Landing page creation is as much an art as it is a science. You want things to look good, but you also want your content to work for you. A landing page that looks pretty – but doesn’t bring you the results you want – isn’t a good landing page at all!
It’s true that a well-optimized landing page can significantly increase the success of your inbound marketing campaigns. But that said, most brands make a number of critical landing page mistakes that end up killing their conversions. In fact, research from Econsultancy suggests that only 22% of brands are satisfied with their landing page conversion rates – but few take the necessary steps to optimize them more effectively.
If you’re in this position, it’s time to stop whining about the results you should be getting and start taking action to improve your landing pages. Here’s how to get started:
Landing Page Mistakes to Fix ASAP
It seems as if creating a landing page would be relatively straightforward. You tell people what you want them to do, and then give them a way to do it. Boom – instant conversions!
Of course, anybody who’s ever run a landing page CRO program knows that things are rarely that easy. The key to conversion success, therefore, lies in your ability to identify the following mistakes on your site and correct them before they have a chance to mess up your website’s overall performance.
Your Call-to-Action Doesn’t Stand Out
Your call-to-action is arguably the most important element on your landing page. If your visitors can’t immediately tell what they’re supposed to do upon visiting your landing page, they’ll simply hit the back button and never return.
But despite its obvious importance, 53% of websites still don’t have a call-to-action that stands out to visitors within three seconds. Here are some reasons that your call-to-action isn’t getting the attention it needs:
- You don’t have a call-to-action on your landing page in the first place.
- Your call-to-action is below the fold (although there are exceptions for certain long-form landing pages), or otherwise not as visible as it should be.
- The colors of your call-to-action are too similar to other elements on your website, preventing it from standing out.
- Your call-to-action is too generic to inspire action (for example, “Click Here” or “Buy Now”).
Your call-to-action really needs to stand out to get the attention of your visitors. Make it as distinctive as possible to give your conversions a boost, and consider testing different alternative to see which combination of variables results in the best performance.
You’re Using Images Poorly
If you’ve spent any amount of time online, you’ve probably read extensive studies emphasizing the importance of images. However, while great images can improve your user experience and improve the aesthetic appeal of your website, some pictures have the potential to distract visitors and damage your brand.
Here are a few common mistakes you’ll want to watch out for when selecting images for your landing pages:
- Using stock photos or other subpar images
- Using photos that aren’t relevant to your page
- Using large photos that draw attention away from the call-to-action
As an example, consider that your visitors’ natural tendency is to follow the line of sight provided by any images of faces on your website. If you’ve included a picture of a smiling woman on your landing page, but her gaze is pointed away from your call-to-action, your readers’ attention will be naturally drawn away as well.
Make it a point to choose images that support the goals of your landing page. Original images of people interacting with your product, for example, are much more likely to generate conversions than stock photography. It doesn’t take much to create great product images these days – spend a few hours messing around with your smartphone camera or make a small investment in a product photographer to get the images that’ll best support your site’s CRO goals.
Your Landing Page is an Inappropriate Length
The conventional wisdom on the subject is that landing pages need to as short as possible. This rule of thumb usually holds up pretty well, as people often become overwhelmed reading large blocks of text – choosing instead to leave the site before making a purchase.
However, you should take this – along with any other rule of thumb – with a grain of salt. While experts like Tim Ash may argue that landing page copy should generally be under 200 words, it’s up to you to determine what’s appropriate for your audience, the product you’re selling and the price point you’re charging.
While shorter landing pages tend to convert better, some landing pages require more extensive information to convert leads – especially those selling bigger ticket items. According to Neil Patel, the ideal length of your landing page will generally be correlated with your sales price, because people usually want a lot more information before making a large purchase.
Of course, a number of different variables will come into play in terms of dictating page length, so you’ll want to set aside plenty of time for split-testing to determine your ideal word count.
You’re Failing to Maintain Relevancy Between Ads and Landing Pages
Have you ever clicked on a PPC ad, thinking you’ll get one thing and then being redirect to a page with entirely different information? Chances are you were pretty frustrated – so don’t leave your readers in the same boat!
You need to keep promises you made to your visitors while using media buys or PPC to drive traffic to your landing page. And the way that you do that is by making sure that the message between your ads and your landing pages is as consistent as possible.
Unfortunately, lack of consistency is a big mistake that even large brands make. In his book on landing page optimization, Tim Ash pointed to an example where Consumer Reports lost potential leads by advertising free reports in a PPC ad, but linked to a landing page for generating leads.
While the mistake was probably unintentionally overlooked, it caused the company to lose trust with customers and likely cost potential leads. Any of the following tips could have helped them to maintain consistency:
- Use the same keywords in your ads and landing pages. A study from MecLabs found that one brand was able to increase its lead generation rate by 144% by using the same keywords on landing pages and ads. This will also likely have a positive impact on the quality scores associated with your PPC campaigns.
- Tell visitors what to expect. Your advertisement needs to clearly communicate the goal of your landing page. If, for example, you’re using your landing page to get visitors to create free accounts on your website, then that target goal needs to be emphasized in your ads.
- Use a uniform message. Finally, make sure that the point you’re trying to get across on all ads and landing pages is as consistent as possible. Don’t confuse your prospects by giving them one message in one place, and an entirely different one in another.
When it comes down to it, consistency is the key to improving your brand recognition and, correspondingly, increasing conversions. Communicating the same message across all mediums – especially those that link to your landing pages – will go a long way towards improving your results.
Your Page Load Times are Too High
Modern Internet users very impatient – you’ve got to deliver content to them quickly if you want them to convert. Recently, Moz conducted a study that found that landing page conversions can be increased by 14% by reducing the load time of landing pages from 5 seconds to 2 seconds. Similar research from Forrester shows that 47% of visitors expect landing pages to load in two seconds or less, making it a good idea to reduce them even further.
Your conversions may be seriously suffering if your landing page is taking too long to load. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to speed things up…
The best way to reduce your landing page load time is by reducing HTTP requests. According to Yahoo, about 80% of web page loading time is due to downloading images, scripts and other elements on your page. Use CSS, rather than embedded images, whenever possible, and minimize the number of images and other elements on your page overall for best results.
You’re Losing Traffic to Other Pages
The goal of every landing page is to get your visitors to convert. So then, it follows that you won’t be able to convert these visitors if they leave your landing page by clicking a link to another page on your own site or to an external site.
The clear solution to this mistake is to remove any unnecessary links on your landing page. You should never have ads to any other site on your target landing page, but you may also want to take things a step further by removing your navigation menu from your landing pages. A/B testing experiments conducted by HubSpot have determined that taking this step can boost conversion rates by up to 28%.
Beyond this, one of the most overlooked traffic sinks for most landing pages is the attribution links on the bottom of the page that refers back to the theme designer or website design company that created your site. While these links aren’t as visible as your navigation bar or contextual links, they can still cost conversions. You may need to pay a premium to have these links removed, but doing so will be worth the cost if it boosts your conversion rates.
Your Formatting is Terrible
Fixing formatting problems is one of the easiest things that you can do to improve your user experience and overall conversion rate. Start with the following steps to help improve your landing page:
- Your font selection matters! Apart from removing comic sans from your site (and, let’s face it, from the world entirely), one of the most important things you can do is to make sure your text is as crisp and consistent as possible. Your spacing should be uniform and the same easy-to-read font should be used throughout the page.
- Organize your copy with headers, sub-headers, bullet points, numbered bullet points and other formatting features so that readers can easily follow your copy.
- Keep your colors simple. Your landing page isn’t the place for your black background, bright pink text Geocities throwback. Unless you have a truly compelling reason not to, stick with black text on a white background for clarity.
You Aren’t Optimized for Mobile
In 2014, mobile traffic exceeded desktop for the first time in history, so it’s no surprise that industry analysts all agree that optimizing for mobile will be more important than ever before for the years to come. But despite this, more than nine out of ten small business websites still aren’t optimized for mobile traffic. This is one of the reasons that responsive design has become so important.
To determine how well your site functions on mobile devices, test your landing pages on different device emulators. Check to see if all of your elements are organized properly, but also determine whether or not users can interact easily with your pages. If they can’t, there’s no way you’re going to meet your conversion goals.
As you’re doing your testing, make sure that any shopping cart applications, email management solutions or other interactive elements you’re using work seamlessly with mobile devices. The last thing you want is to have visitors turned away because you forgot to turn off a pop-up that makes mobile users unable to access your site’s content!
You’re Offering the Same Incentives as Your Competitors
Most business owners know that they need to differentiate themselves from their competitors if they want to be successful. So why is it that you turn around, and these business owners are following the exact same strategy as their competitors? If a dozen different companies are all offering the same bonus ebook to potential buyers, it’s no wonder their landing page conversions aren’t meeting expectations!
As a general rule, customers are more willing to work with brands that offer something unique or that offer something of a higher perceived value. If all of your competitors are offering a free consultation, think outside the box and come up with a more interesting offer. Your lead generation and conversion rates will be much higher if your customers realize that you’re offering something that’ll give them a bigger bang for their buck and that they won’t find elsewhere.
You’re Targeting the Wrong Leads
Finally, watch out for the trap of trying to capture as many leads as you possibly can. More leads might seem like it’ll result in more conversions, but there are a few reasons that this mindset can be a problem:
- When you target everybody, you resonate with nobody. Having a more clearly defined pitch makes you more irresistible to the people who actually need – and are likely to buy – your products or services.
- If you’re buying leads (which you really shouldn’t be at this point), you’ll wind up wasting money that would be better spent elsewhere.
- Targeting everybody lures in “tire kickers” who will claim your free incentives and waste your time before disappearing without making a purchase. Designing your landing pages to filter out these users saves everybody the hassle and the headache of dealing with these low-quality leads.
One area where companies fall into this trap is giving away a teaser product for free. While you’ll probably get plenty of attention for doing so, this visibility won’t come from the right people. You’re wasting your time – and theirs.
Lately, some companies have been experimenting with the idea of requiring potential leads to pay a small fee at the start of the conversion process – say, to purchase a white paper or as a deposit on an in-person consultation. Not only does this force prospects to put their money where their mouths are, it forms a stronger relationship between buyer and seller. Overall landing page conversion rates may be lower, but the long-term sales that result may actually be higher.
Think carefully about your ideal leads before structuring your landing page. Who are your ideal customers? How are you reaching them specifically, versus the public at large? Make sure that your landing pages is tailored to their needs, rather than trying to appeal to the masses.
Start Fixing Problems With Your Landing Page Today
Your conversion rates depend on your ability to provide a stellar user experience, convey a clear message and deliver a strong call-to-action. Unfortunately, since there are many different variables that can affect conversion rates, brands often neglect to make even the simplest of changes that could boost their overall sales and leads.
If you don’t feel confident making these changes on your own, look to a program like LeadPages or Unbounce. These and other tools can help you to quickly build and test landing pages based on proven templates – even if you don’t know a line of HTML.
With these tools – and all the tips shared above – there’s really no reason to let your landing pages suffer. Stop them from sucking by taking action to improve your landing pages today!
Are you guilty of any of these landing page mistakes? Share your experiences – as well as how you improved your results – in the comments below!