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13 Shocking Mistakes Killing Your Landing Page

Written by Anthony Sills

Monday, January 27th, 2014

internet marketing confusion

Let’s face it.

We’re all busy.

And when it comes to digital marketing, there’s a lot to learn. But if you’re doing business online you should take a close look at your landing pages because you could be losing money. To put it bluntly, a landing page that sucks can be hazardous to your business.

According to MarketingSherpa, only 52% of the companies that use landing pages test them to improve conversion. They also found that the number one reason companies don’t use or test landing pages is because their marketing department doesn’t know how to set them up or they’re too overloaded.

Sound familiar?

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to feel confused, overwhelmed or frustrated anymore. And you can’t use “I don’t know how” as an excuse.

Because I’m going to show you how to avoid the mistakes most people make with landing pages. That way you can improve your landing page experience and your conversion rates.

But before I show you how to improve your landing pages, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here.

A landing page, sometimes known as a “lead capture page”, is a webpage that has a form and exists only to capture a visitor’s information through that form. That’s it in a nutshell. A landing page is a marketing tool designed to prompt a certain action or result.

In fact, they’re arguably the single most vital component of your online marketing efforts. I don’t believe in silver bullets but if I had to suggest one marketing tactic you could use to improve your bottom line, I’d suggest using landing pages on your site. Since landing pages are intended to prompt a specific action or result, if you drive a stream of traffic to a targeted landing page, you can improve your chances of converting that traffic into leads.

However, the problem is most digital marketers aren’t reaping the benefits of effective landing pages.

You owe it to yourself to learn how to recognize critical mistakes most people make with landing pages and how to avoid them.

Do You Make These 13 Mistakes?

  1. Confusing the visitor— Landing pages should have one purpose. If your landing page has more than one objective, off-page links, presents too many choices, or doesn’t match the traffic source, you’re in trouble.
  2. Cluttered, unfocused design— Effective landing pages have only one objective—get the reader to take a specific action—and every word and element on the page should support that one action. Anything else on the page is a distraction.
  3. Weak copy— Just having a landing page isn’t enough to get you the conversion rate you want. Compelling copy is the “secret sauce” that persuades people to take action. You need a benefit-rich headline that makes the reader a promise and connects with them emotionally. Your compelling lead entices them to keep reading as you emphasize your value proposition. And through it all you should be speaking your customer’s language.
  4. Too much focus on you, your company, or your product or service—Nobody cares about you. They do care how you can help them. Your landing page copy should be all about helping the reader solve their problem.
  5. No clear call to action—Can your visitors easily identify the call to action? If your landing page doesn’t tell your visitor exactly what you want them to do next, they won’t do anything. That means you’re leaving money on the table.
  6. No credibility—You only have 2 to 3 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention and confirm that they’re in the right place. It doesn’t matter whether you’re asking people to give you their email address or part with their hard-earned cash, if they don’t trust you it’s going to be tough to seal the deal.
  7. Not using the recommended one-column format—There’s plenty of research showing that centered, single-column landing pages generally convert best. The 1-column format tends to look cleaner, have more white space, increase reading comprehension, and keep readers engaged with the message.
  8.  Not matching the look, feel and tone of the original ad, email or website—Your headline and other landing page elements should relate to the ad copy that drove the click. In other words, the page should be relevant to your ad text and keyword.
  9. Ignoring fundamental principles of landing page design—There are best practices for creating an effective landing page. They include hiding your website navigation elements, keep your form “above the fold”, and underlining your links. A well-designed landing page must include a headline, benefits, a call to action, and an opt-in form.
  10. Ineffective use of images—This is where lots of marketers drop the ball. They take the easy way out and use clip art. They have uncaptioned images that have nothing to do with the objective of the page. Or their images aren’t clickable.
  11. Not optimizing the buttons—If the buttons on your landing page don’t look like buttons or they say “submit” or “send”, you could have a problem. A Hubspot researcher studied more than 40,000 landing pages and discovered that landing pages with submit buttons labeled “submit” had lower conversion rates than those with more engaging button text.
  12. No reason for visitor to act: ethical bribe or sense of urgency—If your visitor is on the fence and your landing page doesn’t give them a reason to act…they usually won’t. Are you giving them a reason to take action?
  13. Not testing—There’s always room for improvement and absolutely no way to know what to improve unless you test. Split-testing, or “A/B testing”, is an easy way to compare the results of tweaks to your landing page like a new call to action or a different headline.

Even if you’re not among the 10 percent of the U.S. population that has a fear of the number 13, the effect those 13 mistakes can have on your conversion rates is frightening.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

When it comes to marketing, ignorance is not bliss.

Far from it.

If you don’t use or test landing pages because you don’t know how you’re cheating your customer and your business. Your customer deserves the best landing page experience you can deliver. And if you can improve on the 5-15% average conversion rate for landing pages, you’ll have an advantage over your competition.

AWeber recently surveyed small business owners and marketers and discovered that while 94% said online marketing was very important to the growth of their business, 29% said they were a bit overwhelmed by online marketing.

If online marketing is important to your business—and I’m guessing it is—I want to let you in on a little secret.

There’s never a point where you know it all. There’s never going to be a day you wake up and understand everything about marketing. You may never cross everything off your “To Do” list. But you still have a business to run so you just have to do it.

Here’s how:

Get Rid of Your Landing Page Problems Once and For All

Now that you’re aware of the disastrous mistakes most people make with landing pages let’s talk about how to avoid them.

The list of landing page mistakes offered a few clues on how to improve your landing page. Here are a few more.

  • Grab your visitor’s attention as soon as they land on the page and keep them focused on your message and the offer you’re making. Get rid of navigation bars, visual clutter, and anything else distracting. Your goal is to lead the reader from having a problem to seeing your offer as the solution.  Write tight copy that’s clear and persuasive and write in the second person.
  • You want to make visitors feel comfortable and confident about doing business with you. You can do this with social proof, testimonials, a strong guarantee, a BBB logo, state licenses, or other means. You also accomplish this by making claims you can prove and backing up what you say. Offer an incentive for visitors taking action. It could be a free report, webinar, audio seminar, tip sheet, or eBook.
  • Use visual elements to draw your visitor’s attention toward your call to action. Check out other businesses’ landing pages for ideas. Conduct regular tests on your landing pages to improve conversion. There are easy-to-use tools and some of them are even free.

In the end, great landing pages involve a bit of art and science

Can you share any examples of good landing pages you’ve seen recently? Let us know about it in the comments.

About the Author

Anthony Sills’ work can be found at American Express OPEN Forum, Copyblogger, Infusionsoft’s Big Ideas blog, and elsewhere. He writes about HR & employment, marketing, and business. You can always reach Anthony via social media, email, or by leaving a comment below…

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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