You have set up your landing page. It looks fantastic.
But no one is signing up.
You may have heard stats on changing button color, number of fields and image positioning. The message is clear: One small tweak can have a big impact on performance.
But how do you know which element to change on your landing page to boost conversions?
Introducing conversion rate optimization, a fail-safe method to boosting conversions on your landing pages.
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry.
In this article, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step process you can use to boost the conversion rate of your landing pages. Let’s start with the first step.
Step 1: Understand existing user behavior and its contribution towards your goal
To get started with conversion rate optimization, you need to understand where you are now and where you want to be. For that, you need to get to grips with existing user behavior and the degree to which it is contributing towards your goal.
Know the main purpose of your landing page. Identify one objective for your page. Many competing goals will confuse your audience, resulting in poor performance. So, know the one thing you want to get out of this page, whether it be to boost sales, subscribers, or something else. Then identify the metrics you will use to measure performance towards this goal.
To what extent is your landing page currently meeting this goal?
Appreciate basic stats. Use Google Analytics to find basic stats such as time on page and bounce rate. You can even track the percentage of visitors who achieve a specified goal on your landing page. For that, you need to set up goals in Google Analytics.
The opportunities for goal creation are limitless. This can be overwhelming so let’s take a moment to consider the most useful goals for landing pages. You could set up an event goal to track every time someone clicks on a specific button, or a destination goal when people reach a thank you page (Shopify). Read this article for details on the different types of goals and how to set them up.
Understand user behavior on the landing page. You need to do some kind of on-page analysis to understand what is working and what isn’t. Assessing how people interact with your page helps sort the effective from the ineffective elements.
Mouse tracking analysis will let you see which areas of the page get most engagement. You could also conduct user testing. Assign a specific task for a user to complete on your page and watch them complete it (impact). This can help you uncover what may be stopping prospects moving forward, which you can confirm in testing.
Step 2: Identify areas for optimization
In the previous step, we spent a lot of time trying to understand your audience. In this step, we’ll explore how we can make use of these insights to inform how we approach optimization on your landing pages.
Know essential elements of an effective landing page. An attention-grabbing headline, relevant images, and clear call to actions are vital components of an effective landing page. The image below highlights the key components of an effective landing page, but there is much more besides.
Let’s explore some of the crucial aspects you need to consider. I have divided them into page layout, messaging and design.
- Is the content organized in a logical order? You need to tell people why they should be interested before you explain the intricacies of how your product works
- Is the content the right length? Asking someone to purchase an expensive product requires more justification (and a longer landing page) to convert than opting in to receive your newsletter
- Does your headline address your ideal customer’s needs head on? Tell people how your offer will help them meet a specific goal or tackle a difficult problem
- Is your copy easy to read? Bullet points and short sentences make your copy easy to digest
- Do you provide proof that your solution works? Use customer testimonials and statistics of results to boost credibility
- Do you have a clear call to action? Tell people exactly what they need to do next (e.g. fill in the form to get started)
- Is the call to action easy to fulfil? Don’t scare prospects away by asking for too much information in the opt in form. Reduce the number of required fields in your form to boost conversions
- Do your images support the messaging? Every image should have a purpose (they are not just there to look pretty). This means they need to be directly relevant to the text
- Do your images complement the design? Avoid clashing color palates and styles. If your design is modern, ensure your images reflect that
- Are your images optimized? Small images can look pixelated, which looks unprofessional. Large image files cause slow loading time, which means fewer conversions. So, make sure all your images are optimized
Creating a landing page is complex because it depends upon so many factors, including the offer, the audience and the brand. But going through the questions above will help you pinpoint problem areas that could be contributing to poor performance. This leads me to the next point.
Identify potential areas for optimization based on existing behavior and areas that don’t align with best practice. At this stage, you need to combine what you discovered in stage 1 (user behavior on the page) with stage 2 (landing page best practices). Here are a few common examples of problem areas begging for optimization…
- Users not moving forward with your call to action (behavior) could be due to poor placement of a call to action button (not following best practice)
- Users not moving down the page (behavior) could be due to an unappealing headline (not following best practice)
- Users not filling out your form (behavior) could be due to having too many fields (not following best practice)
Design experiments. Use the information you gathered to form hypotheses. For example, you may observe your current headline is vague and could be improved by tying it to a specific benefit. In this case you could hypothesize: “if I change the headline text to include a specific benefit, I will get more leads.”
So how can you design your experiment? Impact outlines that you need to identify:
- What am I testing? Identify the element you want to optimize e.g. headline, call to action text, page layout, button color
- Who am I testing? Identify the metric you will use to measure progress towards your goal e.g. number of leads/sales
- Where am I testing? Identify the specific URL of the landing page you are optimizing
Use these guidelines to design your experiment, then you’ll be ready to move onto testing.
Step 3: Test and analyze your page for best results
You’ve gathered the necessary insights and designed your experiment. Now, all that’s left to do is carry out your experiment.
Implement your test in line with your hypothesis. You can easily set up content experiments in Google Analytics. Navigate to the experiments section in the behavior tab. You can then enter all the details to set up your experiment.
Brian Dean provides straightforward guidance to setting up your experiment in this video. I’ve summarized the key steps below.
- Set up a new goal for your landing page in Google Analytics (or use an existing one)
- Select the percentage of traffic that is part of the experiment. If you are testing a very different landing page from the original, set it below 100% to ensure it works properly. Setting it to 100% will get quicker results
- Identify the original and experiment pages, and enter the URL addresses into the form. Note you can test multiple pages if you wish
- Add the experiment code to your original page. If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin called ‘Google Content Experiments’
- Review your configuration and launch your experiment
Analyze results. Analyze the results of your test and identify which version delivered higher conversions in line with your goal. Pay special attention to the effect on the key metrics you identified in stage 1. You can then implement the winning version.
What if your test did not indicate a clear winner? You could try more testing. If you get no clarity after more testing, you may need to rework your hypothesis.
What if the results are not what you expected, or do not make sense? You need to dig deeper and ask ‘why’ questions. Gather qualitative feedback from real people to help you figure out what might be happening.
Step 4: Test, test and test more
Once you have optimized one element, you can experiment with other elements. This could include messaging, design, images, page layout and more.
Remember, keep things simple. Change just one single important element at a time such as a headline or call to action text. That way you can easily measure effect on performance. If you change many elements at once, it is difficult to work out what is affecting the results.
Choose the next element you want to test, go back to step 1 and repeat the process.
How do the top 5% of companies achieve a conversion rate x5 higher than the average (Wordstream)?
Answer: They understand their target audience extremely well. And they are constantly finding out more about them with continual testing. The insights they gain from one page can be applied to different pages and even other areas of their marketing.
Creating the perfect landing page is a process. After publishing, you need to continue to test, learn and optimize.
So, get started with step 1 and make your landing pages work hard for you.
What techniques do you use to optimize your landing pages? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Awesome post! I like to emphasize even more on having a clear CTA. Many times you find a great landing page, but the reader is not really sure what to do next. I always advise my network of bloggers to use a call to action that tells the reader exactly what they need to do next.
There is no reason to optimize a page for new subscribers if there is no clear “Click here to subscribe and join us” and that is the minimum required.
Thank you for this awesome read!
Great point Stefan. A clear call to action is certainly one of the most important features of an effective landing page. It is frustrating to see many people not using them well.
Thanks for sharing this