Landing Page Conversion Optimization
An effective landing page serves as the first thing a prospect sees on your website (whether they clicked on an ad or an organic Google search result). Its job is to capture their interest and convert them into a sales lead, and ultimately, a customer. In this article, we discuss how to accomplish this goal through the 4-step process of landing page conversion optimization:
- Define your target audience
- Design UX to encourage visitor flow down the page
- Write clear and relevant CTAs
- Track, test, and iterate on success
We’ll begin with defining your target audience.
Define Your Target Audience
The most important step in landing page conversion optimization takes place before you create any of the content on the page itself: knowing exactly who you want to convert in the first place. Typically, the best way to begin defining your target audience is to look at your existing customer base.
Interview your most valuable customers, asking them how and why they sought out your products, as well as some background questions about their values, needs, and pain points. These should include:
- What is their job title and overall responsibility?
- Which KPIs do their higher-ups use to evaluate them?
- What makes them feel successful on a daily basis?
- What issues make their job harder on a daily basis?
- How did they find your company and products?
- What made your products stand out compared to your competitors’?
The answers to these questions will provide your marketing team with insights on the most important question in conversion: “What do your prospects need?” Understanding the answer to this question allows marketing teams to develop customer personas such as the one below.
Jenna is the CMO at a mid-sized engineering firm. Her primary responsibility is to generate MQLs, which she does by increasing traffic to her company’s website. She is judged by the overall ROI of her marketing spend, as well as how well she’s stayed within budget. She’s also judged by the accuracy of her beginning-of-year forecasts for those KPIs.
Jenna feels successful when her ideas are well received during management meetings, particularly when they require creative thinking; when the team members she manages demonstrate trust in her leadership; and when she feels like she is genuinely contributing to her company’s growth. Jenna’s day is made harder when the marketing team members she manages struggle, either professionally or personally; when she doesn’t have the ability to make informed projections due to a lack of clear tracking on a marketing program, making it hard for her to manage her higher-ups’ expectations; and when her CEO is dogging her to help him meet his increasingly-lofty company growth goals.
When attempting to solve pain points for her team, Jenna begins by using Google to research if other marketers in the engineering industry have experienced similar issues. If she doesn’t find a solution immediately, she assigns a junior team member to conduct further research. Jenna keeps up with new developments through articles shared on her LinkedIn network, and she begins her day by checking her feed.
Comprehensive personas allow you to better understand who your prospects are before targeting them with landing page content. They inform the specific pain points, value propositions, and tone that will be most effective at conversion.
Design UX to Encourage Visitor Flow Down the Page
Compared to other marketing content on your website (such as blog posts or white papers), landing pages are more visually oriented. The average visitor spends only 37 seconds on a landing page before leaving, meaning that visual elements must grab readers’ attention almost immediately, explaining exactly what your product does and why they’d want to continue learning about it. The image below identifies the UX components of landing page conversion, which encourage visitor flow down the page.
In the next section, we focus just on the final component, calls-to-action (CTAs).
Write Clear and Relevant CTAs
As opposed to blog posts or articles which tend to feature only a single CTA at the very bottom of the page, landing pages are more conversion-oriented by nature. As a result, they should include multiple CTAs interspersed throughout the page, allowing any prospect who has become interested in converting to do so without scrolling further.
These CTAs will vary depending on their page position. The table below compares mid-page and bottom-of-page CTAs:
|Short and snappy, speaking to the resources in the preceding section. Will call for a lower-commitment option, such as a demo download or free trial rather than pushing for a full sale.||“Try our service free for 30 days”
“Download our quarterly report on logistics costs”
|Succinct summary of your value proposition. Will often include a mini-form that makes it as easy as possible to convert.||“Smythe & Co is dedicated to solving all your civil engineering needs. Leave your information below for a free consultation.”|
While the ideal scenario is for a visitor to commit on the spot, many valuable leads will not be ready to do so after reading one landing page. Your CTAs should provide alternative next steps in addition to direct sales, including:
- Linking to registration-walled reports and white papers for further reading
- Offering free trials or demo downloads (for B2B SaaS landing pages)
- Scheduling a call with your sales team to learn more
Including these lower commitment CTAs increases your overall conversion rate while filling your marketing funnel for your lead nurturing programs.
Track, Test, and Iterate on Success
True conversion optimization involves incremental improvement once you’ve given a new landing page your best shot. Tracking, testing, and iterating on your landing pages allows you to learn what’s working and not working for your target audience.
A good place to start your post-publishing investigation is with tracking microconversions—measurable actions taken by website visitors which shed light on how they interact with your page. Examples of microconversions are:
- Visiting more than a single page on your website
- Downloading an ebook or a white paper
- Viewing video content or click to expand on an image
- Sharing on social media
- Subscribing to your blog or podcast’s RSS feed
Microconversions tell you how far visitors have read, what type of on-page content they’re most interested in, and what best captures their attention. They’re easily tracked with Google Analytics. You can then pair your microconversion data with A/B testing—the practice of creating two separate versions of a web page to determine which one has a higher conversion rate—to make incremental improvements to your landing pages.
Measurement and testing take time, and teams should :
- Develop Intent: Begin each test with a hypothesis as to how user behavior will change, so you can make use of your team’s time in the most efficient way possible.
- Exercise Discipline: Testing only one element at a time leads to long periods of waiting, as changing only a single element is necessary to collect the most precise data on customer behavior.
- Implement Changes Sitewide: Once your team has data available, you should update all pages accordingly, before proceeding to new A/B tests.
This process can be slow, and as such many companies forgo it. If yours isn’t one of them, you’ll have an advantage.
Hiring Conversion Rate Optimization Experts
Even when you understand these steps in theory, implementing them can be resource intensive and time-consuming, even for experienced teams. CRO involves many moving parts and requires experts capable of juggling multiple tasks at once. More importantly, it requires the patience to test, analyze, and shift over time so your marketing and advertising continues to improve and your CACs drift downward.
Many businesses choose to outsource landing page conversion optimization, believing that turning these tasks over to an experienced vendor is a better use of resources. Our agency is one such vendor. We have over 12 years of experience optimizing landing pages for conversion, particularly in complex fields. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in discussing our services.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.