Landing pages are essential to modern-day e-commerce. Businesses big and small rely on them and invest tons of resources into their landing pages.
You probably know the big strategies by now: You have your landing page around to have visitors complete a desired action, usually filling out a form.
But if you want to grow your e-commerce business with landing pages, you’ve got to get deep with your landing page. After all, this is the thing that’s supposed to convert your visitors, and generate leads and/or sales.
So let’s take a deep look into how you can make the best landing pages for business growth. I’ll start us off with the basics:
What is a landing page?
A landing page is the page of your website that you want people to get to by clicking a search result, hyperlink in another webpage, social media post, marketing email, etc.
It’s the place you want visitors to “land” on, in short.
That’s the general definition. But speaking more narrowly, landing pages are usually geared to get your visitors to do a certain action (also known as a “conversion”).
You can get more statistics on conversion rates in general here.
In other words, you want your landing page to get as many visitors as possible to either become customers, or leads (a contact interested in purchasing later).
Landing pages are often extremely simple websites, called microsites, separate from your main site—however, they can also simply be part of your main site.
Sometimes, landing pages are just homepages.
But that’s basically it: you want people to “land” on your landing page, and your landing page should be focused on the thing you want those people to do.
So let’s get started with how you can optimize your landing page:
Item 1: Try creating different landing pages, targeting different parts of your audience.
There are multiple advantages to doing this.
One of the big advantages is that you learn more. The key word here is “try.”
It’s a good way of testing out different ideas you may have, whether they’re slight tweaks of the same design or major differences.
The other major advantage is that you can simply gain more leads. More pages=more places for visitors to “land” on.
And if you have a bunch of pages that are each targeted to a specific segment of visitors, you can seriously amp up conversions.
While many agree that more than one landing page is good, there’s also a variety of advice on the right number.
Some say you shouldn’t spend your energy on more than a handful of high-quality landing pages.
And then there’s Hubspot, which found in a 2012 report that businesses had a minimal increase in leads when using 1-10 landing pages, but a 55% increase when having 10-15 landing pages.
Another way of trying out multiple landing pages is to make a landing page just for mobile.
This would allow you more freedom than having a single landing page that tries to accommodate both mobile and desktop visitors.
It would also provide valuable insights on how much energy you should invest in optimizing your landing page for mobile—though more on that later.
Item 2: Simplify, strategically.
Simplify: reduce clutter, focus on your goal
By goal, I mean whatever you’re trying to get visitors to do with your landing page.
If your strategy is to turn as many visitors into customers immediately by directing them to purchase something, then reduce distractions from that goal.
If your strategy is more complicated, and involves turning visitors into leads, subscribers, etc, then reduce distractions to that end.
And yes, this can vary depending on your overall landing page strategy: for example, you may have landing pages for getting ebook downloads or newsletter signups, and landing pages for direct checkouts.
Another way of putting it is this: is there anything keeping your landing page from focusing on conversion rates?
Simplify: cutting down on navigation
This overlaps with the previous point, but it’s more specific. The thinking here is very simple, and accurate to boot: Reducing the ability of your visitors to go to another page, reduces them going to another page. The longer they’re on your page, the more likely you are to net extra conversions. Simple as that.
People vary on how much to cut down on navigation—personally, I feel trapped without enough navigation, and am left with a bad impression of the site I visit.
But whether you cut down on the normal navigation buttons or keep it the absolute bare minimum, it’s a strategy worth pursuing.
Simplify: have a consistent message
A very common mistake is for landing pages to appear disjointed with your overall business goals.
Although your landing page may be technically separate from your main site, you need to think of it as an extension of your main site. It may sound obvious, but consistency is key. It’s easier for you, and the customer.
Towards this end, it’s worth using some of the same language as you do in your main site, and with your advertisements.
Additionally, consider whether you’re adding on side projects that are wasting your time and distracting your customers from your e-commerce business.
I’ll give you a good example: ebooks are a great way of getting visitors interested in your brand and ultimately getting them to become customers.
But they also CAN be a waste of time on your part, appear vapid to visitors who have seen ebook offerings before, and distract those who download them from a more important action you want them to take.
Item 3: Use social proof.
“Social proof” is a fancy marketing term that basically means showing visitors to your site that other people like or approve of what you’re selling. Typically, this means having testimonials—a few quotes by a few people, perhaps with pictures, of how glad they are they used your product.
Most of those reading this will get the gist of using testimonials quickly, or have already thought about it.
So let’s get into the more unique ways of harnessing social proof on your landing page.
Social proof: influencers
Most people, when they hear the term “influencer,” imagine an Instagram star with millions of followers. Such people are certainly the big examples of influencers, but there are online influencers for almost every niche.
If your audience is broad enough, influencers may lose some of their value—there’s always the chance that straightforward authority figures are better.
But if there’s a smaller number of people consuming in your niche, having the endorsement of an influencer can be a great way of standing out.
Social proof: counters
You’ve seen this before. It’s often used by larger sites and brands to show how many people have purchased a product, or subscribed, or so on.
If you’ve gotten a considerable number of customers, success stories, whatever—then it shouldn’t be too hard to plaster that number on your landing page as proof of how well you’ve been received.
But if you’re smaller or newer in your business, you can still harness the power of counters with creativity. For example: have you had a large number of page views, website visits? Maybe you’ve gotten a large number of people to sign up for your newsletter, or download your ebook?
If so, you can get a nice, rounded figure from that and put it up on your site. Use your existing conversions to get even more conversions.
Social proof: testimonials/reviews from other websites
Like I said, testimonials from people are quite common. Testimonials from websites, blogs, brands, small businesses, etc? Less so.
Admittedly, there’s a good reason for this. One of the key draw-ins with testimonials is featuring a unique name (or username) and ideally face, as it keeps things personable. So bearing that in mind, having the approval of an institution (big or small) can give more than the validation of a typical testimonial—because it comes from an authority on the subject.
Aside from appearing to be authorities on the subject, there’s also the impression that the review is more meaningful: because these brands are putting up their reputations by allowing their testimonials to be used.
You can also make these testimonials more personable by attaching names to such sites, groups, or companies—ie., the CEO of X, the Chief Editor of Y, and so on.
Social proof: VIDEO testimonials
You’ve certainly come across these as well, but it’s still not as common as traditional testimonials with an image and text or text only.
There are a couple key advantages here: first, it’s more unique and thus helps you stand out. Second, it’s much more personable and human than a photo with text.
And it should go without saying, that actually hearing people commend your product can be more convincing than just text.
Item 4: Make sure your landing page works on any device.
If your landing page isn’t equipped for smartphones, your e-commerce business isn’t equipped for smartphones. And that means a lot of lost leads, and lost cash.
“I know,” you may want to say. “I need to have a landing page that looks good on a phone.”
This is a point that appears to be widely understood, and to everyone’s credit, most landing pages I see look okay on mobile.
But here’s where my tip departs from common knowledge:
The truth is, having a landing page that’s functional, or OKAY on mobile is not the same thing as having a landing page that’s OPTIMIZED on mobile, or looks great on mobile.
This typically happens because people are, understandably, trying to get the best of both worlds: a page that’s mostly meant for computer use, but which can look okay on phones and tablets too.
First of all, I don’t think you need to abandon the desktop-optimized landing page per se. But having said that, we do need to be realistic: mobile traffic has accounted for just over half of total web traffic for years: You also ought to consider whether mobile use might be different for your industry.
Hopefully, you’ll have some site stats that can tell you more about how your visitors are accessing your landing page, but if not, think about your competitors and the general field.
Now, with those tips squared away, here’s a good way of thinking about optimizing your landing page for mobile users:
Your landing page should ALREADY be streamlined and clear. Not necessarily barebones, but generally simple.
But a phone screen, and even tablets, have limited space for viewing information. How long is your visitor going to scroll on their phone before getting to your call to action? Your testimonials?
Aside from simply how much your visitor can look at with their phone screen size, you should consider the psychology of looking at a screen: If you’re like most people, you use your phone in bursts of activity, scrolling around a bunch, while getting instant gratification each time you scroll. What this means is, you can’t just keep things well-fitted to a mobile screen: you need to make sure they hold your visitor’s attention and especially MEMORY.
If you can’t convert on mobile, your conversion rate will be significantly lower than it needs to be.
Item 5: Use color psychology.
Let’s be clear: this isn’t a cut-and-dry hack. It’s not as simple as quickly looking at a few articles about color psychology or color theory. If you take this seriously, you’ll likely need to do your own research. The basic advice you’ll get from the first few Google results COULD be fine.
But the reality is, you do best with color psychology if you 1) take time to research, and 2) take time to experiment.
Personal experience affects how people see color, as can their nation of origin and where they live currently.
Diving deep into scholarly literature won’t always work: the science may be outdated, you may need to pay hefty sums to get access to research, and there may not be enough research for your purposes.
So I HIGHLY emphasize experimenting with colors on your site.
Now, if you take even the lightest dive into color theory, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. There are endless amounts of color combinations, and if you’re trying to be original, it can quickly become a stressful task.
However, there IS a handy way of narrowing your efforts: Focus on your logo. If you’re set on your site logo, you can roughly mirror the colors across your site and especially landing page. If your logo could still use a few tweaks, you can make them with a general landing page color scheme in the back of your mind. This is practical not just because it gives you a starting point: it enhances the identity of your brand. You’ll be more memorable for it.
Lastly, here’s a resource you can use once you’ve read up a bit about color theory. It’s a free tool by Adobe that helps you choose a color scheme based on the color rule of your choosing:
And a word of warning: if you ever hear a person or website tell you, definitively, that X color leads to Y feelings or Z reactions, be skeptical. It may not be totally wrong, but even in the best case, it’s unlikely to be the whole truth. It’s important to fact-check, and again…TEST.
Item 6: Zero in on your first impression.
In general, people form first impressions quickly. And they form first impressions very quickly for websites.
There are multiple studies confirming this, but here’s what one study from a long time ago (2006) said:
Here’s another, from Google in 2012:
This one found that people formed their impressions of site design within the first 50ms of exposure—similarly to the other study.
(This study also found that people prefer design with less complexity).
So now it should be absolutely clear:
Focusing on your landing pages’ first impressions, beyond the overall impression, is key to the crucial goal of getting visitors to lower their guard and stick around.
If your landing page makes a good impression IMMEDIATELY, your visitors are more likely to scroll on your page a little longer.
They’re more likely to look at more of your page, instead of skimming and seeing the bare minimum (though again, you should be equipped to handle a bare-minimum attention span).
And crucially to our focus of growing your ecommerce business, such visitors are more likely to fill out your forms, ask for a quote, or go straight to purchase something.
On this topic, here’s a question you should ask yourself that is seldom addressed in articles like this:
What elements are most important for your first impression?
For example: to form a good impression immediately, is the first thing your visitor sees a picture? A headline?
Both? Or perhaps your logo?
It may be different depending on your understanding of your audience, and you may want to try variations with multiple landing pages (as I mentioned earlier).
Item 7: Invest in a good website hosting.
This sounds obvious when it’s written out, but it’s one of those fundamentals that’s easily and often forgotten.
Put simply: people will quickly leave sites if they’re not fast enough.
Over the years, this bar has risen higher and higher, and users expect faster and faster sites.
The result is that your landing page can’t simply be fast “enough,”—it has to load almost immediately for visitors.
Here’s a stat worth paying attention to, not the least because it comes directly from Google.
This is a scary image, but the point is clear: a lot of mobile visitors will bounce within mere SECONDS of arriving on a page.
Now, you already know that your website needs good uptime. You know, abstractly speaking, that it should be “fast.”
But are you really evaluating how responsive your landing page is?
Remember that a key point of a landing page is to get visitors to stick: it’s why so many landing pages are simple, streamlined, and slick.
But all of that, and all of the strategies earlier in this article, amount to little if your landing page takes too long to load.
So invest in a hosting plan that guarantees you not just “good” page speeds, but GREAT page speeds.
To wrap this up:
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for using landing pages to grow your business.
But, landing pages are certainly useful for any e-commerce venture—there’s a reason everyone uses them.
So making your landing page as good as can be, and tweaking it so it does all it can to help your business, is what can set your landing pages apart from the competition.
And by extension, it’s what can set your BUSINESS above the competition.
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