In a sales funnel, Landing Pages are the next step to Email Marketing. When the user clicks a CTA button in your email, he navigates to a specially designed page called a “Landing Page”.
Make no mistake: The two cannot be considered separately; they're tied very closely.
Emails help you track only the CTR, the actual conversion of these offers happens on the landing page. For example, the email CTR may shoot up to an all-time high. However, the conversion rate may not match up, if the landing page is irrelevant or poorly designed.
Most businesses tend to direct all their email traffic to their homepage or a category page. That strategy is effective for e-commerce emails used to send discounts to your customers. Many companies sell one-time, high-value products or services. These may be life-time payment or monthly rental type of products. It is essential that you design focused landing pages rather than a generic page on which the customer just happens to land.
The content of the landing page should have the same theme as the email it is linked to. This creates a Message Match.
Having a message match is one of the fundamental success factors for creating a high-converting landing page. To explain the message match in a metaphor:
The matching of the message between the email and the subsequent landing page is extremely crucial because:
A lot goes into creating a landing page. Just like an email, a landing page has several parts to it. This section explores what makes a landing page convert well; these are the basic building blocks of a high-converting landing page. You will also see the principles of landing page optimization that can be applied to each element.
A unique selling point (USP) of a landing page is the core anchor used to introduce and reinforce the benefits of your message. Your USP establishes a unique identity for your product / service; it separates your product / service from your competitors. It should be clear, and easily understandable.
This means you’ll avoid any jargon or uncommon words to remove any copy-related barriers in the landing page content. This will increase the clarity of your message; it ensures that the message is not lost in the words.
Your USP should also be relevant to your potential customers. The email or the CTA in the source email and the headline of the landing page must have this message match.
The easiest and the most basic ways to do so is to address not just the customer’s problems, but also the emotions behind them. For a successful landing page, you must also incorporate empathy in the landing page. Empathy dictates the choice of action or trigger words you incorporate throughout your landing page.
Note that a USP is not just one statement, it is a unique selling promise that is spread all across your landing page.
This promise will be written in 4 different ways, and inserted into four different structural elements:
Since a landing page is long, the 4 versions of the USP will read differently. They will function together in communicating to the customer that your product is worth their time and money.
The page headline is the most important element when it comes to ensuring the message match. The user lands on the page after clicking the CTA. If he is not able to map back to the CTA he clicked, he might think he is on the wrong page.
You can ask questions in the main headline and answer it in the sub-headline below it. The main headline and sub-headline can be used together as two parts of the same sentence. The sub-headline can also be an extension of the main headline, putting a different persuasive spin on it.
As the user scrolls through the landing page, he will read different types of text about his problems, and the benefits / features of your product. A reinforcing statement is basically a second headline placed somewhere in the middle of your page. It makes sure the user doesn’t forget about the core promise of your product / service.
A closing line prompts the user to take action. It uses action words and attempts to entice the user to click the CTA.
So, to summarize:
It is a common practice to include relevant images to complement your content on blog posts. Similarly, landing pages cannot be just large blobs of text.
The easiest way to convince the customer is to show them how your product / service will help the customer. Images are the easiest way to break any visual fatigue induced by text. Videos and GIFs also make sure your customers don’t get bored.
With images, it’s important to know when to use them. They should be specific, relevant to the section they are put in. They should also use context. You can use product screenshots wherever applicable.
Images can also be used to evoke emotion. You can ask them questions or show them a pleasurable end state after their problem is solved. Brand stories are also effectively demonstrated through images or GIFs.
GIFs depicting a short demo of your product (or a specific feature of it) are really effective in bringing the customer close to conversion.
Finally, videos are your best bet for improving conversions. There are a few reasons for this.
This is the first element that begins to clarify your product / offer for the customer. A value proposition on the landing page makes your offer or your product’s functions absolutely crystal clear. Many companies can get easily distracted while writing their value proposition. They start bragging about their company / product.
The functionality is for the potential customer, so your value proposition has to be customer-oriented. It’s not for your engineers or your company’s CEO. Features are “what your product has” and benefits are “what can features do for the customers”.
A value proposition answers the question “What is in it, for me?” for the customer. This is NOT the place to answer “How will you do this for me?”
So it will not include the following:
You may use images, GIFs, or videos to supplement your explanatory text.
An ideal template would be a small text paragraph, followed by a bulleted list of your product’s benefits, placed alongside an image / GIF / video of your product’s benefits.
The key to optimizing the text and benefits is that it is a light read; its job is to intrigue the reader into reading further.
The headline / sub-headline communicate your USP. It’s followed by the benefits paragraph to share the value proposition. This gives more information to the reader about the benefits they will get from your product.
After stating the benefits, it’s time to answer the question “How will you give me this benefit?”. In this section, you can give a detailed overview of the benefits you just listed in the main value proposition. Make sure you use the mid-page headline after the value proposition to reinforce the USP.
In this overview of benefits, you will state each benefit again followed by its underlying feature and the purpose of that feature. You can add short text content backed by an image/GIF here.
For the easier composition of this section, reuse the “image, benefit, feature, purpose” template to expand each of the benefits listed in the value proposition section.
Customer’s trust in your brand is greater than your product’s features and benefits. To establish trust, you need to establish your brand’s credibility.
In this section, we are including a list of these trust indicators that will help make your brand (and by extension, your landing page) trustworthy.
Numbers (exact, not rounded off) help establish instant credibility in the eyes of your customers. You could include how many customers you have helped (if you have a sufficiently high number). If you have less number of customers, ask your customer’s team the direct result of using your product / service. Try to extract those numbers from the customers. Also ask if you can use them in your marketing material.
Customer logos help transfer the credibility earned from your current successful customers to your potential customers. Nobody wants to put their business in the hands of a new company. A successful company accumulates a list of prominent clients over time. Using client logos on the landing page acts as a silent endorsement from your existing customers to your potential customers.
Once again, you must ask the customer's permissions before using their logo in marketing material. If the customer is happy, they wouldn't say no. This process is equal-parts a trust-building exercise with your existing customers and equal-parts formality.
Customer testimonials are regarded as the most powerful trust indicator. Effective customer testimonials come from high-ranking executives from clients, typically those having CEOs or any senior titles in their designation.
They trigger social proof and act as a major driver to increase the conversion of your landing page. Collecting testimonials simply requires you to ask feedback from existing customers. If yours is a transactional product, the feedback must be taken at the end of each transaction.
With regards to customer testimonial, each testimonial should be real. It is complete only when it includes
The more specific a testimonial is, the more credibility it lends to your brand. Feel free to ask progress numbers from your existing clients to use in your landing page testimonials.
Award badges are also a massive trust indicator as people want to work with the best people in the industry.
Third-party validation seals are essentially logos of trustworthy, third-party companies whose service you have used in creating your product / service. So, if it’s a data processing product, a badge from McAfee (or any major security brand) gives the impression that your product / service is secure to use. It gives an assurance to the potential customers that they won't be duped or their data won't be stolen. These seals are especially effective to assure your potential customers about the security of their data.
This is one of the most important elements on the landing page. There are several small details to make sure your CTA is optimized for conversion.
Firstly, your CTA needs to be a button. Anything other than a button breaks out of globally accepted conventions. It gives your customer microseconds to think about the difference between a button and a link (or any other element you use for CTA).
Secondly, size, color, and positioning of the CTA contribute to the conversion rate of your landing page. The size needs to be big; it needs to appear prominent and separate from the rest of the elements on the page. The contrast between the color of the CTA button and its containing element should be high, so the button cannot be missed.
For ideal placement of your CTA, you can use commonly followed visual patterns. Intentionally placing the most important components of your web page along one of these visual patterns ensures the visitors will never miss the CTA.
Two such flows, highly cited in the eye-tracking studies are the F-Pattern and the Z-Pattern. You can use them to guide the placement of the CTA on your landing page.
To explain these patterns in short:
F-pattern refers to the movement of eyes horizontally to read the headline and skim the content. This will be followed by a vertical movement along the left to read the sidebar content. Then the customer makes another horizontal scan to read the highlighted content and skim the content further.
It lends a strong visual hierarchy to the design elements. You can place your CTA and other important landing page elements at the most frequently viewed spots on the page.
This pattern varies according to the size of the page; it may not always follow a traditional F shape. However, it is generally is very effective in predicting visitors’ eye movement.
Z-Pattern layout forms an imaginary Z shape with the visitor’s eye movement. The visual movement starts with a horizontal trace at the top from left to right. It is immediately followed by a diagonal movement from top-right to bottom-left. Finally, there is a second horizontal trace from bottom-left to bottom-right.
The contrast of elements placed at the two angles of the “Z” shape helps users follow this pattern. You can place your CTA at these angles or on the right side at the end of horizontal traces (top or bottom, but not in the middle, as it breaks the Z-pattern).
Just like the F-pattern, the Z-pattern may not exactly follow the Z shape; longer pages may have more angles as the viewer scrolls across all page folds.
The difference between these two patterns is that:
To establish a trustworthy, approachable identity of your brand, you must mention ways of contact.
There are many elements which you can include:
Some brands take it a step further; they have a chat popup monitored by a sales agent (real or virtual). The job of the sales agent is to ensure the landing page doesn’t leak the leads. His focus should be to drive the customer to click the CTA. As the visitor reads through your landing page, he may naturally have some questions. If a sales agent available to solve all their queries, it accelerates the conversion rate.
Sometimes, the customer doesn’t fall into any of your customer personas or the sales agent needs more information. In such scenarios, the agent can be trained to forward the query to a higher authority sales rep or a different team. Here, the prospect’s query may not be resolved instantly; it simply ensures the leads are not leaked. It tells the customer that your company (who they are giving money to) is responsive.
The concrete elements mentioned above are the essential parts of a landing page. They are your building blocks; you will have to use each of them to create your landing page.
There are also a few more “soft” requirements required for building a landing page that actually converts. You can build a strong landing page with all the elements optimized to perfection. But without these auxiliary elements mentioned below, you cannot maximize your conversion rate.
A logical sequence is very important on a landing page. It gives a sensible structure the visitors will like to read. When they don't find the information arranged logically, they will scroll up and down several times to find the necessary information. Most prospects won’t show any mercy; they will simply close the page if it is not organized properly.
With long form landing pages, organization and demarcation of the sections are even more important; the visitor will not lose the thread of information he’s reading on the page.
Human beings are wired to react to avoid pain. If they have come to your landing page, chances are they are in a situation that causes them some amount pain. They are at your landing page to try to alleviate that pain.
A pain trigger on your landing page reminds them of this pain by exaggerating it to a level that it becomes necessary for the visitor to address it immediately.
Humans are also wired for instant gratification. Once you make them notice this pain, they immediately start seeking the solution on your landing page. This is natural, as humans experience pain twice as intensely than a similar amount of pleasure.
Use pleasure triggers here to address this pain and calm the customers down. It’s like saying “Don’t worry, we have the solution for you”. When you present these solutions, they experience pleasure and are ready to be converted.
Make sure, you don’t leave them high and dry. This means, always pair pleasure triggers after the pain triggers.
A strong copywriter helps you address these, and a few other psychological principles in your landing page copy.
When the customer is on a landing page, you want them to fully focus on the offer or the product being sold on the page. Any other link will distract them; it’s an invitation to leave the page without taking any action.
Unlike blogs, you will not use any other page to supplement your landing page; it is a single monolithic piece of content. So, no reference links that make the user read some other page to understand your landing page. This applies to both - internal and external links. Your copywriter should work towards eliminating the need to add external sources.
It’s important to understand the difference between landing pages and blogs and then use that knowledge to design the landing page.
A focused landing page (designed specifically for your email campaign) converts much better than a generic page (on which the subscriber happens to land). The copy on the landing page can be persuasive, but it also needs to be jargon-free and easy to understand.