Landing Page Mistakes: Stop Confusing Visitors
Online marketing is a tough business, don't you agree? You have swarms of other marketers trying to steal your prospects (and your current customers, in some cases) away from you. You have to compete with the overwhelming number of marketing and advertising messages your prospect encounters every day, making him numb and indifferent (even hostile) to all but the most persuasive marketing efforts.
So it's critically important that you have and properly use every marketing tool you need.
One of the most valuable online marketing tools you can invest in is an easy-to-set-up, conversion-optimized landing page. Whether you are “selling” a prospect on signing up for your latest webinar, near the top of the B2B sales funnel, or you are close to the end of the sales cycle and persuading him to pull out his credit card and buy your product NOW, landing pages are an indispensable marketing tool.
This stuff matters!
Properly optimize the different elements of your landing pages – individually and as a hard working group - and you have a solid addition to your online marketing tactics. Neglect any aspect of optimization, and your efforts can fall woefully short. Just like one weak link can cause an otherwise strong chain to break, a poorly set up landing page can cause your online marketing results to plummet and may even put you out of business.
In other articles, we've talked extensively about online marketing best practices. We've also discussed potentially serious mistakes that can have a negative effect on online marketing messages, including your landing pages. These include copy and content paragraphs and sentences that are too long, too difficult to read, or messages that are primarily focused on the company and its product instead of the reader.
Today we'll focus on mistakes that can kill your landing page effectiveness and ruin your marketing results.
So what are some landing page mistakes that can put a serious damper on your conversion rates? Keep reading; we'll discuss them in a moment. But first, let's talk about the landing page's function in your marketing strategy, and look at it from your reader's perspective.
By the way, this last bit is important to your broader marketing success and not just for the success of your landing pages. As you are reviewing and analyzing your marketing “infrastructure” - the pieces and as a whole, think of it from your reader's perspective.
What are his hopes and dreams? What problem does he face that you can solve for him? What are his doubts and objections to buying from you? What distracts him when he's looking at your marketing messages? This is vitally important, especially in relation to your landing pages.
People online are typically busy. Their attention spans are short to begin with. They have a lot of things competing for their attention, online and offline – cell phones, family, other webpages besides yours, the latest crisis at work, etc.
As a marketer, this puts you in a challenging situation. It's your job, fair or not, to keep and hold your reader's attention and interest. This is extra important with your landing pages, because you are trying to get them to convert, to take a specific step. It's at this point that lots of prospects drop out of the process and abandon the marketing funnel you worked so hard to guide them into.
So your landing pages have to be “dialed in”. Every facet has to be optimized. They have to keep the reader's attention long enough to get him to take action – i.e., to CONVERT!
Confusion Kills Conversions!
Here are some landing page mistakes you must avoid
Your written message needs to be crystal clear to your reader. It must be obvious to him what you want him to do, and what you are offering him. Is it a white paper? It it a free consultation? Are you trying to get him to take out his credit card and buy something? If so, exactly what is it?
Note well – confusion kills conversions. If your content (the actual words you use, the way they are arranged, the way they interact with your design elements) is confusing to your reader, chances are he will give up.
Giving your landing page reader too many choices
While we're on the topic of things that confuse the reader, remember this: When you are trying to close a sale (this applies to an online conversion too), don't offer your reader more than one item or product at a time.
Have you ever been to a restaurant that had dozens of menu choices? Many, if not all of us have. Did you, in that situation find yourself feeling confused, stressed out and unable to decide what to order?
Compare this to the times when you went to a restaurant that had only a handful of menu items. You probably found it much easier to make up your mind there, compared to the place with the myriad of confusing choices.
What's the takeaway for us as online marketers using landing pages? Your prospect is already under stress, and probably feeling at least a little confusion because you're asking him to make a decision. The stress is multiplied if you are asking him to take out his credit card and give you money.
Don't add to his stress and confusion by offering him too many choices on your landing page. Use your landing page to offer only one thing, even if your company has thousands of products, webinars, case studies or white papers.
Copy that's too long...or too short
In online marketing, there's a lot of “conventional wisdom” that's frequently dead wrong! “Email marketing is dead”. “Don't email your list more than once a week”. “All you need is social media”. “Every marketer needs a Facebook page” and on and on and on...
Well here's another piece of conventional wisdom that you need to ignore: “Copy and content always need to be short”. Ummm...No! How long should landing page copy be? There's no set answer to this question that fits neatly into every marketing situation.
There are times when you need short copy. There are times you need long copy. So the answer is “It depends”. Depends on what? Many factors. For example: Is this a B2B or B2C marketing environment? Is this a top of funnel sales message, like a white paper signup? Or is this a bottom of funnel call to action like “Please call today to speak to a member of our expert team?”
Are you trying to persuade the reader to take his credit card out of his wallet and buy your expensive product? Are you trying to get him to buy an inexpensive product?
All of these factors, and many more, should determine the length of your landing page's message.
Here's a solid, reliable rule of thumb to follow, for B2B or B2C marketing: If you are trying to get your landing page visitor to convert for something that doesn't involve a large commitment on his part and doesn't require him to make a purchase, keep your copy brief. If you are trying to persuade him to accept a larger commitment, including making a purchase online, make your copy longer.
Make your message as long as you need to to “state your case”. Don't tell your prospect to give you money until you have given him plenty of reasons why it's to his benefit to do so.
Photos that add nothing of value to your sales message
We've all seen those lame, boring, fake-looking stock photos on business websites, photos that had nothing to do with the written content of the site. Photos that look like they were just being used to fill up empty space.
You may have even seen them on landing pages before. Did they make you want to do business with the company that used them in their online marketing? Probably not.
Here's some advice you can bank on – don't use these types of photos on your landing pages. They will do little or nothing to persuade people to buy from you. Indeed they may instead distract your landing page visitor at a critical time when you can't afford for him to be distracted!
Avoid generic stock photos that have nothing to do with your sales message. Avoid confusing “busy” graphics of any sort. Remember what we said earlier: Confusion Kills Conversions!
Landing pages, done the right way, are a tool that can be an great addition to your online marketing “toolbox”. They can be really useful when you combine landing page best practices, including care to avoid costly mistakes, with a state of the art landing page template designed for an awesome user experience and engineered to increase conversions. Lander is happy to offer these landing page templates to marketers like you. And we are ecstatic to let you try them out for free!