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What matters to your landing pages

What matters to your landing pages

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Published by icrossinguk
iCrossing POV - what matters to your landing pages. Your landing pages are some of the most important assets in your digital strategy. They can be the first real touch points your customers have with your brand on the web and can make the difference between the immediate engagement with, and permanent abandonment of, your website. Understanding your website visitors, what really matters to them and what you can do to influence them will help you identify the important features of your landing pages.
iCrossing POV - what matters to your landing pages. Your landing pages are some of the most important assets in your digital strategy. They can be the first real touch points your customers have with your brand on the web and can make the difference between the immediate engagement with, and permanent abandonment of, your website. Understanding your website visitors, what really matters to them and what you can do to influence them will help you identify the important features of your landing pages.

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Published by: icrossinguk on Jul 08, 2013
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09/16/2013

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What really matters to your landing pages

An iCrossing Point of View

Prepared by:

Jack Josephy, UX Consultant

This document contains confidential and proprietary information of iCrossing Inc.

What really matters to your landing pages
Your landing pages are some of the most important assets in your digital strategy. They can be the first real touch points your customers have with your brand on the web and can make the difference between the immediate engagement with, and permanent abandonment of, your website. Understanding your website visitors, what really matters to them and what you can do to influence them will help you identify the important features of your landing pages.

The myth of perfect conversion
Web Visitors are human beings Your web visitors are people - not numbers in your marketing strategy, but human beings with rational thought, beliefs, attitudes and emotion. Therefore, you don’t have, and never will have, full control over their actions: “I stumbled across this website by accident”, “I’m about to walk the dog and don’t have time”, “I’m in an indecisive mood today”, “Your value is simply not as good as another alternative”. There could be thousands of different reasons why you are not the solution for them today. This is one of the main reasons you never see anything close to perfect conversion. In other words, at any given time, you only have the opportunity to properly influence a small proportion of your web visitors. Your maximum conversion rate is at some unknown number above your current conversion rate and this varies between industry verticals and context. From the people visiting your site today you have some that are already convinced: “The Definitelys”, a range of prospects: “The Probablys”, “Maybes” and “Probably Nots”, and then in most contexts a large majority are “Definitely Nots”. Be aware that people will switch their stance within the life cycle of their interaction with your brand so be sure to consider those ‘swingers’ and how you interact with them. While your web analytics show you traffic and conversion numbers, which equate to revenue numbers, remember there are real people behind them. It is important to note that there is “no one size fits all” recipe to a perfect landing page. One visitor’s perfect landing page will be different from another’s and will vary depending based on their specific needs, goals, background and stage in their relationship with the website and product/service. Understand the different intents your web visitors have and organise content in persuasive and usable ways so the small proportion who might convert, do convert.

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Understanding mind-set
Three important visitor questions

The three important questions most web visitors ask themselves when they get to your site are: 1. Where am I? - For some this is already answered. They may have been to the site before or recognise the brand from the SERP. For others they are arriving with a blank slate. They need quick cues as to who you are and what you offer or they will likely be bouncing straight back to the previous page. 2. What can I do? - Your web visitors will be searching for cues on the actions they can take to find more information or complete a goal in mind. For example, visitors on a travel website may be looking for a search box or an interesting offer. On a consultancy website, they may be looking for a list of services or a contact option. 3. Why should I care? – If they get as far as understanding who you are, what you offer and how they can go about taking an action to pursue this, they will likely be looking for clues that you are better than the next alternative. It really is very little effort for them to click back in their browser so you have to offer them value quickly, or they are likely to leave. Your job, as a landing page optimiser, is to answer those questions in the most efficient and persuasive way possible.

© COPYRIGHT 2013 ICROSSING LTD

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Understanding cognitive process
AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action Assuming that your web visitor has been made aware of your website through a SERP, email, referral or word of mouth, there are a number of typical cognitive processes they typically go through exploring your landing page and web pages beyond. The AIDA framework is a useful way to understand this.

Attention: Upon arriving on your landing page the visitor’s attention must be caught by the various elements and content on the page. If your visitor doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Emphasising too many items often dilutes importance. Principles of good visual design such as hierarchy, contrast and directional cues are crucial for success here, drawing the eye to important elements on the page.

Interest: In short bursts, items will be raising the visitor’s interest levels. This will happen with interface elements (text, buttons, forms) and the subject of interest (product or offer). You never know exactly what will raise the most interest for any given person, but you can gain insights into this through user research and testing.

Desire: If enough interest is generated the visitor will reach a desire stage, investing time researching the subject of interest (product or offer). They will explore the offering in more detail and they may leave to compare alternatives. Understand that the visitor is ultimately in control. You can only do so much, so do what you can do based on what you know motivates your visitors in a persuasive manner.

Action: The visitor finally makes the decision to take action and either leaves permanently or decides to look for a way to action the conversion. They may still fail to convert because of usability problems, or for any other reason outside of the website optimiser’s control, so remove all barriers and don’t put any surprises in their way. Now that you further understand the cognitive process of your vis itors’ interaction with your landing page, what can you do to your pages to help users through this?

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What really matters to your landing page

1. Coherence between SERP Result and landing page copy When visitors arrive at your landing page they do so with an intent related to the search term they used. If your page highlights the keyword in the primary headline it is more likely to grab their attention and generate interest. Likewise, the continuity of any messaging on page from your paid search advert or natural search listing is key.

2. Value Proposition This is usually a short headline or primary and secondary headline, which describes what you do and why you matter. This should be in large text somewhere highly prominent. The visitor should usually read this before anything else. This is a place for clarity of message not unfamiliar industry jargon. It should let them know they are in the right place and that it’s worth investigating further. Other forms of content, which summarise the value proposition, may also work like a short video and in some contexts a slideshow. Note, you may need to test alternative versions to find which works best for your audience.

3. Call To Action This should usually be one prominently placed high contrast button with an action driven label, potentially accompanied by a headline and form as appropriate to context. Don’t use labels such as “Submit” on forms. Instead use meaningful labels like “Download Free Whitepaper Now”. There may be some cases where multiple calls to action are suitable, but generally if there are lots of calls to action then they should each have their own landing page. You need to figure out what the number one action is for most visitors on that page and prioritise it. What you are trying to do is minimise further cognitive obstacles of the visitor if they decide you are worthy of their time or money.

4. Service or Product Benefits This is persuasive content that extends the information in the value proposition and should be placed somewhere close by. This may include a list of benefits or features particularly any USPs. Web visitors want easy to read content. Visitors to your landing page won’t always have time or desire to read in depth. The copy should support skim reading with short bullet points and important keywords at the start of sentences. Use of imagery to illustrate may be appropriate in some contexts and links to supporting content is definitely important, as ultimately some visitors may want more detail.

5. Trust Indicators Your ability to provide decent trust indicators is dependent on the collateral you have available as a business. You can get good ideas for trust indicators from user research. Don’t assume putting a random quote or testimonial is enough. People can be highly cynical of some forms of content.

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If you are a B2B website, logos of well-known brands associated with you may be persuasive. Alternatively, consider referenced client testimonials endorsing your work. In B2C contexts, independent reviews provide strong indicators, as people trust them as unbiased sources.

6. Psychological Persuasion There are a number of psychological techniques that can be used to increase persuasion, often incorporated into your value proposition and on page copy. Inclusion of such techniques will not guarantee you conversion results. Understanding the unique context of your audience and market, and building testable hypotheses is crucial for success. • Anchoring – People base decisions on relative information. For example, many retail businesses generate interest through a sale such as “Was £100. Now £50. Half Price”. There are good psychological reasons why this works so well. • Scarcity – People tend to want something more if they believe it is limited in resource. For example, though technically not a case in landing page design, Made.com put a 15 minute timer on their shopping basket after which the product is no longer guaranteed. • Curiosity – Encourage people to seek out hidden information. For example gamified online retail company Sneakpeeq, hides prices behind badges and gives users the opportunity to reveal the sale price, with a limited number of opportunities each day.

What doesn’t matter “as much” to your landing page
1. Button colours It is important that your call to action (CTA) buttons stand out in contrast to your landing page but the specific colour used is unlikely to be the biggest influencer to your prospective visitor.

2. Number of form elements Whilst you don’t want to overload your visitors with endless form options, if you have been convincing enough with your offering, most people will fill out a few extra fields to get what they want. In some contexts adding extra form fields may, in fact, increase the relevancy of the CTA form. For example “Nature of Enquiry” may help create a sense that a personal need is being addressed.

3. The fold You should aim to keep the most important page elements above the fold, but visitors are used to scrolling in 2013. There are plenty of examples of long landing pages that perform well. It can also be a good idea to provide greater use of white space, which can help convey meaning on relationships and hierarchy. The secret is to remember to offer visual cues that more content can be accessed lower down the page, for example by ensuring that content flows below the browser window. Bear in mind that you now have to consider a vast range of browser heights, so look at your design on the most popular resolutions and then move on with more important factors.

A final note on our guidelines One thing to keep in mind is that the page you are considering optimising may only have a secondary role as a landing page. Examples might include an index of services, an e-commerce catalogue pages or a blog article. You should treat this type of page for their primary use and follow conventional patterns of design in most cases. We refer to targeted landing pages in these guidelines.

© COPYRIGHT 2013 ICROSSING LTD

JULY 2013 | LANDING PAGES

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Conclusion
Remember, your web visitors are human beings. Research your audience, build hypotheses on winning conversion formula and test your landing pages. Understanding a few principles of cognitive psychology and applying them to your strategy can go a long way to knowing what really matters to your landing pages.

For further information, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your iCrossing account manager or results@icrossing.co.uk

© COPYRIGHT 2013 ICROSSING LTD

JULY 2013 | LANDING PAGES

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