The Anatomy of High-Converting Landing Pages (With Best Practices)

Landing Page Foundational Elements

Alright, so you’re already more than half-way through avoiding 90% of conversion killing landing page mistakes. Now it’s time get down to the foundational elements of landing pages. The infographic below by Unbounce sums up the five core elements. Let’s look at them one-by-one.

#1 – Killer Headlines Are The First Step

80% of your readers won’t make it past this element…

Your landing page’s headline.

⅘ of your audience will decide whether they want to move forward with reading your landing page copy on the basis of the title. So it’s critical to grab your readers inside with a persuasive, useful and crisp headline. Let me show you four specific ways to write one, and common mistakes that marketers commit in doing this.

  • 1) Communicate your product’s benefit clearly and succinctly

Let me also show you a landing page example. Look at the landing page below that targets struggling retailers.

I don’t think “rescue remedies” sounds interesting enough.

Now look at the landing page version below.

Won’t a retailer feel thrilled to get “proven growth strategies”?

A 307% increase in response rate shows that the second landing page increased the excitement for retailers.

  • 2) Address a grueling pain point of your audience using the words they use to describe it

A great example of this is the post “Why Google Hates Your Site (Hint: It Has Something to Do With TrustRank)” that Brian Dean published.

He pulled the exact keyword “Google hates my site” from forums in the niche where his target audience was hanging out and using it.

His article started ranking for his target keyword “Trustrank” at the second spot in SERP. It also ranked at the top spot for the keyword phrase “Google hates my site”.

Unbounce calls out to webmasters to try their powerful D.I.Y. landing page platform on their homepage.

An added bonus is you can perform the whole landing page creation to landing page optimization “Without I.T.”

For finding these pain points and audience needs, you’ll need to survey them. Qualaroo is a great tool for deriving such qualitative customer insights.

  • 3) Maintain scent between your ad and the landing page

Have you ever clicked on a PPC ad and found that the landing page was an altogether different entity?

Such a mismatch leads to a break in conversation between a consumer and your brand. And they might lose trust.

The headline of your landing page plays a key role in maintaining this flow from the ad. Here’s a headline example to show you the correct way that ensures the visitor that he landed at the right place.

  • 4) Is your headline getting lost in the woods?

The visitor must be able to clearly distinguish the headline from the other elements of your landing page (subconsciously). If it doesn’t pop, then probably your audience won’t even read them. They won’t stick around because it requires conscious effort.

Here are the formatting elements you should pay special attention to for increasing your headline CTR.

  • Experiment with title case and centering your headlines.
  • The period is a mental stopping point – don’t use it. Rather, use eye resting punctuation marks like em dashes and ellipses. Even quotation marks around the headline can draw the eye.
  • Click Laboratory increased their conversions by 133% by changing their headline font size from 10 pt. to 13 pt. So make your headlines big, clear and legible.

#2 – Use Visual Assets To Reinforce Your Value Proposition

Photos and videos work superbly in supporting your value proposition and getting you closer to your conversion goal. But do remember that more images will slow your loading speed and distract the user.

It’s important to blend the background color of your landing page with the visuals. Here are 3 tips for choosing images for your landing page

  1. Try to use photos that show the product in use

The image in the landing page below creates a desire to go on vacation, evoking sunny, relaxing, positive emotions in the audience.

  1. Feature your customers to increase trust

Highrise experimented with a person design against their long-form landing page design (which was already converting 37.5% better than their original design).

A big photo of Jocelyn, one of their smiling customers, along with a testimonial, improved their conversions by 102.5%. The reason was Highrise customers could relate to the friendly, non-techie and direct quote by Jocelyn.

  1. Leverage photos to serve as visual cues

All the elements on your landing page have one conversion goal. That’s why using photos with directional cues helps the user in his journey to the CTA button. This could be pointing, direct lines or arrows. You can keep it subtle with eye glances.

Eyetracking studies found that on changing the direction the model  will change where viewers eyes go. 

#3 – Reinforce Key Points with the Sub-headline and Body Copy

Occasionally you might need a sub-header that clarifies and gives context to the offer you stated in a short headline.

For instance, Qualaroo in its sub-header tells its target audience how the customer insights it provides can help in achieving better business results. This is an additional persuasion message that supports the headline.

Next, you need to reinforce your product benefits with more detail in the body. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Organize and format your description properly. Large chunks of repetitive text don’t make for a good read. So write concise descriptions and break your copy with bullets.
  • Don’t use this space for solely communicating your product’s features (what it does). People will mostly care about how your product is solving their problem (what’s in it for them).

KISSMetrics initially wrote landing page copy that would tell the reader “what they would get” from their product.

Then they changed their copy (from the headline to the body copy) to focus on the benefits to the user.

Can you guess the increase in their sales from this content test?

61% improvement in the form completion steps (at the end of 3 weeks) and 213% increase in sales.

#4 – Gain Trust With Achievements and Testimonials

We’re inherently fearful of trying new products. They might waste our time, money or both. That’s why 77% of online shoppers search for reviews before making a purchase.

Here are 3 ways of showing your product’s value and legitimacy.

  1. Use quantitative social proof in your headline to demonstrate the popularity of your product

Basecamp does this on their homepage. Since 5,410 companies have signed up for their product, it can’t be a bad choice.

  1. Leverage influential personality endorsements

This could mean showing the logos of recognizable brands that you’ve served. CrazyEgg uses this technique.

You can also show off your brand mentions by established media outlets.

Or get industry influencers to vouch for your skills – the way Noah Kagan does below.

  1. Show relatable user testimonials

User testimonials are so powerful that they improved form conversions rate by 5.21% and generated an additional €50,000 for Springest.

The downside is that users mostly write generic testimonials deeming your product as “easy to use” or “innovative”.

Instead, get into your audiences’ heads and try to overcome their objections by showing the concrete results that your customers achieved in the testimonials.

If you serve audiences from varying industries, this might even require you to tailor your testimonials as per the intended audience. Look how Sharefile got a testimonial that appeals to law firms.

#5 – Create a Large, Contrasting and Compelling Call to Action (CTA)

The whole purpose of crafting a landing page is to convince the customer to click on the CTA button. Visitors will often read your headline and scan the rest of the copy. Then they either click the CTA or leave your website. Here are 3 good practices to get more clicks on your CTA buttons.

  1. Stay away from generic CTA copy

I am talking about “Click here” and “Submit.” They don’t articulate your product’s value or create an urgency so that the visitor takes action.

  • Try to make your copy more relevant – This Scandinavian chain of gyms improved their CTR to the payment page by 213.16% by modifying the CTA copy.
  • This is the last chance to convey your value – improved their conversions by 14.79% by changing just one word on their CTA to increase the perceived value of their offer.
  1. The CTA button must stand out from its surrounding elements

The conventional color psychology might not apply here. Red colored won’t always create an urgency. And green is a positive color that always works.

  • Bigger button size doesn’t automatically mean that it stands out. saw a 10.56% decrease in sales on increasing their CTA button size.
  • Experimenting with the color of your CTA button can only help you find out what works best for your website. A major European e-commerce site saw a 35.81% increase in conversions by changing the CTA button color from blue to green.
  1. Above the fold isn’t always the best CTA placement

80% of our attention is still on above the fold elements. But for longer landing pages, a placement below the fold ensures that you address all the objections of your prospects and then ask for the sale.

Here’s an example of a landing page that pitches a subscription service.  The CTA was moved way below the fold, in addition to changes on the copy and visuals.

The result was a 304% lift in conversions.

Place the CTA buttons where they aid the decision-making process of the visitor. Michael Lykke Aagaard has even found a correlation between the complexity of your offer and the optimal location of your CTA.

Conclusion – Landing Page Best Practices Summary

Landing pages are an extremely valuable tool for online businesses. But most marketers start and stop at the “best practices” and that’s where their growth halts.

I showed you the five core elements of designing high-converting landing pages. The key to improving your sales, though, is regular iterative testing.

In the next article, I’ll review the most popular landing page tools that will help you take action.

Have you been using landing pages for generating business leads? Let me know in the comments below.


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Written by Chintan Zalani

Chintan is an ROI-focused content marketing consultant. Join him at Elite Content Marketer and learn how to grow your business through content.