Landing Page Optimization Video from seoMoz (Moz) Whiteboard Fridays

Check out this short very informative video (only 5 minutes) from seoMoz (now Moz) Whiteboard Fridays video series on Landing Page Optimization. The video is great. It’s easy to understand, does not get too technical and should be a must watch for anyone new to the world of web marketing, especially paid search and display/banner advertising:

The video has 5 must-do suggestions for anyone creating a landing page:

  1. Consistency – keep landing page consistent with the ad, adwords ad should have the same call to action as the landing page (ex. “affordable blue widgets” PPC ad should go to a landing page with the heading “affordable blue widgets”).
  2. Testimonials – place testimonial next to corresponding action, this increases CTR greatly.
  3. 2nd Person Language – use second person, supportive language for inclusion
    • “we invite you to…..”
    • “you deserve to have…..”
    • “your website…..”
    • Avoid corporate speak
    • Don’t use “I…..”
    • Sounds like person is telling you to do something
  4. Limit navigation from page to call to action
    • If talking about tools and need to provide an example of that tool on the page itself, you don’t want to have a link to the tool because you will lose some users
      • Use a have a light box
      • Use some sort of an overlay that pops up when scrolling over the tool
  5. Only way off the page is your call to action (ex. Sign-Up Page)
    • More channels you have off the page, the more likely people are to leave the page 
Anatomy of an Optimized Landing Page
Anatomy of an Optimized Landing Page

    Before digging deeper into actionable Landing Page Optimization suggestions, lets review a few things you must consider when developing a Landing Page. An easy way to do this is to look at the 7 Levels of Landing Page Optimization 

    If you make sure to clearly plan out all levels of the Landing Page Optimization Pyramid above you will have a much easier job of reaching your optimal conversion rate.

    Once you have your plan set it’s to start optimizing your Landing Page. One of the oldest and still most important factors of Website Optimization and not just LPO (Landing Page Optimization) is ensuring that your content is above the fold. This means that users do not have to scroll down the page to see what they are looking for. You may think what is the big deal if my call to action is only a half inch further down the page and making this change will ruin the nice pretty design/layout of the page. Well guess what it is a big deal!

    Websites with little to any aesthetic appeal but have their content (call-to-action) above the fold still perform much better than a very good looking modern website. In case your website is a little more involved than just a photo, text and a form I figured I would provide an additional image detailing the anatomy of an optimized landing page that mentions the importance of having things above the fold as well as many other important characteristics :

    Anatomy of an Optimized Landing Page
    • Company Logo: having your company logo in the upper left hand corner
    • Testimonials: making sure to include testimonials (this alone dramatically increases the conversion rate of a landing page)
    • Product Image(s): adding an image of the product
    • Phone Number: having a phone number (preferably a toll-free number) listed – this helps build trust because a person knows a way to contact you in case there are any issues
    • Benefits: include benefits of your product/service
    • Form Placement: it is best to have you form within the right hand navigation at the top of the aligned with your body content
    •  Privacy Policy: it is best to include a link to your privacy policy (if your company has one) BUT MAKE SURE this link opens a new browser window because you do not want to direct a user off of the landing page unless it’s to the call-to-action
    • Accreditation’s/Associations: if your company belongs to any associations like the Better Business Bureau or anything that helps build trust between you and a visitor it is always good to include these “logos”
    If you are in a situation where you are unable to deploy all of these suggestions and wondering which suggestions you should do (what is the most important part of a landing page?), a survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa in 2011 should help. Every year Marketing Sherpa produces benchmark reports on all of the major facets of Marketing with a focus on Internet Marketing. This includes reports on SEO, Paid Search, Display/Banner Ads and of course Landing Pages/LPO. The findings of their 2011 Landing Page Benchmark Survey with regards to the Most Important Parts of a Landing Page is displayed in the following graph:
    Most Important Landing Page Elements

    In addition to the suggestions covered in the video I want to provide some further advice when optimizing a landing page:

    Give and Get
    • offer added value like a free trial, sample, or a preview of the product or service if possible in exchange for a visitor’s email address or other information
    Build Trust
    • credibility logos to gain credibility
    • testimonials that speak in the voice of the customer
    • star ratings from review websites
    • social counts from Twitter and Facebook
    Directional Cues
    • the action needs to be called out
    • use cues to direct visitors’ attention to the call to action:  arrows, direction of view, colors
    Call to Action
    • you need to know what you want the visitor to do on the page
    • the visitor needs to know what to do next
    • make the call to action big and obvious
    • have only one call to action on the page

      Maybe you are in a different place and already have your Landing Pages created and want to know what you can do to improve them. First let’s look at the current design of your landing pages and what not to do.

       The Top 5 Landing Page Mistakes

      1. Bad Headline: needs to match with the message you are sending
      2. Using Homepage: do not ever use your homepage as a landing page
      3. Disconnect: need to have same wording on your landing page and your ad
      4. Poor Design: poor design will ruin a landing page before you have a chance
      5. Below the Fold: call-to-action needs to be above the fold

      Now that you know what is wrong with your landing page or what not to do when creating a landing page, let’s look back at Suggestions for Creating an Optimized Landing Page with these 18 Steps:

      18 Steps for Great Landing Page Optimization

      1. Know and understand to your audience
      2. Create and present clear, simple, and effective value proposition to your visitors
      3. Post relevant content and make it actionable
      4. Inspire
      5. Give your web visitors a challenge
      6. Deliver clear and consistent message to your audience
      7. Provide transparent and effective “Call to Action“
      8. Images, video and text – keep it balanced
      9. Create a user friendly and attractive web layout
      10. Use emotional triggers when writing a content for your website
      11. Remove distractions from your landing page
      12. Don’t ask for too much information in an email or newsletter Sign-Up box
      13. Earn and build visitor trust
      14. Respect your visitor’s privacy
      15. Use testimonials
      16. Keep your content simple and easy to read
      17. Test your landing page components
      18. Test your page loading speed and ensure fast loading time
      How to Create Optimized Landing Pages Infographic
      How to Create Optimized Landing Pages Infographic

      Much can be learned from looking at the above mentioned suggestions including display ads on your website. It is best to only have one banner/display ad per page if you really want to create conversions. Having more than one call to action (this means more than once banner/display ad) on a page will confuse the user and decrease the CTR (Click Through Rate). As you can see in the image below the percentage of people who actually reach this point in the conversion funnel is already dropping and will drop drastically in the next phase of the conversion funnel so there is desire to confuse the user.

      Online Marketing Conversion Funnel
      Conversion Funnel
      With such a low percentage of people actually placing an item in the shopping cart (only 30%) a 50% decrease from the previous stage in the conversion funnel (Visit Shopping Area at 60%) it is clear why Landing Page Optimization is so important. This is reflected in the increase of the number of people performing Landing Page Optmization duties in house. As you can see in the chart below the number of people responsible for Landing Page Optimization has double in only 2 years, from 1.6 in 2009 to 3.2 in 2011. It appears that most companies are now hiring someone who’s primary focus is Landing Page Optimization, in 2009 there was less than one employee per company in-house performing LPO and this number has also more than doubled in only 2 years with an average of 1.56 employees/company devoted to Landing Page Optimization and related tasks.
      Employees Performing Landing Page Optimization Duties
      Number of In-House Employees Performing Landing Page Optimization

      While not the intent of this post I was able to find an infographic that summarizes everything mentioned above on Landing Page Optimization including some additional information like what type of page (shopping cart/subscription process, payment page, home page & product/solution or other offer page)  is easiest to optimize, the ROI of Landing Page Optimization for B2B & B2C and much, much more:
      Landing Page Optimization Infographic
      Landing Page Optimization By The Numbers Infographic

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