The Landing Page Design from Hell
It should be no revelation that a well-crafted landing page is an integral component of any effective marketing campaign.
That’s why I’m always surprised by some of the sins committed in landing page design. Rather than boost conversions, these pages devilishly distract and discourage visitors (which results in the infamous lost trinity—customers, conversions, and revenue).
Check out the following landing page and see if you recognize any of your own transgressions:
Does your form contain more than four required fields? Then expect most visitors to leave the page rather than enter the info requested. Strive to limit your requests to the most relevant data. And work hard to make your form easy to find and easy to complete.
A landing page is about one thing and one thing only. That’s why a good landing page offers only a single call to action. For the sake of visitor clarity, keep distractions to a minimum. Confused customers equate to lower conversions.
A landing page shouldn’t attempt to describe every feature of your product or service. Studies reveal that you’ve got five seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. Craft focused and relevant content, use bullet points and headings to organize your message, draw the visitor’s eye with bold and highlighted text, and make your message accessible with uncluttered layout. When in doubt, leave it out.
A strong, specific headline welcomes a visitor and introduces the mission of the page. A missing or weak headline means the visitor has to expend effort to decipher the page. You can guess how that ends up.
Once you’ve attracted a visitor, don’t invite them to leave. Any link that navigates away from the page makes it easy for the visitor to depart. Links to interesting articles, blogs, other pages, or other sites are strictly verboten.
Pictures really are worth a thousand words. That’s why a visually stimulating image is an important component of an effective landing page. We’ve all come to rely on stock images, but use them with care. Try to select something that’s a little off the beaten path. Many experienced web users instinctively recognize stock photos and subconsciously block their message. The best approach is to use high-quality custom images.
What better recommendation than “These guys rock!” could you hope for? While everyone likes a compliment, generic endorsements have limited effectiveness. A testimonial is a proven way to transform your page content into a plausible, unbiased recommendation for your product or service, but it has to have substance beyond a stale accolade. A good testimonial substantiates your claims, is from someone the visitor can relate to, endorses the key benefits of your product/service, quantifies the benefits the user can expect, and is credible.
Get rid of them. Just like off-page links, navigation elements offer a tempting avenue of escape for your visitor. Control visitor behavior by removing all navigation elements from the page.
Patience may be a virtue, but waiting for a page to load taxes even the most saintly. In fact, expect 40% of your visitors to depart if your page takes more than three seconds to load. Minimize HTTP requests, enable browser caching, optimize CSS delivery, reduce redirects, enable compression—whatever it takes to make page loading fast. And be sure to test load times on different devices.
The main elements of any landing page design—headline, value prop, info form, call to action—shouldn’t have to compete with the background. A busy background detracts from a single, focused message. Remember, white space is your friend. And do I really need to caution you against elements that move, flash, display images, or otherwise compete for the visitor’s attention?