So, you’ve created an awesome advertising campaign for your business or product.
Your ads are turning heads, your website is popping up on search results, and your social media presence is influencing clicks.
You have major traffic coming on to your landing page. But, there seems to be a jam. Your visitors are facing some roadblocks keeping them from becoming leads.
Feel like you need to destroy your landing page and start from scratch?
Consider just making a few renovations on your landing page to convince your Web visitors that it’s a place they want to stay on and explore.
Just running some tests by making minor changes to landing-page variables such as imagery, color scheme, and even words can generate major conversions. And just a little bit of conversion can go a long way.
Take Wishpond’s example.
“Let’s say you’re an online retailer with 15,000 monthly site-visits. Your customers are spending, on average, $35 each time they buy. If your online site saw a conversion rate increase of 1% over that month, you’d see a $5,250 increase in revenue.”
But, why stop there? You want to keep testing until you’ve reached your conversion goals. Then, come up with higher goals. And test some more.
So, let’s start testing. Here are some points to consider when building or tweaking landing pages.
1. Make a Great First Impression
Studies show that Web users are picky bunch. They devote very little time to deciding whether to stick around on your landing page – around three to eight seconds.
In this time, they subconsciously answer questions such as
- Is this site relevant to the link I clicked?
- Is it visually appealing?
- Is it worth my time?
Assuming your link sent them to your right landing page, let’s get started with visuals.
The first thing that will capture your Web traffic’s attention will be the main image. So, it’s pretty important to have one.
You’ve heard the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, it’s probably worth much more than that because an image can express ideas better than any text.
In 2003, Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan conducted a study while working with a South African bank that sent people letters offering short-term loans.
He varied certain factors among the letters such as interest rates and whether to include an image on the corner of the letter.
The study revealed that including an image of a smiling woman “had as much impact on the response rate as dropping the interest rate by four percentage points.”
As great as that move was, however, a picture of a smiling woman won’t win over every visitor.
Frame Your Landing Page for Your Unique Visitors
You’ll have to showcase an image that resonates with your target market: Something that makes them see your business as friendly, trustworthy and reliable.
You can figure this out by testing different images on your landing page and seeing which ones produce the largest conversion rates.
That’s the magic of A/B testing. Something as easy as using one image instead of another can create more customers.
Most cases, however, show that photos of real people rather than stock or model photos increase conversions, often by 50 percent.
It may be because “images of people communicate trust better than any other image can.” We also respond more emotionally to images of people as apposed to text or random images.
People Power Put to the Test
- Media Art, an e-commerce company, increased conversions by about 95 percent when images of paintings on its control landing page were swapped for images of the artists who made them.
- Brookdale Living, which offers community-living options for senior citizens, increased conversions by 3.92 percent and gained $106,000 in additional revenue after conducting a simple test. Brookdale pitted a control page with no image against one with an image of a smiling resident and one with a video featuring residents. The one with the single image produced the most conversions.
- Harrington Movers ran a test using a generic stock photo, a photo of the smiling moving crew and a photo of the company truck. The crew came out on top with a conversion rate of 45.5 percent.
Keep It Pretty … Sometimes
Much research suggests that images of attractive people convert more than images of non-attractive people. Studies even indicate that attractive people are judged to be more intelligent, charismatic and successful than everyone else.
But, as I will emphasize throughout this article, there is no sure-fire formula in the world of Conversion Rate Optimization.
When Pretty Didn’t Cut It
T-Mobile once featured images of model-spokesperson Catherine Zeta Jones throughout their website.
In 2009, UIE studied the company’s Web traffic and found that many users became irritated after seeing several photos of Jones, but not enough photos that were descriptive of T-mobile’s products.
One older shopper was specifically searching for a phone with large buttons. “She [Jones] is a very pretty woman,” the shopper said. “I just wish I could see her buttons.”
However, it’s important to note that when these companies successfully used images of people, those pictures were relevant to their target markets.
In order to find the best image for your landing page, you must know your visitors as best you can.
So, do some research. Figure out which pictures will frame your business as friendly, trustworthy and awesome to your Web visitors.
2. Use The Right Colors
Another great way to gain your viewers’ attentions and make them feel comfortable on your landing page is by using the right color scheme.
When used correctly, color can elicit desired emotions and even reactions. Thus, mastering the use of color is essential, not just for designers, but for marketers as well.
According to a peer-reviewed article published on the scholarly journal “Management Decision,” mangers can “use color to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and reduce perception of waiting time among others.”
The same article concluded that it takes a customer about 90 seconds to form an opinion about a product. 62-90 percent of that interaction is determined by color.
But, why is color so influential?
The field dedicated to answering this question is called color psychology and knowing a bit about it can lead to golden conversion rates.
Here’s the gist: Seeing color affects a region of our brain called the hypothalamus, causing it to shoot signals that eventually reach our thyroid glands. These glands affect mood, emotions and behavior.
But, before you begin playing with the color pallet, it’s important to ask yourself some questions.
What emotions and perceptions do I want my target market to associate with my business?
Try making a list of answers. Then, explore how you can accomplish your goals with the colors at your disposal. Here is something to get you thinking about color.
Colors and their Meanings
- Blue is a calm color that’s linked to trust, loyalty and sincerity.
Side Note: Some studies suggest blue should not be used with anything to do with food as the color is linked to appetite suppression. In fact, dieticians have used blue plates to prevent people from overeating. The reasoning could lie in our evolutionary make up. With the exception of blueberries and blue corn, there are not many naturally occurring blue foods out there. So, our brain could associate blue with something not safe for consumption.
- Green is the easiest color for our eyes to process. It’s associated with health, restoration, environmentalism and creativity.
- Red is known to quicken the heart rate, seemingly making time go faster than it actually is. It represents urgency and is linked to strength, energy and excitement.
- Pink is generally seen as a romantic color that’s associated with warmth, love and sexuality.
- Purple is linked to luxury, quality and truth.
- Black is associated with sophistication, luxury and sleekness. Consider the color scheme on the Web pages for high-rolling companies like Lamborghini and Louis Vuitton.
Side Note: Black is also associated with death and mourning. These subjects may or may not fit well with your target market.
- Orange represents competition and excitement. Many sports teams such as the Denver Broncos use it heavily on their website and gear. Orange is also linked to affordability. Think about the Big Lots logo.
- Yellow is an attention-grabbing color. Think about wet-floor signs. It’s also associated with happiness and fun, according to a report by Business Insider.
You can also explore various color combinations by using a color wheel.
Just remember: It’s not what you think looks nice. It’s what your customers know looks nice.
Colors and Contrast
An important factor to consider when testing color schemes is contrast.
Contrast promotes a user-friendly Web experience, and it enhances readability. For example, letters are most easily read when they are placed on a background with plenty of contrast. Think black letters on a white piece of paper.
And trust me, the text on your page matters.
3. Make Your Copy Count
The best way to use copy to your advantage is by clearly, and quickly communicating to your visitors that you’re offering something valuable that meets their specific needs and wants.
Copy can be strategically used at certain points of your landing page such as the USP and CTA.
USP (Unique Selling Point): This is what makes your business and product stand out from the competition. It can be illustrated on a header and backed up by a short list of benefits.
CTA (Call-to-Action) button: This is the button that users click on in order to become leads by filling out forms with their information. Users fill out these forms for various reason. They include the following
- Starting free trials
- Subscribing to newsletters
- Making appointments
- Placing orders
Tips for Good Copy
- Make it Clear. Your visitors should know exactly what they are being offered.
Example of Clear Cut Copy: CitiCliq, a company that designs web pages for businesses, tested a number of different phrases to use as a header on their landing page. The clearest one produced the most conversions. It read, “Create a Web Page for Your Business.”
- Make it short. Your visitors are not going to read every word. They’re looking for the words that hook them and convince them you have what they are looking for. No more than five words is usually ideal.
- Start sentences and phrases with verbs.
- Speak in a language that is consistent with that of your target market.
- Don’t tell people what to do. Tell them what you can do for them.
What do you think of these phrases? Which do you prefer?
- “Get Access to Leads” Vs. “Order now”
- “Get the Time Slot You Want.” Vs. “Book an Appointment”
Notice that verbs like “Order” and “Book” suggest a demand, while words such as “Get” imply that you’ll be receiving something.
Even replacing a word can work
Matchoffice.com saw a 14.79 percent increase in conversions by running a test that switched the phrase, “Order Information and Prices” with “Get Information and Prices.”
Counter verve and Unbounce ran a test on a PPC’s landing page by switching the word “your” to “my” in the phrase, “Start Your Free 30-Day Trial.” The result was a 90 percent increase in conversions.
Keep in mind; however, these are only suggestions to get you brainstorming about the kinds of tests you may want to run.
Remember I said, keep it short? Well, some companies saw results by going against that rule.
The Long form
WriteWork.com, a subscription-based educational website for college students, ran a test by switching their control CTA button labeled “Create My Account” with “Create My Account and Get Started.” The company earned a 31.03 percent increase in conversions.
It’s important to note, however, that WriteWork.com’s target market analysis indicated most people who sign up did so when they were eager to get their writing process started immediately.
Making Your CTA Buttons Stand Out
- CTA buttons need to capture attention, so color-coating them with a hue that contrasts with the color scheme of the Web page, while still fitting with the overall design, may help. Green Vs. Red: Performable, a marketing automation company, increased conversions by 21 percent just by changing the color of the CTA button from green to red.
- Try surrounding your CTA in white space. This would devoid the button of anything interesting around it causing it to stand out.
- Make the button large enough to be seen, but not so large that it drives attention from other key elements on your page such as the main image and the USP.
4. Let Them Know What Your Happy Customers are Saying
Testimonials and customer reviews are becoming increasingly important factors in CRO. Why?
People want to know what others think about your product or service before they invest in you.
Testimonials can also add personality and trustworthiness to your business, when they come from real and reliable individuals. With that said, make a real testimonial seem as real as possible.
Tips on Keeping it Real
- Include the author’s name and, if applicable, title.
- Include a picture.
- Don’t accept over-the-top testimonials as these may seem “too good to be true” and raise speculation.
- Make sure they specifically explain how your business or product helped.
Before choosing whose testimonial to feature on your landing page, ask yourself this question. Whom does my target market really trust the most?
Is it …
- An expert in your field?
- The CEO of your company?
- A typical customer?
- Or someone else?
The answer to that question, like so many others, depends on your visitors’ presumptions and perceptions.
Look at Whom This Person Chose
Digital marketing expert Neil Patel received higher conversions for his website Quick Sprout by showcasing testimonials from big businesses rather than small ones. Patel used a testimonial by Techcrunch founder Michael Arrington. The quote next to his picture read “Neil increased TechCrunch’s traffic by 30 percent within 2 months.”
An important point to take away from that testimonial is that it came from an authoritative figure from a successful company that was relevant to Neil’s field. The testimonial was also very clear. It specifically explained how Neil helped solve a problem TechCrunch was facing and it even gave statistics to back it up.
But, your customers may have different presumptions about different people involved with your business.
Check out Edelman’s chart based on its Trust Barometer Executive Summary for some insight into how the trustworthiness of different spokespersons has changed among customers over time.
However, keep in mind that this data is just something to get you thinking. You have to study your own Web traffic, run tests and discover whom they tend to trust the most.
5. Help Your Visitors Navigate Your Landing Page
We’ve covered some important landing-page variables that can catch your visitors’ attentions, gain their trust and convince them your offers are valuable.
However, you still need to smoothly guide your Web traffic through all that neat information so they won’t wander around aimlessly and bounce.
Directional cues such as arrows can help you achieve this goal.
Think about directional cues as your landing page’s tour guides. They navigate your Web audience through your page’s main attractions in an orderly fashion. If they did a good job, your visitors would not only want to come back, they’ll want to empty their wallets at your souvenir shop.
Here are a few directional cues to test on your landing page
- Eye Direction: The first thing your Web traffic will notice on your landing page will be the picture of a person. Then, they will focus on the person’s eyes because we are subconsciously wired to go there when we see someone’s face. On its landing page, Kissmetrics utilized the principal of eye direction by strategically placing an image of a smiling man on a spot where he is directly looking at the page’s CTA button. The button is also right below the page’s USP.
- Lines, arrows and pointed fingers: Humans subconsciously follow lines to their points of origin. Use this to your advantage and lead your Web traffic to conversion.
- Utilize the power of white space to isolate and bring attention to different factors
The point of directional cues is to establish encapsulation on your landing page.
Encapsulation establishes hierarchy based on color, format, contrast and the directional cues above. An eye on a page with little encapsulation tends to wander from-and-to different focus points with no clear sense of direction and leaves before seeing real value.
An eye on a page with encapsulation flows in a straight line from focus point to focus point, recognizing value throughout.
The Big Point
CRO is an endless game of testing. It can be an eye-opening and thought-provoking experience.
The key is to study your potential customers, learn what they want, and figure out how you can help them—better than the competition can.
Your landing page is where you put what you’ve learned to the test and where you turn curious visitors into enthusiastic leads.
Consider what we’ve covered:
- The impact of imagery
- The power of color
- The influence of the right words
- The trustworthiness of testimonials
- The order of your landing page.
So, go research your target market and optimize your landing pages.