Landing page optimisation – increasing conversions

Landing pages allow you to show a targeted page based on a search query. This guide will help you optimise your landing pages to maximise conversions.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a purpose-built, standalone page on your website that is typically used for a marketing campaign like paid search advertising or a social campaign. A visitor will ‘land’ here from another website and it will be the first page they see about you, so it is vital that it’s well optimised.

 

When should you use a landing page?

You should use a landing page for any marketing campaign. Some companies used to send traffic to their homepage regardless of what their visitors’ search terms were.

Visitors were forced to find their own way to relevant content, which resulted in high bounce rates and low conversions. Times changed and marketers started to use landing pages targeted to certain keywords to gain competitive advantage.

Marketers realised they could further increase the effectiveness of their landing pages by implementing CRO processes and techniques and landing page optimisation was born.

 

How can I optimise my landing page(s)?

The key to landing page optimisation isn’t to dive in and make fundamental changes right away based on opinion or what someone higher up is telling you to do.

There are some tools that will help to guide you around what quick fixes to make, e.g. Unbounce’s landing page analyser, but the real value will come when you research and understand how your current visitors behave on your landing page. This way, you can make changes based on validated research which has a much higher potential to have a positive impact on your conversion rate when executed correctly.

 

How can I find and validate areas for improvement?

Here are a few indicators that identify if there’s opportunity to optimise your landing page:

  • Conversion rate

Your first and main indicator is your conversion rate. If your conversion rate is particularly low on a campaign you’re running, or it’s lagging behind other traffic sources, then it may not be performing well and there is opportunity to improve.

  • Next steps

Are people reaching the next steps on your landing page(s)? What percentage of people are clicking your CTA? If it’s low, then you need to do some research to find out why this is happening so you can work out what needs to change.

  • Bounce rate

Is your landing page’s bounce rate relatively high? If it is, this means a high proportion of people are arriving, taking no action, and leaving – this is a problem.

Bounce rate is a not the best metric to focus on. Some people consider Google Analytics’ bounce rate metric in their assessment of success, whilst others may take events like clicks on icons / accordions / scrolls below 50% of the page to mean the user hasn’t bounced. Make sure you’re consistent in what you consider a bounce and do qualitative research to understand the needs of users so you can start to work out what they are looking for that you didn’t give them.

  • Performance & speed

Is your mobile conversion rate half of your desktop conversion rate on your landing page? That could be an indicator that your landing page isn’t good enough for your mobile visitors and there are opportunities to improve. Also, the speed of your desktop landing page load times makes a difference in conversions – a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

  • Traffic

Investigate the traffic going to your landing page, you may find that some areas can be tightened. If you are accidentally ranking and  getting traffic because you haven’t set up phrase match correctly alongside negative keywords, your conversion rate will be negatively impacted and you’ll waste your budget on irrelevant terms. 

 

Best practices for landing page optimisation

Here we’ll talk through some best practices for optimising your landing page but don’t forget, best practices are a starting point. They will take you to a certain level but context is very important so best practices can only get you so far. Eventually you have to optimise for your visitors. But if you’re going to start optimising a low performing landing page then this will be a useful checklist.

  • Make your landing page messaging match your ad

Message match is how well your landing page matches the copy, phrasing, and theme of the preceding messaging. If your ad copy is vastly different to the copy on your landing page, then it can be jarring for the visitor and will increase the likelihood that they will bounce. You need to align your messaging between your adverts and your landing page.

Example:

I’m looking for a mortgage so I’ve searched ‘90% LTV mortgage’ because I have a 10% deposit.

I’m then taken to this page which looks okay but doesn’t mention 90% LTV anywhere. It does mention 90 seconds, but I might be wasting my time if they don’t actually provide 90% LTV mortgages. Reassuring me at this stage would make me more likely to proceed.

 

  • Focus your visitor’s attention with a single CTA (which can used multiple times)

Before you build a landing page, you should lay out your objectives and what you want people to do. In most cases your main objective is to get a sale / lead, so that should be your main focus. A lot of marketers try and present people with multiple options, but the key to landing page optimisation is focus, and the best way to achieve this is to have a single call to action.

Too many CTAs or links can cause distraction or too much choice. A good principle to use is the attention ratio – this is the number of links vs the number of calls to action on your page.

By removing all other links & distractions then people will be much more likely to convert, see the example below

Attention ratio of links to main CTAs in the first sketch is 34:1, whilst the second is 1:1

The first sketch shows how many distractions a visitor might face if you directed them to your homepage, the second sketch shows you how focus can be pulled with fewer distraction links and one singular CTA. You’ll notice:

  • Removal of any navigation
  • Removal of extra CTAs
  • Removal of footer links
  • Removal of distracting elements (like the carousel)
  • Removal of social icons (people don’t want to see these at this point, especially if you replace with actual reviews)

 

  • Listen to your visitors

We mentioned that you need to conduct research in order to better understand what your visitors want. Heatmaps will be able to show you if people aren’t clicking your CTAs (or if they’re clicking something that’s not clickable), scrollmaps might show you that nobody is scrolling below the fold, session recordings may show you what UX issues and journeys people are taking from your landing page, and analytics data will show you how these journeys convert.

You can also take it to the next level and run polls, surveys, and user testing to get qualitative feedback on your landing page so you can find out what your audience wants and what issues they are having so you can fix / change your page to meet their needs better. A common occurrence we see from gathering landing page feedback is that people want to see reviews of the company earlier on the page.

 

  • Test your landing pages

When making changes, you should always test your landing pages. If you have enough traffic and conversions, then we advise you A/B test landing pages – testing one theme or area at a time.

If you don’t have the traffic to start A/B testing, then you can run your landing page(s) through tools like UsabilityHub to gather quick user feedback before launching.

If you don’t test or validate changes, then you could end up in one of the following situations:

– Your conversion rate increases but you don’t know what exactly caused it, so you aren’t any wiser for next time

– Your conversion rate stays the same and you’re not sure which changes improved conversions or which ones reduced conversions

– Your conversion rate decreases and you don’t know which change is the culprit, or it a change caused the decrease as all

 

  • Don’t have too few, or too many landing pages

If you have too few landing pages, you’ll have a reduced message match and you’ll be sending people from specific searches to more generic landing pages, where some scent from their original search term is lost, like the first example. If you have too many landing pages, then it might be a nightmare to maintain and optimise them. Ideally you should have landing pages for keyword groups.

 

What if I have an ecommerce store and people land on my product pages?

The same principles above apply to ecommerce product pages, too. Conduct some research on your landing pages to work out what people are missing and start working out what changes have a positive impact on your visitors and your conversion rate.

Things we’ve found work have worked in the past are presenting key information in a more prominent position in the visual hierarchy, showing delivery costs and timescales, improving imagery, making the CTA more prominent, and providing recommended products to keep people interested and on the website.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully from this article you’ve learned the value of landing pages, how to identify opportunities to improve your landing pages, methods to conduct research, and how validating these changes through either A/B testing or through user testing in order to minimise risk and maximise learning can help you improve performance.

If you’re looking for landing page optimisation and to improve your conversion rate, then Worship can help. Just give us a call on 0161 236 1188 for a free 15 minute CRO consultation with a senior CRO consultant.

Lee Preston

17th May 2019

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