In many ways, creating a landing page is similar to the process you take when you are about to go on a date. You have your prospective admirer, you both want something from each other (which may or may not be alined) and first impressions are everything. Let’s focus for a moment on that last bit: first impressions are everything. This is true in real life as much as it is true for webpages. We’ve been talking a lot about content, and how it translates into the bigger picture for businesses (and people) using social media and statistical analysis.
Let’s delve into a few ways that businesses can create these good and lasting impressions by applying some simple dating rules.
Sounds simple enough, right? People love to say that looks don’t matter. Well that simply is not true… well at least not 100% true. This is something that is a common misconception. In order to attract a mate, or a buyer persona; clean up your act! Take a shower, shave, put on a fresh pair of undies- all that jazz. Or in the context of landing pages; make the design clean and simple. This process should be a breeze for potential leads so avoid mucking it up with extra noise. Place the important stuff above the fold, or for those of us less tech savvy folk, at the immediate eye level of the users screen. This is vital because according to Copyblogger, 80% of user time is spent above the fold. We want to attract our buyer personas and guide them towards a sale, says our friendly inbound marketers at Hubspot. Additionally, stay on theme with the aesthetics of the rest of your website, the last thing we want is a disjointed webpage. With that being said, it is helpful to distinguish between landing pages and the rest of those on your site, on some level. Eliminate extraneous information and connection links to focus the lead onto the task at hand.
On a date, you need to be in harmony with your second half. If one party is forcing a relationship or wants to move too fast, the other is left with a bad impression and might not want to go on a date ever again. This is also true of webpages. Take note as to where your potential lead is in the buyer’s journey and make the process easy for them. On your first date, you probably shouldn’t gush about how wonderful you are for two hours; you will probably annoy your date and give off the impression that you are conceited. In those beginning stages of the buyer’s journey, follow the same rules as you do while dating. Ask a lot of questions, listen *this one is key in life too*, be honest and educate. This should be an opportunity for equal exchange and therefore what is promised, must be given. Mashable agrees that tricking visitors is not the way to turn them into valuable leads.
Now I know we’ve gone over the importance of the “outside” characteristics of good landing pages, so it is only fair and right that we take a moment to talk about the metaphorical “inside” of a landing page. Hubspot offers a great checklist of sorts on some simple, content based best practices when it comes to landing pages. So if you are a checklist type of person, consider the following:
- Use a clear headline. Your visitor should know exactly why they are on your landing page, and hopefully be delighted they found it. A concise heading reassures them they are on the right path.
- Use bullet points. See isn’t this bullet point list already helping you?
- Select the correct number of form fields. We know that the less information a visitor has to give, the more likely they are to give it. Don’t ask for extraneous information. The same goes for dates; it’s probably not a good idea to ask for your date’s social security number. Duh. On a less obvious note, it can make users uncomfortable sharing information over the web, so be sure to assure them of security practices your business employs.
- Remove navigation. I already mentioned this point briefly, but be sure to take away distractions. Links or navigation can take the focus away from the task at hand and move the visitor in a completely different direction, potentially losing them as a lead forever.
- Include an image. Not just any image though, it needs to be relevant, attractive (see above) and aid the visitor in deciding they want to become a lead and friend. And please, once and for all, do not include clipart. I’ve said my piece.
- Add social media share icons. This allows businesses and customers to easily spread your brand and give a healthy dose of positive exposure and word of mouth. Be careful your content is being seen by the right people and it is quality because as we know from the dating world, if you aren’t careful bad stuff can be spread.
- Add testimonials and awards. Validate your credibility. It makes it easier to listen and take your business seriously.
If you are your classic overachiever and you are wondering if there is more you can do beyond optimization to create smarketing, I have one last trick up my sleeve! Geo-fences allow businesses to send out discounts and coupons via mobile devices based on mile radius of users to a business. These digital ads could be sent to people driving through the area or who live next door to really hook the customer in. Can you imagine if you could do that with dating? That would be
awesome creepy. What if some mobile application allowed you to cross reference the physical appearance of a potential date with the location of said date and then tell you about it… Sadly, I think it already exists.
One of the single most important things to have on a landing page is a call to action. This is the motivation for a visitor to partake in some action that the business wants to see achieved. Whether you are looking for people to join your monthly news letter or download some content, it needs to be clear that choosing to enter their information into that carefully constructed form is the smartest move. Additionally, as if every mom hasn’t drilled it into your head a thousand times already, say thank you.
Here are two examples of some really effective landing pages:
Nordstrom. Simple, elegant, straight to the point. The optional section is a great opportunity for visitors to personalize, if they want.
So we’ve got great content that we are ready to unleash into the world via our creative and incising landing page. The date is going swimmingly… So now what? Read my post on Thursday to find out.