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.
2. Lack of Credibility
No one wants to be the fool who fell for a ruse and had to deal with the consequences. Your visitors may be seeing your company for the first time, and do not know how much trust to place in your information.
Unless you are a major well-known brand, your site needs to convince your visitors that they can trust doing business with you. Effective landing pages provide this validation, providing social proof to back up your company's claims.
Adding any of these simple validation points to your landing page can eliminate this turnoff:
- Industry or media awards (editor's choice, fastest-growing company
- Media coverage (mentions in mainstream press, websites, or blogs)
- Inclusion in industry analyst report
- Endorsements from individuals and associations
- Partnerships with other respected companies
- Studies and surveys (market share, customer satisfaction)
- Client lists and logos
- Case studies
- User testimonials and reviews
3. Bad Writing
The vast majority of Internet users do not read a Web page word by word. They scan it and focus on individual words, phrases or sentences. They are task-oriented and are on your site to get something specific accomplished.
Website visitors detest "marketese." They are used to being assaulted with promotional messages and will tune out most of your attempts to overtly market to them. Marketese requires work on the part of your visitor. It saps their energy and attention, and forces them to spend time separating the content from the fluff. It also results in much longer word counts. You can avoid writing in marketese by following these simple rules:
- Do not use adjectives
- Provide only objective information
- Focus on the needs of your audience
Your editorial tone should be factual, task-oriented, precise and concise. Use as few words as possible to accurately communicate your point, develop clear headings and subheadings, and emphasize bulleted lists instead of paragraphs.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book "Landing Page Optimization," and CEO of SiteTuners, a landing page optimization firm that offers conversion consulting, full-service guaranteed-improvement tests and software tools to improve conversion rates. SiteTuners has worked with hundreds of clients, large and small, including Google, Facebook, American Express, CBS, Sony Music, Universal Studios, Verizon Wireless, Texas Instruments, and Coach. Ash is also a highly-regarded presenter at industry conferences such as Search Engine Strategies, eMetrics, PPC Summit, Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Affiliate Conference, and LeadsCon and many others. He is also the host of the weekly Landing Page Optimization podcast on WebmasterRadio.fm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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