Four Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid

by | Dec 2, 2011 | Best Practices, Blog, Blog Archive, Distributed Marketing | 0 comments

A simple landing page with no navigation links, a clear call to action, and just enough “sell” copy to encourage conversion, can improve campaign results dramatically.

The clients I work with are in different industries, and they approach online marketing from very different perspectives.  The one thing they have in common is that effective landing pages are critical to their success.  In fact, the measured ROI on campaigns often governs budget approval for future campaigns, and the design and function of your landing page is critical to your measured ROI.

Like many other digital media tools, landing pages weren’t part of the marketing curriculum for many of today’s marketers, so it’s not surprising that I see so many landing pages with mistakes that are sure to reduce their effectiveness.  Fortunately, the biggest landing mistakes are easily avoidable. 

Here’s my list of four simple-to-fix landing mistake mistakes. 

  1. Navigation links haven’t been removed. We all put a lot of work into getting someone to click on the ad, or respond to a call-to-action in an email.  Once they’re actually on the landing page, we want to keep them there.  The goal of most landing pages is to get them to fill out your form, and that’s more likely to happen by removing any distractions that could encourage them to click away from your page.  Hide the navigation on your landing pages until after the form has been filled out. I think that you’ll be surprised at what this simple change does to your conversion rate.
  2. The value proposition doesn’t pass the blink test. Tests show that if people don’t understand what you’re offering and what they have to do in order to get what you’re offering within 5 seconds, they’ll close the landing page and move on.  In order to pass the “blink test,” you have to keep things simple and clear. Use the title, text, and images on your page to make sure your viewers get the idea right away.  Don’t forget to make sure that your page titles and form headers match your copy and call-to-action text for the offer.  People need to be reassured that they’re in the right place, so don’t change the words or images between the source (email, ad, tweet, Facebook or any other location) and the destination (your landing page).
  3. The form scares your prospect away.  Would you fill out the form you’re asking your prospect to complete?  Is it too long?  Are you asking for information you wouldn’t be willing to provide?  If so, tweak your form until you are asking for the information that’s really critical – the information you’d be willing to trade for the valuable information being offered.  Make sure that your prospects can see the form – it should be “above the fold” in your landing page design.  (That is, they shouldn’t have to scroll down to see it.)  And last, but not least, be sure that you are giving them good reasons to complete the form by repeating the value proposition for what you’re offering.  A form with no “sell” content reduces conversions – and so does a copy-heavy landing page with a form you have to scroll down to find – so avoid both.
  4. No ‘thank you’ page. When someone does you the favor of completing a form on your landing page, what do they see next?  If the answer is anything except, “a thank you message”, and then you lose points.  Whether you are providing instant access to a document or sending a link via email, as soon as they’ve filled out the form the next thing they see should be the words, “Thank you!”   It’s a great opportunity to suggest other actions you want your new prospect to take.  Bring back the navigation for your website on this page, and direct your newly converted lead to another part of your site to help them further connect with your brand and keep them engaged.  Short videos are a good way to draw them in and keep them on the site longer – and so are additional offers.  But any next step starts with sincere thanks.

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Laura Bergeron is Director of Client Care at Distribion, Inc., where she manages training and best practices implementation for a diverse base of large, multi-channel distributed marketing organizations with more than 150,000 users.