Boost ROI with Landing Page Optimization

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Congratulations! You have accomplished the hardest part of your online marketing strategy. You have enticed people to click your banner advertisement and go to your website. You have done a good job to convince potential customers to take interest in building a relationship with your business. Now, the defining question must be asked: Will the visitors contact you (convert), or will they leave your website?
Increasing your conversion rate is a key factor in getting the most out of your marketing dollars. When visitors land on your website, it is the prime opportunity to introduce your business, collect an e-mail address, and make a lasting impression that leaves them curious for more. If your website is allowing potential customers to slip through the cracks, it might not need a complete overhaul. Maybe your website just needs a simple landing page redesign.

 

landing-pageLANDING PAGE FUNDAMENTALS

Applying the fundamentals can have a tremendous impact on your website’s conversion rate. Going forward, make a checklist of these items and use it for each page you create on your website. This technique will undoubtedly put you a few steps closer to getting more conversions from your website.

Send Visitors to a Relevant and Targeted Page

Your website’s homepage probably has a mixture of agendas, trying to accommodate any and all visitors who come to your website. While this is great for curious visitors who find their way to your website, it is not helpful to those who clicked a specific banner advertisement. For each marketing agenda, your landing page should have a specific goal with a specific message and a single action. You always want the visitor to have a clear understanding of your intent. If your goal is to have visitors fill out an appointment form, put an arrow pointing to the form telling them to Fill out the form to book
an appointment.

Consistency From Start to Finish

From the landing page to the thank you page, your design, message and tone should remain consistent with the visitor’s expectation at the time they click on your banner advertisement. The last thing you want to do is cause a person to feel like they are somewhere they did not want to go.

Keep to the Point

When dealing with potential customers online, you need to get right to the point. You want to ensure visitors get the chance to read your most important copy. If it is buried in
insignificant, mass text it will most likely get missed. If you feel you need to give more information to the visitor, summarize your objective with bullet points and use a For More Information link that goes to a new page. This makes information readily available to those who need to read some more on your product before making a decision, but gives just enough information for those who already know exactly what they want.

Keep the Visitor’s Attention

Tying right back in with the consistency, you have to convey the same message of your banner advertisement in your landing page’s headline. You are not going to want a visitor clicking an advertisement and landing on a page that they feel does not have what they are looking for.

Add Sharing Tools

The best form of marketing is word of mouth. There is no better way to market your landing page than allowing a visitor to share it with their friends and family. The two tools I use most to accomplish this are AddThis (www.addthis.com) or ShareThis (www.sharethis.com).

Put Your CTA Above the Fold

Your primary message and Call to Action (CTA) should be above the fold (the bottom of the screen for your average visitor’s monitor resolution). On average, you only have two to five seconds to engage with the visitor. This means you have to get your point across immediately. If you have to have a long page, then try to repeat your CTA throughout the message. This helps reinforce your purpose. Remember, each visitor might react to a different part of your message. If your action is at the point of their emotional connection, then you will be much more likely to convert them.

fold

TRUST AND SECURITY

With identity theft at an all time high, gaining the trust of your website visitors is imperative. There are several actions you can immediately take to help bring comfort to those visiting your website. My number one rule is this: Do not ask for anything you would not want to give out yourself. Asking for too much information can very quickly scare a potential customer away. Anyway, more than likely, the extra information would rarely get utilized. You only want to ask for what you need.

Show a Phone Number

By showing your phone number, it legitimizes you. It shows people that there are real people on the other end of the line. It can also give comfort to those potential customers who may not be ready to make a transaction online.

Brand Consistency

This ties back into the consistency fundamental. You have to ensure that the user knows they are dealing with the same company with whom they appeared to be dealing with in the advertisement. From the landing page to the thank you page, you have to make sure your brand is consistent throughout.

Affiliate, Press and Certification Logos

This is a classic technique to gain the visitor’s trust. If you are affiliated with specific product brands, show it off. You could attract new customers just from carrying the right brand. You can also build confidence by showing any certifications you have achieved or logos of mainstream publications that have covered your business.

Testimonials and User Reviews

Testimonials and user reviews are a great way to gain trust. One of the most recent forms of doing this is to add the Facebook Facepile widget to your landing page. This widget will show any of their friends on Facebook that have already liked this page or company.
Never post fake testimonials. If your company is producing authentic results, then it should have no problem producing authentic testimonials. Invest in a video camera and provide your clients with an incentive for endorsing you. Most of them will be glad to support your business and give an endorsement in exchange for a discount.

Never Exaggerate

A happy client is a good client. The last thing you want to do is leave a person feeling deceived or unsatisfied. It is important to maintain clear, concise points so you do not leave the visitor feeling like you oversold them.

Privacy

Provide links to your privacy statement that lets the user know what you do with the information you are requesting. You want them to be confident that you are going to handle their information with care.

Co-branding

Creating a co-branded landing page can greatly increase your conversion rate. Oftentimes, when teaming up with a credible brand to promote your products or services, this will allow you to share in their credibility. If the customer sees the brand with which they have dealt and sees that the company is willing to work with you, then that will allow the customer to share that comfort with your company.

INCREASING CONVERSIONS

So now that you have covered the fundamentals and you have built the visitor’s confidence, how can you increase the number of visitor conversions? The answer is simple – increase their motivation and make it easy for them.

Contact and Appointment Form

If your goal is to get the visitor to contact you, make sure your contact or appointment form is highly visible and easy to fill out. I have seen a number of advertisements on Facebook with a CTA of Contact us; yet, when I go to their website, I have to search to figure out how to contact them. The form and your phone number should be very prominent on your landing page.

Increase Their Motivation

There are many ways to increase a person’s motivation to respond to your CTA. Probably the most common way is to offer a discount. However, that is not always the best way. Generally, just validating your products or services through testimonials and press, as we discussed in the last section, can help increase a person’s motivation to purchase from you.

Mobile Responsive

Make sure your website is compatible on mobile devices. According to Google, 42 percent of smart phone owners in the United States used a smart phone to purchase a product or service last year. If your website is not properly formatted for a smart phone screen, you are missing out on valuable business. There are plenty of free responsive themes out there, with many of them having been designed for non-technical users who are not so hands-on with their websites.

Use Big Images and Video

Pinterest is huge now and a picture says a thousand words. Instead of writing a thousand words, use a simple image to which the visitor can relate or even create a short, two minute video about your company and the service or product you are providing. What you offer makes sense to you, but someone else may have no idea what you do, so keep it simple and clear.

Hire a Good Voiceover Talent

Using the right voiceover can help create a calm, trusted emotion within your potential clients. Companies have seen conversion rates increase as high as 10 percent with just the change of a voice. With pricing ranging from $40 to a few hundred dollars, choosing the right voice is definitely a cost effective way to increase your return on investment.

By sticking to the fundamentals and making the right choices about the content of your landing page, you will no longer have to deal with the suspense of wondering if the traffic you are paying for is going to actually contact you. While the process of updating and changing your landing page should never end, take pride in the results you begin to see and know that you can always make a few slight adjustments to see even better results.

DEFINITIONS

Banner ad – Also referred to as a banner advertisement or banner, a banner ad is typically a rectangular advertisement placed on a website either above, below or on the sides of the website’s main content and is linked to the advertiser’s own website. Banner ads are image-based rather than text-based and are a popular form of website advertising. The purpose of banner advertising is to promote a brand and/or to get visitors from the host website to go to the advertiser’s website. With new advanced technologies, banner ads have gotten much more complex and can be advertisements with text, animated graphics and sound.
Call to action (CTA) – In marketing content, this is the implicit or explicit suggestion(s) contained within an advertising banner or website that urge the reader, listener or viewer of a promotional message to take an immediate action.
Conversion rate – The conversion rate, in terms of Internet marketing, is the proportion of visitors to a website who take action and go beyond casual content review or website visit; as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers and content creators, the success from conversions are defined differently by each. For example, online retailers view a successful conversion as the sale of a product to a consumer whose interest was initially sparked by clicking a banner advertisement. Whereas, content creators would view a successful conversion as a visitor fulfilling one, if not all, of the following: membership registration, newsletter subscription, software download, or other activity.
Fold – The position on a web page where the majority of viewers will begin to scroll. When content is positioned “below the fold” it will not be seen when the web page initially loads.
Headline – Also known as H1 or Heading tag, a headline is the heading of a web page, similar to that of a newspaper. As someone enters a website, there are naturally drawn to the heading before reading the content on the page; search engine crawlers function the same way. When a search engine crawls a web page its first action is to attempt to understand what the page is about. It does this by reading the heading tags. When constructing a headline, it is important to include relevant search phrases; that the heading needs to be relevant to the page content; and it should allow the user to understand what the page is about and it entices them to read more.1
Landing page – Sometimes known as a lead capture page or a lander, a landing page is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link. They are often linked to from social media, e-mail campaigns or search engine marketing campaigns in order to enhance the effectiveness of the advertisements. The general goal of a landing page is to convert site visitors into sales or leads. By analyzing activity generated by the linked URL, marketers can use click-through rates and the conversion rate to determine the success of an advertisement.2
Widget – Also known as web gadgets, snippets, modules and portlets, a widget is an application that sits on top of a website and offers users additional interactive features. On the Internet, a widget refers to an interface element that a computer user interacts with, such as a window or a text box. As opposed to a physical widget in the real world, Internet widgets are virtual in the sense that they have virtual buttons that can be clicked with a mouse cursor.3
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) – Also referred to as word of mouth advertising, WOMM is an unpaid form of promotion, oral or written,4 in which satisfied customers tell others how much they like a particular business, product, service or event. In fact, it is one of the most credible forms of advertising because people who do not stand to gain personally by promoting something put their reputations on the line every time they make a recommendation.5

References
1 http://www.wix.com
2 Ash, Tim. Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions. Wiley Publishing.
3 http://www.netlingo.com/dictionary/w.php
4 http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/word-of-mouth-marketing.html
5 http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/term/82660.html


mike-lewisMike Lewis is a partner and internet strategist at Avalon Media Group. He has been developing websites and e-commerce sites for seven years. He is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) consultant for many companies around the world. His expertise lies in developing online communities, professional and social networking, SEO, SEM and custom web applications. Lewis can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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