Optimizing Landing Pages for Conversion

Optimizing Landing Pages for Conversion

Due to my background in consumer eCommerce, I often get involved in optimizing conversion for clients.  Setting aside for the moment the important upstream work of developing a conveying a clear and competitive value proposition, I have compiled a short list of some available guidelines about how to design landing pages for better conversion.  I recommend any changes be A/B tested, so think of this as a list of things worth testing.

Design

There is a plethora of good practical Design suggestions out there, which collectively are about making sure that the user can quickly find the call to action section of the page:

  • Large call to action (CTA) buttons
  • High contrast CTA buttons (orange is always a favorite as the color provides a positive vibe)
  • Encapsulate the area around the call to action (Any fields to be filled out and the actual CTA button)
  • Provide visual directional cues to lead the customer to the CTA area
  • Create white space around the CTA so it stands out
  • Reduce the text on the page to increase likelihood of being read and comprehension
  • Reduce the number of columns on the page

Reduce Anxiety (Eliminate Potential Concerns)

If you haven’t had 15-20 years to build customer trust for your brand like Amazon.com has (and they have made it a defining principle of doing business), then you have to build trust and reduce perceived risk.

  • Trials and guarantees –One way to do this is providing a free trial, or a money-back guarantee.  Both show that you have confidence in your product.  And of course it allows your customer to fully engage in the product to make sure it is a fit.
  • Social proof to build trust—This can come in many forms, including testimonials, which should come from someone that customers are likely to respect.  I think the random user testimonials are largely useless as trust builders, unless they are links to detailed use cases of success that prospective customers can review for relevance.  Review quotes from well-known media are a classic source of proof that your product/service has passed through the filter of anonymity and been recognized as legitimate and useful.  I increasingly see a shorthand version of this, commonly stated as:  “As seen in WSJ, NYT, Wired, etc.”  The cynic in me thinks that if a site advertises on these sights they could make this claim, while hoping that the potential customer reads it as an endorsement.  Lastly, the sheer number of customers you have is often the most powerful social proof, by definition. Two million paying Spotify Pro users can’t be wrong…

Increase urgency

If you can, provide a reason that your potential customer should buy now or sign up now.  When an airline booking site tells you that there is only one more seat at the listed price, that is pretty motivating.  When an event booking site has an “early bird” registration price, that is legitimate motivation.  “Limited Time Offer” might work if it does not come across as completely trite. Perhaps tie it to an event, or potential customers will recognize it for what it is, an artificial deadline.

Distractions

Another useful guideline is to reduce the distractions on the landing page, sometimes simplified as a call to reduce the number of links off the page.

There is a tension if you are trying to upsell on a landing page to the paid or Plus or Pro or Super Deluxe version, or the two year subscription at a reduced rate.  My recommendation is to not try to upsell users to a better version before they have signed up, because now you have given them a choice to consider.  They pause and lose momentum, and then the dinner bell sounds.  Test upselling on the “thank you for signing up for the basic version page.”

Full Information

I strongly believe that it is important to give potential customers all the information they need to make a transaction decision either on the landing page, or linked from it, before asking them to commit.  If you need to provide details about the product or pricing options, you can summarize them on the landing page and have a link that says “details” or “learn more” or “additional options”.  Amazon.com makes great use of the “learn more” link.  Often even the simplest sign up page has links to a privacy policy and terms of use page.  The way to minimize disruption in the conversion flow while providing this information for those who seek it, is to have those links open a popup window over your page in the funnel flow..

There are many other considerations in creating pages to drive transactions, including obviously making your value proposition clear and concise, and letting users know what they are getting into when the hit the call to action button; and I hope to address those in future blog posts.

A shout out to Unbounce, who inspired some of this information with their posts on Conversion Centered Design.