Building a landing page for perfectionists is annoying, isn’t it?
“Pick a new featured image,” they say. “That testimonial doesn’t have a last name,” they complain. The list of seemingly pointless requests for changes feels endless.
The only thing is, those requests probably aren’t as meaningless as you think. Even the subtlest things, like the gaze of a model in your featured image or tiny details about your testimonials, can significantly impact your conversion rate.
Those perfectionists are annoying, but they’re right, and they’re creating better landing pages than everyone else.
While you can never build a landing page that converts 100% of its visitors, you can get as close as possible. There’s the basic anatomy of a landing page, and then there’s the anatomy of a perfect landing page that amasses conversions. Here’s what you need to know to build it.
(If at any point you see a term you don’t recognize, you can find a simple definition of it in the Instapage Marketing Dictionary.)
How to build the perfect landing page
Eliminate all escape routes
If you read this entire article in one sitting, we’d be surprised. Why? Because you’re probably inundated by distractions right now. Your phone is buzzing, a Facebook notification appeared in your browser, and your boss just walked by to remind you of your team’s afternoon meeting.
Newsflash: Your prospects are just as preoccupied as you are. Why add more to the list of potential distractions with outbound links on your landing page when they have the potential to detract from your conversion rate?
Every link that’s not your call-to-action is a temptation that whispers “click here,” to your inquisitive visitors. That’s why your conversion ratio should be 1:1, meaning the number of links should be equal to the number of calls-to-action on your landing page. And you should always only use one CTA (using multiple CTA buttons that lead to the same page is ok, too).
Draw people in with an irresistible headline
Write a bad headline and it won’t matter if the rest of your landing page is perfect. No one will read it, or watch the video you embedded on it, or even see the call-to-action. They’ll click the “X” in the upper-right corner of their browser and find a page with a headline that promises them more.
So what does a headline look like on the perfect landing page?
- It makes your visitors feel something. Remember that people are mostly emotional decision-makers, not rational ones. Spark emotion in your prospects with a headline that inspires them to continue scrolling. Play to their fears, desires, dreams, problems. What you’re offering can fulfill their need. So how badly will you make them need it?
- It’s specific. What’s more alluring to you? “Learn how to boost your business with this one simple business hack,” or “Learn how I made $5,000 in a week with this one simple business hack”?
It’s the second headline, right? That’s because it’s specific, letting the reader know that its writer made $5,000 in a week with the hack that’s being offered, which makes them think, “If he did it, then maybe I can too.”
- It highlights the benefits of your offer. A good headline showcases an offer’s unique selling proposition. What’s the biggest reason your visitor should click your call-to-action button? What are they going to get?
- It’s the biggest text on the page. A visual hierarchy is what will guide your visitors from element to element until they make it to the bottom of your landing page. And that hierarchy starts with a big, bold headline. Without one, you risk confusing your prospects. They’ll wonder where to look — your subheaders or that photo below? Or maybe it’s that banner to the left? Start them off on the right foot and nudge them in the right direction by making sure your headline is the biggest text on the page.
Check out this headline from Ben Settle:
It’s longer than the traditional headline, but it makes you want to read more, doesn’t it? It offers a quick, easy, and lucrative solution. Who could resist scrolling down?
Show off with the help of your advocates
If you attended a play in France in the 18th century, you probably would’ve thought you enjoyed it, even if you didn’t. That feeling was the result of something called a “claque,” one of the earliest examples of the power of social proof.
Developed by poet Jean Daurat, a claque was a group of people planted in the audience, given free tickets in exchange for positive public feedback during the show. When those “claquers” initiated cheers and applause between acts, the rest of the audience followed their lead.
The technique became so effective that claques were eventually used to elicit all kinds of audience emotions. Businesses formed to offer trained claquers to theaters at a price:
- Commissaires would learn a piece by heart and point out key moments between acts to their audience neighbors.
- Rieurs would laugh loudly at jokes.
- Pleureurs dabbed their eyes with a handkerchief to feign tears.
- Chatouilleurs were tasked with keeping the audience in good humor.
- Bisseurs yelled “bis, bis,” meaning “encore, encore!”
As an audience member, you’d see rieurs laughing and think, “This must be funny, I should laugh too.” You’d see chatoullieurs cheering and think, “This must be good, I should cheer too,” and so on.
The concept holds true even today. Research has discovered that even if TV watchers find laugh tracks annoying, networks can boost the perceived funniness of a show by using them.
Formally the concept is known as “social proof,” and instead of funniness, on your landing page it can be used to boost the perceived value of your offer. Social proof comes in many forms:
- Testimonials can share positive experiences of former or current customers with potential ones.
- An awards display can prove your work is valuable to industry insiders.
- Logos of well-known clients or customers can align your business with trustworthy names.
There are four factors that impact the persuasiveness of your social proof.
- Positivity. “The product was satisfactory” isn’t the type of feedback you want to showcase on your landing page. Make sure when you display a testimonial from a customer on your page, it’s overwhelmingly positive.
- Specificity. There are two reasons specificity is important. First, small details like full name, title, and photo make your testimonials credible. The more your visitors know about your customers, the more real they seem. Nobody believes that “Ben S. from Wyoming” is real.
Second, the more specific they are about how your product improved their life, the more persuasive your social proof is. What’s more persuasive — a Facebook logo on your landing page under the label “clients,” or a testimonial from Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, reading, “This product boosted our advertising ROI by 50%”?
- Recognizability. The more well-known the author of your testimonial is, the more likely they are to impact your visitors’ behavior. Celebrity endorsements have long been swaying convincing prospects to purchase.
- Relevance. Is the source of the social proof relevant to the work you do? For example, if you’re a writer, then praise from a well-known author like Stephen King would form powerful social proof. But if you own a restaurant, praise from someone big in the food industry, like Gordon Ramsay or Mario Batali, would likely be more persuasive to your prospects.
Here are some examples of near-perfect social proof from MasterWriter:
Above you see photos along with glowing reviews and full names, complete with title and even accolades. These testimonials go over and above. Aim to get feedback like this for your landing page.
Create an attention-grabbing CTA
We have a serious bone to pick with most landing page CTAs. “Download,” “Submit,” “Request Consultation” — they’re making your business look lazy and they’re not doing their job.
What’s the job of a call-to-action button on the perfect landing page? It’s to get visitors excited to claim your offer by reminding them what they’re going to get — or even better — what they’ll become when they click it.
Look at this CTA:
Does it get you excited to hire experienced web designers? Does it remind you what you’ll get by doing so?
Not even close. To be honest, we scrolled right by it at first. This CTA button comes a little closer:
But its designers could make “Yes — Give me the list” even better by asking themselves one question: “What will my visitors become after reading this list?”
What will the list actually do for them? Prospects don’t want the list; they want to be a millionaire. How is this list going to get them closer to that million-dollar payout?
A few other things to consider:
- The location of your CTA matters. Include on your page too early and you may scare your prospects off. Include it too late and they may never see it.
- Color scheme is crucial. You want your call-to-action to be the most attention-grabbing element on the page. Learn more about how to make yours pop with the right combination of hues, tones, and shades.
- Word choice is important. The words you pick for your CTA should be ones that your visitors use to talk about your product. Do they talk casually about you? Formally? A good CTA will reflect that, and in turn, will resonate more with your audience.
Think you have the best CTA for your offer? Find out.
Use media to show instead of tell
Whenever possible, it’s almost always more effective to show instead of tell. While bulleted copy can emphasize the benefits of your offer, media can do it in a more engaging and easy-to-understand way when you have a complicated product or service.
- A hero shot can help your visitor imagine a world in which their problem doesn’t exist as a result of your product or service. This can work for products from lawn-care to watches. If you include one on your landing page, make sure it emphasizes the benefit of using your product or service. Think “after” photo in a “before and after” transformation. The “before” photo is what your prospect’s life is like before they have your product, and the “after” is what their life is like once they own it. If you use a model in your photo, make sure they’re looking toward your CTA. Studies have shown users follow their gaze.
- A product shot is a great way to showcase your offer if it’s appealing or unheard of, like a sleek piece of technology or an invention that’s new to the market. Even software applications can benefit from a product shot that showcases what its interface looks like.
- An infographic can help your visitor better conceptualize data. Use charts and graphs when you’re trying to compare and contrast sets of numbers.
- An explainer video can quickly show your visitor how your product or service works when it’s unknown or complicated. If you use one, make sure it’s short (two minutes or less) and engaging. Some like to use animated videos that demonstrate the problem your visitors face and the solution your product provides, while others like to showcase product shots along with explanations (also called a “demo video”).
- An introductory video is best to use when your product or service relies on the person who created it to succeed. If you’re selling a course, an introductory video can help prove its creator is knowledgeable. If you use one, focus on the accolades and qualifications of the subject, and make sure that they come across as warm and welcoming to the viewer.
- A video testimonial is a great way to combine the social proof of a testimonial and the engaging nature of video. If you use one, make sure your subject is as specific as possible about what you did to improve their business. Bottom-line metrics and return on investment are crucial to focus on.
- A video case study is like a video testimonial, only a little more comprehensive. Instead of focusing on one subject, it focuses on the result that the product or service was responsible for. If you’re a home designer, a video testimonial would focus on capturing praise from a customer on camera, whereas a video case study would focus more on their home and what you did to improve it.
Create a frictionless form
Finding the balance between reasonable and valuable is tough when it comes to forms. Those 15-field behemoths are likely to scare your prospects away, and the one-field wonders don’t capture enough information. So what are some rules for creating a perfect form?
- Make sure the ask is equal to the offer. Are you offering a small tip-sheet? Don’t ask for anything more than name and email address. On the other hand, if you’re giving up something really valuable like a State of The Industry Report, you can ask for much more.
- Only ask for what’s necessary. Get your team together and figure out the minimum amount of personal information you need to qualify a lead. Do you really need phone number, or could you do without? How about salary? Is that really necessary? The less you ask for, the more likely your visitor converts.
- If you need a lot, ask for it in steps. A twenty-field form is going to scare nearly everyone away, no matter what it’s guarding. If you really, truly need all that information, try asking for it with four 5-field forms instead one 20-field one.
- Pre-populate when you can. If they’ve already claimed a resource from you, don’t make your lead rewrite all the information they’ve already shared. Pre-populate your form fields to make converting as easy as possible for them.
With these in mind, you’ll be able to create forms that don’t intimidate your prospects, but at the same time, capture enough information for your team.
Make your landing page a breeze to read
Your copywriters love to write — heck; you might love to write too. But what matters on your landing page isn’t what you like or want, it’s what your visitors like and want. And they don’t like to read.
Your landing page isn’t the place to channel your inner Robert Frost. It’s the place to get the benefits of your offer across in as few words as possible so that your visitors can determine the value of your offer and move on. On the perfect landing page, copy has these traits:
- It’s benefit-focused. It doesn’t contain references to features of your product or service, but instead, the benefits of those features.
- It’s skimmable. It uses bullet points, subheadings, lists, and short paragraphs to convey information quickly in a way that doesn’t strain your visitors.
- It’s void of jargon. The copy on your page should be written in the language that your visitors use to talk about your product or service, not the language you or other industry insiders do. Keep it basic and plain. Small words sell big ideas.
- It’s readable. Are you using a typeface that’s easily readable by your visitors? If it’s too small or decorative, it could be hard for them to decypher.
Take a look at the benefits of using AdButler:
Next to each icon, you learn quickly about the benefits of using AdButler. Now take a look at this page:
Much more intimidating, right? Maybe even so intimidating that you’d abandon this page before figuring out the benefits of the offer.
It needs more white space, less copy, and a more readable typeface in some places. Can you read that pink lettering easily? We couldn’t.
Learn which fonts are most readable, along with more tips on writing the perfect landing page copy in this blog post.
Create the perfect landing page in minutes
Creating a near-perfect landing page takes work and creativity. Follow these best practices, never stop testing, and you’ll come as close as possible.
Focus more on the content and less on the code by using the web’s most designer-friendly platform to build yours.