You only get one chance to make a first impression—and it’s a quick one. Only a tenth of a second, according to Princeton psychologists.
Landing pages are where many people have their first interactions with your company, and they can be crucial in determining whether or not someone becomes a customer.
Everything about the marketing industry is competitive. The Internet is rife with content and people have more distractions than ever, making their attention all the more difficult to capture. Before launching its famous “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update in 2015, Google found that three-quarters of people will abandon a page after five seconds—and 46% won’t ever go back. What can you do to make sure your landing page is optimized for maximum conversions?
Content produced in association with Optimizely.
David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five times as many people read the headline as the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.” User interactions on Facebook are a clear indicator of this concept.
A common misconception about headlines it that the best ones are the most clever. But a headline’s primary job is to communicate the main idea, and succinctness typically leads to more conversions than creativity. Good headlines also include the value proposition upfront. Last year, Buzzsumo surveyed more than 100 million headlines on Facebook, and the phrase “will make you” took engagement through the roof.
Takeaway: What’s your business’ key differentiator? Focus on that, and use specific language, rather than cliches such as “high-quality” or “market-leading.”
Tweets with images earn 150% more retweets than those without. Similarly, according to John Medina, the molecular biologist who wrote Brain Rules, people who hear information are only likely to recall 10% of it three days later. Pairing a relevant image with that information boosts the retention up to 65%.
That’s because humans are inherently visual creatures. The visual cortex takes up 30% of our brains, and we process images 60,000 times faster than we do text.
Takeaway: Use compelling imagery with branding that’s consistent to the ad that brought people to your landing page. “Compelling” is in the eye of the beholder, so experiment and see what resonates with your audience, whether that’s stock photography or a hero image with a call-to-action (CTA).
The body copy
Think back to the key differentiator from your headline. What makes your business special? What can people do with your product? Focus on that, rather than functionality. Your language should be consistent and resonate more with your audience than your marketing team.
It should also be simple. Unbounce analyzed 74.5 million visits to 64,000 lead generation landing pages, and found that less is more. The median conversion rate for landing pages written at a sixth-grade language level, according to the Fleisch readability test, is nearly double that of pages written at a university level. Landing pages with more than 800 words also have one-third the conversion rate of pages with 200 words or fewer.
Takeaway: Give page visitors the Reader’s Digest version on your landing page. There are plenty of other opportunities for you to give people more information.
The lead generation forms
All around the Internet, online shopping carts sit neglected and full. In fact, less than a quarter of transactions are ever completed, in part because the checkout experience isn’t frictionless enough. Don’t make the same mistake with your lead generation forms.
Keep them short and sweet, and ideally, toward the top of your page. You should also be sure to answer, “Why would someone sign up or complete the form?” right away.
Takeaway: Use a complementary call-to-action with a contrasting color that really pops on the page.
To say people make a first impression in the blink of an eye is an exaggeration; research has found that it actually happen much faster. So it’s crucial to make sure your landing page, many people’s introduction to your business, gives a good one.
There are ways to optimize the headline, image, body copy and lead generation forms in order to increase conversions. In order to do it right, you should test and experiment to fully understand the impact of each change. That will ensure your optimizations actually maximize conversions; blindly making changes could potentially do more harm than good.
For more ways to optimize your landing page, read Optimizely’s Conversion best practices toolkit.