Sometimes, it takes thinking through mistakes to really understand best practices. In this article, I'll focus on landing pages mistakes and highlight the 13 biggest ones to avoid.
Avoid These 13 Big Landing Page Mistakes
(If you have questions about landing pages, read What is a Landing Page and How Does it Work?)
1. Don't Create Friction Between Your Call-to-Action Button, Landing Page and Offer.
Friction prevents your prospects from ever converting on your landing page. It generates a sense of unease or lack of trust in what you offer.
The most obvious way to create friction is by not thinking through how to seamlessly connect the touchpoints your prospect encounters. Make sure that the words used in the link or the call-to-action button relate to those used in the landing page title and copy. Make it easy.
Keep it simple, too. Fancy graphics can quickly get murky and make it confusing for online visitors to understand what you're offering.
Ultimately, you don't want to be so convoluted or obtuse in how you describe your offer that visitors wonder why they’ve arrived on your site or what relevance the offer has to their lives.
Be clear, concise and upfront in your value proposition, and - don't forget - consistent.
2. Don't Make Your Landing Page Headline Bland
If the first signal visitors encounter on your landing page is the headline, then make it powerful! Include an action verb in your title as well as words that relate specifically to the benefit your offer represents. This has two benefits: it helps your visitors make sense of the page and it helps search engines figure out the value of the landing page so it can be indexed in search results.
3. Don't Get Murky In How You Explain the Value of Your Offer
A landing page should be short and sweet and get to the point. No need for five paragraphs of dense content that you've cut/pasted from your white paper introduction. Think about your visitor and why s/he might be interested in the content you have to offer. Answer why the white paper would be relevant and helpful. Use bullets to highlight benefits and stay focused on your goal: to convince your prospect to download your offer.
4. Don't Get Overly Creative With Your Landing Page Image
Yes, an image is worth a 1000 words. Just make sure that the 1000 words (and the image) relate to the offer. If you're promoting an ebook, show a picture of the ebook rather than a fake looking stock image that seems out of place. Put yourself in the digital shoes of the person downloading your offer; how can you make the experience seamless?
5. Don't Try To Do Too Much
Your landing page has one purpose: to convince your visitor that your offer is worth completing a form and sharing an email address and possibly other information. Not only do you want to eliminate any kind of friction, but you also want to make it a no-brainer for your prospect to agree that your offer has value.
6. Don't Offer Too Many Options On Your Landing Page
If your landing page has one purpose, then every aspect of what's happening on that page needs to support its purpose. That means that the page must include no navigation, no menu options which might offer distractions and an alternate path through your site which bypasses the offer. In addition to no menu, you'll want to make sure that your landing page template includes no footer links either.
7. Don't Forget That Many Prospects Access Your Landing Page Via Mobile
There’s no doubt that your customers are accessing your landing page via their smart phones or tablets, so you can't afford to miss out on these business opportunities. The best solution is to ensure that your landing page template (and your website template, too) are responsive and can easily adapt to the viewer's digital environment - whether desktop, tablet or mobile.
(Be sure to read Google Officially Launches “Mobile-Friendly” Labels In Mobile Search Results.)
The point is to make it easy for visitors to your landing page to have the best user experience possible.
8. Don't Assume That One Form Fits All Offers
Every landing page includes a form. However, not all forms are created equal. Evaluate your offer and determine which is the best form to combine it with. Form fields help you qualify leads. Generally, the fewer the fields the greater the number of form completions and the fewer the number of qualified entries.
Depending on how you create your forms, you may have the option to use 'smart fields' so you can replace questions that prospects have already answered with new questions so you don't ask the same ones all the time.
9. Don't Believe That 'Submit' is Acceptable!
There's something so Borg-like about submission. Why be satisfied using buttons that say 'submit'? Why not be creative instead! Your prospects will appreciate it and even reward you! Go for buttons that say 'click here to download' at a minimum or are even more descriptive.
10. Don't Skimp on Optimizing Your Landing Page
You definitely want your landing page to get found in search results. The best solution is to ensure that it is optimized. That means have a descriptive page title, a meta description that is relevant not to mention copy that is keyword rich and meaningful to other similar prospects.
11. Don't Underestimate the Value of Social Sharing
We like to share when we come across something of value. So, why not include social sharing buttons so your fabulous offer can be shared? You can also add them to the Thank You page.
12. Don't Ever Underestimate the Value of a Dedicated Thank You Page to Deliver Your Offer
Speaking of the Thank You Page, definitely create a dedicated page. For the record - yes, it's a lot less work to skimp on the thank you page and offer instead an on-page thank you message. However, your laziness means a lousy user experience for your prospect who's just gone to the effort of converting on your offer.
By not using a formal Thank You Page, you leave your prospect (now a lead) stranded on a page with no navigation and not a clue as to what to do next.
The value of the Thank You Page is that it delivers your offer, restores navigation and offers a path forward. It's a friendly experience and helps set the stage for more positive interactions.
13. Don't Ever Abdicate Either Testing or Analysis of Your Landing Page Performance So You Can Improve
Don't get too comfortable. Stay humble and curious and be sure to analyze how well your landing page performs on an ongoing and regular basis. Otherwise, how can you learn and improve?
Do Your Landing Pages Avoid These 13 Big Mistakes?
Landing Pages play a critical role in inbound marketing. They enable you to put forth (and deliver) a content offer in a compelling yet succinct way so you can convert a prospect into a lead using a form. As such, they need to pass the 'blink test.' In other words, do they effectively communicate in just a few seconds what they are offering.
If you've gone through each of these big landing page mistakes and taken care of them, chances are your landing pages will pass the blink test.
What are some of the biggest landing page mistakes you've made? How many of these have you seen when researching products and services yourself? Have you been able to learn from the mistakes of others?