How many sales people does it take to lose a sale?
And no, it’s not a tricky question at all.
Years ago, my boss at a direct mail agency I freelanced for taught me:
Your conversion is only as guaranteed as the sales guy responding to a prospect’s call.
What he meant was that even though I could write the most engaging copy and got clients all fired up about a product…
…the sale would still depend on the quality of the final point of contact. In our case back then, a sales person.
Online advertising works in the same way.
Just think about it:
Your ad’s job is not to sell. It only needs to grab the target audience’s attention, excite them about your offer and make a promise strong enough to entice them to click.
But the actual conversion happens on a landing page you send prospects to.
And so, regardless of the quality of the ad, the conversion might still flop if you send them to a poor landing page.
If you’re wondering how to convert users after they clicked your ad, we have something amazing for you:
A complete guide to converting users on a landing page.
From this guide you’ll learn:
- What a typical journey to online conversion looks like,
- What your landing page should include (and how to create one),
- What design elements affect conversions,
- What copy tricks will help you to convince users to buy, sign up or convert in any other way,
- We’ll share what we know about A/B testing your pages, and finally
- Point you to some amazing case studies to help you see how others have done it.
Intrigued? Let’s roll it then.
Who is this guide for?
Ecommerce Store Owners
If you’re using Facebook ads to attract new buyers to your store, this guide is for you. It’ll help you to understand how to set up landing pages that could convert them.
If you’re running Facebook advertising campaigns for clients, keep on reading too. We’ll show you everything you need to know to understand the dynamics of using landing pages to convert.
SaaS Owners / Marketers
Using Facebook Advertising to attract more users to your app? Then you should definitely read this guide. It’ll give you a solid foundation in building landing pages to attract users interested in specific product benefits or features.
And so, without any further ado…
Things Have Changed – The New Customer’s Journey to Purchase
Do you remember how we used to buy things in the past?
Faced with a broken kitchen appliance, for instance, you’d probably go to the nearby store and picked up a new one. Sure, perhaps you compared one or two models (you probably had only those two to choose from anyway), consulted the clerk in store about the best option and then… pulled out your wallet … done!
Your decision might have been influenced by previous experience, knowledge about particular brand and of course, available choice (i.e. the amount of stores selling a product).
In short, it looked more or less like this:
Even if you added advertising to the mix, the whole process remained fairly straightforward:
Now compare it with the buying process you go through today:
- You identify a problem,
- You research the problem online, then
- Conduct further research to discover all available solutions,
- Ask friends for recommendations,
- Check what others say about a particular solution on social media,
- Google this particular solution,
- Read online reviews,
- See and click an ad offering this or another solution, and finally
- Based on all information make a buying decision, and then
- Join discussions about the product online.
Many of these steps happen simultaneously, often affecting one another:
Today’s buyers have more options to choose from, more product models and even prices to consider. Not to mention that information they encounter, other buyers’ opinions, friends’ recommendations, reviews and a lot more influences their buying decision.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Today’s buyers no longer decide based on information gathered from a single source. Even if they’ve clicked on an ad, or a link in an email, that decision’s been influenced by what they’ve heard about the product or brand already.
Perhaps they read about it in some article. Saw a review on a favorite blog. Noticed a social media ad. Or heard a friend mentioning it on Facebook.
And thus, your job as a marketer has become incredibly complex.
You not only need to attract a person to your product. You also need to influence their buying decision and make a strong case about why they should buy from you.
Enter Landing Pages
The idea of using landing pages in conjunction with online advertising isn’t anything new. We’ve been writing about it on AdEspresso’s blog on many occasions.
But we also know that many of you find the whole process of building, launching and optimizing landing pages confusing.
And rightly so…
For one, it’s damn hard to make landing pages to work
Contrary to a common belief, you can’t just throw a landing page together and be done with it.
A good landing page must first convince the user to stay on it in less than 15 seconds
That’s the maximum time users will take to decide if what you offer is for them. And if they decide to the contrary, they’ll just press the back button, start a new product search and… end up buying from your competitor.
It also needs to touch on the person’s needs and pain points. A landing page must be relevant to the target audience’s needs,
Be laser focused about what you offer,
Make the case for buying from you, and
Guide a user through the buying process.
And hey, that’s a hell lot to achieve…
So let’s begin at the beginning.
What is a Landing Page?
I guess the name landing page might suggest it being an entry point for a user on a website. However, to me, it lacks one crucial element of a landing page:
The single goal focus.
Landing pages might be the entry points. But they are also designed to achieve a single objective – to convert visitors. This could mean getting them to sign up, buy or even click through to another page.
Types of Landing Pages
Landing pages differ depending on the goal you want them to help you achieve. When it comes to Facebook advertising, the most common landing page types marketers use include:
Click Through Pages
A click-through page, as the name suggests aims to entice visitors to click through to another page (i.e. a contact page, signup page).
Event organizers often use click-through pages to provide information about the event and a link to a registration page.
Brands also use them to attract relevant traffic and send over to more direct product signup page.
Email Capture Pages
As the name suggests, an email capture page aims to entice a visitor to leave their email address, typically in exchange for an eBook or another lead magnet. Unlike a lead generation page, email capture asks only for email address which the company could later use to message the person with lead nurturing materials.
Lead Generation or Squeeze Pages
Companies use lead generation pages to collect relevant information from visitors and generate leads. Unlike email capture pages, lead generation landing page collects actual leads a company could then forward to the sales department to follow up with.
Lead generation pages ask for information like the visitor’s name, email, phone number. They might also ask for qualifying information like location, company name, profession etc. to help assess the person’s probability of becoming a lead.
Landing pages that online stores use often combine the elements of click-through and email capture pages. They aim to send a person to a product’s page and entice them to buy it. Or in case if that fails, collect their email address for further nurturing.
Many online stores also launch product specific pages focusing on convincing a person to buy a specific product. Some also use category pages as a form of a landing page targeting buyers searching for a specific type of a product.
What Elements Your Landing Page Should Include
At first sight, landing pages might seem SO simple to create.
You just string a couple of elements together and BAM! You have a new landing page ready to start converting visitors.
In truth though, building landing pages often turns into a quite tedious affair.
And to begin the process, you need to learn the most important elements EVERY landing page must include:
If there’s one thing I would like you to remember about landing page headlines, it’s this:
A headline is what makes or breaks the conversion.
For one, a headline is the first thing a visitor sees. And the one element they’ll base a decision whether to keep browsing the page or bounce somewhere else.
And so, to convince them to do the former, a headline should:
- Relate to what you offer,
- Be clear and simple for a person to understand, and
- Communicate what problem this page / product / offer could help them solve.
It should also compliment the wording of the ad to reassure the visitor that they landed in the right place.
Oftentimes you may not be able to address all the three points I highlighted above within a single headline. If that’s the case, use a supporting headline to communicate your value proposition or the offer.
Headline and supporting sub-headline communicate your offer. But often you might need to reinforce the key selling points to make your case. And that’s what you could use a reinforcing statement for. This short blurb of text typically placed underneath the sub-headline communicates additional benefits to help convince a person to keep exploring the page.
A landing page should also include a visual giving visitors an extra incentive to keep exploring the offer.
it could include:
A “hero” shot – an image showing the product / offer in the context of use.
An intro video explaining the product or the offer in the context of a pain point.
A video featuring customer testimonial or motivational speech to get a visitor hyped up about a product / offer.
5. Call to Action
You can approach converting visitors on a landing page in two ways…
…Build a compelling case and let them figure out what to do with it, or
…Show them exactly what to do next.
Guess which option yields the best results?
A strong call to action will inform visitors about what you want them to do on a page – go to another page, sign up, complete a form or add a product to the cart.
For that to happen though, a call to action should stand out on a page. A visitor should notice it right after analyzing the headline and supporting information.
Your call to action could be an actual button users click to perform the desired action:
Or a copy accompanies by a conversion button:
6. Trust Indicators
Trust, or lack thereof, often acts as a deciding factor preventing a person from converting on a landing page.
In a 2012 paper, “A Study of Factors Affecting Buying Behavior”, Ujwala Dange from Priyadarshini Engineering College and Vinay Kimar from S. B. Patil Institute of Management described a system we apparently follow when making online purchases:
As part of the process, they identified security concerns we use to filter buying decisions.
And as it turns out, trust is one of those filtering elements.
Therefore, to overcome it, your landing pages should feature at least some of the most common trust indicators:
Webopedia defines trust mark as:
“A badge, image or logo found on an electronic commerce Web site that indicates the Web site is a member of a professional organization or that the Web site has passed security tests.”
Online stores feature various security marks to overcome their visitor’s security concerns.
Trust marks work great in ecommerce. But if you run a service company, display client logos instead to communicate your value.
Testimonials are the ultimate trust signal. A review from another customer or product user always outperforms any other proof. After all, it signifies that whatever you offer has helped someone else in a meaningful way.
And so, your page should feature at least some customer testimonials.
Creating a Landing Page
Now that you know what elements to include, it’s time to pull sleeves up and get cracking creating those landing pages.
If you have a design team that could help you with that, great. If not, here are a couple of tools you could use to build landing pages on your own:
Unbounce is by far one of the most professional and trusted tools on the market. Unbounce allows you to build a page from a number of templates (that you can customize to suit your needs), publish and then run tests aiming to improve conversions.
(As as side note, a lot of landing page screenshots I feature in this guide come from Unbounce’s fantastic landing page gallery).
Another respectable tool on the market. As their brand suggests, Leadpages offer tools specifically designed for lead generation and conversions. They offer templates, a marketplace to get new themes plus additional features like LeadBoxes to help you convert web visitors even without a landing page.
A newer tool on the market (I think!) allowing you to build and launch landing pages based on over 80 templates, split testing to see which versions work better and integrate with over 20 different marketing solutions.
OptimizePress (WordPress Plugin)
If your site works on WordPress, OptimizePress might be the best solution. Particularly if you prefer to keep landing pages connected with your site.
On top of standard functionality, OptimizePress also allows to create membership sites and display paid only content on the page.
Another simple to use landing page creator with templates sourced directly from designers and created with a specific goal in mind (i.e. to sell products or services, showcase portfolio etc.)
Important to note: Lander offers Facebook integration allowing you to add a landing page as a FB tab.
A point to note: All of the tools above could work for you. So to find the one to use, check if it integrates with your ecommerce platform or email software. And see if you like the quality of templates the app offers.
Landing Page Design – What Elements Could Affect Conversions
Did you know that 94% of a visitor’s first impressions about a page are design related?
Regardless of what you offer and how well you communicate it, if your design sucks…visitors are just going to bounce off.
So to help you prevent that, here are a couple of design tricks you should keep in mind when building your page:
1. Use Whitespace to Denote the Most Important Elements
Clutter the page with too many elements and users will miss the Call to Action, for instance. Or that super important benefit you wanted them to knew about.
Remove the clutter and those elements begin to stand out.
Whitespace, also referred to as blank space helps to highlight the areas of importance on the page. So, instead of bringing elements closer to a call to action, leave some space around it.
Note: even though I refer to this technique as “whitespace”, its color actually doesn’t matter. So think of it as a blank space around the area of importance. Simply.
2. Use Color to Create Emotional Response from Visitors
Did you know that color not only works as a great attention grabber? It also helps to decipher the meaning of a page. And generates an emotional response.
Andrew posted a great guide to using colors in advertising here on AdEspresso. If you haven’t seen his post yet, go check it out.
But to reiterate:
According to a number of research, colors activate different areas of our brains (and thus you can use them for various responses):
- Red gets out attention.
- Seeing green could make us hungry.
- Purple denotes luxury while black, exclusivity.
- Blue suggests trust.
- Orange generates positive feelings.
Why is it important when designing landing pages?
Because, you see, you can entice a visitor to think about your offer in a certain way by simply using particular colors.
People are more prone to click the red button. And so, making conversion buttons red might increase the number of visitors clicking them.
Orange, as I mentioned already, generates positive feelings. And thus, using it in the Call to Action might entice the person to think positively about your offer.
3. Use Contrast to Highlight Elements
I’ll never forget this advice from my design days:
Design at its core is based on a simple principle – it’s CRAP!
And no, I’m not trying to play a smartar*e here…
CRAP = Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity.
Each of these four elements helps to design a beautiful and functional page.
Most landing page templates are built based on the repetition, alignment and proximity principles.
Contrast on the other hand is something you might need to work into the design yourself.
Contrast suggests that for two elements to stand out from each other, they need to be in a sharp contrast. In simplest terms, if you want a user to notice a button right away, for instance, you should use color contrasting with the background to achieve it.
Take a look at the example below. The converting button hardly stands out from the background:
In the context of the entire page, a visitor might actually overlook it.
Similarly, without the two input boxes, the signup button would disappear in the color mode on this page:
However, it’s hard to miss this call to action button:
4. Display Something Unexpected to Grab Attention
Web visitors have become blind to many marketing tricks. Take banner advertising as example. Most of us don’t even notice website banners anymore.
But we will notice things that are out of the ordinary.
In her book “Decoding the new Consumer Mind” Kit Yarrow describes an experiment in which she had consumers “shop” in a mock store shelf packed with variations of a particular product package. Participants could choose 3-4 products they’d like to “buy”.
Almost everyone picked a product that had a slightly off-kilter logo with part of it cut off the top of the package.
Intriguing, huh? But there’s more…
Later, she invited those who chose that packaging and gave them two packages to consider: the one they originally selected (with off-kilter logo) and another with straight, fully visible logo.
Almost every one of them thought they’d originally chosen the package with the straight logo!
So, if you want to grab the user’s attention, show them something they don’t expect. It might not convince them to buy or click the call to action button. But at least it could direct their attention to it.
Landing Page Copy – What to Write to Entice Visitors into Action
It’s not a secret:
Words affect our behavior.
Inspire us to act in certain way. Entice us to make decisions. And in the context of a landing page – affects conversions.
Believe me, I know. I write copy every day.
So, here are a couple of tips to help you write better landing page copy:
1. Communique Your Unique Selling Proposition
Imagine a visitor landing on a page. Once they deciphered your offer, they’re going to ask themselves:
“Why the h**k should I buy from you?!”
A unique selling proposition is your answer to that question.
It’s that one thing helping users decide whether to hear you out and find out more about your product, service or company. Or bounce off somewhere else.
Many businesses confuse USP with a slogan or positioning statement. Yet it’s neither of those things.
A USP is a collection of statements and information, often scattered on a page that combined answer the three points mentioned above.
To make your landing page copy more enticing to buy, include elements of your USP in:
- The headline,
- Supporting sub-headline,
- Reinforcing statement,
- Call to action.
2. Follow the Traditional Sales Narrative
I know many copywriters would disagree but I believe that a landing page should follow a traditional sales narrative:
- Identify the audience,
- Convince that you understand the problem, and
- Present your offering as the most viable solution.
It’s that simple.
3. Focus on Benefits
Once you’ve built your case why a person should buy from you, you need to convince them that your product / service / offer truly are the best solution to their problem.
And here’s where many marketers fall flat on their faces:
They begin to talk about features.
Software producers state technology they used to build their products. Manufacturers boast product dimensions, materials and other features.
The audience doesn’t care.
They only care about themselves. So you need to tell them what urgent needs your product’s going to help them overcome – what benefits they’ll get by buying it.
Unbounce’s page includes a simple statement – Build, Publish & A/B Test Landing Pages Without I.T.
It’s a strong enough benefit if you ask me. Especially if you target non-developers.
Even though Unbounce highlights their main benefit in the headline, you could also:
Use bullet points to summarize the benefits.
Or explain each benefit in detail.
4. Avoid Buzzwords
Business jargon helps overcome many professional challenges.
But converting visitors on landing pages isn’t one of them.
Just think about it:
Your visitors don’t want to be deciphering your page copy. They want to know at an instant if what you offer could help them.
So avoid any buzzwords and jargon. Write plain and simple copy your target customers could understand.
5. Use Testimonials
Most marketers believe testimonials aren’t part of their page’s copy.
Their visitors however think otherwise:
According to Econsultancy, for instance, 61% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision.
A TripAdvisor’s study discovered that 77% of holiday makers won’t book a hotel without reading about the other guests’ experiences.
These stats might even suggest that to users, reviews and testimonial are the most important words you feature on a page…
Think of testimonials as a conversation between two customers in which one retells their experiences about you and your product to another. And you just facilitate that exchange.
Getting More Conversions – Testing and Improving Your Landing Pages
It’s one of my personal copywriting pet peeves:
For many people, once a landing page goes live, it’s done.
And with that, the design, copy or even the offer cannot be changed.
But the thing is:
It’s damn bl**dy hard to get a landing page right for the first time.
Believe me, I know.
And it doesn’t matter how well you’ve researched the audience, their pain points, needs, wants and everything else… it’s still difficult to predict how all those elements are going to affect conversions.
And so, with the page live, you need to start testing and iterating it until you find the perfect combination of elements on a page.
This process is called A/B testing.
It works like this:
You start by creating a second version of the page that includes one changed element (according to a hypothesis you’re testing).
When running an A/B test, half of your traffic will then see the original page (known as the Control version) while the other half, the revised version (called the Challenger).
By measuring conversion on each page you can assess whether the changed element helped improve conversions.
To design the test, you should follow a process known as the Scientific Method.
It begins with posing a question or stating a problem you noticed with the landing page. For instance, you might have observed that the page receives very little conversions, certainly below the industry’s average.
You then proceed to analyze the page’s overall performance and assess it against your KPIs to get a full overview of the situation.
Next, you review the visitor behavior using heatmaps, click maps, visitor recordings and many more.
Based on all that research you can construct a hypothesis that defines what in your opinion causes the problem.
Only with a hypothesis at hand you can start building the Challenger version of the page and proceed with the test.
Once the test concludes, you can analyze the data, draw conclusions and assess if your hypothesis was correct.
I posted a thorough walkthrough the entire process in this post. Go check it out to find out how to complete each step of the Scientific Method.
A/B Testing Software
Just like with building a landing page, there are various tools that could help you run A/B test.
For one, platforms like Unbounce, LeadPages or Instapage offer A/B testing as part of the package.
But if you use different platforms to create landing pages, check out these tools dedicated to helping improve conversions:
All these tools offer a similar functionality. They allow you to create a Challenger version of the page, run a test and collect results to establish if your hypotheses were correct.
And, that’s it.
You should now have a good understanding of the process of building and optimizing landing pages to covert people who’ve clicked your Facebook ad.
What’s left? Go and start building your first page.
Of course the above guide should act as nothing but a starting point for further reading. Here at AdEspresso however we’ve posted a fair share of posts regarding landing pages. Check them out to find out more about all the intricacies of converting users with landing pages:
- 4 Landing Page Design Myths that Actually Hurt Conversions
- 5 Things You Should Never Split Test on Facebook Ads Landing Pages
- 5 Landing Page Mistakes Killing Your Paid Advertising
- 9 Fast Ways to Improve Your Facebook Landing Page Conversions