It's no news flash that inbound marketers have to produce a lot of content and offers. After all, without these valuable assets -- and plenty of 'em -- inbound lead generation would be quite a challenge. And with every new offer, marketers must also spin out a new landing page to go with it.
But because landing page creation has become such a regular practice, and considering that many tools make it so quick and easy to create a new landing page in minutes, attention to landing page optimization can also easily fly out the window. So if you've been guilty of launching landing pages left and right all willy nilly, you may be overlooking some little details that can take the performance of your landing pages from good, to great. Got 15 extra minutes on your hands? Audit one of your landing pages, and see if you can make any of the following little tweaks that can make a BIG difference in your lead-gen results.
13 Little Tweaks That Can Make a BIG Difference in Landing Page Performance
1) Punch Up Your Headline
Every landing page should have an attention-grabbing headline that clearly indicates what the offer its featuring is about. If your landing page visitor read nothing else on the page but the headline, would she know exactly what she'd receive by completing and submitting the form? If it's not clear, make it so.
In addition to clarity, punch up the prominence and language of the headline. Does it stand out? Make it bold, and use a header tag. Is it compelling? Use strong verbs, adjectives, and keywords (for SEO!) like you would in a blog post title. Your headline is probably the first thing your visitors' eyes will gravitate toward when they reach your page, so you need to make it count. For example, just take a look at HubSpot's landing page for one of our ebooks, pictured below. The headline is bold, it clearly states what the visitor will receive ("Free Guide"), and it uses compelling language ("Mastering").
2) Shorten Your Copy
If your landing page looks more like a blog post than, well, a landing page, it's probably a good indication that you need to shorten your copy. A landing page with lots and lots of explanatory text is not only initially daunting to the reader, but it also buries the value of your offer. Shoot for around 100 words of copy or fewer in your landing page description so your visitors can quickly read and understand what your offer is about -- and be enticed to convert.
3) Make the Value Clearer
Speaking of value, does your landing page make it totally obvious what your prospects will get out of redeeming your offer? It's not just enough to tell them that they'll receive, say, an ebook on creating calls-to-action; you need to emphasize the value in it. Remember, you're trying to convince your landing page visitors that filling out a form and providing their personal information is worth what they'll get in return.
In our landing page example above, for example, the copy on our page clearly indicates that our CTA ebook will teach you how to "improve your calls-to-action and optimize them for maximum conversions." In other words, as a potential ebook downloader, you 'get' that after you've read our ebook, you'll know how to get more conversions out of your CTAs. When visitors clearly understand the value of downloading the ebook, and they're more inclined to fill out the form to obtain that valuable information.
4) Break Up Text
A final point about landing page copy to piggyback off the last two. You may only have 80 words of copy on your page, and it may clearly emphasize the value of your offer, but if it's all in one big chunk of unformatted text, it might also be all for naught.
Separate your landing page text into bite-size chunks that are easily scannable. As I said earlier, your landing page visitors don't want to waste their precious time trying to understand why they should redeem your offer. And if at any point, they feel like it's not worth determining, they'll leave -- offerless. Consider using bullet points to help describe your offer and highlight the value it provides, as we've done in our previous landing page example above.
5) Move That Form Up 'Above the Fold'
Do your visitors have to scroll down on the page or search high and low to find where or how they can redeem your offer? No bueno. If your form is below the fold (in other words, your visitors have to scroll down on the page in order to find it), move it up so it's more prominently visible. Worse -- if they don't understand that they need to fill out the form to redeem the offer in the first place, make it clear. There should be no guesswork involved in offer redemption from your prospects' perspective.
6) Shorten (or Lengthen) Your Form
"(Or Lengthen)"? Stay with us folks. First of all, understand that the more form fields you have, the less likely it is people will want to fill them out. Therefore, the length of your form needs to align with your lead generation goals.
So if your sales team has too many leads on their hands and they don't have the time to qualify them all, you might want to make your forms longer so they gather more information about your leads, enabling your sales team to better qualify them up front. If you're not generating enough leads, on the other hand, it might make sense to shorten your forms. The fewer fields you require, the less friction you'll create, and the more people will be willing to complete the form. Get it? Got it? Good.
7) Improve Your Form's Submit Button Text
What does the text on your landing page's submit button read? It it reads, "Submit," you might want to make a little tweak. According to research conducted for the Science of Lead Generation, landing pages with submit buttons actually labeled "Submit" tended to have lower conversion rates than those that used other wording. Why? We think it's because of the level of commitment the word "submit" implies, compared to other words like "Click Here" or "Go."
Use this data as a starting off point, and test different button text to see what works with your pages and your audience.
Add a link to your landing page -- preferably right on the form itself -- that directs form-wary visitors to a page that outlines your privacy. This will help quell any fears they might have about how you plan to use their information, and make them more likely to complete the form. It will also make you seem transparent, trustworthy, and credible (because you are!).
9) Add Social Sharing Buttons
Want to easily extend the reach of your offers? Put your visitors to work! Your landing page visitors have their own networks of contacts, and many of them are likely not in yours, so if they share your landing page in social media, you'll be expanding your reach beyond your direct network.
But really, you don't want to actually make it work for them to share your offers with their networks, so how about you just make it as easy as possible for them to do so? Add social media and email sharing buttons to your landing page and its thank-you page! Just be sure that the URL you include in these pre-populated updates links to your offers' landing page, not the thank-you page where leads can access the offer (remember, you want to capture that conversion first!). If you're not sure how to create these handy little buttons, check out our guide to creating social media sharing links and buttons here.
10) Add a Visual (or a More Compelling One)
We humans are visual creatures, so it's no wonder we've seen an increasing emphasis on visuals in marketing lately. (Think about all those infographics, memes, and the rise in visual-centric social networks like Pinterest.) Hey, they don't say "a picture is worth a thousand words" for nothing. So if your landing page doesn't include some kind of visual -- or a compelling one, for that matter -- adding one is an easy upgrade. Even though you've explained what the offer is and the value they'll get from it through your copy, it can still seem like a mystery to your visitors. Thus, we recommend including a visual that more tangibly shows the visitor what they're actually going to get.
At HubSpot, for example, you'll notice that the majority of our ebook landing pages feature an image of the ebook's cover page. This gives potential downloaders a very tangible idea of what they're going to receive when they fill out the form. Remember: Surprises are fun when it's your birthday, not when you're providing a random company with your personal deets.
11) Remove Distractions
Think of your landing page visitors like kids in a candy store. If you put a lot of bells, whistles, and different choices in front of them, you'll never be able to corral them. That's why it's critical to limit as many potential distractions as possible on your landing pages. You want your visitors to focus on one thing and one thing only -- completing the form to redeem the offer. So don't include anything on your page that might prevent them from doing just that.
Remove any website navigation so visitors aren't tempted to visit another part of your website, and get rid of any other calls-to-action for other offers you might have on the page.
12) Conduct an A/B Test
A/B tests are great for tweaking and optimizing your landing pages, especially because sometimes even the simplest A/B test can yield really powerful results. Another great thing about A/B tests is, there are so many possible variables you can test -- and you don't even have to limit these tests to your landing pages.
But since landing pages are the topic at hand today, let's focus there. Some simple landing page variables you can try A/B testing include page layout, design, copy, images, and number of form fields. Be sure to pay close attention to your analytics so you know how your A/B test performed. To learn more about how to conduct A/B tests the right way, you can download our complete guide here.
13) Promote It!
While promoting your landing pages may not exactly be a "tweak," it's important not to overlook. After all, if you don't promote your landing pages, all of the above tweaks won't really make much of a difference! Be sure that along with every offer's landing page, you create CTA buttons that you can use in blog posts (just check the bottom of this blog post for an example) and on other website pages. Furthermore, promote links to your landing pages in your website's resource center, social media updates, email marketing sends, and lead nurturing campaigns. You put all that work into creating the offer and optimizing the landing page, so make sure you squeeze the most ROI out of it as possible!
Speaking of ROI, let your landing page analytics be your guide as you make tweaks and optimize your landing pages. If you notice a tweak has actually hurt, not helped your page, you'll be able to track that, and switch it back!
What other little landing page tweaks have you noticed made a BIG difference in the performance of your landing pages?
Originally published Jun 28, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated August 29 2017