Time to account for what marketers/brands got wrong with landing pages in 2015.
Being the most potent asset on your website, you want your landing page to close conversions. You either want people to give their contact information or buy a service/product.
But that doesn’t happen always. Mistakes slip through the cracks and bury your key message, turning visitors away. Here are 7 landing page distractions that screwed up possible conversions last year:
1. Multiple CTAs & Weak Placement
Did you know that landing pages with multiple offers get 266 percent fewer leads than landing pages with single page offers? Yet, there are too many landing pages with multiple banners and CTAs; these leave visitors confused.
The CTA informs prospects of the next steps and therefore is a critical component of a landing page. Placing multiple of these mean screwing the decision hierarchy of the visitor, the result of which is a huge amount of friction (which translates into lost customers).
For example, this landing page would have worked well if it didn’t have the CTA in the form of an advert asking users to book a hotel (visitors are likely looking to rent a car).
Asking users to do that, as well as subscribe to the company’s newsletter, along with giving options to book a rental is not a single action for the lead to take. The cross-promotions distract users from the main step of booking the car.
Instead, it is viable to have a clear CTA (which can be in two locations), so the visitor is under no illusion about which action they should take. The Book Now button without other distractions should have been enough.
But one thing right in the above displayed landing page is that the CTA is above the fold. While people do search for information below the fold, research pointed out that they spend 80 percent of their time looking at information above the fold.
Here’s another example of a Dubai car rental website:
The call-to-action in this case is buried at the bottom left, and doesn’t catch the eye until the user scrolls below the fold. If visitors need to search for the CTA, they’re more likely to leave the page before converting.
Therefore, there should be one clear CTA, and it should stare visitors in the face.
2. Weak Images
It’s a pity to see so many landing pages featuring images that communicate something the copy does not. A potential visitor wants to see the actual package before converting. Landing pages with stock or irrelevant images actually hurt the credibility of the business promoting them.
It’s easy to find landing pages with product screenshots. But it’s rare to find landing pages with screenshots that offer any value. Most images are slapped on there for the sake of adding something visual, wasting landing page real estate.
Value and relevancy are keys to keeping everything glued together on your landing page, so it’s super important to consider these two elements when selecting an image to display.
This landing page from easysite.com, a website builder, consists of low-quality stock images.
Anyone who wants to build a website would like to see high-quality images of a website builder in action.
Now compare the above-example with this landing page from Weebly, also a website builder:
They have high-quality images relevant to each feature instead of low-quality stock images. Always remember that an image that doesn’t communicate the purpose of your product/service is a poor image.
When visitors “skim” through your landing page, the image should get their attention and make them visualize the result you’re promising them. The second example actually tells users what the website builder will look like when they start using it, so that’s effective use of imagery.
3. Navigation Bars
Navigation bars make it challenging for visitors to find what they’re looking for on a landing page. Therefore, avoid placing the navigation bar at the top of the landing page. Marketing Sherpa pointed out that 16 percent of landing pages don’t feature navigation bars.
Paras Chopra of VWO cited the example of Yuppiechef, an online premium kitchen tools retailer from South Africa. They A/B tested two different landing pages to see which landing page brought more sign ups to their Wedding Registry (conversion goal).
This was the original landing page:
And this was the varied landing page:
The second version of the page, without the navigation menu at the top, had double the conversions as the first version of the page. There was a 100 percent increase in conversions and the conversion rate increased by 3 to 6 percent.
HubSpot also published a case study where removing navigation links from the landing page of a brand increased conversions from 9.2 percent to 17.6 percent.
The bottom line is to not give your leads any further options besides asking them to convert. When there are no navigation links, there are no external factors that would pull visitors away from your offer.
4. Inconsistent Copy
Consistent copy goes a long way in converting visitors. But too many landing pages suffer from the lack of it. These contain inconsistent copy that tells visitors one thing and then somewhere else on the page contradicts itself.
According to a poll of 11,000 people conducted by Edelman Trust Barometer, 90 percent wanted companies to be as transparent as possible in their communication. When the landing page copy is misleading or confuses visitors, they’ll think several times before putting their trust and money in your offer.
This is a landing page from a website that came up when I searched for the long-tail keyword “free piano lessons”.
The meta description picks up the keyword and brings visitors here, and then the headline also talks about free piano lessons.
But when you scroll down, the copy reveals that there’s a free membership for a limited time. The visitor also comes to know that there are only 14 days to enjoy the free lessons, and then they expire.
So much promise of free piano lessons and then suddenly the reader is wondering what’s going to happen after 14 days. Next, they could be thinking about future charges and if they really want the so called “free piano lessons”.
It’s critical to avoid distractions like these, and be crystal clear about what you’re offering. Mistrust arises from contradicting statements, so be on the same point from start to finish to win the confidence of visitors.
5. Weak Testimonials
It is clear that many businesses understood the importance of integrating social proof on landing pages, but weak testimonials meant that their execution felt short. You’re killing conversions by putting up generic and weak testimonials.
Companies need to put up testimonials from real customers. Also, you want the testimonial to describe how someone has benefited from your product/service – how has it helped solve their pain points. The more detail there is, the more credible they are.
For example, take a look at this landing page from a website offering a fat loss program:
The length of the testimonial is spot on, but the description seems somewhat made up. All the testimonials rave about how great the program is and how the coaches have helped customers through the process.
Also, there’s minor detail about who these people are. Who is Christine? And who the hell is Suzie? At least an image of them could have been included.
There is so much inappropriate innuendo in these testimonials.
In contrast, take a look at this testimonial:
There’s an image of the customer, as well as a description about who the person is and what he does. The description talks about the time frame it took for him to lose a certain percentage of body fat, rather than raving about the program.
There’s also a disclaimer that tells you that the testimonial may not reflect everyone’s journey in the same way.
Not only is the testimonial more relatable, it cohesively works together with the disclaimer page to come off as more credible.
6. Messed up Form Fields
Last year, many landing pages had too many form fields. This caused visitors to leave out of frustration because they didn’t want to provide too much information. The best practice is to use 3 to 5 form fields at a maximum.
Also, there were in-field placeholders creating friction because they gave the perception that the form is filled out already. Things could be different if brands make the text of the placeholder recede in the background when a visitor clicks the field.
Another thing messed up in form fields is error messages. Imagine filling out a long form, clicking submit and landing at the same page with error messages. Unless you’re a monopoly in your industry and visitors have no other choice, anyone would get frustrated and leave.
This is an example of a messed up landing page.
There are too many form fields and error messages appear when the visitor misses out on a detail.
A better approach would be to use in-line validation in the form fields, like in this landing page excerpt below:
In-line validation would tell visitors instantly if there are any issues with their submission.
7. Long Paragraphs & Features
If your landing page has long, boring paragraphs you can simply kiss conversions goodbye. After the headline grabs a visitor’s attention, you need to then break down what benefits they’ll receive in short points rather than long paragraphs.
Are you trying to stuff too many paragraphs into your landing page? This could distort user experience. Your landing page should include points that are targeted, clear, and concise.
Another common landing page distraction is the list of features on offer, which make the benefits of subscribing/purchasing seem secondary. While it’s perfectly fine to talk about features, it’s the benefits that convey value to the visitor. Gartner reported that buyers want to hear about more than features.
This landing page is focusing too much on the features.
In contrast, the following landing page will evoke a visitor’s emotions by highlighting why they need the product. There are also case studies that back up the benefits the visitor expects to receive.
The first landing page presents a product. The second landing page targets desires, emotions, and motivations. Which do you think is likely to convert better?
With landing pages you have the opportunity to compel visitors to convert – don’t squander it. By removing the distractions mentioned above, you’ll be able to create effective landing pages that take your business to the next level.
What are your thoughts? Were you guilty of committing a couple of these mistakes? Feel free to leave comments.