Landing Page Optimization: A Game of Growth (Chapter 7)

Vineet Karhail

Last Updated: August 7, 2020

In this article, you’re going to learn about landing page optimization. A landing page is a page where your site visitors arrive first. Most people think that it’s just a sales page or homepage or a product page. In truth, a landing page is a page that you create specifically to achieve one goal.

One specific goal is essential to a landing page to shorten the customer journey and to provide them with a good experience.

For example, let’s say you wanna have your visitors first go through the product demo video before they buy your product. In this case, your landing page goal is to show a demo video to as many people as possible.

To provide a good landing page experience, remove any distractions that might stop users from seeing the demo video. The content, the CTA, the visuals will guide users to click that button and watch the demo.

But it’s not just the landing page but the traffic source – an ad or the blog is a part of the landing page experience.

🛡️ You are reading “Landing Page Optimization: A Game of Growth (Chapter 7)” – a series of articles on growth marketing. To read the first chapter of this series, go here 👉 Fundamentals of Growth Marketing: A Game of Growth (Chapter 1)

Characteristics of a strong landing page

1. A landing page focuses on one specific goal and creates a clear path to the conversion goal

As discussed above, the main purpose of the landing page is to get visitors to achieve the goal. If your landing page has elements that are distracting and delaying or stopping users to take the desired action, it’s a bad landing page.

  • Have you got a product explainer video on a landing page to download an ebook? 
  • Have you got three CTAs – signup, download ebook and ask for Demo CTAs on your landing page?
  • Does your landing page CTA promises a free sign up, but when visitors click the button, it opens up a credit-card form?

All these are bad examples of landing pages and creates confusion, rather than clarity to the conversion goal.

2. A landing page shortens the journey from click to conversion

A landing page helps visitors coming from, let’s say, an ad or email campaign find the relevant information quickly.

Instead of sending them to the homepage where they might have to explore your menu options or click another button to find the relevant information, a landing page provides them with that information right there.

3. A landing page is a part of the customer journey. It follows up on the promises made earlier in the journey.

When they arrive on a landing page, your users clicked saw an ad or read your email where you gave them a promise. That promise could be about showing them a demo or downloading a free ebook or a free tool. Make sure that your landing page carries forward the same promise.

For example, if they saw an ad about downloading a pdf on the checklist of items to pack for their Bali trip, your landing page shouldn’t be about a checklist of items to pack for a trip to Norway, or a list of places to visit in Bali.

They visit your landing page with an expectation, and if you don’t fulfil those expectations, they are going to have a bad experience.

4. A landing page speaks to the motivation and removes barriers to conversion

Again, when they visit your landing page, they are motivated to take action and achieve a goal. The landing page should build upon that motivation and remove any barriers to the conversion. 

For example, if they wanted to download the checklist, the landing page should only make them excited about why that checklist is a complete list, who should benefit from that checklist, why they should download it now, how they will feel after downloading the checklist. 

All these things will build up their motivation to take the action that you want them to take on the landing page.

5. A landing page answers the important questions and creates clarity

I repeat that a landing page is focused on achieving a single goal and getting you there faster. But there might be some objections or barriers users may have before they take action. The landing page should answer all those objections and questions.

Your visitors might be asking if the checklist contains items for kids as well. Answer that in the landing page. They might wanna know if they have to print the checklist or they can just download on their phones and start using them. Answer that right away.

When optimizing a landing page, the mistake which most people make is to just focus on the landing page itself. Rather, you should be looking at the whole funnel or the experience. 

Example of a bad landing page experience

Here are two Google ads for a shoe company – J. Fitz Patrick Footwear. 

Ad example #1

Ad example #2

When you click on any of the ads, you land on their homepage (as below). 

This is a bad landing page experience for at least two reasons.

First, the ads are targeted to a specific audience, but the homepage doesn’t communicate the same messaging.

E.g. if I’m searching for J. Fitz Patrick shoes that are on sale, I have a specific need i.e. shoes on sale. If you take me to your homepage, I am lost. I will have to start exploring the menu options or the search bar to find the information. Instead, take me directly to a category page that has all the shoes on sale. 

Second, if I was unaware of your company, the message that I first see doesn’t tell me anything about what I was doing there. I was looking for classic shoes, but you are talking about unique shoes. Instead, show me a product page that has one of the classic oxford shoes, or oxford shoes category page so that I can see them all at once.

Example of a good landing page experience

Monday.com is a project management and team collaboration tool. This is one of their Facebook ads focused on creative management.

When you click on the ad, you land on this landing page which is specifically designed to target creative management. 

Anyone who comes on this landing page from the ad above will instantly know what it is about. They will be motivated to get started.

Notice the URL of this page? It’s clear that monday.com has gone far and beyond to create this landing page specially to target creative management. 

In addition, the color of the ad matches the color of the landing page.

Look at another example from monday.com, this time targeted towards eCommerce companies.  Did you notice the pattern? The ad messaging, color, and creatives match with those of the landing page, thus providing a good experience for the visitors.

Remember, landing pages should never be evaluated in isolation.

Landing Page Optimization Process (Conversion Optimization)

As we discussed above, a landing page optimization doesn’t isolate the landing page, Rather it is a complete funnel optimization process. For us, a typical landing page optimization process looks something like this:

  1. Conversion Research
  2. Funnel and Landing Page Audit
  3. Wireframe
  4. Copy and Design
  5. A/B Testing

We discussed A/B testing in chapter 4 in detail so if you want to learn more about it, please head over there.

Conversion Research

In chapter 3, we learnt how to do conversion research for website optimization. The process for landing page conversion research is very similar, but let’s quickly have a look at the research process and further steps.

So these are the steps to the conversion research and if there’s something unclear, please read chapter 3, A Game of Growth.

1. Session recording and Scroll map 

Useful to understand the information hierarchy and what information on your page visitors are actually engaging with, and where the distractions are.

2. Heuristic walkthrough

Experience-based observations of key elements of the landing page journey

3. Google Analytics reports

Quantitative analysis of the customer journey to establish baselines.

4. 5 Second Test

If your users can’t figure out what a landing page is about within 5 seconds, you have some work to do.

5. Sales and Customer Support Interviews

Interview and find out the main concerns and questions that need to be answered on your landing page. Sales and CS staff are your best friends.

6. Review Analysis

Read reviews and testimonials of your customers online or review forums to dig out more questions, concerns, motivations from the users that care about your company.

7. Audience Interviews

Interview your audience in a structured way to uncover as much as possible.

8. Feedback polls

Ask visitors one question only to answer the key questions hindering your conversions. This may lead to more questions.

9. Develop the information hierarchy

Develop a rough structure of what information is useful, and how much. Read more about it in the next section.

Funnel and Landing Page Audit

Based on the research, it’s time to audit the current user experience for the full funnel and the landing page. Things to audit:

  1. Information Hierarchy
  2. Visual Hierarchy
  3. Copy and Design audit

Information Hierarchy 

It is the order and the amount of information on a landing page. This is a critical element of a high-converting landing page. 

The order in which information is laid-out is important because not all the users scroll through the full page. So you need to know what information has a higher effect on the conversions. 

Having a lot of information on a page is necessary in some cases where it’s important for visitors to know about certain things before taking action. 

However, too much information can also hurt the conversions on pages where a visitor might get lost in the information rather than taking the action you want them to take.

Too little information and your users might bounce off because they would have no idea why and what action to take.

While designing the information hierarchy, there are 3 things to keep in mind:

  1. Who are you communicating with? 

Who is your target audience? Understand their awareness level. Do they know the problem? Are they solution-aware? Do they understand your niche but not your product? Or maybe they know about your offer and have compared you with other competitors and are completely aware of what they want.

Your target audience will have a great impact on your information hierarchy.

  1. What do you want them to do?

What is your goal for the page? Do you want them to sign up for a free product? Maybe, it’s easier than if your goal is to get their credit card information. Is your landing page goal to let users download an app which they can uninstall anytime vs selling them a $999 product? 

The higher the complexity level of the offer, and the risks involved, the more information is needed on the landing page.

  1. Where is the traffic coming from?

What’s the source of your traffic? Are visitors coming from a Facebook ad and don’t have any knowledge of your product? In this case, they will need more information to take the desired action. 

But if they’re coming from a Google ad while looking for your product, they might not need as much information. Or they might be coming from your newsletter campaign, in which case, they already know a lot about your product and don’t need as much information.

This is often a neglected part of the landing page experience, so I want you to consciously think about your traffic source when you design a landing page.

At this point, you are going to put together your recommendations for the new information hierarchy. 

The traffic source is the most neglected aspect of the landing page design process. Whether your users come from a Top-of-funnel Facebook ad or a nurture email campaign can have a huge impact on the landing page experience, and thus a designer must take it into account.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual Hierarchy audit is done based on best practices and design principles. Is the eye-path logical? Is it easy to read and scan information on the page? Are there any distractions on the page, especially above-fold? 

Similarly, are the right elements standing out and visible above-fold? 

At this point, you are going to put together your recommendations for the new visual hierarchy. 

Copy and Design audit

Once you have the information hierarchy recommendations, audit the current copy based on them. Is there a message mismatch between the source, and the page? Is the copy answering to the right questions, addressing the barriers and strengthening the motivation of the visitors?

Similar to copy audit, design audit takes the recommendations of the visual hierarchy exercise to improve the current design.

Is there a mismatch between the source creatives and the LP images or videos? Are there relevant images or videos on the page? 

Here’s an interesting exercise to do: if you remove all the copy on the page, does it help visitors understand your product or the action they’re required to do? This exercise will help you reinforce the motivation with design, and you will have a solid landing page.

Wireframe

A wireframe is a skeletal framework and the first version of your new landing page. It’s important to build a wireframe to understand the information and the visual hierarchy of the page. 

Here are the 3 main benefits of Wireframing:

  • Helps you visualize the landing page
  • Helps prioritize the content and build the structure
  • Make it easier to work on the design and copy together and have better alignment between the two

While visualizing the wireframe, think about things like the images on the page, eye-path, order in which the sections will appear, etc.

Write a rough draft of the copy – message match, addressing questions and barriers, how to frame your offer and how to prime users for the next steps. This is not the final copy but a rough one to guide your wireframes and user experience.

At this point, you should also think roughly about the design elements. What design elements support the user experience and flow on the page, where to add buttons, forms, colours, etc.

Copy and Design

During the wireframing phase, you already worked on the rough copy and design. Now, you can dig deeper into the copywriting and designing process. 

One mistake that you should avoid is to perform this process sequentially. I have seen this happening in a few companies where the design team starts working after the copy is finalized. This is a big mistake. 

Design and copywriting go hand-in-hand. if your design team persists that the copywriters should first finalize the copy before they touch the design, it’s time to get rid of your design head.

Become a Landing Page Optimization Expert

If you want to learn more about a systematic approach to Landing Page Optimization just like we have discussed in this article, I highly recommend the course on landing page optimization by Michael Aagaard with CXL.

Michael is a CRO consultant who worked with Unbounce, one of the most popular landing page builders out there. The course is very detailed and experience-based. What I liked the most was that Michael discusses all these concepts in-depth and at the end of the course, he stitches everything together. By the end of the course, you have a clear understanding of what exercise is to be done when.

However, if you want to explore the A/B testing part of the landing page optimization process, I’d suggest you check out their A/B Testing Mastery course.

🛡️ You just finished reading “Landing Page Optimization: A Game of Growth (Chapter 7)” – a series of articles on growth marketing. To read the next article, click here 👉 Systematic Framework for Conversion-Focused Copywriting


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