4 Surprising Ways to Optimize Your Landing Page

Your landing page is your first chance to introduce your business to potential clients. It’s the way you’re going to make your first impression on a lot of new users, and it’s always important to keep your home page clean, concise, and compelling.

We’ve told you before about a number of landing page tips and tricks, as well as the pitfalls you want to avoid. But the real truth is, just as no two businesses are exactly the same, no two landing pages are going to work exactly the same way. While we believe in best practices, there are some surprising factors that can lead to higher conversion rates for your site.

Hubspot proved that maxim recently in an excellent blog post, compiling the conversion results from a series of A/B site testing on different landing pages. You’d be surprised what a difference a single minor tweak can make!

Here are some of the most surprising takeaways from those tests, along with a few ideas of how you can start making the most of your landing page:

A Successful Call-to-Action is All About Placement and Phrasing

Traditionally, designers recommend putting your site’s call-to-action – the message you use to connect new users with your product or service – in a prime position near the top of your page, often thought of as the space “above the fold” (to borrow a phrase from our friends in journalism).

Today, there are two schools of thought on this. While it’s true that the content placed above the fold draws 80% of a user’s attention, a study from Content Verve revealed a conversion rate increase of more than 300% when the call-to-action was moved lower on the page. The simple truth is that it sometimes takes time to explain your product or clue readers in on what makes your brand unique; if that’s the case, it can be far more effective to draw your reader in gradually, then introduce your call-to-action lower on the page, once they better understand what you’re offering.

The words you use are just as important as the placement of your call-to-action. And while it may seem logical to use strong, active words – “order,” “sign up,” “register” – research reveals that benefit-focused language (such as “get” or “receive”) leads to higher engagement. In other words, don’t place the emphasis on what your user has to do, but what they will receive from you.

Not all Images Are Created Equal

Traditionally, landing page designers have liked to make images a prominent part of site design. And this makes sense. Visual content is interesting and informative – when it’s used properly.

Surprisingly, appearance isn’t everything when it comes to conversion. Studies have shown that some landing pages perform better without images – particularly when those images give off the impression of being impersonal stock photos. If you do include an image – and we think you should – make sure it’s both aesthetically pleasing and value-adding. Don’t just throw in an image because you feel obligated to include one; instead, make sure your visual content speaks to your copy and gives readers a more complete sense of your product and identity.

Be Careful When Including “Social Proof”

One of the most famous examples of social proof is the old McDonald’s slogan about “billions and billions served.” When used properly, social proof creates a feeling of urgency and a desire to belong in your user. After all, who wouldn’t want to join a community with a billion other satisfied customers?

But the reality is that your business probably hasn’t served billions and billions. There are marketing pages today with millions of followers and email lists with thousands of subscribers. Many visitors have high expectations, which means it’s sometimes easier to win over a new client’s trust with less information, rather than more.

We highly recommend including built-in tools for easier social sharing. But if your numbers aren’t where you’d like them just yet, you can disable the counters. There’s no point in boasting about low numbers on your landing page, after all!  

Consider Ditching the Navigation Bar

More than 80% of landing pages include navigation bars, according to Hubspot. But there may be some evidence that getting rid of the bar can actually lead to more conversions.

In one A/B test, for example, simply eliminating a navigation bar led to a 100% increase in conversion rates, from 3% to 6%. This data makes a lot of sense – cleaner, simpler formatting is always better when it comes to landing pages, and removing the nav bar means fewer distractions for your user. Your landing page should be all about informing your visitor about how they can best fulfill their objective – when you streamline your site, you make it plainer to see that the best solution is engagement with you!

Of course, there is still no one size fits all method for optimizing how visitors move through your conversion funnel. But with a little creativity, we’re confident that you can find the layout and copy that work best for your unique service.

When you’re ready to take your online presence to the next level, Geek is here to help! Drop us a line for all of your web design and digital marketing needs.

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).