The following article is excerpted from the DirectMarketingIQ special report, "Perfecting the Landing Page: The complete guide to landing page optimization, including: Best Practices for getting to know site visitors, avoiding landing page turnoffs, testing strategies, 4 Case Studies, and more!"
Regardless of your industry or who your target audience is, the goal of your landing page is simple: It must efficiently and effectively inspire the visitor to complete your conversion action.
Unfortunately, Web designers are rarely trained in conversion optimization, and marketers are often hampered with brand standards that end up taking priority over basic optimization principles. The end result is often a landing page that turns away visitors instead of engaging them.
Here are three landing page turnoffs that can kill your conversion rates, so avoid them like the plague!
1. Lack of Clarity
The landing page usually has a single immediate conversion goal, such as downloading a whitepaper, activating a free-trial account, registering for a webinar or making a purchase. Whatever that purpose is, it must be crystal clear. The visitor should be focused on taking a simple path that leads to the desired conversion action. Putting too many choices of what to do on the page can be paralyzing for your visitors.
A disorganized page increases the visitors' "cognitive load" and forces them to spend time simply trying to figure out in what order they should digest the information that you have presented. As the title of Steve Krug's book on web usability so elegantly puts it: "Don't Make Me Think."
To avoid this turnoff, prune your landing page of unnecessary choices that can lead visitors away from your conversion goal and send them to less important content on your site. If your page includes minor or supporting conversion actions in addition to the primary conversion goal, resist the urge to give all the goals equal emphasis. Minimize the prominence of the supporting goals and allocate a disproportionately larger amount of screen real estate to your main goal.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
Connect with Tim on Google+