It sounds harsh, but, nothing in life is guaranteed. A successful career, a comfortable living, even a place to rest your head at night: none of these is a sure thing. Not even when you’re a marketer.
There is one thing you can do that will significantly increase your likelihood of having a successful career, making a good living, and having a place to hang your hat.
You make a living persuading people to take action, which means the more sign-ups, subscriptions, and purchases you generate, the better your business does (and the better you do, too).
The only trouble is, you can’t guarantee more conversions either....
Or can you?
What if we told you we could promise you more? What if we offered to share some fail-safe tactics that, together, will boost the number of prospects who hit your landing page’s CTA button?
You’d probably think it was too good to be true.
Well, it’s not — and it’s exactly what we’re about to do.
12 Landing page optimizations that guarantee higher conversion rates
1. Offer something valuable
None of the following tips will boost anything if you don’t have a great offer. Even a highly optimized landing page can’t sell an awful product.
Before you go altering things like your headline and images, re-evaluate your offer, along with any feedback you have from customers.
Is your software worth purchasing, or is it known to be riddled with bugs? Is your ebook really worth downloading, or is it filled with the same recycled content your visitors have read elsewhere?
Be honest with yourself. If it could be improved, then make it better. Focus your efforts on that before you get ahead of yourself by tweaking anything on your landing page.
When your offer is truly worth your customers’ time and money — that’s when you should come back and start optimizing your marketing collateral.
2. Add testimonials
When you’re interested in spending money on a product or service you don’t know much about, what’s one of the first things you do?
You search for reviews online and ask around for tips from people you trust.
This is where testimonials come into play.
By sorting through reviews and comments on your offer, you get to be the curator. You have the power to pick and display the most positive ones on your landing page.
You may not realize how big of a deal that is until you read some of the studies on the persuasive influence that testimonials have.
Research has shown that 80-95% of Internet users make purchasing decisions based on online reviews, and 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Adding them to your page may not produce the same lift, but it will, with the help of the other optimizations on this list, produce a lift.
3. Include trust badges
The internet is a wondrous place where almost anything you could ever want is just a few keystrokes away.
At the same time, it’s also a haven for con artists and scammers trying to get their hands on your personal information, so they steal everything you’ve worked hard for. As a result, you need to make sure your prospects can trust you with sensitive information.
That’s where trust badges come in.
Showing that you use a security service like Norton Antivirus by displaying a badge on your page lets people know that their personal information is safe. They’re not as important on landing pages that only ask for things like email address or first name, but if you’re requesting highly sensitive information like credit card number, phone number, or address, you’d better make sure you include them.
For example, which form are you more comfortable filling out? This one from Salesforce:
Or this one from Unmetric?
4. A/B test
A/B testing is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to boost your conversion rate. It involves comparing one page variation to another by creating two that only differ in one way.
Allow us to simplify:
If you want to A/B test your headline, you use your original page with the first headline, then create one variation of that page with a different headline. Everything else on the page remains the same.
Whichever page produces more conversions is the winner. And because the only difference between the two is the headline, then you’ll know exactly why it’s converting better than the other.
You can optimize nearly any page element this way. For example, we used A/B testing to boost webinar signups by 34%.
If you’re stuck deciding on what to test first, try these five quick tests to improve conversions.
5. Make your copy benefit-oriented
Newsflash: Your landing page visitors don’t care about the features of your product, or your personal philosophy, or the journey you took to get to where you are today.
They only care about one thing: What your product or service is going to do for them.
If it’s going to make them happier, or stronger, or better-looking, then say so!
For example, Instapage customers don’t care that we offer customizable templates or numerous integrations; what they care about is that we make landing page creation faster, and easier.
See the difference?
6. Turn your CTA into a GTP
Before you consider using a word like “Submit” or “Download” on your page, consider that these are both boring, unimaginative phrases that your prospects have seen before.
Marketing is all about making your product or service stand out from the pack. Your call-to-action is all about getting people excited to claim your offer. Does “Submit” get you jazzed?
We didn’t think so.
Instead, consider turning your call-to-action into what D. Bnonn Tennant calls a “give-the-payoff”:
“After spending hours on funnels and objectives, sequences and timings, it’s only natural we start thinking in terms of what our prospects must do to trigger the events we have planned.
That’s why we talk about the call to action — we are asking our prospects to do something.
The trouble is, that’s backward. Prospects want to know what they get, not what they have to do. Rather than calling our prospects to action, we should be giving them the payoff we’ve promised. We should be emphasizing what you will do for them, not what they must do to get it.”
Here are some common CTAs along with their more compelling GTP replacement:
7. Remove ALL outbound links
Your website is designed to help visitors find what they’re looking for easily. That being the case, you added a sitemap to your footer and a navigation menu to the top of every page.
However, your landing page is designed for something entirely different altogether. Its purpose is to get people to stop wandering from link to link and focus on one thing: your offer.
Its job is to get them to pay attention to every element you’ve put on the page, and when they’re done, to click that CTA button.
If you’re under the assumption that you’ll be able to capture visitor attention with a well-written page or some flashy graphics, regardless of whether or not you have outbound links on your page, you’re not alone.
In fact, only 16% of landing pages are free of navigation. If you own one of those, we invite you to take a look at an experiment from HubSpot.
The landing page below is one of five that contains outbound links in the navigation menu and the footer:
When HubSpot removed those links in each of the five, they found that conversions jumped by as much as 28%!
Learn more about getting rid of navigation to boost conversions here.
8. Make your content skimmable
Back in the early 90’s, Drs. Mario Garcia and Pegie Stark Adam of the Poynter Institute gained some really valuable insights into the way we read. Here’s what they found:
- Most people enter a page through the biggest illustration, then look at big headlines, then captions, and lastly, blocks of text.
- The parts of the page we view the longest are photos, followed by headlines and advertisements, then bullets and captions.
- Readers spend the least amount of time reading long copy.
In 2013, Chartbeat teamed up with Slate Magazine to find out how much content we read online. The result was this piece, titled “You won’t finish this article,” which found that most internet readers only made it through about 50-60% of any given post.
The takeaway here is this: Get to the point!
Big blocks of text will intimidate your visitors and cause them to abandon your landing page. Your copy could be written well, and it could be benefit oriented — but if it’s not organized for readability with bullet points and subheadlines, your visitors won’t want to suffer through it.
9. Shorten your form
If I ask you what your first name and email address are, you’re fairly likely to tell me as long as I have a good reason.
Now, what if I ask you:
- Your first and last name
- Your address
- Your job title
- How much money you make per year
- Your address
- Your credit card information
You’re a lot less likely to comply. You’d probably think, “Why is he asking all this? What is he going to do with this information? I don’t have time to tell him all this stuff.”
Your landing page visitors go through a similar thought process before filling out your form. It’s human nature: The less information you ask me to divulge, and the less sensitive it is, the more likely they are to share it with you.
Squeeze pages work really well because they generally only ask for email address. Now, we’re not suggesting you shorten your form to ONLY request an email address of your prospects, but we are saying that by shortening it, you can boost the number of people who fill it out.
Don’t believe us?
10. Generate the right traffic
You’re never going to see a medical device salesman pitching their product in an accountant’s office. That just wouldn’t make sense.
What we’re saying is, if you’re not marketing your product to the right audience, you’ll be lucky to get even one conversion.
Pay attention to where your traffic is coming from. It’s easy to get obsessed with metrics like clicks and conversions; what’s harder is to look beyond your analytics to find out whether the right people are visiting your landing page.
When Michael Keating of Octatools experimented with a new PPC service, he found that many of the sites generating traffic to his landing page were quite poor, and had nothing to do with his offer.
He spent $25 for 114,000 impressions over 9 days, and had converted a grand total of zero visitors. Don’t let this happen to you. Learn more about the signs of bad traffic here.
11. Add visuals to your landing page
On landing pages, visuals are powerful aids. Explainer videos can teach your audience how to use your service, and hero shots can help them imagine their lives after your product has solved their problem.
They’re especially powerful because we’re primarily visual beings. We can interpret things much more quickly and easily if they’re presented to us as an image over text.
Use them to complement your copy and demonstrate your point.
12. Develop a visual hierarchy
Marketers began testing how people read long before the internet. Over three decades ago, Siegfried Vögele, dean of Munich’s Direct Marketing Association, conducted a study that used cameras to track people’s eyes as they saw a printed page for the first time.
He found that above all else, our attention is drawn to the parts of the page with the most ink. Readers glanced to images and headlines first, then at brief, bolded text like subheaders, captions, and bulleted lists. Block text and long copy were digested last.
Researchers from MIT and Microsoft noticed something similar in a later study, which tested the reading habits of two groups:
- Group 1 read an article that had been organized with a traditional layout (headlines above each section, valuable information bolded and bulleted, images aligned right)
- Group 2 read an article that had been organized in a nontraditional way (headlines in different spots, random phrases bolded and bulleted, images aligned in the middle of the text)
What they found was that Group 1 had higher focus and clarity while reading, and underestimated the time it took them to read the piece.
Group 2, on the other hand, overestimated the time it took to read the piece, and they felt physically displeased while reading it (displayed through a prominent frown).
In marketing, we put a lot of emphasis on standing out from the crowd — on being different. In the case of content organization on your landing page, it’s better to stick to the traditional layout.
Don’t bold words that don’t carry importance. Put headlines and subheadlines above different sections of your page, and captions below images. Align images right so as not to break the left margin. This is how your visitors are used to reading, so keep it that way.
Higher conversion rates, guaranteed
Follow these tips on your landing page to see a guaranteed boost in conversions. If you’re unsure of how to make them on your current landing page, create a new one in just minutes with one of Instapage’s fully customizable templates.