You most likely spend a lot of time, money, and effort to get your business noticed, and to bring potential customers or clients to your website. Whether it’s from a paid click, a headline within an e-newsletter, a tap on a smartphone screen, or a link from a carefully cultivated social media presence, you’ve worked hard to get qualified visitors to your site. So what they see when finally get to the first page – your landing page – defines marketing success or failure; profit, or loss.

How to make a great landing page.Given the high stakes involved in landing pages, it is surprising how many businesses take a less-than-focused attitude toward this key step. Or, even if they work to create a dedicated landing page, they are uncertain of best practices, and what can really motivate customers to complete a lead form or make a purchase. Landing pages are often just site home pages, or bland “contact us” lead entry forms, or catalog-style product pages.

Even companies that create reasonably effective landing pages may not know how many signups or sales they are leaving on the table if they don’t have an ongoing program for testing variations of creative concept, images, and copy against each other to see which yield the best results, which is also known as split-testing or A/B testing.

Making a Landing Page That Converts

A good landing page has:

  • A strong headline that conveys immediate benefit to the potential customer or client.
  • Compelling and relevant images that help tell (and sell) the story.
  • Well-crafted, benefit-oriented copy that flows toward the goal and sets your goods or services apart from the competition.
  • Visual design elements that direct the visitor to the goal action.
  • A strong offer.
  • Minimal navigation elements, links out, or other distractions.
  • A single call to action.
  • Button copy that conveys benefit and action, not just “submit.”

Those are the basics. The process of making a great landing page begins by putting together your dream team of copywriter, designer, technical lead, and others who can provide deep insights into your company’s objectives, and the needs, desires, and motivators of your clients or customers. If you are missing any of the above, look for help from an agency with a successful track record in creating landing pages.

Split Testing Works
Good planning and implementation by a focused team can often result in a strong-performing landing page on the first attempt. But intuition can take you only so far. Experienced marketers know that customer behavior and actions can and will surprise you. Create three landing pages with different creative, have your staff vote on which one will get the highest conversion rate, then, often, watch the “loser” generate the best results. It happens.

That’s why an objective and scientific process of split testing, also known as A/B testing or multi-variate testing, should follow the initial landing page creative process.

Split testing takes time and effort. For example, your initial test should be among three or more significant variants of your landing page, with widely different concept, copy, and creative treatments. Sub-variations should include different offers.

This initial testing will prove which landing page is best for your objectives. Be sure that the quantity of data reaches statistical validity before drawing conclusions. After the first round, even more testing is well worth doing. Copy tweaks, button color changes, different headlines, different calls to action, changes to the form, and other seemingly small elements can all create significant performance improvements over time, under a well-designed testing setup.

The logistics of this type of testing can be challenging within typical website development platforms. At NetCrafter Solutions, we make use of the Unbounce platform, which templatizes, automates, integrates, and provides reporting for the entire landing page development and split testing process. Once it becomes easy to tweak, measure, and report on multi-variate testing, you do more of it, and performance constantly improves.

So take a critical look at your existing landing pages, and consider the benefits of improving and systematically testing this crucial link in your marketing efforts.