Building the Page
Landing Page Optimization (LPO) begins with constructing the framework of the page. You want to create a layout that lends itself to a clear and continuous ‘argument’. Creating a page that not only agrees with itself, but also directs the visitor to a decided and desirable action (whether that is a purchase or sharing information to develop a lead). Building the page begins with determining a desired action.
Part 1: Landing Pages Must Drive An Action
Your Landing Page must lead a visitor to a desired action. This action could be to provide information for a contact, to purchase or donate, or to join the organization. In all of these cases, the Landing Page must, through proper layout and content, drive the visitor to take the ever important next step.
Determining the desired action should happen before the first design for a Landing Page. Sometimes during design you’ll find a different action. Be willing to modify your original desired action to fit a possibly better one.
The formula behind determining the action is quite simple: have a clear idea of what exactly you want to happen. If you want visitors to donate to your non-profit, for instance, make sure you emphasize that element of giving. You don’t want to emphasize, for instance, how your organization decides what activities to do; that information is important to share and to promote, but not in the case of gaining donations.
In the case of a CAI-U course details page, the desired action is a better understanding of the value and possible purchase of a course. We describe what the course is meant to achieve, how it achieves it, and why a student would benefit from the training. While there is still information on exactly what each course will entail, CAI-U is much more attentive to giving a quick and honest case for training. If our Landing Page is working as it should, visitors will want to know more information (or make a purchase) based on the information we’ve provided on the page.
The visitor is given the information needed to know that when they click the “Enroll Now” button, they are getting exactly what they expect and are satisfied with making the purchase.
Part 2: Call to Action One-liners
The Call to Action one-liners are simple, brief statements that precede an explanatory section of text. They drive a visitor to continue reading, to stay interested, and support the desired action of the page. In order to create effective one-liners, the message must be clear and catch the visitor’s attention immediately.
Creating a successful one-liner takes a bit of work, but once you’ve got the formula down it becomes very intuitive. Keep in mind the following tips:
- The statement must contain action. Lead with strong action words: Discover, Save, Enable, Decide, Lead, Guarantee. The visitor should feel like reading the upcoming paragraph will be a positive step towards a desirable outcome.
- People like being involved. Using ‘You’ in One-liners is a good thing.
- The one-liner gives the visitor an expectation of what the next section of the page will bring: A paragraph about how this product or service will save money shouldn’t have a One-liner preceding it with the statement of “Save Time Automatically”, for instance.
- One-liners should be confident. Expressing doubt (even if you have the answer in the text below) will make the reader carry that doubt through the page. If you want to bring up a question to answer, do so in the text, not the one-liners.
An example of a page that used these suggestions is caiu.compaid.com’s course detail page for Ellen Gottesdiener’s Roadmap to Success: Foundation for Requirements Development and Management:
The One-liners here follow the requirements well. Most provide actions for the visitor to take (Learn, Enroll) or on a positive statement that lets the visitor know that a desirable outcome is possible (Education That Fits Your Schedule, Our Promise To You, Built on “Real World” Knowledge). They also include the visitor with using ‘You’.
Part 3: All Text Has Purpose
A landing page has to tell a story; either a story about why a visitor should get involved with what you’re doing or purchase what you are selling. Everything on that page should point to the action you want a visitor to take.
The story can come in the form of testimonials from past users of your product or service, in data (graphs and such) that prove your product does what it says, or from explanative text describing your product or service and why it should be used.
Visitors are smart. They see when you are making empty claims and when you are being honest. Likewise they see if what you’re offering or selling is right for them or not. Keep these tips in mind:
- If you make a claim (this product will save you 50% in yearly upkeep cost), verify that claim. Show data that proves it, have a quote from an expert that confirms it, or explain your reasoning. If you can’t do any of those things, don’t include that claim.
- Describe the product or service in terms of how it applies to the visitor.
- Describe at least one element of product or service that makes it better than your competitors.
- Keep paragraphs of text short but powerful: you want enough to keep interested visitors reading but not so much that it seems imposing when a visitor first reaches your Landing Page.
Using the same example page as above (Ellen Gottesdiener’s Roadmap to Success: Foundation for Requirements Development and Management, we can see a claim made in a One-liner Heading: Built on “Real World” Knowledge. That’s a claim that needs to be verified for a visitor. Underneath the claim we see text that not only indicates why Ellen Gottesdiener has real world experience (hence her ‘Real World Knowledge’ included in the training), but certifications and associations from respected organizations. These organizations give CAI-U credibility in our claim, which in turn gives the course credibility to our visitors.
Of course there is a world more that goes into Landing Page Optimization. This post is meant to be a good starting point and to get you thinking about how to design your own pages. If you have any questions (or tips/input) please share, we are still learning too, after all.