3 ways to make your landing pages deliver

Make your landing pages deliver.

Email marketing campaigns can have many goals; one being conversion. You want your readers to click a link, go to a specific page and perform a specific action. These actions should take place on a Landing Page – a page you send readers to that is specific to the email content, not just another page on your site.

How do you design a landing page that delivers? Try the following 3 methods.

1 – Determine your desired action, then make a wire frame.

When setting up a landing page, you (should) have specific goals in mind. Before you jump right into the design, take a little time to decide on what your targeted goals are and if they have any specific hierarchy. Also, determine if you need a page for each link or subject area in the email. It will be counterproductive to send someone to a page with too many calls to action or options; it dilutes the effectiveness of the landing page.

Make a list of your goals, prioritize them (primary, secondary, tertiary) and then design your page. However, before jumping right into design, try developing a wire frame first. Wire framing is a quick and effective way to visually plan the layout of your page.

Once you have your list and are ready to develop your wire frame, it’s time to start thinking about callouts. A callout is a specified area of a page designed to highlight specific information and its subsequent call to action. Consider which callouts are the most important and what real estate they will occupy within the layout. There are a few guides for this: the “F layout”, the “backwards S”, etc. They basically refer to the way the average eye will navigate the information on a page.

Because, in this culture, we generally read left to right and have a short attention span, the F layout tends to work very well. The idea is to place the most important information in the areas of an “F”, the horizontal lines of the F being the most desired real estate. Read F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content for more on this.

2 – Determine which design elements from your website need to convey and which do not.

Design is important and the look of your page will determine a good deal of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, many designers will play it safe here and use the style guide of the existing site as their only guide for the look of the landing page. But some of these elements may not need to convey and some may actually hurt conversion.

Consider imagery, color, layout, and textures – all of the same things you take into account when developing a regular website homepage. The role of design elements is to lead the eye to targeted content and drive a user to take action. For example, your website may not have a bright red submit button on any of its forms but for the purposes of your landing page, a red button might just do the trick. Or there might be images that do not appear on your site but would make lots of sense on the landing page. Get the picture?

When designing this page, keep in mind that conversion is the goal and key to the success of your landing page. Branding is important and consistency will play some role, but conversion is how you are measuring the success of your campaign. So, be sure that all design elements, while attractive and appropriate, draw the reader in and move them to action.

3. Try a little A/B testing. The results will prove beyond valuable.

A/B testing is pretty simple and straightforward. Test your landing pages in two groups, group A and group B. Test them simultaneously and be prepared to track the results. From there, determine which works best and proceed accordingly.

For a landing page, set up 2 versions: Version A and Version B. If you’ve used landing pages in the past and did a relatively consistent layout for all of them, then use this layout as Version A (the control). For Version B, change the layout and adjust the placement of your callouts and the wording of your call to action items. When you have these 2 layouts ready and live as landing pages, then divide your email distribution list (or some portion of it) into 2 groups (your email marketing consultant will be able to help with this). Send Email Group A the email with links to Landing Page A and Group B to Landing Page B. Then using your campaign monitoring or web site analytics, see which landing page performs better and provides higher conversion rates.

Be patient and give it a little time for the results to come in completely. Once you have a good data set of statistics on each layout, take the time to analyze everything and make some decisions. Review which callouts produced conversions and which ones failed. If you have multiple callouts, you might get a mixed bag of results where some callouts did well on A and others did better on B. Either way, determine which layout elements performed the best and use this to set up your final landing page for your next email campaign drop.

Taking some time to prepare a Landing Page correctly will prove very valuable and provide the conversions needed for your business to succeed. Design is important, layout matters, content and wording is key and colors make a difference. Good luck!

Jon-Mikel Bailey
President, CMO, Wood Street, Inc.

Jon is President and CMO for Wood Street, Inc., a web and mobile design, development and SEO firm in Maryland. Jon blogs regularly on the Wood Street blog and speaks at area chambers and organizations on SEO, design, web content and Social Media. Jon is also a huge WhatCounts fan!

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