Landing pages have become an important part of the marketer’s toolbox. To create effective landing pages, you should understand the anatomy of a landing page and it should be part of your landing page and optimization framework. After optimizing thousands of landing pages over the years, I want to offer this framework for understanding the 10 key elements of a landing page.
Not all of the following elements always need to be on a page to create an effective landing page. However, there are several elements that are essential to your success.
- Logo: The visitor needs some way to identify who they are potentially doing business with. A logo won’t make your sale, but a poor one can lose your sale. A professionally designed logo always helps establish some bit of credibility. Most sites have this in the upper left hand part of the page; some have it on the upper right.
- UVP or UCP: Once the visitor knows who you are, they need to figure out why they should do business with you. You should communicate this in a simple statement that explains your value proposition (UVP) or your campaign proposition (UCP).
- Headline: The landing page headline should reinforce the scent from the ad that delivered your visitor to the page; that’s persuasive momentum. Your headline can either be designed in a text format or graphical format; it doesn’t really matter. Many marketers use a dynamic system to personalize their landing pages for the ad or keyphrase that attracted the visitor in the first place, to have better continuity (scent) from ad to landing page. Dynamic tools work, but beware.
- Offer: Direct marketers know that the offer is one of the most critical elements of a well-designed campaign. That is why they spend a lot of time testing their offers. Offers must be clear and concise. A maxim of direct mail is that a confused mind always says “no.” The offer is the deal you’re presenting to your visitor. Don’t get this confused with a “call to action,” which is the action you want the person to take. Sometimes the offer is actually delivered successfully as the headline.
- Descriptive copy: What supporting copy do you need to explain what you do, what you offer, and how it will benefit your visitor? This is often a list of key features and/or benefits. Don’t overlook formatting. Will the copy be delivered in block text, bullet point, or some combination of the two?
- Product/service presentation: This is the imagery you use to support your copy and style for your page. This often takes the form of a product image, a product or service tour (photos or video), screen shots, or lifestyle images. A good picture can be worth a thousand words if you can use it to engage your visitor and give them a sense of what owning your product or service will be like. Likewise, poor quality graphics or presentations can confuse or turn visitors away. A great image won’t make your sale, but a poor one can help lose your sale.
- Calls to action: I break out calls to action into three types: hyperlinks, buttons, or forms. The objective of many landing pages is to get visitors to complete a form. If that is the case, make the form easy to complete on the landing page, and avoid requiring the visitor to take an extra step – and going to a form page – if possible. Other than your offer, this is an important piece to keep testing. Calls to action should stand out (think contrast) and be obvious from the moment a visitor lands on your page. The visitor should always know what is the next step they should take.
- Confidence building: A visitor will not convert if he doesn’t have confidence or trust in you. There are dozens of factors that affect trust or confidence in your visitors on your pages, and dozens of things you can do to negatively impact trust and credibility. I’ll cover only a few types of things you can add to boost confidence. Basic confidence boosting elements can be the effective use of testimonials or customer reviews, leveraging examples of previous customers, using third-party validators (such as media mentions or reviews, as seen in references, or trust marks), and using point-of-action assurances near your call to action.
- Link to more information: Many experts believe your landing pages shouldn’t have any additional links other than your main call to action. I believe it depends on several factors, including the complexity of what you sell and the buying stage of your prospect (early stage buyers tend to be in information gathering mode not action taking mode – so let them gather information). Don’t blindly follow “best practices;” use your judgment and test alternatives.
- Template elements: These elements are usually found in the header or footer of a template. They may be your copyright notice, phone number, live chat, address, privacy or other policies, etc. These are usually not elements of the persuasion process, but many can be supportive. All pages should have easy contact information and privacy policies.
Look at your landing pages and your competitors’ to see if you can identify these essential elements.
In my next column, I’ll explain the five dimensions of landing page element design that impact its effectiveness.
If you would like to see some of these elements in action, you can sign up for an upcoming Webinar I am doing on April 1, 2010 – “Don’t Be April’s Fool: Proven Techniques To Maximize Your Advertising ROI.”