Building a landing page is one of those problems that seems easy to do, but is incredibly difficult to do effectively. For the unfamiliar, a landing page is the page that a customer finds themselves on after being directed to your website, and it is perhaps the most important page on your website, only contested by the payment screen. The landing page is where potential conversions go after they have already been enticed by your content elsewhere, and they are going to decide within a few seconds if your website is worth your time. You had better be utilizing the best landing page elements available if you want to maximize click conversion.
The first thing that you need to remember when building your landing page is that most people seeing it are not convinced about buying your product yet. People click idly, and if what they are looking for is not visible within a few seconds, they are on to the next website. The landing page that caters best to the lowest attention span is the one that snatches up all these idle clicks and converts them into sales, so you need to make sure that yours is up to snuff. So, what are the best landing page elements?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive list of the best landing page elements. Landing pages are extremely unique to a product or service, and they cannot be built by checking a few boxes and calling it a day. The problem with defining the perfect landing page is that landing pages can have widely varying goals. If your landing page is intended to make a sale, you need to have an extremely punchy pitch encouraging that sale, and an extremely easy to see button that leads to an extremely easy to use checkout process. In the case of sales, one of the best landing page elements you can have is minimizing the scrolling and clicks that need to be done for a customer to give you their money.
Another type of landing page might be focused on signing people up for a free trial of a service, in which case the word “FREE” should be plastered everywhere, a big button should be present, and the trial should require as little signup time as possible. In this case, the most important design philosophy is to get out of the viewer’s way and show them that, yes, this trial is free, try it now without any hassle.
However, just because landing pages need to be unique to your website’s purpose does not mean that there are no guidelines. In fact, most good landing pages do have a few elements in common, regardless of their purpose.
The first and most essential element of a high converting landing page is a brief, attention grabbing headline. This should be positioned so as to draw the viewer’s eye immediately, and it should convey a message to them within a second. Ten to twenty words, and preferably closer to ten, is ideal for a landing page headline. The headline does not need to be fancy, it just needs to convey why a customer should choose you.
For example, if you are a weight loss website, something like “Look Great This Summer!” would be a strong headline. The headline, when positioned such that a customer can not help reading it when they enter your landing page, sets up the mental and emotional tone with which they read the rest of the content.
After the headline, a smaller subheadline should follow up with a persuasive argument. While the headline draws the eye and sets the emotional tone, the subheadline pitches your proposal. Subheadlines are still brief, but can be a little longer, a sentence or two at most. From the above example, the bolded headline of “Look Great This Summer” could be underscored by an unbolded line saying “Lose weight and feel great! Click here to find out how you can fit into your bikini this summer.”
The headline draws the eye and induces an emotional state, while the subheadline takes advantage of the emotional state to make an immediate call to action. Remember that this all needs to happen quickly; the decision to click on something is more of an emotional impulse than a calculated decision, and you do not have time for your potential customer to read a paragraph.
Because you are going for a quick, emotional reaction, pictures are essential for a landing page. The brain processes pictures subconsciously much more easily than it processes text, which means that pictures off to the side will subtly influence the viewer without their needing to be consciously aware of them. While the headline and center stage are occupied by your pitch and the button the customer needs to press, the sides should be occupied by large, colorful, happy images.
You can also place the image or images underneath the text, but this is more difficult to pull off because your text absolutely must be so easily readable that viewers read it without meaning to. In the example above of the weight loss landing page, happy, thin women in bikinis on the beach would be ideal for this. You want to reinforce your emotional message with this; they are imagining being happy because of weight loss, you show them pictures that reinforce this connection.
As you can see, designing a strong, high conversion landing page is all about psychology. While the best possible landing page is different for each and every website, all of the best landing page elements are derived from psychological impulses. Because clicking on a link is an emotional reaction for most people, your landing page needs to be instantly emotionally affecting such that you induce a click before the viewer gets bored and disengages in about two or three seconds. The most important thing to remember in landing page design is that most people viewing it will not be interested yet; your job is to interest them!