“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
– Dr Seuss
Your website’s landing pages are the window to your business, that all-important first impression, the glimpse into your company that has the potential to convert visitors into customers, or drive them away to a competitor. As the key component in a successful digital product, landing pages deserve care and attention, so be sure to avoid the 10 common landing page mistakes that could make or break your campaign.
1. Getting stuck in the past
You can have the best landing page in the world – for now. Fast-forward as little as six months and it is likely to have fallen behind the rapid evolution of the digital landscape. Landing pages should be seen as a continuous work in progress, being analysed and updated regularly.
2. Ignoring the meaning behind the data
Sherlock Holmes may be a fictional character but he makes a good point when he says: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
Whilst use and development of data analysis tools such as Google Analytics is on the rise, many companies still struggle to gain valuable insights that will actually promote change. This develops a narrow understanding of the user journey and often results in failure to pinpoint how your website could better support the user in reality. Looking at your website’s analytics against the actual page often highlights straightforward areas of improvement, such as adding an extra call to action or making sub-headings more concise.
3. Not tailoring landing pages to the user
Rather than simply sending all users to your homepage, put some effort into it. Visitors are far more likely to make that transition into ‘customer’ status if, upon arrival at your website, they are presented with the information, products or services they have an active interest in. For example, if you’re a sports centre promoting swimming lessons in a PPC campaign, create a landing page highlighting only the swimming lesson options rather than extending the user journey unnecessarily through the homepage.
4. Skipping the stepping stones
Landing pages are there to take visitors one step closer to becoming customers, so make sure the next step in their journey is clear and logical, supporting their journey and encouraging them to continue. Chartbeat’s recent study states that ‘55% of all pageviews get less than 15 seconds of attention’, so with such little time to encourage the user to stay on your website, sometimes the stepping stones can make all the difference.
5. Falling into the category of ‘forgettable’
The online world is home to some masterpieces, so what makes your website stand out against competitors? Your landing pages need to have an impact on visitors, from standout headlines to dramatic imagery to engaging calls to action. This is your one chance at a first impression, so make it count.
It’s not just about impact, performance and appearance also play vital roles in the first impressions. According to a survey by Adobe, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.
6. Being a content hoarder
At the other end of the spectrum, users do not want to be presented with alarming quantities of content. It’s great that you have a lot to say and show but it may be time to de-clutter and restore some order in those hectic pages.
7. Being too much of a storyteller
Whilst we all love a good story, many online readers are looking to scan the key information quickly and, quite frankly, they’re all waiting for you to get to the point already. Roughly following the journalistic inverted pyramid works well for landing pages, ensuring a clear content hierarchy with all priority information nearer the top of the page and clearly signposted.
8. Not backing it up
Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising report revealed that 66% of people say they trust consumer opinions posted online. Authentic content such as customer reviews and testimonials alongside real statistics, whether from external sources or based on your past work, can help your business to gain credibility and encourage new customers to trust you.
9. Being too close to the business
Sometimes using external sources can be far more effective when highlighting landing page issues. Hiring an agency or undertaking user testing provides true insight into how a new visitor to the website would react. This approach often brings to light obstacles that go unnoticed by those personally invested in the business.
10. Having no way to keep in touch
Make the most of lead generation opportunities by having an easy to use, hassle-free form to enable you to collect email addresses and open up a conversation between business and potential/ existing customer.
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘my website does none of these things’, then you are very rare indeed. The majority of people who go away and review their landing pages will be able to identify a number of mistakes and easily understand how and why they had a negative effect on the overall campaign. Rethinking your landing page design sooner rather than later has the potential to boost business and generate more leads, optimising your digital presence to achieve the best possible results.