Step I – Get An In Depth Understanding Of You Target Audience
Work to gain a full understanding of your customers. Conduct interviews and survey to gain an understanding of your customer’s problems. Generate a list of sites that your customers often visit to gain some insight into the online experience they are accustomed to.
Collect the following type of data:
- Demographic data: age, gender, education level, etc….
- Product use information: How is the product/service being used?
- How does our product/service enhance your life?
- What alternatives did you consider and why?
This type of information will assist you in finding market trends and provide you with data you can’t get with analytics. You gather this information to help you design a landing page that is commensurate with the expectations of your target audience. This plays a large role in minimising conversion barriers.
Without a clear understanding of who your visitors are, and what their expectations are you are unlikely to produce a landing page that will convert well.
Remember, designing a landing page is not about showcasing your aesthetic design abilities. It is about forming a connection with your visitors and conveying value to them as fast as you can. Your landing pages will be much more effective if you accept that they must be designed with the expectations and needs of your users in mind, and not your own.
Step II : Create Actionable Analytics Metrics
Analytics metrics are created to provide you with actionable insights. The concept seems straightforward but many people skip this step.
If you do not define actionable metrics you won’t gain a complete understanding of how visitors are interacting with your landing page and you will end up wasting a lot of time and money by simply guessing at how your page should be changed to improve conversions.
Step III: The Messages Of Your Advertisement And Your Landing Page Must Be Consistent
Examine the bounce rate on your landing page. If you have a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate you might have a problem with message matching.
To get a better understanding, examine the ads that have the best CTRs. Does your landing page use language that is similar to that of the ad? Do display ad images appear again on the landing page?
If your answer is no to the above two questions your landing pages will likely fail. This failure results from advertising messages not corresponding to the content of your landing pages.
If the images in your ads are different than the images on landing pages and if your advertisement headlines are not reflected in the headlines on your landing pages, you are not giving the user what they expected when they selected your ad.
They arrive on your landing page and do not feel grounded. Where is that attention getting headline they saw in your ad? Is the keyword they searched for displayed prominently on your landing page?
Rather than creating a single landing page that is accessed via several advertisements that are loosely coupled to it, create several landing pages that are highly targeted and make sure they are tightly coupled to their corresponding ads. You may even want to insert the keywords used to arrive at your ad into your landing pages dynamically.
Step IV: Determine The First Impression Your Landing Page Conveys
Perform a search for the main keyword associated with your landing page and examine the landing pages of your competitors. The concept here is not to emulate your competitors, but to determine the first impression they are attempting to convey.
It takes only a fraction of a second for a visitor to identify an image and form an initial impression of a landing page. The opinion that has been formed in their subconscious mind in less than 1/10th of a second will have an influence on actions they take for the remainder of their time on the landing page.
This importance of this first impression is the reason that the message match between your ad and landing page must correlate well. It is also the reason that your pages should be designed in a manner that is familiar to your visitors.
Is your landing page designed in a manner that is intuitive to your visitors? Do your images satisfy the expectations of your target audience based upon their web experience?
Since the brain processes visual cues even faster than the conscious mind can perceive them, if some of these elements don’t meet the user’s expectation, it will be very difficult to convert them.
Step V: Does Your Landing Page Resonate With User’s Emotions?
Develop a profile for the personas of your ideal buyers. Try to find clues that will help you identify emotional triggers that will resonate with visitors.
This process will work in tandem with first impressions, but there is a difference between them. First impression ensures that things are familiar and satisfy user’s expectations, emotional resonance involves creating a mood that will draw the visitor further into the landing page.
Emotions such as pleasure, joy, surprise, shock, and exclusivity are several types of responses you may want to evoke.
Choose things like fonts, colours, images, and video after you have decided upon the type of emotions you want your landing page to evoke.
Each of these elements must be balanced to create the mood of your landing page. How these elements complement each other will determine the mood of your page.
Step VI: Create A Clear Value Proposition
Make sure that the value proposition:
- Directly addresses the persona you have created for your customer
- States exactly what your product/service does
- Explains why your product/service is unique
- Demonstrates the benefits of using your service or product
After your page has loaded and you have made a first impression on your visitor, he/she will decide subconsciously if your page is worth looking into further.
If your visitor does not immediately exit your page, the first item they will search for is your main headline, which will be the value proposition.
It is at this point that your visitor will decide if your site has what they are looking for. Since the visitor already judged your site less than a second ago, you are now reinforcing whether their initial judgement is correct.
If your value proposition covers all the points listed above it will assist your visitor in deciding if your site has what they are seeking. You will then have a greater likelihood of retaining their interest as they look further into your site.
If you don’t address the four points listed above in the value proposition, the road to a conversion will be far bumpier that is should be.
Step VII: Reinforce Your Message With Images
Use images that directly relate to the target audience and reinforce the mood you are trying to create.
Your landing page images should ideally show a person who is representative of the target audience. In addition, you should try to sell the emotional value your visitor will receive subsequent to conversion.
You can also use images to draw visitor’s eyes to the part of the page you would like them to view next. For instance, the viewer’s eyes will be drawn to the area where a person in your image is looking.
The instinct of a visitor to try to find a headline will be superseded the minute you display images of people.
If you can afford it, it’s normally much better to create your own visual elements rather than using stock photos that will be replicated throughout the web.
Step VIII: Do You Need A Video?
Are there aspects of your product or service that are difficult to convey with text and images?
While research indicates that there will be approximately 70% greater chance that visitors will make a purchase due to video, there are some other things to take into consideration:
Is my target audience able to watch video?
The immediate circumstances of your visitor may not make video the best choice for communicating with them. For example, if they are working in a quiet office setting or if they are surrounded by noisy kids, video my not be allowed or difficult to hear.
Age, slow internet speeds, and old computer hardware may also have an adverse effect upon your visitor’s ability to view a video.
Remember, website videos are not like television ads. TV ads are designed to grab viewer’s attention before they change channels. With landing page videos your visitor has chosen to be on your page. They will play your video because they have a desire to learn more. So be calm and don’t oversell your product to them.
How will the user’s experience be enhanced by video?
What message are you able to convey with a video that you are unable to get across with images and text?
If you don’t have an answer to this question, perhaps you don’t need video.
If the product or service you are selling is hard to understand, needs to be demonstrated or needs additional clarification, video may be a good solution.
Step IX: Social Proof
Track places where your brand is mentioned throughout the social web.
Then, identify authority sites that are linking to you.
Reach out to those who reflect your target audience and those that people in your target market perceive to be high authority.
This can be crucial. A psychological trait comes into play called implicit egoism, which states that your users will gravitate to people, things, and places that provide them with a self-association that they perceive as favourable.
When visitors associate themselves with the authority sites and reviews on your page, they will be increasingly receptive to your site.
Ask permission to feature logos and images in addition to their testimonial on your page.
Is it worth all the trouble?
Research has shown that sites who boost their brand advocacy only twelve percent experience an average revenue growth of 200%.
In addition 2/3 of consumers say that they are more likely to buy from a website that has reviews and product ratings.
Therefore, it is evident that this effort can indeed be worthwhile.
Step X: Does Your Copy Prompt Visitors To Continue Reading?
Get a group of several off your peers together and have them review the copy on your landing page. Ask them, “Does this make you want to continue reading?” Rate their responses from 1 to 5. If their average response is less than 4, try to get suggestions from them as to what you should change.
After a visitor has been on-page for about a second, they have had enough time to process your visual indicators and decide if your site is trustworthy.
It is at this time that their conscious thought processes take over and they begin to focus on your landing page’s content.
Certainly the copy should convey the benefits of your product or service but if you want to engage your visitor, you need to reinforce the mood that you have established by your landing page’s visual elements.
Step XI: Do You Have A Clear Call To Action?
Examine your CTA and make sure it clearly indicates what it is for, elicits a response, and has a design that is in contrast with the remainder of your site.
Your visitor’s experience on your landing page is a large interactive story. Your site visitor has a problem to solve, they search, click, view your content and then decide.
If you concentrate on the details of this story, the CTA is a gateway to a place where the problem they were experiencing no longer exists.
Step XII: A/B Testing
Document all of the alternative concepts you have come up with for your images, design, and copy and generate ideas as to which concepts may work.
At this point you are ready to test different versions of your landing page.
Build two landing pages using different concepts that target the identical keyword. Run them simultaneously and see which one has the better performance. Take the winning page and test it against another version of your landing page. Rinse and repeat.
You are trying to collect sufficient information to validate or discredit your assumptions regarding your target audience and create performance indicators and goals for your future testing.
Be sure to document all of your ideas so you will maintain a record of what works and what did not work. Although many concepts you generate will be discarded, you may come up with some great ideas that will be useful in the future.
A good deal of the experience a visitor has on your landing page will occur in a fraction of a second. Many designers focus on the wrong aspects of user experience.
If you can conceptualise your landing page as a tool for telling a story that depicts how your visitor’s life will be improved, and make use of what we know about the way the human brain processes images and text, you are able to create a landing page that will get them to seek more.
So, optimising your landing page is simply a method to make your story better each time you tell it.