It’s Friday night and you finally have the chance to relax and prop your feet up on the couch. You grab the remote and start scrolling through Netflix to find a movie.
Next, next, next. Oh, what about this one?!
What made you stop on that movie? The cover image, right? Or maybe it was the title paired with the image? Sure, the description (and probably the rating) will encourage your final decision to watch it or not, but the image and the title of the movie are likely what got you hooked enough to bother reading the description.
That’s because first impressions are a big deal.
And not just when it comes to Netflix, or even meeting people for the first time; but also when it comes to online search behaviors. In fact, website first impressions can be assessed in just 1/20th of a second, and those quickly formulated first impressions are 94% design-related.
So a professionally designed, visually appealing landing page has the potential to leave a great first impression on your visitors, and substantially improve your conversion rates.
It’s worth pointing out that no landing page can guarantee 100% conversion rate. But by using professional landing page templates to create your page, you can make a killer first impression, generate conversions, and ultimately, drive sales.
What is a professional landing page?
A professional landing page is a standalone web page that uses persuasive elements to convince its visitors to convert on an offer. Offers may include purchasing a product, downloading an ebook, signing up for a newsletter, or registering for a webinar.
The word “professional” has a particular connotation and “good vibe” feeling about it. You know it when you see it, especially when it comes to landing pages.
Does it appear professional to you? Does it demonstrate a great first impression and make you want to download the survival guide?
My first impression was, “Is this it?” There’s practically zero information to let visitors know what the guide includes, or how they can benefit from it.
What about this one?
This one contains more landing page elements — a headline, bulleted copy, a lead capture form, and a customer testimonial. But since everything is crammed together with no white space, and it contains multiple footer links, it still doesn’t give off a professional vibe, does it?
In contrast, this AppFolio landing page gives off a much better impression:
Notice how it includes a benefit-oriented headline, bullet points with minimal copy, an optimized form, sufficient white space, and a number of trust signals? This is what a professional landing page looks like.
The landing page conversion process all starts with generating traffic to the page. But once you’ve caught your visitor’s attention and they’ve explored your landing page further, how do you get them to convert?
It all comes down to getting inside their head, knowing their pain points, and convincing them that your product or service is the best solution to their problem. To accomplish this, there are several key components that make up a professional landing page.
Elements of a professional landing page
Just like the title of that Netflix movie piqued your interest and made you want to learn more, the headline of your landing page should do the same for your visitors. It should capture their attention immediately and entice them to browse your page more.
So, how do you create an effective headline that’s sure to make a great first impression?
No matter what your landing page is promoting, it’s critical that the headline:
- Relates to your ad. No matter what type of ad brings prospects to your page, the ad and the headline should both use message match.
- Provides clarity. Get right to the point without leaving any room for ambiguity.
- Showcases your offer’s benefits. The headline should always be benefit-oriented, highlighting your offer’s UVP, and letting prospects know what they will get by converting.
- Demonstrates empathy. Since most people are emotional decision-makers, sparking some type of emotion in them and empathizing with their problem from the start, will encourage them to keep navigating your page.
- Grabs visitors’ attention. To ensure your headline accomplishes everything mentioned above, it must be the largest, most attention-grabbing text on the page.
Here’s an example from The Joint Chiropractic that accomplishes each of the above:
The main point of the page (and the UVP) is clear from the headline — get adjusted to relieve back pain. This provides empathy for those who may be struggling with back pain and offers them a solution to their problem. Also, you can’t miss the headline since it’s the largest text on the page and the white contrasts well with the blue background.
Here’s another example of optimized headline, this time from Therasoft:
Again, the headline is large which makes it noticeable immediately. It’s also clear and straightforward, providing the benefits of purchasing Therasoft software (help with scheduling, documenting, and billing for less time and effort spent).
People are not on your page to read so get straight to the point with your landing page copy. Don’t overwhelm them with large blocks of text. Simply relay the benefits of your offer in as few words as possible so they can determine your offer’s value quickly and easily.
Typically, your landing page copy should be:
- Skimmable. Highlight important information with lists, subheadings, bullet points, bold font, and short paragraphs so that visitors can easily find what they’re looking for without having to search or strain to find it.
- Benefit-focused. Instead of listing every product feature, provide the benefits of those features. Prospects are most interested in how the product or service is going to help them solve their problem.
- Customer-centric. As your visitors skim they should feel as if you’re speaking directly to them. Use words like “you” and “your” to show them that you’re focused on solving their problem.
- Simple. Your copy should be basic, written in a way that your visitors will understand, without jargon that only industry insiders would understand.
- Legible. Your typeface should be easily readable by visitors. Stay away from fonts that are too small or decorative, because this could make it hard for them to decipher, or could deter them from even trying to understand it.
This LegalZoom landing page is a great example of using customer-centric copy, as they use first-person in the headline, the body copy, and the CTA button:
Notice how there is minimal copy and LegalZoom’s benefits are highlighted with bullet point checkmarks so visitors can quickly skim the page to find what they’re looking for. The font is legible and the copy is simple so prospects should have no problem reading and understanding the message.
Almost always, media is more engaging and quicker to comprehend than text. So when in doubt, opt for media over text.
For example, a hero shot can help your visitor envision what it would be like if your product or service solved their problem. On the other hand, a product shot, a gif, or even an explainer video can help demonstrate how a new or complicated product works.
Let’s refer back to the Therasoft landing page again. The company uses several product shots throughout the page to help demonstrate various product features:
A video testimonial is another form of media that adds an increased level of engagement to your social proof and makes it seem more real to the viewer.
Bryan University uses video testimonials on their landing page. They also added an introduction video to provide prospects with an overview of their mission, a preview of their campus, and highlight some of the key benefits they offer students:
Lead capture forms are your ticket for obtaining visitor information. Here are some basic rules for creating a perfectly optimized form:
- Make sure it’s frictionless. Only ask for essential information from prospects, so you don’t intimidate and deter them from completing the form. The less you ask of prospects, the more likely they are to convert. Keep in mind that the amount of form fields typically depends on where the person is in the marketing funnel — the further down the funnel, the more information you can request, and vice versa.
- Ask for information in steps. If your offer requires a lot of information, split it up as much as possible. Prospects are more likely to fill out a few small forms, than a long, intimidating one.
- Consider a two-step opt-in. Two-step opt-in forms help simplify the page by removing the form and only including a CTA button. When visitors click the CTA button, the form opens in a pop-up box. Doing this helps eliminate the possibility of an intimidating form and only the most interested prospects will complete it.
- Make it easy to complete. Along with organizing the fields in a logical order, pre-populating them is another effective tactic. If prospects have already provided some of their information by claiming another resource in the past, make converting on this offer as easy as possible by auto-filling the fields with their information.
- Place it strategically on the page. This doesn’t necessarily mean above the fold. Where you place your form should depend on your offer. As a rule of thumb, below the fold is better if your offer is expensive, complex, or requires high commitment, as this gives prospects more time to become acquainted with it.
The lead capture form on this Buildium landing page moves with prospects as they scroll, so they never lose sight of it and there’s less effort required when they’re ready to convert:
This is what it all comes down to. It’s the last step in convincing your prospects they should redeem your offer, so it must stand out among everything else on the page.
Consider these essential components to create the best possible CTA button for your page:
- Position. Just like your form, presenting your CTA button prematurely can reduce conversions. It should be presented only after you’ve introduced and explained your offer. Designing your page to follow the F-Pattern or Z-Pattern can help to accentuate your CTA button, as can the use of white space around the button.
- Size. Your CTA button should be large enough to stand out and grab your visitor’s attention without them having to search for it. Making it too small could cause them to miss it altogether.
- Color. Another way to make your CTA button draw maximum attention is to design it in a color that contrasts with the rest of the page. The color wheel can help you choose a hue, tint, shade, and tone that will make your CTA button “pop” on your page.
- Copy. All too often, marketers write copy like “Submit,” “Download,” “Sign up,” or “Subscribe.” Not only are those words overused, but they’re also boring and vague. To convince people to convert on your offer, your copy must be persuasive and enticing — meaning it should be descriptive, personalized, and written in first-person.
Look how Lauren Clark Law optimized their CTA button:
The button is below the fold, is large enough for visitors to see, contrasts with blue and white, and uses personalized copy (“my”) and enticing (“free”) to convince visitors to click.
Before prospects can convert on your offer, they need to be able to trust your brand, so incorporating trust indicators is crucial. Trust indicators come in a variety of ways, here are some of the most common:
- Statistical evidence. If you have any numbers to support that your product or service can solve prospects’ problem, show them in the headline, subheadline, or copy.
- Customer testimonials. Sharing positive experiences from current or former customers is one of the most powerful trust indicators. When displaying customer testimonials, be sure to provide as much information as possible (full name, title, business, and headshot) because this adds the most credibility.
- Authority badges. This includes customer logos, awards from other websites, and more. For example, showing logos of recognizable, trustworthy companies makes prospects think, “Wow, they’ve helped all these other well-known companies! I should do business with them, too!”
- Third-party seals. Third-party seals — like Paypal, Verisign, and McAfee — also let your prospects know that their information will be kept safe and not compromised.
SpareHire uses customer testimonials and company badges to add more trust to their offer:
Notice, though, it could use some improvement. There’s not much detail included with the testimonials — names, business information, and headshots are all missing. They also included a review that only received 4.5 stars instead of 5. This might make prospects wonder what they did to lose a half-star.
Financial Engines does a much better job with their trust indicators:
The key difference here is that Financial Engines added a full name, job title, and headshot to their testimonial, which significantly increases credibility. They also displayed several authority badges, including some well-known company logos and an award badge from InvestmentNews in 2016.
Build your professional landing page today
The difference between an unprofessional landing page and a professional landing page can make or break your chance of conversion. Settle for an unprofessional landing page and miss out on a lifetime customer.
Use the blueprint in this article and learn from the other examples to make your best first impression and generate more conversions.
Get started creating your own professional landing pages with Instapage today. Our 100% customizable templates and designer-friendly software will allow you to create fully optimized pages in just minutes.