Earlier this week I attended a WSI event in Birmingham, UK where I had the opportunity to hear Stefan Tornquist speaking about optimizing landing pages. Stefan is the research director at MarketingSherpa. Later during this event Chuck Bankoff listed more useful design tips for landing pages. Read about it at the end of this post.
Tornquist opened his presentation by stating that the average improvement when optimizing your landing pages (LP) is 40%. That statement kept me listening carefully. Landing pages are very often the place where we send people who clicked in emails.
Some interesting UK facts to set the stage:
– 53% of companies don’t conduct LP tests
– 44% test landing pages at launch and leave them forever afterwards
– 23% don’t share results with their agency or design partner
Most traffic to LPs comes from search engines. 80% of traffic goes deep into websites. Only about 20% goes to the homepages.
So we need to understand who are the visitors who go directly deep into websites. And what content they are looking after.
As we probably all know by experience a majority hits the page and clicks away immediately. Some give the page some time and than decide. A third group starts conversion but stops in the process. A last group converts.
Tornquist advices to focus most on the first and third group. Try to understand why they act like this, test different LPs and learn from it.
As people come from all type of sources (search engine, ads, direct email, email newsletter,display ads, offline, …) some know more than others when they come to the landing page.
Tornquist gave us some useful techniques to boost conversion on landing pages.
To start with you can mention on the landing page what people where searching for just before they landed. Some simple coding can put the search string and engine in the top corner of the LP.
He also focused on the optimization of registration forms. Shorter forms beat longer forms in conversion by +30%. Worth thinking about … especially when you know that sometimes it is worth keeping the form longer :-). For instance when you need more detailled data to feed to you sales teams. Or if your reps don’t have the time or tools to follow up upon less qualified leads.
His research also revealed that asking people for their emailaddress rather than making them click through immediately to a form is better. It is a smaller step and once one engages into this, he is more likely to fill out the form too.
I fully agree with this. Asking only for what we call “task-oriented information” speeds up the process of starting a dialogue. I doesn’t scare people off and feels less intrusive. I refer to a series of tests we did a couple of years ago. For an international consumer electronics company we tested what the effect would be if we asked them 6, 7 or 8 questions upon registration for a newsletter. Well, with every question asked we lost like 10% registrations. Scary.
At the end of his presentation he analysed some examples and suggested ways to optimize. A short wrap up:
– avoid words like ‘finance’ on LP and focus more on benefits
– use relevant photographs (related to your company) with clear taglines instead of stock photographs. Rather a boring relevant product photograph then stock photographs with ‘shiny young executives’
– do not offer to much choices or options to click on. Do not make people shift back from purchase in to shopping mode once they are on your LPs!
In short, very useful and definitely a knowledgeable speaker.
EXTRA – Design tips for landing pages by Chuck Bankoff
While I was there (stuck in the UK 🙂 ) I thought it might be interesting to go listen to Chuck Bankoff too. He is a US internet marketeer. His presentation was packed with ready to use landing page tips and success factors.
Here I go …
Everything that interupts the flow makes people defect. Bankoff described them as campaign killers. Think of
– too much text
– error pages & broken links
– required fields
– lack of communications choices ( no telephone or other)
– inadequate shipping and shipping information
– too many links to too many destinations
After this Chuck started summing up some landing page success factors:
– keep the critical information above the fold (first screen)
– fewer columns are better
– bigger typeface is better
– men like short … women like long … (pages that is)
– influence the visitor with minimal distraction
He took some time to landing page copy tips. This is what his advice is:
– use half the copy that you would use in printed material
– headline should exactly match the headline that got them there
– stay on point. Headline must match Body Copy
– don’t waste valuable space with “welcome …”
– “you” and “your” trumps “we” and “our”
– keep your first few paragraphs short and inviting
– people read only the first few words of bullets and paragraphs
– alternate short and long paragraphs (make them no longer than 4 to 5 lines long)
– numerals have more impact than written numbers
These lists were illustrated by lots of interesting and sometimes hilaric examples. When I go back home, I think I will crosscheck a couple of landingpages we developed in the past.