Landing pages are the real first-step of just about every startup – regardless of their industry. The landing page usually comes at a time when the main product/website is still under construction and the company isn’t truly ready to do business. In other cases, it serves as the “welcome mat” and gives new-arrival users a sense of where it is that they’ve arrived. The difference between a great and a bad landing page is enormous, and can spell the difference between a successful takeoff or a crash landing. So how do you avoid a crash landing? That’s what I hope to show you.
1) Show. Don’t Tell
All too often the landing page is a cluttered mess of bullet-points and overwhelming paragraphs. This is a big mistake. You have to assume that the visitor just doesn’t care, so the paragraph approach requires far too much effort. It’s basically essential to have an introduction/demonstration video on the landing page, it’s a far more interesting and engaging way to get the visitor interested, educated, and excited about what you are doing. Whatever you do though, don’t have the video play automatically, it brings very little benefit to the visitor, but can certainly irritate them and lead them to close the website if music and talking suddenly starts before they are ready.
Have the logo and name of the company clear and obvious so that the visitor knows where they are and who they’re visiting. Have a short video (less than two minutes) to show them why you’re awesome. Use a slogan or tag line to get the point across. Once you’ve got them interested, then you can get more information-heavy.
A massive mistake that I’ve seen all too often on landing pages is the “Expect an email from us!” technique. This is often done when the landing page is put up too early, and there is literally no content behind it. You have an interested visitor that gives you their email, but how long do you really think they will remain interested? How long until they forget about you? The argument for this approach goes something like: “But now we have all these emails…” however, in all likelihood, the conversion rate on stale interest will be terrible. Instead, wait until you are able to deliver at least a reasonable amount of content and interactivity — the visitor arrived there for a reason, get them engaged and they will be far more likely to remember, return, and recommend — the “Three R’s of Web Success” Focus on the quality of those first users, not just the quantity of emails. Engage quickly so that you make the most of it.
3) Don’t be a Web-Bouncer
Too many landing pages require information immediately to get anywhere. This is another big mistake, there’s a good chance that most first-time arrivals are not going to be trusting enough, or interested enough to give you their information just to take a look. How many shops would you go browsing in if the cashiers asked for your driver’s license first? Let the users navigate at least a few content-filled pages before requesting information. They need to understand what it’s all about, whether they are interested, and if they trust you. Take down as many barriers to entry as you can – don’t be a web-bouncer, put out the welcome mat.
4) A/B or A/Z Test
Watch your web analytics to see where visitors are falling off. Determine what functionality is on each page, and how the navigation works. Then create an alternative design/approach. Cycle each variation carefully to hone in on the optimum setup – sometimes the difference between a red button and a blue button might be significant. Optimize for engagement longevity and conversion rates. You might be able to do this with an A/B test or you might have to A/Z test, whatever you do, always focus on conversion and engagement, not just “hits”.
5) Give ‘em the Old “Razzle-Dazzle”
Make sure that you are trustable to the visitor. Nobody will buy from or work with a faceless, nameless entity – so make sure you get yourself out there. Include an “About Us” page so that the visitor can learn about the humans behind the website, nothing fancy, just show them that you exist (with a smile). More importantly, work hard to get some articles written about you in blogs, websites, magazines, etc. Contact journalists until you get some bites. Not only does this help with marketing, but you can also link the articles into the landing page to establish credibility. Also include at least one social media channel link on the landing page, and get as many fans/followers as you can, as fast as you can. All of this will make the visitor more comfortable and confident that the company is the “real-deal” and that it’s worth getting involved with.
The landing page should really serve three key functions:
- Immediately educate and inform the visitor, who you are, what you do, and why it’s cool.
- Provide enough engagement to make sure they remember you and return.
- Establish credibility and confidence so that they are more comfortable to give information and engage with the website.
Remember the “Three R’s of Web Success”: Remember, Return, Recommend – make sure that your landing page serves these goals specifically. You are now cleared for take off.