Landing Page Optimization Best Practices

Your landing page is a vital component of your campaign. The landing page is where you send all prospects to complete the desired action, whether it be to fill out an information form or sign up for a webinar. If you can boost your conversion rate through landing page optimization, you’ll get more conversions for less money. Optimizing your web page is a multi-faceted process that will ultimately guide prospects to take the desired action. Any number of factors can impact a prospect’s behavior, from a compelling headline to images, colors and fonts. Your landing page performance strongly impacts campaign results, so it’s essential to make it easy for users to arrive at the final destination and avoid any potential obstacles along the way. 

Landing page optimization relies on A/B testing, which is a time-consuming process that requires small, incremental changes to correctly evaluate results. However, A/B testing is also a tool that can deliver outcomes that dramatically impact your performance. A proper strategy for landing page testing is as important as any other optimization approach to your lead generation campaign.


Landing Page Optimization - User BehaviorUNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF USER BEHAVIOR

Each action has an underlying motivation. The more you understand your target audience and their behavior, the more likely you’ll be to develop landing pages and other communications that encourage them to take a desired action. Methodologies from general psychology can be applied to your campaigns to develop this understanding and boost your conversions. There are many examples that can be evaluated and brought into your campaign strategy, many with overlapping ideas. The following are a few examples. 

THE FOGG BEHAVIOR MODEL

Under this model, three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur—motivation, ability and trigger. When a behavior does not occur, at least one of those three elements is missing.1

  • Motivation: The objective is to make the action painless, provide hope with the action and show a positive aspiration and/or make it socially acceptable based on the target audience. To properly execute, you must make the user feel like they belong.
  • Ability: In this element, you must train the user or simplify the process of taking the desired action.
  • Trigger: Essentially, this is the call to action (CTA) that directs a user to take the action, such as requesting more information. It can also be an indirect trigger that defines the result of inaction.

CIALDINI’S SIX PRINCIPLES OF INFLUENCE

This theory was created by Robert Cialdini, Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. It was published in 1984 in a book titled Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and is also known as the “Six Weapons of Influence.”2 Cialdini outlined responses to social experiments, categorizing their actions into six principles:

  • Reciprocity: People are naturally inclined to return favors or pay back debts. Therefore, they may be more likely to make a purchase if they have received something from your company, are given a discount, know that a portion of the proceeds will go to charity or believe there is a sense of dual benefit at play. Receiving a gift, whether tangible or intangible, triggers a response that can be used to encourage action.
  • Commitment: People inherently desire consistency, thus are more likely to continue the process if they have already made an initial commitment. Stepped forms, in which small bits of information are asked at a time, are a good example of an approach that relies on the commitment principle. Social proof: There is safety in numbers, especially when there are feelings of uncertainty. People are very likely to be influenced by people they feel are similar to themselves. This is evident in the successful use of ad testimonials and Facebook likes.
  • Liking: People can be influenced by people they like. This likability can stem from similarities, compliments or trust. Utilizing images of people who may look like your target audience can leverage this principle.
  • Authority: In general, there is a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority. Therefore, job titles, uniforms, seals and the like can influence people to take action. Including trust and authority factors on your landing page can take advantage of this practice.
  • Scarcity: Consumers hate to lose out on opportunities. As a result, limited availability and limited-time offers can create desire.

GAME DYNAMICS & GAMIFICATION

A highly motivating user experience can be created using tools, techniques and widgets that represent a rewarding game environment.3 Examples of gamification include:

  • Achievements: These are virtual or physical representations of having accomplished something and provide gratification for completing a task.
  • Behavioral momentum: Like the pull from inertia, people have the tendency to keep doing what they have already been doing. Building on familiar activities can drive a user forward in his or her journey.
  • Bonuses: Users can earn rewards for completing a series of challenges or core functions. In hopes of earning more, these rewards act as an extra boost of motivation to continue.
  • Cascading information theory: To avoid overwhelming your audience, information should be released in the smallest snippets possible to provide an appropriate level of understanding and avoid abandoning the process because of confusion.
  • Countdown: Providing only a set amount of time to do something (e.g. classes start in two weeks) creates a scarcity of time, which is also noted as a key principle in the previous theories listed.
  • Discovery: Also called “exploration,” discovery encourages more page views and time spent on the site by allowing a user to experience new and exciting destinations or information.
  • Loss aversion: This is the desire to avoid punishment such as status, access, power or loss of resources, and is another example of the scarcity principle previously mentioned.
  • Progression: Success is measured and displayed as tasks are completed (e.g. progress bar) to clearly show the time already invested and the effort remaining to achieve completion.

Landing Page Elements IconLANDING PAGE ELEMENTS

Once you better understand the psychology of human behavior and why prospects are compelled to complete certain actions, you can apply these principles in your campaigns and in designing the optimal landing page for conversions. Landing pages are where you send your target audience to take the desired action, such as request information, sign up or make a purchase. A successful landing page may have different elements depending on its brand, industry, desired actions and other factors. However, there is a standard set of elements that help create an environment of understanding, shown below. 

  1. Headline: This should reference solving a common need or problem for the target audience while maintaining consistent elements from the source the prospect followed to get to this page. For example, if the link was sent from an email, the messaging should be consistent with the email.
  2. Subhead: Your subhead should relay a main benefit to capture the interest of landing page visitors.
  3. Page layout: It’s essential to understand where the page fold falls so you don’t require users to scroll to see the main page elements. Test your landing page on various devices with a tool like ResizeMyBrowser.com.
  4. Call to action/button: This must stand out so it’s easy to see and click on, while being expressive of what will happen when you click. Your CTA should be clear, request a single desired action and be the main focus on the page.
  5. Alternative method of contact: Give options when possible without diluting the CTA focus for prospects to reach you. For example, provide a phone number or a “click to chat” button that goes directly to your call center or sales team.
  6. Support copy: Support the headline and subhead with details regarding the key benefits of your brand, product, program or offer. Include trust factors and social proof to encourage action—bullet points typically work well.
  7. Hero image: Your hero image should relate to the copy and resonate with the audience. Images should not distract from the form or the main purpose of the site, but rather complement and motivate the users to take action. Positive images facing or pointing in the direction of your call to action have been proven to work best.
  8. Form: As a rule of thumb, fewer fields on a form generate more conversions. The fields can be all on one screen or on multiple screens when utilizing the stepped process. When applicable, display trust factors to ensure user privacy, such as a TrustE or VeriSign logo. These can provide additional feelings of security, authenticity and trust between your brand and the user.


Landing Page Optimization - AB TestingA GUIDE TO A/B TESTING

Every element of a landing page can and should be tested, including copy, images, placement, color, font size and more. Use your intuition to get started, but be ready to adapt as needed. Here’s a guide to A/B testing.

 

PRE-TEST

  • Select your A/B testing software: There are many software choices, including Optimizely, Maxymiser, Google Analytics Content Experiments, Adobe Target and Visual Website Optimizer. Pick a software tool that fits your budget and is easy for you to use.
  • Define your testing objective: Your testing objective must be measurable. An example of a measurable objective is to increase the number of people completing the form. While you can track and evaluate other metrics, only the metric that relates to your testing objective should determine the results of that test.
  • Create a testing plan & schedule: List out potential landing page elements you would like to test. Then, develop a hypothesis on the impact of changing those elements. Make sure to prioritize your testing schedule to have the biggest impact toward your objective as soon as possible. Because each test may reveal new insights about how you should move forward with subsequent testing, your testing plan and schedule should be re-evaluated after each winning variation is determined.

TEST

  • Create your variations: Test just one thing at a time—otherwise you won’t know what delivered the results. Be patient during this process.
  • Rely on A/B testing software to split traffic: The software used for testing will divide the traffic between the two landing pages you are testing. So all you need to do is set it up and sit back while the test runs.
  • Volume is key: Before running a landing page test, it is also important to ensure you will be receiving enough volume and conversions though your “control” campaign. Anything over 100+ conversions per variation may be enough. Anything less and you risk declaring a winner without enough conclusive evidence.
  • Monitor your test and know when to stop: You want to conduct the test for the shortest time period possible to alleviate external factors that could impact the results. However, you need to wait for a 95% likelihood before you declare a winner, which will be tracked within your testing software. A general rule of thumb is to wait at least 7-10 days and no more than 4-6 weeks before determining a winner. Your testing results will fluctuate, and you must ensure the trends you are witnessing are stabilized to provide the most conclusive evidence of a winning variation.

POST-TEST

  • Keep the winners: As your test completes, turn off the test, keep the winner and then test something else. Continue to keep each winner and your increasingly optimized page should deliver better results.

EXAMPLES OF LANDING PAGE A/B TESTING

Marketers are testing their landing pages regularly, so there are always great examples to reference. Below are examples of companies who implemented changes to optimize their landing pages. Note that the results might not be the same for your brand.

  • Performable, a marketing automation company that develops software for analyzing sales and marketing performance, increased conversions by 21% after changing the background color of their CTA button from green to red.5

 

  • Oriental Furniture, an online retailer of Asian furniture, gifts and accessories, added a Buy Safe seal to their website. The change increased their conversion rate by 7.6%.6
  • SAP, a software and technology solutions company, increased their CTA button size and boosted conversions by 32% as a result.7 

  • BliVakker.co, a Norway-based online beauty shop, removed three fields from their registration form to boost conversions by 10.48%.8
  • DesignBoost, a provider of online courses that teach students how to design apps and landing pages, achieved 13% more signups and a 25% increase in their click-through rate after shortening their landing page.9
  • Vineyard, a luxury hotel in London, boosted conversions by 32.12% after making their CTA more prominent.10
  • 37signals, a software company, boosted signups by 30% after a series of headline testing.11
  • AssessmentDay, a company that helps job seekers become familiar with psychometric tests commonly used by employers, simplified content on their landing page to boost sales by 62%.12
  • LessAccounting, a provider of a basic accounting software package for small businesses, added a phone number to their website and increased conversions by 1.8%.13
  • Unionen, a Swedish company supporting employees, increased membership signups by 15.9% after transitioning their features copy from paragraph to bulleted format.14

Landing Page Builder IconABOUT SPARKROOM PERFORMANCE MARKETING TECHNOLOGY LANDING PAGES

Sparkroom, a Division of DMS, will help you streamline your campaign and landing page generation process by removing the need for development resources while easily managing and instantly pushing out updates across your marketing channels. You can easily oversee your inquiry forms, landing page content and pixel tracking in a centralized platform with the Sparkroom landing page builder. Our landing pages automatically integrate with your Sparkroom performance marketing technology via form API, content API and a pixel engine. Your inquiry forms and content are dynamically generated and pushed via our software APIs to the appropriate landing pages. Additional landing page features include:

  • Multiple pre-tested and optimized templates: Templates are mobile responsive and customizable to match your campaign, brand and messaging. Single-step or multi-step form options: Choose from multiple form template options to fit your needs.
  • Click-to-call technology: Add the option for users to click on a link to call you when viewing the landing page. This automatically delivers an almost perfect contact rate and ensures you’re talking to prospects when they have the time and desire to talk with you.
  • Easy A/B testing: Seamless integration with Google Experiments makes A/B testing simple. Additionally, our built-in functionality to create landing page variations and automatically split your traffic evenly between the control and test pages helps you keep your testing efficient and organized.
  • Live editing feature: Easily edit your landing page as needed with Sparkroom’s live editing tool.
  • Custom domain support: Use a URL that matches your brand and website.
  • Consistent user experience. Form and content can be dynamically altered by marketing channel to ensure your user experiences are consistent from source (e.g. display ad, email) to landing page.
  • Branded “thank you” page: Sparkroom forms can redirect to your branded “thank you” page to ensure consistency while providing prospects with the confidence that their information has been submitted.
  • Real-time lead posting: Leads post directly into Sparkroom performance marketing technology as they are submitted. This saves time and prevents the sometimes overwhelming process of tracking in multiple locations.

The benefits of using a Sparkroom performance marketing technology landing page extend beyond the many available features for building and maintaining your page. You can launch your page in minutes, integrate with Wordpress and efficiently get online without needing to spend development time or resources. The fully responsive designs help optimize displays.

You can easily manage tracking pixels on both your landing page and confirmation page. Plus, you can be sure that all of the pieces of your campaign are secure behind a user login that is unique to you and allows only you to manage the content you create.


 

DMS CAN HELP YOUR CAMPAIGNS PERFORM BETTER THROUGH LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATIONS AND MORE. FOR AN AUDIT OF YOUR CURRENT LANDING PAGE (OR PAGES), CONTACT THE DMS TEAM.

 

Last updated: May 2017

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS) is an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients win in their business ventures and realize their marketing goals. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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