Landing page optimization is the fastest way to improve conversion rates.
If your landing pages aren’t optimized and running smoothly, your entire marketing funnel will break down.
In this crash course, we’ll cover everything you need to know about landing page optimization, show you some amazing pages, and take you through the most important tips for optimizing your own landing pages as quickly as possible.
If you want to increase your sales, cut your ad costs, and make more money, you’ll love this guide.
Let’s dive in.
What Is Landing Page Optimization?
Landing page optimization (LPO) is the process of improving the overall performance of a landing page (increasing sales, signups, clicks, etc.) by improving the various aspects of the page itself (copywriting, layout, load speed, etc.)
Landing pages are an essential part of any digital marketing campaign.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running paid advertising, driving organic traffic, or hustling on social media, ultimately, you’ll be funneling your audience through a landing page (or more than one) in order to make them customers.
Landing page conversion optimization is not a static activity or one-time action. It’s an ongoing process. You make a change, observe the new page’s performance, and then adjust based on the results. Sometimes you might make big changes or rewrite the page entirely, but more often, you will simply make smaller tweaks over time in an effort to marginally improve the page’s performance.
There’s a lot at stake here, so let’s dive into why this is so important.
Why Is Landing Page Optimization Important?
You can’t really run a digital marketing campaign without at least one landing page, and the initial version is just going to be a “best guess” in many ways. You don’t really know how good your page is until the sales numbers start rolling in.
So anytime you launch a campaign, you are going to have one or more imperfect landing pages that are integral to the performance of your entire campaign.
In that context, landing page optimization is a no-brainer.
Improve your landing page(s) and you improve your overall campaign.
But let’s get specific.
How EXACTLY does improving a landing page translate to wins for your business?
A. Acquire More Customers
By definition, making a landing page “better” means you are getting more signups or sales.
So optimizing your landing page is literally the equivalent of acquiring more customers via the same amount of traffic.
B. Make More Money
All things equal, more customers means more money. If your landing page is doing some heavy lifting for you, you are going to be making a lot more money than if it had just hit the gym.
C. Lower Your Customer Acquisition Costs
While the previous two benefits are pretty obvious, there’s another way that landing page optimization can have a huge impact on your marketing performance.
The relevance and quality of your landing pages has a direct correlation to your Quality Score (QS) on Google Ads, which is closely linked to your CPC. In fact, data shows that ad accounts with a QS of 6+ benefit from a 16-50% decrease in CPC, while those with a poor quality score pay up to 500% more per click.
If your ads aren’t engaging users, you’ll get charged more per acquisition — plain and simple. Or you might just not appear at all and risk losing out to a competitor that has optimized their landing pages.
D. Maximize The Value Of Your Ad Spend
While this is connected to the other benefits we’ve mentioned already, it’s another way of looking at it.
Having a great page that converts well means you are getting maximum value from your advertising spend.
When your landing page is poor, you can get amazing ad results and still have your campaign perform poorly. Every visitor who clicks through and then bounces due to a poor page is a waste that can be fixed with a better-optimized landing page.
Now that we understand why optimization is a big deal, let’s take a look at a few great landing page examples to see what we’re aiming for.
6 Examples Of Great Landing Pages
If you want to dive deep into every single way you can improve a landing page, check out our exhaustive 47-point landing page checklist here.
For the purposes of this crash course, we’re going to focus on the most important items that give you the biggest bang for your buck.
The most critical aspects of your landing page are as follows:
- A powerful headline that grabs the audience’s attention and sparks their interest
- Persuasive copy that highlights your offer’s unique value proposition
- Clean, minimal design that makes it as easy as possible for a visitor to convert
- A strong CTA that incorporates persuasive elements
The following landing pages do a great job of nailing these critical components and provide a great idea of what you should be aiming for in optimizing your own pages.
1. Hubspot’s Social Media Workbook Landing Page
Hubspot’s content minions are the Jedis of lead generation, so it’s no surprise that they feature on this list. While there’s not a lot of information on their social media workbook landing page, that’s precisely WHY it works.
Hubspot’s landing page is clean, straightforward, and intuitive. Within a very short timeframe, the user knows exactly what Hubspot is offering — a Beginner’s Guide to Social Media — and the next steps to take. The call-to-action is simple, but by highlighting the fact that the eBook is free, Hubspot leaves little reason for visitors NOT to convert.
And for those that aren’t quite sold and keep scrolling, Hubspot also has a list of outcomes and a preview of the eBook contents:
2. Spotify’s Homepage
Like Hubspot, Spotify’s homepage is clean, intuitive, and straightforward. The page clearly states the benefit the user’s going to receive: access millions of songs, no matter what their taste is. The bright, simple background ensures nothing detracts from the main message — while also injecting a bit of their brand’s fun-loving brand personality.
When it comes to the CTA, Spotify also instantly removes any barriers to conversion by adding that users can get Spotify for free, with no credit card needed.
3. Dollar Shave Club Homepage
Dollar Shave Club… not again!
You’ve seen this brand in countless case studies, but they recently updated their website and unsurprisingly, it’s a banger!
The new value proposition focuses on answering the question, “Will this work for me?”
And in addition to focusing the copy in that direction, you can see by clicking here that the header background is a video that cycles through all sorts of people with wildly different types of hair… illustrating visually that this razor is designed for YOU even if you feel you have a unique hair situation.
4. Jacob McMillen’s Sales Page
If nobody reads your page, the quality of your copy doesn’t matter. That’s why a powerful headline is so important to suck readers in and get them to engage with your page.
The above example from one of Jacob McMillen’s sales pages shows how you can use a key audience pain point to command attention.
By pairing the pain point focused headline with benefit-focused subheadlines, he’s created the perfect context to reel readers into his full sales page.
5. Brightland Homepage
The food industry is all about using content to make the sale, and Brightland’s homepage does this perfectly. Brightland’s landing page showcases their clean olive oil front and center in a beautiful photo, while also highlighting the product’s local roots in California and its ethical production with the copy.
On top of having a call to action to shop and a banner highlighting their complimentary shipping for orders over $60, Brightland includes a newsletter pop-up on their page:
With only one field to fill out and an incentive to win a $100 Visa gift card, Brightland’s pop-up is a near-frictionless newsletter sign-up form that fuels lead gen and inches visitors closer on the path to conversion.
6. Coursera Homepage
Coursera’s landing page is all about inspiring people to achieve success through education. The aspirational headline taps into the visitor’s desire to grow and develop, while the partner logos from Google, IBM, and Duke University add credibility to the platform.
Combined with the call-to-action to join for free, this landing page is a powerful tool to encourage sign-ups to the Coursera platform.
18 Tips For Landing Page Optimization
Now that we know what you’re aiming for, how do you optimize your landing page?
This process can range from fairly simple to wildly complex. If you want to dive into the deep end, check out our introduction to conversion rate optimization.
For our crash course, however, we want to provide some simpler, more immediately applicable tips to help you get results fast!
1. Double Check That You’ve Got The Basics Right
Common mistakes, such as long page load times, broken links, or typos, can have a huge impact on your conversion rate.
Before you start testing and tweaking, run a quick check to ensure that you’ve ticked all the landing page best practices:
- Check for typos. Typos are a HUGE credibility killer. A landing page with spelling errors has an 85% higher bounce rate than those that are mistake-free. To eradicate any errors, read your page aloud, ask a friend to check it, or do a quick run through Grammarly.
- Check your page speed. Why? From Google itself: “If it takes too long for your website to load when someone clicks on your ad, they’re more likely to give up and leave your website. This unwelcome behavior can signal to Google that your landing page experience is poor, which could negatively impact your Ad Rank.”
- Focus on one offer. Having multiple discounts on your landing page is confusing for visitors, and can decrease conversion rate by 266%, according to BLULEADZ. Keep the message simple, and create one landing page per offer.
- Optimize it for the device. Mobile accounts for more than half of all web traffic. If your landing page is optimized for desktop but a significant chunk of visitors land on your page on mobile, you risk diluting your message — and losing out on potential leads.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
Landing page design is all about connecting with the user and getting your value across as quickly as possible. To do this, you need to craft your landing page in a way that resonates with your target customer and is intuitive for their online browsing habits.
Most brands think they know their target audience. But when it’s time to design a landing page, they design it for themselves — not their customer. After all, the way you would structure a landing page for a 27-year-old office worker shouldn’t be the same for a 50-year-old mother of two.
Run a survey to get to know your existing customers. Ask them who they are, learn about their browsing habits, and find out why they’re using your product. These are insights you can’t get from analytics, but they’re invaluable to building powerful landing pages that convert.
3. Consider The Customer Journey
Your landing page doesn’t exist in isolation. It’s part of a broader customer journey, which needs to be taken into account when designing and tweaking your page.
The language and proof points you would use to speak to a completely new visitor is different to the way you would communicate with someone who has visited your site multiple times, and is on the fence about converting.
Try to look at your page with fresh eyes. Better yet, enlist someone who is in your target audience to look at it, give them the same amount of context that your user has, and ask:
- What messages cut through?
- What is unclear or doesn’t make sense?
- Is this offer compelling to you?
- What could be added to strengthen the page?
You might find you’ve completely overlooked a piece of information, or that your offer doesn’t make sense for the user at that point in time. After that, you can start testing different copy based on these insights.
4. Match The Message To The Purchase Intent
If you’re bringing visitors to your landing page from a PPC campaign, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure your message matches the purchase intent of your ad groups and their keywords.
While a generic landing page might do a decent job, a landing page that’s relevant to a user’s search intent will do a better job of encouraging your audience to convert.
Let’s say you’re a used car sales company, and a visitor has clicked through to your ad after searching for “cheap used cars in Oklahoma”. You could use a generic landing page, which lists all of your best-selling cars, regardless of the price range. Or you could show the user exactly what they’re looking for by preemptively filtering the search to cars under $5,000 — and improve your chances of converting the sale.
Always consider the keywords and purchase intent behind those keywords. Run A/B tests to see which messages resonate best with different ad groups, then apply these learnings moving forward. This simple action will have a huge impact on your conversion rate.
5. Focus, Focus, Focus
You can literally test anything: your headline copy, button placement, image choice, page length, testimonials….and the list goes on.
With so many possibilities, it’s incredibly easy to get lost — or to get carried away testing whether an exclamation point increases conversions by 0.0000001%.
If you’re just getting started, focus on the low hanging fruit first. Some of the most common elements that you can test include:
- Header image
- Headline copy
- Different types of imagery
- Adding in social proof
- Sign-up form length
6. Use A Heat Map
Heat maps help you gain insight into user behavior on your landing page by showing you:
- Where users click
- Where users move their mouse cursor
- How far users scroll down the page
By looking at where users click and browse on a landing page, you can identify, address and optimize landing page performance based on actual user behavior. For example, if you a lot of users are clicking on an “About Us” link in the navbar instead of signing up, you might need to provide a bit more context on who you are on the landing page.
7. Only Test One Change At A Time
It’s easy to get carried away with all the different elements you can test and jump into testing everything. But as that old saying goes, when you try to do everything, you end up doing nothing.
If you test multiple elements at the same time and end up with a higher conversion rate, it’s hard to pinpoint which changes worked. Like a science experiment in school, focus on only A/B testing one thing at a time.
Pick an element to test, such as your headline copy. Change that part and that part only, while keeping everything else exactly the same. Once you’ve tested this, review the findings, implement them, and move on to the next one. It’s more time consuming, but it’s the most accurate and reliable way to test and optimize.
8. Focus On Content Above The Fold
The fold is the cut-off point on a web page based on the bottom of the browser. Any content that appears when you open the page is ‘above the fold’, and any content a user needs to scroll to is classified as ‘below the fold’.
While the concept of the fold is a bit outdated for mobile, the general principle remains the same: you should focus on first impressions first.
The content that appears when a user initially lands on your page (without scrolling) matters the most, so focus on testing and optimizing this part first and foremost. After you’ve got that locked down, play around with different ways to encourage scrolling.
One of the best ways to do this is to crop images at the fold, so visitors intuitively want to keep reading. Adobe does this really well with their Creative Cloud landing page:
9. Always Test With An Objective Or Hypothesis In Mind
Running with that science experiment analogy, it’s essential to have a goal or a hypothesis in mind before running your tests.
Sure, the end-game is to increase your landing page conversion rate. However, there are a lot of elements that go into locking down that conversion.
If your bounce rate is high, you’re paying for clicks but your message isn’t landing. If you’re getting a lot of traffic and have a good bounce rate but your users aren’t converting, it might be because your landing page copy isn’t strong enough.
Start every test by defining your objective and your hypothesis.
If your objective is to decrease the bounce rate, your hypothesis might be that a solution-focused headline will have a lower bounce rate than an offer-based headline.
This provides structure to every test you run, and also informs the next point…
10. Set KPIs Based On Key Metrics You’re Measuring
It should go without saying: When you’re testing any part of your page, you need to track the results.
Check that all your conversion goals are set up in Google Analytics before optimizing your campaign. While a lead or sale might be the final objective or your landing page, there are a number of other KPIs that matter. You might want to measure the number of people who added a product to your cart, clicked on the contact us form, or subscribed to your newsletter.
For every test, have a list of metrics that you’ll be tracking, including primary and secondary KPIs, and your target.
Once the test is over, review the outcome and ask yourself:
- Did you hit your goal? Why/why not?
- Were there other unexpected effects on other metrics as a result of the test?
- What insights can you glean from the results?
- What learnings will you apply for next time?
11. Play With Your Headline Copy
Your headline is the single most important piece of copy on the page. In fact, it’s so important that we’ve written an entire post on writing killer landing page headlines.
If you’re only going to test one piece of copy on your entire page, this is it.
Your headline is your chance to connect with your audience and entice them to keep reading. If your headline doesn’t do its job, the rest of the content doesn’t matter.
Make sure your headline is clear and simple. Experiment with different types: play with the length, test out different value propositions to see which has the strongest impact, or lead with numbers and statistics.
Another element to test is the inclusion of a subheading. Create one version of your landing page with a subheading that conveys more information, and compare it to one without — then see which delivers better results.
12. Test The Use Of Imagery And Color
Visual elements are a great way to engage users, and communicate vital information in a limited timeframe.
The best way to illustrate this is to take a look at the Shopify and Squarespace websites side by side:
Although both websites offer similar products, Shopify’s website speaks more to small business owners with the use of a person, while Squarespace is designed to resonate with a design-oriented audience.
Test different types of images to see which resonate best with your visitors. Another option is to ditch the image altogether and replace it with a plain color background like the Hubspot and Spotify examples we shared earlier.
13. Incorporate Social Proof
People want to feel reassured about purchasing something. They want to buy a product or sign up for a service that others have tried, tested, and vetted.
The best way to do this?
Validate their decision-making.
Testimonials, case studies, and reviews are incredibly persuasive conversion tools. They add to your credibility and reinforce the value of your product or service. A simple thing like incorporating a testimonial on your landing page can work wonders on your conversion rate.
There are a few ways you can incorporate social proof into your post, and it’s worth testing different forms of social proof to see which one drives the most conversions.
Social proof can take numerous forms:
- Reviews or ratings
- Data like your number of subscribers, customers served, or happy clients
- Brands you’ve worked with
- Popups saying someone just bought
There are many possibilities. You just want to communicate, “Hey other people like us, so you probably will too.”
14. Speed It Up Even More
According to Neil Patel, a 1-second delay on a landing page can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions. In other words, when there’s an opportunity to make your landing page faster, you should do it.
Even if you think your page loads fast already, you can probably speed it up even more. However, you don’t want to compromise design completely. A/B testing can help you balance great design with optimized site speed.
Create a new landing page and see what happens if you:
- Replace videos with images
- Reduce the number of images on your page
- Play with the size of your images
- Cut down or remove animations
At some stage, you’ll hit a point of diminishing returns where removing extra design elements has a minimal impact on your page performance. That’s the sweet spot.
15. Try Exit Intent Pop-ups
Exit-intent pop-ups appear when a user tries to leave the page. Here’s an example of one in action from Behappy.me:
Exit pop-ups are a great tool to increase your landing page conversion rate. They’re far less intrusive than pop-ups that appear as soon as a user lands on your site while offering the same benefit: lead generation and data capture.
Use a combination of a strong headline, dedicated offer or discount, and CTA text to incentivize users to click through or sign up for your newsletter.
16. Test Different Form Lengths
Nobody likes filling out long forms. Nobody. The simple act of removing a few fields on your sign-up form can have a big impact on the number of conversions you get.
Just take a look at this graph by Quicksprout:
If your form field is currently sitting at 6 fields, removing a couple of fields could improve your conversion rate by 4.5%.
Revisit your form, and think about the information you really need from your visitor. Cut or consolidate any unnecessary fields (i.e. merge “first name” and “last name” field into one “Full Name” field) or simplify it all the way down to one field for the email address.
17. Make Your Call-To-Action Clear
The last thing you want is to build a landing page that’s beautifully designed with impactful copy, only to fall short when it comes to the CTA.
When it comes to your CTA, it pays off to be as clear and directive as possible. This isn’t the time to beat around the bush: if you want them to buy from you, say it in your CTA. If you want them to sign up, say it.
Power words, like “free” or “now”, can also have a big impact on conversions. If you have a subscription platform with a free trial, test out one CTA with “Join now” and one with “Join for free” to see which performs better.
Another element to test is the inclusion of a line of copy below the CTA button. For example, if a user has to sign up for a free trial, adding “No credit card required” gives them the extra push they need to hit that button and convert. Here’s an example in action from Sprout Social:
18. Always Be Testing
What’s the difference between a landing page that’s a conversion machine and one that delivers average results?
Landing page testing.
You hear about testing all the time in PPC because it’s the single most important element of optimizing campaigns for ROI and ad spend. But you can’t forget to test the landing page as well.
Testing can be an endless rabbit hole, but there are three main areas we recommend starting with:
- Page Length
- Design Clarity
It’s often hard to predict how page length will affect your conversion rate. It’s usually great to start with a short page, as that’s the lowest cost to produce and then expand from there, looking to see if the increased length increases or decreases your conversion rate.
The second area you should focus on is your copywriting. Is the message clear? Are you covering the points that need to be covered? Are you wasting the reader’s time on things that don’t need to be mentioned?
The third area is the design clarity. When you look at the page, is it obvious to you what comes next? Can you clearly see where you are supposed to go? Are there unnecessary distractions that can be removed? Are there missing pieces that need to be added?
Test. Review the results. Digest the insights. Apply the changes.
Rinse and repeat.
Time To Take Action
As cliche as it sounds, the fact is you’ll never know what works until you put it to the test. So get out there and start putting your landing page optimization skills to work.
Still not sure what to test?
That’s okay we’ve got you covered – download our free list with 33 landing page testing ideas.
Have questions about what you just read or want to learn more about landing page optimization? Leave a comment below or request a free proposal and let us take of everything for you.
Luke is in love with all things digital marketing. He’s obsessed with PPC, landing page design, and conversion rate optimization. Luke claims he “doesn’t even lift,” but he looks more like a professional bodybuilder than a PPC nerd. He says all he needs is a pair of glasses to fix that. We’ll let you be the judge.
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