The 3 Keys to Designing and Optimizing Landing Pages

The 3 Keys to Designing and Optimizing Landing Pages

In terms of the online buyer’s journey, a landing page works a bit like a gateway, guiding your prospective customers to take the all-important steps that get them from “curious visitor” to “lifelong customer.”

Whether your users find you from search, social media, or email, the landing page is a critical keystone – so it’s important to make sure that yours are up to scratch.

Here are three huge things to keep in mind as you begin the process of designing and optimizing your landing page for maximum impact:

1.) Know the Goal of Your Landing Page

There’s one key step that many people completely overlook when they begin the process of setting up a landing page: Figuring out the goal of the page. This is a detail that seems so small, but its impact is so unbelievably big. Every page has to have a goal; if you’re not putting this digital real estate to work, then why have it at all?

In all aspects of your digital marketing, form follows function; you should always have a specific objective in mind before you start designing your website (or setting up a social campaign, launching email marketing, or even writing an ebook).

As you begin to ponder your landing page, take some time to seriously consider what you’re trying to use it to accomplish. Are you trying to sell your product directly? Encourage your visitors to download free content? Sign up for your mailing list?

All of these are totally worthwhile goals, and they’ll all require a different approach in terms of the design and functionality of your landing page. If you’re attempting to encourage email sign-ups, for instance, you can generally keep your copy to a minimum, making the interactive sign-up form the clear centerpiece of the page; if more substantive lead generation is your goal, your page will have to more effectively convey the value of your brand, and you may want to consider lengthening your page, emphasizing user-generated testimonials or reviews, and creating a smooth flow from educational content to action items.

Above all, perhaps, understanding your goal will allow you to better understand the approach you should take for your call to action, or CTA; this is the actionable element of your page, which actually converts a visitor from passive reader to engaged client. You’ll want just one goal per landing page so as to not confuse or overwhelm your visitor with too many options – this means that you’ll want to focus on crafting just one informative, compelling CTA that stands out, inspires action, and creates results.

2.) Your Landing Page Should Put Your Audience First

If the goal of your landing page is the “what,” then your audience is the “who.” Just as it is created to achieve a specific goal, your landing page should also be crafted with your potential audience first and foremost in your mind. Centering your audience comes down to two central, interrelated parts – understanding first what they want, and second, how they’ll achieve that goal on your site.

What Audience Are You Attempting to Reach?
Understanding your ideal audience is a key part of the content marketing process. Knowing who you’re trying to reach will allow you to hone your brand messaging, getting a firmer grasp on the types and styles of content and themes that you’re going to be employing throughout your marketing – including on your landing pages.

Knowing who you’re talking to will greatly affect how you talk to them – in ways that can and should dramatically affect the look, feel, and function of your landing page.

Let’s say, for instance, that you own a coffee shop. Everyone drinks coffee, so it’s important to consider where you’re located and who will realistically care about your store. A sprawling, standalone sit-down coffee shop in a rural area necessarily serves a different audience – and provides a different customer experience – than a small counter-serve efficiency spot in the middle of a city. This is going to affect the visual elements of your site, the narrative/copywriting aspects of your site, and, perhaps most importantly, the CTA of your site: “I’m Ready to Take It Easy Today” is a very different CTA button than “I’m Ready to Speed Up My Morning Commute.”

How Are You Improving the User Experience for Your Audience?
Audiences can be specific, but good design is universal – in most cases. There are certainly many ways in which knowing the unique characteristics of your audience can help you refine the design characteristics of your landing page. If most of your hits are coming from mobile social media channels, for instance, then you’ll want to go above and beyond in ensuring that your landing page is optimized for mobile devices.

But there are also user experience elements that truly are a must-have for all audiences. You’ll want to have functional, responsive multi-step forms in place for any sort of sign-ups; if you’re using GIFs or video content, you’ll need these multimedia elements to be clean and quick-to-load. And, perhaps above all, you’ll want to focus on your branding; if the colors, imagery, and voice of your landing page isn’t consistent with your email marketing newsletter or social media channels, visitors are less likely to engage with you or find your page inviting or usable.

3.) Keep Your Landing Page Simple

Design trends will always go in and out of style; the look and feel of most landing pages is infinitely different than it was even three or four years ago.

But when it comes to communicating your brand message and encouraging conversions, there’s one principle that never goes out of fashion – keep it simple.

Brevity and clarity should be the aim of your landing page. Here are a few ways to put simplicity to work:

  • Write clear, direct copy that communicates who you are and why you matter
  • Make your value obvious in your headlines and CTA
  • Use white space liberally
  • Don’t be afraid to use a “longform” webpage: Studies have shown that longer pages may actually encourage more activity than shorter ones
  • Focus on your audience’s “attention ratio” by minimizing clutter/distractions (even a nav. bar)
  • Consider de-emphasizing social proof, which may actually hurt your chances of converting if used incorrectly

Looking to get started generating leads for your brand? Ready to step up your approach to content marketing? The Geek team would love to set you on the right path to digital marketing success. Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!

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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).