Having a focused, promise-keeping landing page is a concept that experienced Pay Per Click advertisers know well. Often learning this truism happens the hard way – after spending thousands of wasted dollars. One of the most important design lessons that I’ve learned when it comes to any sort of web page is this:
The Landing Page Must Meet The Customer Where They Are.
Use whatever technology or methodology that’s necessary. Never make the customer come to you – and with landing pages this means that your page content should seem like an extension of the conversation already in their mind before they ever visited your site.
Create content that engages them at speed. Think of the way the fighter jets have to line up to the airborne tankers for refueling. They must match speed, altitude and discharge static electricity. There is a net airspeed difference of zero as they exchange the payload. The same is true on a Landing Pag – if you require them to change direction you will not connect.
Assure the Visitor of Safety and Security
If your conversation with the customer is weighted by their worry of future spam, pressure, or added costs, you need to find ways of setting them at ease. This often happens by putting yourself in their shoes. But you must also turn their shoes over and see where they’ve been. Think back to the keywords, and the ads they clicked on. Remember who they are, and what their intent was. What were their alternatives, should they leave your site? What is your leverage? How tentative are they?
If your site and company are unfamiliar to them, display third party reliability indicators which underscore your commitment to their security and demonstrate your technical competence to conduct secured commerce.
Maintain a Positive Balance in Your Time & Goodwill Bucket
Internet searching is work. It’s an investment of time that is competing against other things in a persons’ life. To find a result through a search, click on it, and begin consuming content is an additional investment of their time. Quickly and early in the content the visitor must feel like they are being given relevant information at a rate faster than they could have acquired it through their own efforts.
Be sure the Call to Action is a Natural, if not Anticipated, Next Step
No jarring “Go Here Now” buttons. The next step should be something the reader is almost seeking out. If the landing page text is well written, the reader should be almost anticipating moving forward to the next step. If it’s a sign up, or a lead form – the anticipation should be for that form.
Maintain Low Friction When Asking for Their Information
Put off as much information gathering as you can for your business scenario. Much can be gathered at later stages. The longer the form, the lower your conversion rate will be. Remember the game “Don’t Break The Ice”? It’s like this. You want to get as much as you can without breaking the threshold. If you lose a customer you’ve just paid $1.20 for in PPC, that money is gone forever.
Use Search Text (or topically related text) in the Page Headlines/Captions When Possible.
If you can, use the search text (or text that represents it) inside the landing page text. This is available from most modern Pay-per-click engines as parameters. Make sure it reads well. This gives the page a tightly relevant feeling. But be careful, it can also look unnatural if used improperly.
Show them the Light at the End of the Tunnel
Don’t make visitors wonder how long the process of interacting with your page will take. Make the pages have a definite end, and make it clear. I like “signatures” or “PS.” blocks. These are a natural language for “closure” in the minds of readers. This closure tells people that the investment they’re making is limited, and helps with the economic decision of time we all make when viewing a website. “Yes, it’s worth it to stick around long enough to read it… it’s not that long.”