Landing pages are as different as the people looking at them. Every landing page has a different call to action (goal), a different reader (user), a different product or service, and a different niche.
- Some landing pages are selling zero drop shoes to ultramarathoners.
- Another landing page might be inviting in-house marketers to a two-day conversion conference in Toronto.
- Yet another landing page may be inviting sommeliers to take an online pairing quiz.
- There is an incredible amount of variation among the audience, purpose, intent, product, angle, focus, industry, niche, perception, buy-in, cost, messaging, value proposition, testimonial approach, shipping method, and a host of other factors.
There are unifying elements that characterize highly successful landing pages. Because we’re talking about landing pages, however, some things do remain constant. High converting landing pages do have several characteristics in common. Although this article does not provide a full review of each element, you’ll know enough by the end to get to work creating your own compelling landing page.
- Interesting Headline
A headline is where everything begins — interest, attention, and understanding. The headline is your first and most critical action of a landing page. Here’s what it needs to accomplish.
- The headline should grab the reader’s attention.
- The headline should inform the user what the product or service is all about. Note: If your headline complements an image that explains the product/service, then you’re good.
- It should be short — never more than twenty words, and preferably only ten.
This landing page for a social skills course emphasizes the problem that the course solves. Immediately, readers know the problem that they will overcome.
- Persuasive Subheadline
If the headline makes the user look, then the subheadline should make them stay. A subhead is part of the one-two punch of a landing page’s power.
- Normally, the persuasive subheadline is positioned directly underneath the main headline.
- The subheadline should have some element of persuasiveness. Remember, you’re luring them to stay on the page with the subheadline. You take the concept of the headline, and push it a little bit further.
- The subheadline can go into slightly more depth and detail than the main headline.
The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. A user will be affected by the images on your landing page immediately.
- The pictures should be large.
- The pictures should be relevant to your product or service. If you are selling a physical product, it is essential that your landing page contains an image of the product.
- If you are selling a service, then the primary purpose of the image should be to grab attention, and demonstrate relevance to the product.
- Make sure the pictures are high-quality. This is not the place to feature stock photographs or last-minute Photoshop botches.
If a user doesn’t understand what your product or service is about, you’ve lost them. An explanation — in whatever form it comes — is crucial. The best explanations are those that are straightforward; cuteness not required.
- Your explanation can be integrated with your headline, or completely separate.
- Your explanation may combine elements from several sources: 1) your headline, 2) your subheadline, 3) your image, 4) a separate paragraph. Taken in isolation, each of these elements does not explain the product or service, but as a composite, they accomplish what an explanation should do.
- An explanation should be benefit-oriented. Explanations are functional, but the functionality should be tilted in favor of the user. For example, “We make websites” is a functional explanation, but it lacks the user-focused orientation. To make this explanation, even more compelling, you could angle it towards the user to show them the value: “Get a website that makes you money.”
The value proposition is defined as “an innovation, service or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.” When it comes to your landing page, this element needs to have pride of place. The value proposition basically answers the user’s question, “What’s in it for me?”
- Like the “explanation,” a value proposition can be found spread among the various essential elements.
- One of the best ways to advance your value proposition is through a list of benefits. Many landing pages use an unadorned bullet point list to explain the benefits of their product or service.
- Benefits should be clearly focused on the user. It’s easy to drift off the mark with benefits, and start talking about yourself as a company. Don’t do this! Instead, always think about the user and how he or she will benefit. Benefits aren’t “we are awesome.” Benefits are “the user will be awesome with this product or service.”
- Logical Flow
The logical flow of a landing page is just as important as the actual content you have on the landing page.
A truly interested customer will be cognitively engaged with the landing page. They will read the content and follow the thought process. Thus, you must lead them through a process of thinking that is logical and compelling.
- Start with your explanation, continue with your benefits, include your testimonials, and end with your CTA. This is the most obvious and persuasive method of structuring a landing page.
- CTA placement is a critical component of the landing page flow. You can use multiple CTAs on a single landing page, positioning each one at the end of each discrete section of the landing page.
- Allow your design to demarcate sections. You don’t have to be subtle about the way that a page is organized logically. In fact, if you augment the logical flow with corresponding design flow features, then you will improve the process with visual/cognitive coherence.
- Use persuasive elements throughout. Don’t confine persuasion to a single section. Persuasive features should be present in every section of the landing page.
- Remember, long-form landing pages are highly effective. Don’t be afraid to make a landing page really long.
This point is intentionally vague, because the idea of “pain” can be anywhere.
Here’s the psychology behind pain. Humans are wired to avoid pain. Every product or service can help to alleviate pain in some way. If you can cause the user to think about their pain, they will subconsciously seek relief from that pain, and thereby be more likely to convert.
- Mention what a user will lose, not just what they will gain. According to the theory of loss aversion, we are more likely to anticipate the pain of losing something than we are feeling the pleasure of gaining something of equal value. In other words, it feels good to get $50, but the pain that we feel from losing $50 is twice as intense as the pleasure we received from gaining the same sum.
- You can implement pain references in the testimonials, as well as in the remainder of the copy. Since pain is a powerful human element, real human testimonials are often very effective at conveying this pain in a trustworthy way.
- Be sure to relieve the pain. Your product or service is provided as an antidote to the pain. Don’t leave the user wallowing in the pain. Draw it to a conclusion by featuring the answer to the pain.
Just as humans are pain-avoiding machines, we are also a pleasure-seeking animals. Every human is motivated by the desire to gain pleasure, which can have a variety of forms.
-Your goal in the landing page is to show how pleasure is a by-product of having the product or service. So, for example, you are selling arthritis-relief medication. But you’re not just selling a pill. You’re selling freedom, relief, and joy. If you sell cross-training footwear, you’re not just selling something that goes on a customer’s foot. You’re selling respect, trendiness, security, vibrancy, and fulfillment. Each product can be presented in such a way that it brings emotional and psychological pleasure.
-Use emotional pleasure cues. Discover the ways in which your product meets an emotional need beyond its mere functional role. We all desire to be accepted, loved, appreciated, recognized, honored, compensated, admired, etc. What emotional craving can your product or service help to satisfy?
- Trustworthy Testimonials
A landing page’s testimonials are one of its most important trust signals. A user wants to know that they can trust the product or service. If they see a trustworthy testimonial, this goes a long way in cultivating the user’s trust.
- Use testimonials from real people. Celebrities and experts are great, but you don’t need testimonials from these people. Choose testimonials from people who are most relevant to your target audience.
- Make sure you use the pictures. Pictures are the keystone of trust in testimonials. It’s important that every featured testimonial be accompanied by a photo of a real person.
- Testimonials should be specific. Glittering generalities don’t make great testimonies. The best testimonials are those that are backed by real numbers, real data, and specific applications.
- Methods of Contact
Some of the most persuasive landing pages that I’ve visited have multiple methods of contacts — a phone number, a physical address, an email address, and a contact form. Some even have popups where a customer service representative asks me if they can be of help.
These go a long way to help strengthen my trust in the company, and to eliminate any friction in the conversion funnel.
- At the most basic level, provide some assurance that you are a real company. Usually, this involves a physical address and a phone number.
- Live chats featured in a popup can be helpful, but not a must-have. Using live chat is somewhat controversial. If you insist on using one, do your homework, and make sure you have some convincing reasons for keeping it there.