Landing Page ‘Best Practices’ Builder Honed By Performance Marketers
blog post | marketing

Landing Page ‘Best Practices’ Builder Honed By Performance Marketers

Alex SwopeDirector of Strategy

After running thousands of landing page tests across dozens of industries, WebMechanix has built a free, landing page mockup tool (that follows all our best practices) to help marketers like us create rock-solid landing pages.

We originally developed this landing page tool for internal use at our agency in order to mock up prototypes and get a minimum viable product launched as quickly as possible for our clients.

Now we’re letting our favorite digital marketers (you) use it for free! + we’ve created a walkthrough video on how to use it.

Access the FREE Landing Page Builder

Our landing page builder has tooltips for each element on the page with detailed information and recommendations on landing page best practices, but I wanted to take this chance to dive deeper into those tips..

Agency-Tested Landing Page Best Practices For Core Elements

These core elements of a landing page are the first things the user will see when landing on your site, and they have the biggest impact on whether or not your landing page drives the sale. Below, we’ll take a look at each element and how you can apply landing page best practices.

Headline

It’s not an exaggeration to say the headline is the second most important part of your landing page—(more on the most important part later).

The number one thing the user needs to learn from the headline is that they are in EXACTLY the right place to solve their problem. One of the reasons dynamic keyword insertion is so effective in headlines is the immediate confirmation that we have what the user was searching for.

Don’t use crafty lines – they will confuse and bewilder your user into bouncing right back to the SERP.

I like the old formula of “Finally! A [product category users are searching for] that [fixes the user’s problem]”

For example:

  • “Finally! A pair of wool socks that don’t shrink when you wash them!”
  • “Finally! An ERP that can be implemented in weeks, not months.”

You can remove the “Finally!” for launch, but I find it gets me in the right mindset to brainstorm headlines.

Hero Text

A/B testing consistently shows that copy on a landing page is our biggest leverage point for conversion. While people often skip videos and demos, we can immediately draw their eyes with simple and compelling copy.

This means that H1, H2, and hero body copy are extremely important to get right.

There are two things we generally want the hero copy to do

  1. Make the benefits clear to the user
  2. Describe what to expect after the form fill (how will we get in contact with you and what will be discussed at the meeting)
  • For example: “You will learn ___ , and ___ over a 30-minute call with one of our implementation specialists. We will ask questions about your business, tell you how [product] can help [solve problem], and talk about different packages with customized pricing.”

Short and descriptive copy wins. If you wish to include over a few sentences, use bullet points.

  • Bullet points tend to perform well. Keep it to 3 or 4 max
  • Keep paragraphs in hero to 2 simple sentences.
  • As an alternative to bullet points, icons work well to visually reinforce benefits

Double-check yourself by asking these questions:

  • Does the hero copy direct the user to take action?
  • Is the hero copy compelling?
  • Are there paragraphs of text in the hero?
  • Does the hero use large text in the hero and sans-serif font?

Hero Imagery

We typically see images of the product converting best on landing pages. For a B2B SASS company, this would be an image of the software mocked up on a computer screen. Similarly, for a manufacturer, this would be an image of their product coming off the line or being used on a house. Hero imagery should always be relevant to the product and the biggest pain point of the potential customer.

If you’re using a background image in the hero area, make sure the copy is still readable over the image. A distracting hero image is much worse than no hero image.

Landing Page Forms

If you guessed the form was the most important part of the landing page, you’re right!

Ultimately, the form controls whether you get the lead or not. No matter how compelling your landing page is, if the form is 10 steps long, users will bounce.

Above all, make sure your form works as expected and is straightforward to fill out.

If no one sees your form, no one will fill it out. One of the most impactful tests we run is when we move a form up into the hero area of a page. Forms should almost always appear in the hero. Testing shows that forms on the right side of the page tend to convert better than the left side and users generally expect forms on the right side of a page now.

Although there is a rule of thumb that says conversion rate will decrease ~10% with every additional form field, form length doesn’t appear to matter if all the fields are clearly relevant. But if you can, cut fields.

Often we will see forms collecting information the sales team doesn’t even use and not asking for information that would easily qualify/disqualify the user. Adding a field that can be used to evaluate the quality of a lead can be worth the potential decline in conversion rate.

And please — no more ‘Submit’ buttons!

That button is important real estate for reinforcing the action you want the user to take. Make them want to click it! More effective CTAs usually describe the action you are taking: “Get your free demo”, “Start your trial now”, “Request an immediate call”.

Landing Page Best Practices For Additional Elements

These landing page best practices touch on elements that generally fall below the hero area and give additional details for users who need more information.

URL

That’s right! In the search for the ultimate conversion rate, we even optimize the URL! The main thing to note here is that you should consider using query parameters to customize your landing page.

This kind of personalization increases conversion rates across the board. There are entire companies that offer personalization because it is an effective way to convert, but query parameters allow you to do it in a very low tech way. Similar to how we see dynamic keywords work in ads, dynamic keyword injection also works on landing pages.

For example, have a single landing page that has a customized location encoded in the url that used in the headline ‘Best socks in [location]’. So when a user from www.example.com/lp?location=Maryland hits the landing page, the headline would read ‘Best socks in Maryland’. Keyword injection, size of business, and company industry are some other common personalizations that you can execute fairly easily through a query parameter.

Comparison Chart

These are great. We have seen these working well in many tests across clients, both as an additional element on the landing page and as its own page. I sometimes think of these as ‘differentiator charts’ because you want the chart to make it easy for the user to see WHY your product is different/better than the other options they have. We find competitor comparison charts to be particularly effective but sometimes a chart comparing your own products is necessary in helping users select which version of your product fits their needs.

Significant stats

If you have stats that fit here – use them. Frankly, they should probably be used in the hero copy, but this is a good place to reiterate and add to those stats. This is actually a good place to address the mundane benefits of “we do it faster, cheaper, and better” — just put a number to it as proof (ex: Get your work done 250% faster..)

Examples:

  • Age of company/ years in business
  • Number of total users of your systems
  • Efficiency stats: “200% faster”, “150% cheaper”,
  • Ratings

Product Breakdown

This section is particularly important if your product can be broken down into four or fewer components as it gives a way to highlight each component and pair it with a short description. Secondarily, this can be used as a features/ benefits section.

Next Steps

This section is particularly important if your sign up process is complicated. Sometimes systems require intense integrations and weeks or months of process. Explain here that step 1 is a simple call with no commitment, and then move on to the future heavy lift steps. These descriptions should be short and right to the point.

Logo Bar

This bar can be extremely important in the conversion process. We have many tests that show conversions increasing after this is added directly below the hero form. This is particularly useful when the logos are recognizable

All logos should be household or industry standard names. If your audience won’t recognize or be moved by it, don’t include it. The general benefit of a partner/client logo bar is to say “hey – these other relevant companies use it so it must be good for you.”

Testimonials

Use real testimonials and only use them when they convey some type of value to the prospect. I highly recommend using real pictures and not editing the text in these testimonials. Pictures are not necessary! The more they seem like a real person, the more effective they are at converting due to believability. The person’s job title and company can be even more important than the words in their testimonial.

Explainer video

Marketing videos can be extremely effective at converting stragglers and explaining everything that the landing page doesn’t. A well-executed explainer video can do wonders for your conversion rate and can be an easy thing to add if it already exists elsewhere on the site. Oftentimes, there is too much to explain about your product or service in text, and insufficient attention time – so use a video!

Use a video that is relevant to questions that users might have. Optimally this will include a product overview, company overview, comparison, and what to expect when you sign up.

Make sure the video is actually helpful, though. We have tried adding visually appealing marketing videos that talk broadly about how great the product is – but give the user no tangible evidence that our product fits their needs – and these are ineffective at increasing conversion.

About Us Sections

We very often see company “about us” pages as frequently visited on the user’s journey. Those pages can be a good way to tell how large a company is, how long it has been in business, etc. Adding this section right to the landing page can directly answer those questions.

Use this section to hype up your company. How long have you been in business? How many clients are served? Name some industry leaders that work for you (ex: CEO John Doe has been doing this since 1978…). State that you are an industry standard or the most used software in your industry.

If this information is already woven through the landing page, don’t force it. Talking about yourself is the no.1 no no of marketing, so only do it if it is convincing to the user.

Take Your Website Landing Pages To The Next Level

Now that you know a little more about all of the building blocks you have at your disposal, go out there and build some amazing landing pages! And don’t forget you can mock up examples with our free landing page tool.

Did I miss anything? Share your landing page best practices, or maybe drop a link to your favorite landing page. As always, I’d be happy to give some recommendations!

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