In this post

How To Design a Landing Page That Converts

by Ted Vrountas in Conversion Optimization How to design a landing page that converts

Nobody purposely creates an uninspiring landing page. Unfortunately, it happens quite often. As a result, average conversion rates across industries are so low that up to 99% of traffic does not convert.

Though a conversion rate between 0.5% and 5.0% might be average, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to settle for. Every time a visitor doesn’t take the desired action, it translates to lost revenue and wasted budget.

So, how do you beat the average to create a landing page that converts?

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a standalone webpage for a single campaign that’s designed strictly for the purpose of converting paid traffic. Though a landing page contains many familiar design elements, they differ from other webpages by being personalized, using message-match, and featuring a 1:1 conversion ratio. These qualities make landing pages particularly effective at getting visitors to complete a conversion goal (sign up, buy, download, etc.).

How to build a landing page that converts

You already know a landing page needs a 1:1 conversion ratio, message-match, and personalization to be effective. But why? And what other elements help a landing page convert? Today, we offer some strategies for creating your highest-converting landing page yet.

Let’s watch this video on how to design a landing page before we dive in further:

Determine your goal

Lots of landing page designers get ahead of themselves by jumping into design before they have all the information. Before you start writing or wireframing, you need to pinpoint the goal you’re working toward.

All landing pages aim to persuade a visitor to convert. But your page’s targeted action depends on your business needs. At the campaign level, you should already know what your objective is, and your landing page goal should match up with that, as should your offer.

Once you know your target, you can build your page around it. Form size, copy length, creative elements are all affected by your page’s goal.

Learn more about setting goals

3 Steps to Setting up Campaign Goals and Digital Advertising KPIs

Know the level of commitment your offer requires

Your goal closely relates to your offer. For example, if you’re attempting to generate leads, you may offer a free ebook. If you’re trying to drive sales, you may be offering a $500 course instead.

These offers require very different levels of commitment from visitors. The ebook is free, so it doesn’t require much audience buy-in. If they don’t like it, it’s not a big deal. They’ve lost nothing but a few form fields’ worth of information.

The $500 course, on the other hand, costs a lot—and not just monetarily. It also requires time to look for reviews, examine your website for credibility factors, and read the terms of service for your return policy. This online class exemplifies a high-commitment offer. Visitors must invest time, money, and energy in the purchase.

A landing page for a low-commitment offer, like a free ebook, can be relatively simple. It won’t need lots of copy, testimonials, hero shots, videos, or satisfaction guarantees. You don’t need to persuade people too much to claim something that’s free.

But a high-commitment offer is a different story. It will need all those things and more. The more buy-in your offer requires, the more work you’ll need to do to persuade your visitors to claim it. And that means a greater quantity and quality of persuasive elements.

The graph below is a visual aid intended to help you determine when to use long vs. short copy. But a more appropriate title might be “long vs. short page matrix.”

When your page is high-commitment, it’s likely going to need more than additional copy. It’s also going to require many of the elements listed above, like testimonials and satisfaction guarantees.

Long vs short pages

Understand your audience

Who is your page targeting? To create a landing page that persuades your visitors to act, you need to recognize your audience’s motivations, objections, and much more.

Don’t merely guess at who they are. Use qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. Look at analytics, administer surveys, and go to customer support to get deeper insights into your audience.

Personalization is arguably your most powerful strategy for getting visitors to claim an offer. And genuine personalization isn’t as straightforward as dynamic text replacement. Authentic personalization is about creating a narrative that speaks to your visitors’ pain points. You can’t influence your audience’s buying habits until you appreciate their needs and wants.

Study other landing pages

Chances are this isn’t the first time you’ve tried to sell to your audience. What has worked in the past? Long copy? Short? A two-step opt-in process?

Prior successful campaigns are ideal starting points for current ones. You don’t need to begin all over from scratch. Look for successful landing pages that have featured a similar offer and ones targeting a related audience.

Also, look at your competitors’ landing pages. Even though your business is unique, and you should never make decisions based on what’s worked for someone else, examining what’s ranking well in top search ads can be a treasure trove of ideas for your campaign.

Message-match your content

How did your visitors get to your page? A search ad? Social media?

When you’re designing your landing page, it’s crucial to ensure all your elements share a single, consistent motif. If your ad contains a photo of your ebook, your landing page should include that, too. It should also have a similar headline, CTA, and even use a color scheme that matches your ad. When your visitors see these elements after clicking your ad, they will immediately know they have ended up in the right place.

Write a magnetic headline

A good headline does two things: First, it lets visitors know they’re in the right place. When a user clicks a search ad headline that says “Lead scoring software for small businesses,” they expect to see a landing page header that says something similar. They want to know they have landed on the right page. That’s what the message-match concept boils down to.

Second, a compelling headline gets the visitor to evaluate the rest of the content. Yours should include a benefit that incorporates your unique selling proposition. Questions, statements that invoke curiosity, headlines that share news, and “how-to” headlines are all proven strategies to get visitors to evaluate content.

Write personalized, skimmable, benefit-oriented copy

Good copy is personalized copy. With the insights you’ve gained from surveys, analytics, and other methods, you can write the copy needed to convert your audience.

Continue the narrative from your ad, and make sure your text speaks to the exact audience it’s targeting. Also, remember that people aren’t on your landing page to pleasure read. They want to evaluate your offer as quickly as possible, so be considerate and organize the page for skimming.

Use headers to organize your content sections, small paragraphs (2-4 sentences) to elaborate on each header, and bullets and bold words to highlight relevant words and phrases (like the benefits of claiming the offer) in each paragraph. This approach allows busy users to find what they’re looking for quickly, while also giving more discerning visitors the opportunity to read the content from beginning to end.
Create a 1:1 conversion ratio
One of the most significant reasons a landing page is more effective at converting visitors is that it keeps them focused on the offer at hand. It does so with a 1:1 conversion ratio.

A conversion ratio is the number of exits off the page compared to the number of conversion goals. An ideal ratio is 1 to 1. Or, in other words, visitors have only one exit off the page: through your call-to-action button.

Any other link—whether it’s in your content, in your logo, or in a navigation menu—only serves to distract your audience from evaluating the offer. These links aren’t necessary because your landing page should contain everything the visitor needs to know to decide how they’ll respond.

Compile trust indicators

Trust indicators come in many forms:

  • Testimonials can show visitors your product or service has proven valuable to other customers.
  • Counters can show your offer is popular by displaying the number of times people have claimed it.
  • Icons from businesses like the Better Business Bureau or Norton Security can prove to visitors that their information is safe.
  • Logos of popular customers or outlets that have featured your business can boost your perceived authoritativeness.

Which you use will depend on your offer. The higher-commitment it is, the more types you should incorporate into your page.

For more on the types of trust indicators to include on your page, see Why Landing Page Social Proof Sells & How to Use It Effectively.

Select the right media

Hero shots, product shots, infographics, video case studies—these are just a few media you can use to make your landing page more persuasive. And selecting the right one can dramatically impact your conversion rate.

Infographics like graphs and charts are excellent for comparing and contrasting statistics, like an ad agency’s conversion rates vs. the industry average. Explainer videos are ideal for explaining a new or confusing product. Hero shots are perfect for showing people how they can improve their lives with a product or service.

For more on which media formats work best in specific settings, see What to Include on The Perfect Landing Page.

Prioritize page load speed

Earlier, we said the first step to getting someone to evaluate your offer is making sure they don’t abandon your page. And while message-match is crucial for that, a lot of people won’t even make it to the headline before they bounce.

And that’s because your page may not load quickly enough. Research has shown that an increase from 1 to 10 seconds in load speed will increase bounce rate by 123%.

So, how do you make sure your page loads in an instant? Follow these guidelines:

  • Minimize CSS and JavaScript
  • Compress your images
  • Remove unnecessary images
  • Consider using AMP
  • Use a CDN
  • Enable browser caching

Internet users won’t wait much longer than an instant for your page to load. These are a few ways to make sure they get to your page to evaluate its content.

Use Automation to design a landing page that converts

These tips will help you design a landing page that converts. But if you’re an advertiser who’s constantly running new campaigns, you’ll need more than one page. And these tips don’t scale well.

That’s why we developed Automation (PCA). With four pillars of automation, PCA helps its users create and edit groups of landing pages all from one place, and in a fraction of the time it takes to do manually. If you need to scale landing pages that convert, sign up for Instapage 14-day free trial today.

Keep learning

1. 9 Landing Page Ideas to Improve Your Conversion Rates and Sales

2. The Best Mobile Landing Page Design Tips You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

Try the world's most advanced landing page platform with a risk-free trial.

Ted Vrountas

by Ted Vrountas

Ted Vrountas is a Content Writer specializing in psychology and persuasive copywriting. His expertise spans digital advertising, landing pages, and humanizing marketing industry jargon.

Ready to turn more ad clicks into conversions?

Try the world's most advanced landing page platform today.

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website, deliver our services, personalize content, and to analyze traffic. By continuing to use our website you agree to allow our use of cookies. To know more please refer to our Cookie Policy.