Between ever-increasing competition and a strained global economy, digital marketing has certainly not become any easier in recent times. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) still drives online visibility as keyword research spearheads content marketing, and landing pages still matter. Securing that stellar first impression to capture and convert leads seems to occupy most marketers’ minds, and rightly so. Still, optimizing landing pages for peak performance isn’t always easy. Here are some landing page optimization best practices to help you get started:
What is Landing Page Optimization (LPO)?
In brief, landing page optimization is exactly what the name suggests; optimizing landing page elements to best serve their purpose. Often capitalized and abbreviated as LPO, this comprehensive series of practices primarily seeks to augment landing pages in three areas:
- Clarity and readability
- Visual appeal
- Allure to action
Notably, these practices occur both before and after launching landing pages. In fact, post-launch insights and data often provide the best insights into what will make landing pages more valuable.
What to Consider Before Approaching Landing Page Optimization
Now, each marketer will approach these practices somewhat differently. Still, some due preparation always helps. In no particular order, consider the following to establish a robust foundation early.
1. Consider Converting Your Blog Posts Into Landing Pages
First, you may examine if you can upgrade your blog posts into effective landing pages. This tactic has been gaining popularity as a means of increasing lead capture and conversion opportunities in recent years. For high-traffic blog posts, it’s indeed effective, as it still caters to the discovery phase of the customer journey.
However, it takes careful handling as the two are distinctly different despite their effective overlap. As such, you may wish to decide on this early to avoid post-launch campaign complications.
2. Examine Your Campaigns’ Goals
Next, it’s key to examine your campaigns’ goals before jumping into landing page optimizations. Your exact goals need to be outlined early, from web design and content marketing to your landing pages’ copy and tone.
The primary, simple reason for this is that dissonance between your goals and landing pages very often leads to failure. Even the most finely-tuned pages will not convince audiences if they don’t match the campaigns they serve.
3. Establish A/B Testing Processes
Finally, many landing page optimizations occur post-launch. You likely can’t craft the perfect landing page from the start and will instead need field data to inform adjustments.
For this reason, you may also establish A/B testing processes early. Decide which solutions you will use for it, which methodologies you will follow, and which elements you will focus on. Most importantly, conduct such tests diligently to identify any shortcomings early.
7 Essential Landing Page Optimization Best Practices
With all of the above in mind, here are some of the landing page optimization best practices to implement as you get started:
1. Simplify Your Landing Pages
Simplicity has become the mantra of digital marketing; web design, SEO, and even paid marketing all mandate it. The same applies to landing pages; the fewer chances they confuse your audiences, the better.
To do so, you may start with such elements as:
- Copy; keep your copy simple, concise, and to the point.
- Visuals; minimize all visual clutter to avoid distractions.
- CTAs; reduce the number of CTAs on each landing page.
Especially now that mobile traffic surpasses desktop traffic, simplicity offers your landing pages a fundamental advantage.
2. Ensure Fast Loading Speeds
For that matter, simplicity often allows for faster loading speeds in addition to being an excellent quality in itself. Yet businesses often overlook this crucial metric to their campaigns’ detriment.
In fact, ignoring loading speed or having a slow one are some of the mistakes businesses make with their website strategy and it can mess up the performance of your landing pages too.
Fast loading speeds are indeed crucial, as data shows. For one, Google found a direct correlation between slow loading speeds and higher bounce rates. Marketer research has confirmed this as well, including such findings as Unbounce’s that “[n]early 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer”.
To address this, you may first embrace simplicity. Use a few specific, lightweight visuals, and avoid any elements that may slow your landing pages down. Then, you may ensure your website’s technical health, including fixing any website caching mistakes.
3. Keep Your Vital Information Above the Fold
Next, perhaps the most common among landing page optimization best practices is information placement. Namely, just as web design also mandates, your landing pages should keep vital information above the fold. Although people are used to scrolling, you don’t want to force them to do it in order to see relevant information on your landing page.
This practice follows the same logic as newspapers do, which is where the term comes from and caters to visual patterns. Most viewers will focus on the uppermost page section, and fewer will scroll down to the bottom. In turn, the more time it takes them to find relevant information, the less likely your landing pages are to succeed.
You may first establish where exactly your fold is to address this factor. Examine your heat map data to determine how far viewers scroll and confine your vital information to that upper area. Such information should typically include your headline, attention-grabbing offer, and a relevant CTA.
4. Remove All Distractions
Along similar conceptual lines, your landing pages should serve one specific purpose. To guide audiences to your desired actions, you want to remove any distractions in their way.
Possible distractions abound, but will typically include:
- Images – especially ones close to CTAs or featuring humans may distract viewers.
- CTAs – secondary CTAs will effectively derail your landing pages’ primary purpose.
- Seemingly Clickable Elements – any images, copy, or other details that may seem clickable may frustrate audiences into leaving.
This factor is, of course, highly subjective and case-specific, so remember always to consult your analytics, like heat maps and click maps, to identify distractions.
5. Leverage Social Proof
Having ensured readability and visual appeal so far, you may begin enhancing your trust signals. Whether your pages seek to capture or convert leads, they need to earn their trust first.
This is why the best practices of landing page optimization often include leveraging social proof. Ample research proves its benefits, as OptinMonster reports:
- “92% of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising.”
- “88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
- “70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”
To reap this benefit, you may consider reviews, testimonials, case studies, and any other social proof you have and deem appropriate. If you can accompany it with images of people in a way that doesn’t distract from conversions, all the better.
6. Polish Your CTAs
With all of the above in hand, you may next polish your CTAs. As your literal calls to action, CTAs can truly make or break landing pages by themselves.
Copy clarity and brevity aside, consider such elements and practices as:
- Color Choices; some colors work better than others, like how Hubspot found red beats green. Still, examine color clashes and effects on readability.
- Placement; CTAs are ideally placed early and away from visual distractions. Still, Joshua Turk finds that offer complexity may best inform placement too.
- Inciting Urgency; CTAs may also opt to incite fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) through exclusivity and urgency. Sleeknote finds that such scarcity techniques visibly boost conversion rates.
Still, as above, the best approach is on a case-by-case basis with your own data in hand.
7. Use an Exit-Intent Popup
Finally, no landing page will ever capture all of its viewers. In fact, most landing pages will not. To address this inevitable occurrence, you may utilize exit-intent popups as a final effort to capture fleeing leads.
Yes, popups of all kinds don’t quite enjoy a stellar reputation online. Anecdotally, most audiences seem to hate them, and they can damage the user experience on your website.
But, exit-intent popups do not disrupt a user’s experience like other popups as they are triggered by time or behavior that indicates someone is about to leave. Data, including Sumo’s famous study of 2 billion popups, finds they are demonstrably effective.
As with all digital marketing material, the critical component is contextual value. You can fine-tune your exit-intent popups through such means as:
- Visuals; eye-catching visuals and popping colors will help your audiences see them in time.
- Copy; smart, relevant, and at times witty copy will also help entice unconvinced audiences.
- Offers; relevant, valuable, and even time-exclusive offers may work where page CTAs failed.
Exit-intent popups serve as your final attempt to convince, so remember to offer clear, overwhelming value through them.
Use LPO to Improve Your Landing Pages
To summarize, landing page optimization best practices seek to let landing pages fulfill their explicit purpose. Their typical focus lies in clarity, readability, visual appeal, and a clear value proposition.
To ensure these qualities, their enhancements span across copy, visuals, CTAs, trust signals, and more. While brief, the above recommendations should hopefully serve as a solid starting point on your LPO journey.