Presented on March 13, 2014
Well-designed and structured landing pages are absolutely essential for the success of any paid media campaign. By giving careful thought to each element of a landing page and designing with lead generation and the buyer journey in mind, paid advertising campaigns can yield impressive conversion and sales.
During this webinar, Jenny DeGraff, Design Optimization Manager at Marketing Mojo, will use successful, real-life landing page optimization case studies to discuss best practices and how they were implemented for better results.
Kari: Good, I think we’re ready to get started now. Hello, everyone, thank you for joining us for today’s webinar, “The Secrets of Landing Page Success: Optimization Best Practices and Case Studies.” I’m Kari Rippetoe, Content Marketing Manager at Marketing Mojo, and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar.
Before we get started, I just have a few reminders. Firstly, a recording of this webinar will be made available to everyone who registered and will be sent via email by Monday at the latest. Also, we encourage you to tweet about today’s presentation using the hashtag #mojowebinar. Plus, you can also follow us on Twitter @marketingmojo.
Today I’ll be talking with Jenny DeGraff, Design Optimization Manager at Marketing Mojo. She has a BFA in graphic design and a background in project management and design for higher education, nonprofit, small business, and medical publishing. Jenny has a passion for marketing and brings a creative eye and an analytical mind to her optimization and design approach, leveraging her expertise in design strategy, project management, and conversion optimization to develop well-crafted, intuitive user experiences that lead to improved demand generation.
A little bit about Marketing Mojo. We were originally founded as Search Mojo in 2005 and were a full-service, data-driven digital marketing and demand generation agency, helping marketers to achieve their online marketing goals through search marketing, paid media, content marketing, and marketing automation. Marketing Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs and we also speak at several conferences, including SMX, MarketingProfs, B2B Forum, DemandCon, and Pubcon. We work with a variety of brands in the B2B, B2C, and nonprofit sectors. Now, before we get into some of the landing page case studies we have for you today, Jenny is going to start out by giving us a brief primer on landing pages and their importance.
Jenny: Thanks, Kari. So, to clarify, all landing pages are web pages, but not all web pages are landing pages, if that makes sense. Today we are specifically addressing landing pages that are not part of a website. Instead, they are web pages whose sole purpose is to drive users towards your intended conversion action.
There are two basic types of landing pages: click-through and lead generation. Click-through pages have the goal of persuading the visitor to click through to another page. Typically used in e-commerce funnels, they can be used to describe a product or an offer in detail before sending them further down the sales funnel.
Landing pages, on the other hand, are used to capture user data, such as a name and e-mail address. The sole purpose of the page is to collect information that will allow you to market to and connect with the prospect at a later time. As such, a lead capture page will contain a form along with a description of what you will get in return for submitting your personal data.
So what’s the benefit of using a dedicated landing page? Every click from every digital marketing campaign, whether it’s from PPCs, social media advertising, or e-mail marketing has to land somewhere, and where those clicks land has the ability to influence whether or not they land and leave or land and take action. So, it’s the best way to control your visitor’s first impression.
Landing pages also generate more leads for you. Since action is the ultimate success metric for any campaign, why wouldn’t you want to maximize the number of visitors who land and take action? A report from Omnisure shows that digital advertising campaigns that utilize landing pages typically see a conversion rate improvement of at least 20%, and testing can double that number. On top of that, studies from HubSpot show a direct correlation between the number of landing pages and improvements in lead generation.
Increase your number of landing pages from less than five to more than 30 and you’ll generate seven times more leads. But even if you don’t have the bandwidth to produce thirty or more landing pages, just increasing the number of landing pages from 10 to 15 can yield a 55% increase in leads.
So, now that you see why it’s worth the effort to create landing pages, please note that it’s equally as important to optimize and improve your landing pages. If you incorporate good landing page design principles, you can reach these levels of performance and perhaps even better.
Kari: Great. Thanks, Jenny. So let’s actually look at some landing page case studies now. Our first one is a B2B technology company, which is called VaultLogix, and they provide cloud backup and data protection services. Now, for the campaigns that we were running, Jenny, what was the page they used originally?
Jenny: So, they original page was a free trial offer page that was accessible through their site’s navigation.
Kari: And what was the primary goal for this landing page?
Jenny: VaultLogix wanted to introduce their 14-day free trial offer to their visitors and try to get them to actually sign up for that.
Kari: It seems that there is a lot going on here. What were the major drawbacks of using this page that were preventing it from achieving this goal?
Jenny: There were actually many downsides to this page, starting with the fact that it is a page on their website. Because it was, there is all of their navigation at the top and then all of their footer links at the bottom. There is a call to action at the top to contact sales through an e-mail and also to make that phone call. There are actually other offers on this page. You can see on the left-hand side that they are asking you to get a price estimate as well. There are links to the latest news and to their social profiles. These are all unnecessary leak points where you could potentially lose your customer. So, they leak out away from your page. There are also just chunks of text. A lot of people won’t actually read large blocks of text like that. In addition to that, the form is really long and it also starts almost below the fold but then continues well below it.
Lastly, the call to action button is barely even visible and it’s not actually clear what they will actually get by submitting the form, which is the text on the button. It’s not very actionable or enticing, for that matter. I’d have to mention that they did one thing well. They did include some trust symbols at the bottom. But they are way, way below the fold because of the placement of the form.
Kari: Okay. You mention that this was a page that was actually a part of their website, so that ended up being pretty much the main reason why this landing page just wasn’t working for them, correct?
Jenny: Yeah, that definitely has a huge factor on it. The other items definitely contribute to the lack of success that you would have with the page.
Kari: Okay, so now let’s look at the challenger. Dramatic change here. Jenny, can you walk us through the changes that you made to improve this landing page?
We also encapsulated the form so that it drew more visual interest in and reduced the form fields pretty much by half. We also made the call to action button more actionable and let the user know, again, iterating what they are getting if they submit the form and just giving it a little bit more attention by making it brighter and shinier. Then we pared down the content to just the most important facts, bulleted them, made them really easy to read and digest. Lastly, we added an interesting, relevant image.
Kari: Great. So after these dramatic changes that you made, what were the results of this landing page makeover?
Jenny: So we were able to increase conversions, which were the free trial requests, by 202%.
Kari: That’s a huge improvement in conversions. So then, what would you say are the key optimization takeaways from this?
Jenny: The key takeaways are: take your landing page off your website, strip out your navigation, message match your headline, isolate and simplify your form, draw attention to your call to action button, make it really clear what folks are going to get, and include relevant imagery and easily digestible content.
Kari: Great. Thank you. And so now, let’s move on to our next case study, which is a retail one. Southern States is an agricultural supply cooperative and they have over 1200 retail store locations nationwide. In this case, their landing page was actually their homepage, right?
Jenny: That is correct. Initially, they were using their home page to send visitors who were conducting branded searches in Google and any search specifically for the Southern States brand.
Kari: So then whenever people were conducting these searches for Southern States on Google, they click through, they’d land on this page. What did Southern States really want them to do on this page?
Jenny: Ultimately Southern States wanted visitors to complete one of four primary conversion actions. Those are using the store locator, using the store microsites, downloading coupons, and their current ad.
Kari: So, given what Southern States wanted people to do on this page, once they click through, was this actually helping to achieve those goals for them?
Jenny: Well, Kari, can you tell me where you can actually find those conversion actions on this page?
Kari: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, there is so much going on here. Where can you actually find it and how is the customer supposed to know where the top KPIs for Southern States are on this page?
Jenny: So this is a classic example of why you shouldn’t use your home page as your landing page for any campaign. There are going to be multiple messages, products, options, not to mention links to navigations that all will draw your visitor away from your conversion action and just generally create a confusing environment where they’re just not going to find what they want and ultimately what you want them to convert on.
Kari: So then what did you do to boil it down and help Southern States to achieve their goals?
Jenny: So you see on the challenger page, which really wasn’t so much a challenge, as just we simplified the home page. We didn’t redesign the home page, we just simplified. We created a simplified version of it for use on these campaigns, just focusing specifically on those main four KPIs. We stripped out the navigation and all of the other distractions and offers and just created a simple, clean, visual hierarchy to get people to take one of those actions. If they happen not to actually want to do any of those items, they can get back to the home page through our little escape hatch at the bottom.
Kari: So after this major redesign, and again, just to clarify, we did not redesign the home page, just a stand-alone landing page, right Jenny?
Jenny: That’s right.
Kari: Right, okay. So the results of this makeover?
Jenny: We were able to achieve a 40% lift in overall conversions. Now, that just all in general. But with their specific KPIs, their store locator saw a 24% lift, the microsite a 42% lift in use, coupons saw an 86% increase in conversions, and then the current ad downloads saw a whopping 412% improvement.
Kari: That’s excellent. So, I think, and I can venture a guess what the big takeaway from this makeover was, but Jenny, what would you say is the key optimization takeaway here?
Jenny: Don’t use your homepage for your campaigns.
Kari: Well said, well said. So, moving on to our third case study today, LexisNexis. They are a global provider of many types of workflow solutions for legal professionals. But in this case, we’re talking about MedMal Navigator, which is a legal research tool for medical malpractice cases. Jenny, tell us about the primary goal of this landing page.
Jenny: This landing page was an introduction to the MedMal Navigator interactive tool.
Kari: And where exactly did this page reside?
Jenny: This is another case of using a page on the website.
Kari: So, again, what would be the major drawbacks to using this page? I mean, we’ve already talked about why you shouldn’t use a page that’s part of your website, so what were the major drawbacks to achieving the goals of this page?
Jenny: To reiterate the reasons not to use a page on your website: it’s primarily the navigation and just the leak points that exist. There are actually even more on this site than the last one that we showed. There are additional product offerings at the bottom of the page, there are social buttons in the footer and along the side.
In addition to just having the issue with this page being on the site, this page just had way too much information. It is just an information overload. We have blocks of text at the top of the page. We have even more text within multiple tabs of content at the bottom. They did a good job including customer testimonials, but they’re so far down the page that you probably won’t even find them.
They also didn’t really call out the button in the form and make it useful and give it enough attention. It uses the same red as really every other link on the page, so it just kind of blends in to the background. They also didn’t give very much attention to the useful product images, the things that people actually probably want to see. There is a little bit of attention given, but just not near enough.
Kari: So, then, given all of that, what changes did you make to improve this page?
Jenny: So, on our challenger page, we significantly reduced the amount of copy on the page and actually made the primary focus less on the copy and more on a product demo video so that you could actually spend time walking through how this product worked, because it is a complicated product. Then, we took what copy we do include on the page and bulleted out a little bit more so it’s a little bit easier to skim through. We also made the button a contrasting color from the rest of the page and made it actionable.
Kari: And the results of this makeover?
Jenny: A 203% improvement in conversion rate.
Kari: Yes, so that’s an excellent result. So, what would be the primary key optimization takeaways from this?
Jenny: Reduce the amount of copy whenever possible and test video. It can have significant improvements. But it is really important to test that versus those product images.
Kari: Okay, great. And today’s last case study is a nonprofit. Share Our Strength fights to end childhood hunger in America and their bake sale for their No Kid Hungry initiative encourages people to hold bake sales in their communities to raise money and awareness for childhood hunger. So, Jenny, the bake sale initiative was actually the primary goal for this landing page?
Jenny: Yes, that is right. We really wanted to encourage folks to learn a little bit about the bake sale and then register to host a bake sale.
Kari: So this landing page was already being used for existing campaigns, correct?
Jenny: That’s correct. We had created just a standard desktop landing page for use in our Google and Facebook campaigns.
Kari: Okay so in this particular case, the changes that we made we actually decided to make it responsive, correct?
Jenny: That’s right. We had been seeing, as I’m sure all of you have, an increase in mobile and tablet traffic to this page. So, we felt that we really needed to address the needs of those visitors.
Kari: So why did we choose to go responsive on this landing page, rather than just create a complete separate mobile landing page?
Jenny: There are a couple of reasons why we decided to go responsive versus a separate mobile and desktop page. The first was the introduction of enhanced campaigns with Google that allows you to serve the same landing page to all of your visitors, be it mobile or desktop. The other reason is just more out of a convenience factor. Instead of having, if you have changes to make on one page, you don’t have to make that across the board on say three different pages or two pages.
Kari: But isn’t site speed typically an issue with responsive design?
Jenny: Well part of the beauty of having a dedicated landing page is that they are very small files. Typically, that are already enhanced for site speed, so you don’t really have to worry about that quite as much.
Kari: And what about mobile-specific content? I mean, was it a less tailored experience for mobile visitors? Was that an issue at all?
Jenny: So we were actually able to utilize what is called adaptive design, in addition to the responsive design on this page, and that was to hide less relevant content for mobile users, and display slightly more relevant content, and do that all on the server side, before the page even loads.
You’ll see in this example on the page, that the form was actually hidden on the mobile version versus the tablet or the desktop version until you click the big red button in the center, which will then display the form on the page, so it just cleans it up a lot and tightens it up and makes it a little bit more relevant and easy to use for the mobile user.
Kari: So then what kind of results did we see from the responsive overhaul of the landing page?
Jenny: We were able to achieve a 41% improvement in mobile and tablet conversions as a result of just making the site responsive.
Kari: Great. So that’s obviously the key takeaway: don’t forget your mobile audience, right?
Jenny: Yes, absolutely.
Kari: Great. Well, thank you so much, Jenny, these were some really compelling case studies, great success stories for landing page optimization and showing the importance of landing pages. So I’m going to just turn it back over to you to go over some of the best practices for building and optimizing landing pages.
Jenny: Thanks, Kari. So, something to keep in mind before we get into these best practices, is that you shouldn’t take everything I say today as gospel. Consider all of these best practices and tips that I’m providing as starting places for your testing and optimization efforts. We’ve seen great success obviously with these changes that we’ve made, but they may not work the best for you and your given situation. So, just start testing.
Okay, so for the best practices. The first one is message match. Remember that your landing page is an extension of your upstream advertising. Be it PPCs, social media, or email. Alleviate anxiety and assure your visitor has arrived in the right location by matching the offer or headline of your landing page to what’s used in your ad or email.
Also, don’t forget about brand match, too. It’s important to keep the look and feel of your primary website consistent with what you’re using on your landing page. That way if your visitor is already familiar with your brand, they get another affirmation that they’re in the right place.
Next, make sure that your headlines are clear and actionable. The headline is one of the first things a visitor will read, making it one of the most impactful and important elements on the page. The landing page headline should not confuse or bore, but should tell the visitor exactly what they will get on the page, compelling them to read on.
Next, use a strong call to action. After a visitor reads the landing page headline, it is crucial that they know what to do next. Use clear language on your conversion buttons and form titles, including words like get and download.
Also, be sure that the conversion button or form stands out and are visible above the scroll line. Even if you can’t get the whole form above the scroll line, just be sure that at least the top of it is visible.
Speaking of forms, make sure that you minimize the number of form fields that you use. Limit the data collection as much as possible to decrease abandonment. Remember that the user’s perceived value of your offer has to match their perceived exposure.
Limit required form fields as much as possible and test which fields that you really need required or there at all. But if you must collect additional information, try moving those fields to a form on the second page. The effect that this has would be that by the time the visitor clicks through to the second page, they’ve already built some momentum in the conversion process and are less likely to bail out at that point.
Next, make sure your copy is very clear, concise and easy to scan. Write your landing page copy describing how your users will benefit from your product or offer, using short bullet points or very short paragraphs, maybe a sentence or two, just to get across your most important points. And it’s a good idea to put those most important points within those bullets. Many users won’t read all of the information on the page, but be sure to include enough information to satisfy anyone who actually will.
Next tip: take advantage of trust indicators. You can build trust in your visitor by incorporating testimonials, press mentions, guarantee symbols, and third-party trust and security certificates.
You will also want to use images and videos. Implementing videos of user testimonials, product demos, or product images into your landing page can have a positive impact on viewers, as well as give shoppers an additional push to look further into a product. But be sure not to use any images on your landing page that would not directly support your offer. This will only serve as a distraction at that point.
Lastly, test, test, test, everything. No landing page is ever perfect. Every landing page can be made better by testing the elements on a page. Optimize a landing page for conversion over time, run AB tests or multivariate tests if you have the traffic, change copy images, calls to action, and sees what resonates best with your users.
Kari: Okay. Thank you so much, Jenny, for walking us through and telling these landing page success stories today. And thank you all for coming. Before we go into some Q&A, if you would like to reach out and connect with Jenny digraph through social media, then here is her Twitter and Google+ information here. And if you’re looking for any help for your business or organization with landing pages, paid search campaigns, then you can get in touch with us and here’s some information to contact Marketing Mojo and we are happy to answer your questions and also to connect with us through social media. And now, let’s take a few questions from our attendees today.