There are two things in this world that have been known to skyrocket my stress levels like nothing else. The first––poor internet connections. The second––Minesweeper.
For those who are too old, too young, or those fortunate enough to find better things to do in their free time, Minesweeper was a popular, single-player puzzle game on Microsoft computers. Without getting too much into the specifics, the objective was to randomly navigate a rectangular board full of mines while gathering as many points as possible, without clicking on a mine. Once you click on one, it’s game over.
What’s almost equally frustrating is your business’s landing pages operate in a similar fashion. Your landing page is made up of a variety of elements your visitors will either interact with the way you expect and convert (earning you points), or they will come across something that drives them away (those are your mines).
As a marketer, it’s your goal to do what I, personally, wish the Minesweeper developers would have done––get rid of all the mines. (And yes, I’m fully aware that would defeat the purpose of the game.)
Now, I’m going to walk you through some of the common landing page elements that are killing your conversion rates and the changes you can make to keep visitors on your page and moving further down your sales funnel.
You’ve probably been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but the truth is most people will judge your blog post by its headline.
A study by A Day in the Internet revealed that each day there are over 2 million blog posts, 294 billion emails, 400 million tweets, and 864 thousand hours of video competing for a reader’s attention. Feeling overwhelmed yet? It gets worse. Research shows 80% of those readers never even make it past the headline.
This goes to show that regardless of the quality of your landing page, no one is going to keep reading if you don’t have a convincing headline.
The approach businesses take when creating landing page headlines varies depending on industry, target audience and business model, but two things always remain the same. Your headline should always:
Let’s take a look at an example of what your headline should not look like.
Do you think this headline is speaking the audience’s language? Think about the type of person who would read this book. It’s about how to save a failing business and is intended for someone going through what is probably a very stressful time. This headline fails to express any type of emotion or empathy for those reading it and comes off as generic and vague in terms of the benefits the product being advertised can provide.
Now let’s take a look at the same landing page, but with a different headline.
This headline variation uses a more personable tone by writing in second person and provides a more detailed explanation of the product’s benefits. By speaking directly to the reader and explicitly stating who this product is a good fit for, this headline increased response rates by 307%
The elements of your call-to-action copy are very similar to the rules of headline copy. You need to take a benefit-focused approach to concisely convey the intended action you want your visitors to take.
One way to do this is your choice of wording. Although phrases like “Sign Up”, “Register”, “Download”, etc., are frequently used in CTAs, the truth is that they focus on what your visitor needs to do, not what they will receive.
Another common mistake hurting conversion rates is having too many call-to-action buttons or other distracting links. Your call-to-action should have one and only one objective. Trying to kill multiple birds with one stone by advertising a variety of products on your landing page will only confuse and drive your visitors away.
Additionally, your landing page should not have a navigation bar at the top that can distract your visitors from the specific intended action your landing page is trying to get them to take. If your business really wants to improve conversion rates, use your landing page to focus on one objective at a time, then you will have an opportunity to add prospects to your marketing sequence and deliver the other information later on.
An opt-in form is the most sensitive element on your landing page. This is where prospects are commonly scared away by the commitment you are asking them to make by handing over their personal information.
Firstly, don’t make the mistake of asking for too much information in your opt-in form. The less fields it has, the more likely your visitors will fill it out. One way to reduce the amount of fields on your opt-in form is to only ask for information that is necessary. For instance, opt-in forms that ask for city, state, and zip code are hurting conversion rates by creating more work for their prospects than necessary. By solely asking for the zip code, you can determine the other two fields.
In addition to having the appropriate number of fields, the way your opt-in form asks for that information is also important. Did you know that having disclaimers on your opt-in form can actually hinder conversion rates? An A/B test conducted by VWO found that putting a privacy disclaimer underneath their opt-in fields decreased sign-ups by 24%:
The hypothesis behind this is that the disclaimer introduced the feeling of fear in visitors and conversions dropped. It’s not so much that privacy disclaimers are the problem, as much as the way you phrase them.
As a rule of thumb, don’t use images unless they are communicating something that your copy does not. Landing pages that use irrelevant images or generic stock photos are hurting your business’s credibility and conversion rates.
The image above is an example of a landing page that uses a relevant and compelling image to support the offer being made. This action shot is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it is effective in communicating the message that “this could be you.”
In the previous example, that business is trying to sell a service––yoga. In that case, it was appropriate to use an image of a person. When trying to advertise for a product though, it is better to use an image of that product––or even better, an image of a person using your product. Not only does this allow visitors to connect with your image on a more emotional level, but it gives them a preview of how your product works.
Lastly, make sure that the images you are using are properly compressed. Uncompressed images can slow down your landing page load time and drive away visitors before you even have a chance to explain your offer. A study by Kissmetrics found that even a one-second delay in your load time can decrease conversion rates by up to 7%. It is for this reason that you need to keep file sizes small and page lags to an absolute minimum.
Keep in mind that the mistakes listed above are just some of the common ones made on landing pages. The truth is, the only way for your business to uncover exactly what elements on your page are killing conversion rates is through trial and error, which is best done through A/B testing.
Using these landing page mistakes as guidelines, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for when optimizing your landing pages and what solutions you can implement to keep your page’s “mines” to a minimum and its “points” to a maximum.
This is a guest post by Ryan Lynch, Content Marketing Manager at Yazamo.