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:Marketing / Marketing best practices

Best practices for great landing page design

What is one of the easiest ways to increase conversions? A landing page. What’s an efficient tactic to get consumers to convert in one click? An easy-to-navigate landing page. What’s one way to make everyone think you and your product is awesome? Great landing page design.

Breaking it down: Your landing page

A landing page is defined as a single page with a specific target: getting visitors to complete an action. This means your landing page should be designed to target one audience with one goal: getting them to take an action and convert.

This is different from a homepage, which is designed to appeal to multiple audiences and convey information to anyone interested in your overall brand. Check out this difference between Credible’s homepage and landing page:

Difference between homepage and landing page Difference between homepage and landing page
Difference between homepage and landing page

As you can see on the homepage above, there are multiple links to click on, a navigation bar and more information. With the landing page design, however, it has one clear goal: click on the button to “Find My Savings”.

The goal of your landing page should be to get a conversion. Be it signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to your blog, downloading an ebook, enrolling in your online course, etc. That’s it. All copy, images and layout support that one single goal. Less is more in this case.

With this in mind, your landing page needs to answer four questions:

  1. What is the offer?
  2. What are the benefits?
  3. Why does your audience need your offer now?
  4. How do they get the offer?

These four questions explain to your reader what they get from you when they sign up and why they can’t live without your offer, while also creating a sense of urgency on an easy-to-convert page.

Building your positioning

Simply, these questions are the beginning steps to building your page’s unique selling proposition.

You can do this through two steps:

  1. Creating consistent, compelling copy
  2. Optimizing the 6 main landing page elements.

Afterwards, we’ll discuss some simple landing page design elements (color, typography, images) to think about when you’re creating your page to make it even better.

Compelling copy

When building your landing page, consider your audience and your competition. So when writing copy, you need to tailor it to your audience. Knowing their hopes, ambitions and goals will make writing engaging copy much easier.

Try visiting online communities, forums or websites where your audience hangs out. You’ll discover their desires, problems and what they enjoy. You can use this information to help tailor your copy to their preferences. Have you looked at what your competition is doing? Pay attention to why they’re successful.

Copy that converts

We already said the goal of your landing page is to get your audience to convert. So, the copy of your page needs to be centered around this goal and reinforced each time you write a headline, a subhead, a call-to-action, etc. Each of these sections compose your unique value proposition: why people will buy from you and not your competition.

Your copy needs to be about the visitor: What are they getting out of your product? How are you solving their painful problems? Your text needs to be captivating, persuasive, and above all else, clear. You don’t want your audience to be confused about what you are telling them or what they are getting from being on your page.

And holds power

To build urgency, keep your audience focused on converting and showcase your value proposition. Follow D Bnonn Tennant’s advice and use what he calls “hypnotic words”: “you”, “because”, and “imagine”. These three words stimulate the unconscious mind to reduce purchasing objections, which ultimately gets your audience to buy your product and not your competitors (#conversion!).

Why these words work:

  • You – We use you in probably every conversation we have with someone. The word you entices our own interests, goals and desires because it speaks directly to… ourselves. When you’re reading something that includes the word you, your brain’s defense mechanisms lower and messages are able to slide past your subconscious walls. Use you to slip past your audiences guards and make them feel like your product fulfills their goals, desires, dreams and interests.
  • Because – Humans want order. We’re always looking for the cause and effect. Because is an indicator of an upcoming explanation of the reason why. Hearing or reading the word because cues the brain’s gatekeeper to let the message pass into the subconscious.
  • Imagine – The word imagine helps the audience envision the outcome of a purchase, not the act of purchasing, which helps lower their purchasing resistance. Imagine stimulates the brain to actually think of owning the product and makes the person consider what their life would be like with it, creating a sense of ownership. It’s much easier to make a sale when your audience already imagines their life with your product. By feeling like they already have it, they will want to keep it, aka make the actual purchase to keep those desires fulfilled.

Use these three words to connect with your audience and entice them to buy your product by showing how you will solve their painful problems. Unsure of what your exact wording should be? Get some inspiration from your existing customers. Is there a word or phrase they keep using in their support or fan emails, on social media or online forums when talking about your product? If so, try out that phrase. Talk to a friend, peer or audience member to see if the message you’re envisioning translates correctly to them. You can even A/B test to see if one performs better than the other.

6 landing page elements

With every landing page you see, there are six main elements that make it successful: headline, subhead, images, an explanation of the benefits, social proof, and your call-to-action.

These six elements need to work in cohesion together to create your unique selling proposition because “it’s estimated that you have 8 seconds to convince users to stay on your page.”

That’s not a lot of time. Let’s go into how to make the most of those eight seconds.

1. Headline

Your headline is the first thing a viewer will see when they come to your page (it is the largest size after all). It needs to be clear and concise, confirm your offer, and include messaging that reflects the audience’s entrance point.

For example, let’s say you created an ad for a free growth hacking ebook. The page that the ad is directed to should have a title showing where they will get the ebook.

Check out Farmigo. They created an ad for their company and a new landing page, just for the Facebook traffic.

Farmago Example Farmago Example

2. Subhead

Your subhead is a more in depth description of your headline. It’s all of the explanation you wanted to add to your title about why your offer is amazing, but just couldn’t fit. Use this space to be persuasive and explain your offer in greater detail as Trip Tribe does.

Trip Tribe Example Trip Tribe Example

3. Images, part 1

Include a striking image of your product or a photograph that relates to your message. Why? Humans are visual beings. According to The Next Web, our brains process visuals 60,000x faster than text. That’s pretty impressive. Not only do captivating images make your page look better and give your audience a better page experience, but having these visual cues also entice your audience to remain on your page to learn more about your offer.

Image examples Image examples

As the example above shows, Hubspot uses an image of a computer and SEO drawing to reinforce their offer, while MeatBox uses an image of cows in a meadow to support their headline.

4. Benefits

Teachable’s Co-Founder, Conrad Wadowski, talks a lot about finding your audience’s pain point or the needs they’re willing to pay for. It’s also a huge aspect of great landing page design. The benefit statement section is where you can address the pain points you’ve found for your audience, like TripIt has below.

Trip it Example Trip it Example

Use a bulleted list to explain how your offer directly solves their pain problems. Make sure to focus solely on the benefits of your product, not the features. You need to sell your audience first on why they need your product (aka how it solves their problem). Adding in all of the features at this point will only confuse or complicate their decision, which can lead to them not buying at all.

5. Social proof

We’ve all heard the term social proof before and have probably let it impact our own purchasing decisions via testimonials, social media or data. These statements prove to your audience that other people have used your product, found it successful/useful/fulfilling and want others to feel the same.

The more people see that others are interested in or used your product, the more likely they are to convert.

Spyfu is really promoting the social proof with two placements on their landing page: 1) the publications they’ve been featured in and 2) customer testimonials.

Spyfu Social Proof Example Spyfu Social Proof Example

6. Call-to-action

Your call-to-action is the reason you have a landing page. You want someone to sign up for your offer. What it looks like, how it reads and where it is placed are all key to getting those conversions.

Michael Aagaard points out that there are two main elements to a CTA.

  1. Copy: Answers the question of why click this button
  2. Design: The visual cue to the audience of where to click

The copy needs to be clear, simple and most importantly, descriptive. Make it clear to your audience what the next steps are when they click that button. Avoid submit and send. Try “sign up for the newsletter”, “enroll now”, “register for Monday’s webinar”, etc.

A few things to think about when creating your CTA:

  • Enclose CTA text in a box. This makes it look like a button, and people want to click buttons! Use rounded edges. Try a 3D effect. When the mouse hovers over the button, have it change color/shade; it entices people to click. These little changes make your button go from flat to fab!
  • Color doesn’t matter. Contrast matters. Your CTA button should stand out from everything else on the page. Let’s go back to art class and look at the color wheel. First, find the main color of your site, then look at the color that is directly opposite it on the wheel. That is the best complementary color for you to use for your CTA. For example, if your page background is blue, use an orange CTA to stand out from the rest of the site.
  • Size is important. Make the button larger than the other text on the page. You don’t want your ultimate goal to get lost.
  • Include white space around your button so it clearly stands out from everything else on the page.

Sun Basket has a CTA button that is contrasting, has a 3D element to make it pop, is bigger than the surrounding text, has white space around it and is descriptive.

SunBasket Homepage SunBasket Homepage

One point out of that list above remains: whether to put the CTA above or below the fold. This question is based on the type of content you have and the product that you’re offering. According to KissMetrics, the more complex the product/offer and the more information to digest, place the CTA below the fold. If the offer is simple and doesn’t require much information to make a decision, place the CTA above the fold.

Bonus page: Thank You

Once your audience completes your CTA, you have one more page to keep their attention and inspire further conversion: the Thank You page.

The thank you page is the perfect place to introduce your audience to other products you have since you’ve already captured their attention. This could be another CTA asking them to share your content they just signed up for, subscribe to your blog, sign up for your newsletter, attend a live training webinar or even give them a bonus piece of content (they’ll love you for it).

Thank you page Thank you page

These bonus CTAs are placed on the Thank You page because if you placed them on the landing page, it would call attention away from your main message and effect conversion.

Branding elements

If you’re building your own landing page, a few great landing page builders are: Instapage, Unbounce and Hubspot. If you want to sign up for Teachable to create a landing page for your first course, it only takes 10 minutes. Whichever path you choose, there are still a few things that you need to think about when building your landing page: color, fonts, and images.

Color

There is so much to think about when choosing colors for…anything. To keep it as simple, we’re going to discuss a couple elements to consider when thinking about colors for your landing page design (and brand).

Color meanings Color meanings

Every color has psychological implications associated with it. CrazyEgg states that “psychologists have suggested that color impression can account for 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a project or service.” That’s a pretty steep number. When choosing your landing page color palette, consider what characteristics you want your brand to portray.

Colors have meaning

Pick colors that are associated the characteristics you want to exude. If you want to portray luxury and trust, blue and black would be good options. If you want hint at optimism and health, yellow and green would be great options.

Complementary colors

It’s the great marketer debate: Does color affect conversion in terms of landing page design? As we mentioned above in the CTA section, it’s contrast that’s important. When two complementary colors are placed next to each other, their contrast is the strongest (and actually makes the colors appear brighter).

When choosing the palette for your site, make sure to include a color that is complementary to the main color of your page.

Here are some sites for palette inspiration:

Make sure the colors that you pick are readable. You don’t want a green background with blue text. A helpful hint is to use a light colored background with dark colored text.

Typography

At Teachable, we give you a list of typefaces to choose from for your course landing page. Almost all of them are sans serif fonts because, usually, close to half of your traffic comes from mobile users and san serif fonts are easiest to read on phones.

That being said, if you’re designing your own landing page from scratch, you have to pick your own fonts. Best practice is to stick with commonly used Google web-fonts like those in this list by the Sutter Group:

  • Serif
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman // Times
  • Palatino Linotype // Palatino
  • Book Antiqua
  • Sans serif
  • Verdana
  • Geneva
  • Arial
  • Helvetica
  • Tahoma
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Lucida Sans Unicode // Lucida Grande
  • Monospace
  • Courier New // Courier
  • Lucida Console
  • Monaco

Using these fonts ensure that the majority of browsers and operating systems render your text correctly. Plus, it’s much easier when sending newsletters and dealing with different email service providers. When choosing fonts, stick to one font to reduce the clutter on your landing page. Each of the fonts above have bold and italic styles, which are simple ways to differentiate text.

Font Sizes

Another way to differentiate text is with size. A study by Wichita State found that body text is best at 12-point because it’s the easiest to read in the least amount of time. If your audience is older, bumping up the point size to 14 doesn’t hurt to make it easier on the eyes. Headlines look best at 17-25pt.

In that same Wichita State study, it was discovered that any font, larger or smaller than 12pt, decreases readability. If you want someone to spend time reading your copy, try enlarging the size in the testimonial section or reducing the size for the money back guarantee statement.

The last size factor to consider is line spacing. Make sure there is enough space between each line to give the text room to breathe and be read easily.

Images, part 2

Earlier, we explained the importance of having an image of your product or a captivating image to related to your offer. Now we want to go into a few more details about choosing that image and its importance in relation to landing page design.

Landing page example Landing page example

Now that you have found your image, think about how the text will look on top of the image. If your image has a lot going on in it, consider darkening it up with Photoshop. This way the text will be easier to read. A quick hack is to add a dark rectangle over the photo and reduce the opacity until the image is dark enough for the text to be readable and the image to still show through.

A word from the design pros

Another factor to consider is the color of your headline. If the headline color you chose for your theme is blue, avoid using an image where there is a lot of blue. It will make the text very hard to read. This also is important for your CTA button. Does the color of it get lost because of the picture? If so, I’d recommend changing one (probably the image) because your CTA should always be the focus.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to understanding landing page design that converts.


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