they wanted right away.
Landing pages and technology have a language all their own. We’ve seen headings, such as You’re at This Page because of PPC Advertising. What? If you use a term in your writing, you need to explain the term, and if you have to explain a term, you’re likely not speaking your demographics’ language. Some developers lose track of their audience and speak in technical terms and jargon, which decreases your conversions.
A little bit of urgency goes a long way, such as Buy Now and Get a Second Free, or Order Now and Receive Free Shipping. Creating a realistic sense of urgency really helps the conversions. When you inspect your landing page, make sure you use urgent elements.
However, you need to walk a fine line here. If visitors feel rushed to the sale or sense that your calls for urgency aren’t genuine, this urgent language can reduce conversions. For example, Order before Midnight, or the Price Goes Up and Buy Now, Only Two Left may cause visitors to leave your site without a conversion. Keep your calls to urgency genuine, because if not, they can actually decrease conversions.
Price is a big one when you inspect your site. Many landing page developers simply pull a price out of the air and stick with it. Maybe your conversion problems can be traced directly to your listed price. For instance, should your price be $29.95 or $39.95?
Pricing is never random; test to see where customers are comfortable. If your price is too low, your visitors may not perceive value; but if your price is too high, they’ll drift to another site. Two methods to price a product effectively include feedback from focus groups and split-testing.
inspecting your page is one thing, but having ethers inspect your page is quite another. Focus groups provide feedback that you may not otherwise get. Focus groups don’t need to be elaborate, simply get 8-15 people together in the same room and listen to their feedback. We can’t stress enough the benefits of using a focus group. Ideally, you get together a focus group before you release your landing page to work out the kinks and then again after your site’s been up and running for some time.
You may be tempted to make your landing page more like a home page. Keep clear the distinction between the differences between a landing page and the home page. A home page is the introductory page to an entire Web site and typically has many elements and many pages from which you can navigate. A landing page doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) all things to all people; it’s more focused and dedicated to the purpose of conversions. With your landing page, remove all distracting or unneeded elements because distractions kill conversions. Remember, streamline your landing page to make conversions; remove elements that don’t flow logically to the conversion page. Keep your message focused on the conversion goal always in mind.
Last but not least is fold talk . Conversions are lost when critical information is below the fold, which is the area visitors are most likely going to read and explore Every landing page developer needs to get the information in the fold right. Every area in the fold is prime real estate, the heading, and the content chunks are all critical to keeping your visitors on the page.
You may want to test many other elements, such as checkouts, image placements, language used, colors, fonts, and more, when you inspect your landing page. All these elements need to be tested by you but also with split-testing and focus groups. Inspecting and updating your landing page often relies on the quality of the testing procedures you use.