The online world is full of links, all competing to grab the attention of the thousands of passing eye balls per hour; some will blink and stay long enough to engage/buy/sell/comment/like/share and so on.
Links are all signpost to ‘Somewhere’; some may be pointing at ‘Nowhere’, a land bereft on the vast continent of the Error Page 404 and these too can be a source of frustration and annoyance, Just as you thought you were coming across a lovely place, paradise is ripped out from underneath you and you are left staring at a blank page.
However, there is more of a problem lurking and that is the confusion surrounding what a landing page actually is…
The easiest way to define what IS a landing page is to flip it on its head; a landing page is NOT, as we all like to believe, any old web page that happens to be the place where a user lands.
A landing page is… (fanfare of trumpets please!)
… a webpage that contains a form which has been created to capture a user’s information.
Glad we cleared that up. Now we are all singing from the same hymn sheet, we can battle on with the why we have them, what they should look like and what their value is.
Why bother (or, what is the value of a landing page?)
Online forms are used for all kinds of reasons; subscribing to blogs so you never miss a post, enquiry forms, or transactional information for online purchases etc. You can probably think of many other examples but they all share the same common goal: to initiate an exchange between YOU and the USER.
It is quite simple – the user gives you information and you, in return, provide them with a service,/subscription/and answer to their query etc. giving you chance to ‘convert’ the user from a potential customer to a buying one.
However, this page is not necessarily the page to practice your graphic design skills on, so forget adding YouTube videos and dancing reindeers because, literally there should be nothing to distract the customer from completing the all-important contact form.
Having said that simplicity is the key with no distractions, there are certain components of the landing page design that need to capture the visitor’s interest.
If you have ever noticed where your eyes fall when you are on the web, you may have realised that they tend to be around the middle to the top of the page. Anything too low down that is important, tends to be missed in the first few valuable seconds that our eyes are drinking it all in.
With this 2 seconds to capture visitor interest, the header of a landing page is quite important; if this is completely uninteresting (and we have all been there!), your user will simply turn away.
Bear in mind HOW your visitor got there…
In some cases, the landing page is accessed through a specific advert that they have found on another site/somewhere else. Hence, their clicking of the advert means that created the right impression in so far that it was attractive and of interest.
Imagine the let-down of arriving on a rubbish landing page…
Your landing page needs to meet with expectations and in this sense, should be an extension of the advert – same font, same colours, all branded and joined together. If it all looks a little bit of a mish-mash, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
Right, this header needs to be colourful and creative, in line with your advert and also be part of your brand.
Now that the header is in place as an extension of your advert or at least fully branded to your business, you now need to tell the visitor, clearly, simply and elegantly what it is they are looking at, the purpose of it and what to do.
Also known as a primary call to action, there are loads of examples out there on the Internet – some better than others, we hasten to add.
We saw some great ones the other day…
- “Would you like the best in daily updates on xxxxx to your inbox?” – underneath were two boxes, one for your first name, the second for the email address.
- “Don’t miss out on the latest news from xxxx” – again followed by the email sign up, as was the same with…
- “Get the best offers BEFORE they hit the high street!”
- “NEVER miss a blog post again!”
- “Can you afford to miss out?”
They all suggest, in their own way, that there is a positive quality to signing up to a newsletter, subscription, blog etc. with some suggesting the negative aspect of not being on the all-important mailing list.
This reverse psychology has been around for many years; after all, by suggesting to someone they could be missing out, or be in the minority has a strong sense of emotional appeal, for some people.
Others of us, of course, think that by subscribing, our inbox will be flooded on a regular basis with rubbish, so be careful not to over egg that pudding.
An over-complicated landing page has been proven to affect conversion rates that is the number of people who do what it is asking them to do. Once again, simplicity and directness is key with every element supporting the advert, the landing page, the brand, as well as getting them to fil in the form.
Take a look at this one for Basecamp; it has a quite a clever graphic that is actually pointing at the first box, a clear visual signal of what it is you need to do. It’s friendly, non-forceful and there is no need for lengthy scrolling either…
Which indicates that the information they are collecting is what is needed to get your started with their service; if you don’t need to know the person’s age at this point, why ask for a birth date? Really think about the information you need to collect on your landing page – pare it back so that you really do only ask the questions that you need to.
The landing page success
It would seem that the best landing pages are those that are tailored specifically for the brand or website itself; opting for a ‘that’ll do approach’ might not get you the conversion rates you are hoping for.