The attention span of the average web user shrinks daily, so as online marketers, we have to get more creative in targeting them. One of the most important ways is to create a landing page that will quickly and easily help them do what they came to the site to do.
Your website’s landing page is any page where your user is likely to enter your site. Your site will most likely have more than one landing page, especially if you have worked them into your marketing campaign. Before designing your landing pages, ask these key questions: What action do we want the visitor to take? What impression of our company do we want the visitor to have? Build your landing pages around your answers to these questions and you will receive the conversions you seek. Make sure your landing pages have the aspects found below.
Targeted Action Message and Simple Conversion Process
Action Message. You have defined what you want the visitor to do when they reach your landing page, and they probably have an idea of what they want to do as well. Make sure that the purpose of the landing page is clear whether it is “liking” the company on Facebook, following on twitter, signing up for a free trial or requesting information. It may even just be to enter the rest of the site and find out more about the company and its products and services. Put the “action” link above the “fold” of the webpage so they don’t have to scroll down to get to it.
Unique Messages. If you have more than one landing page for your site, your visitors will be going to each landing page with a different purpose in mind. Make sure that you match the action message for each individual landing page with the purpose they have in mind. Each landing page should have a unique message and only one action message. If you don’t match their purpose with your purpose, the visitor will quickly get confused, think that they have reached that site in error and exit.
Conversion Process. Once the visitor does decide to take action, make the conversion process easy and painless for them. Don’t ask for more information than is necessary so that they don’t feel uncomfortable. Don’t make them follow a number of links to get to the end result. Keep focused on one action, though it might be tempting to entice them to take advantage of all the products and services you provide. An overwhelmed user may quickly decide to opt out.
Functional and Inviting Interface
Functionality. In order for your visitor to find what they need to do or what they want to do on your landing page, the design must be both functional and inviting. Put only relevant information on the landing page so it’s not cluttered with unnecessary links, site navigation, copy and graphics. Organize everything according to your users’ preferences, by testing different versions of landing pages and including the most successful aspects in the most successful places.
Design. Be careful not to only focus on functionality because a page that is too simple can easily look unprofessional and thus scare off the user. Study current web design tactics and make sure that your landing page (and the rest of your site) are up-to-date. Unnecessary graphics are detrimental, but so is having no graphics. Include some kind of relevant graphic or photograph to make the page more appealing and friendly. Think about your brand as you design. Not only do you want the visitor to complete the targeted action, you want them to leave your site with an accurate and positive impression of your company.
Stay away from flash-based landing sites even though they are trendy and allow for innovative design. Often they take too long to load and users will click away before it finishes loading. Also, web users are used to having control over everything they do and flash takes away that control. Again, don’t only focus on the design. A successful landing page is equally focused on functionality and design.
Testing. With these guidelines in mind, create a few different versions of the same landing page and test them. There are many companies and products you can find online that will do all of the testing for you. Testing is the only way to know which messages, actions and design aspects are most effective in creating conversions with your users.
Kevin Anderson is a freelance writer for Omniture. Omniture provides tools to assist companies in their search engine marketing efforts.