Creative Best Practices

Closing the Click: Eight Tips for Creating Landing Pages that Sell

Posted by Robert Boman on July 30th, 2009 at 12:00 am

It's the end of July in Texas. And it's hot. I'm ready to go in search of cooler climes. No deadlines. No to-do list. Nothing but me, my Harley, and the highway.

I love the prospect of exploring my way to, say, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico. But what if instead, I were to suddenly drop by parachute into North Korea? Dude, I don't know anything about North Korea. I'd rather melt under the Texas sun.

What does North Korea have to do with landing pages, you ask? The way I see it, when a customer clicks on an email and ends up on a poorly planned landing page — or worse, gets dumped on the home page — it's a lot like dropping them into North Korea without so much as a map.

Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but it isn't pretty. Without a landing page that's designed to close the sale, customers will bail. And fast. So the big question is, how do you turn a landing page into a closing page? Well, here are eight things to start with:

1.    Continue the story. Think of the landing page as your chance to pick up where you left off. We've found that short, focused messages perform best in email. But you need to follow through on the landing page with more information that will lead customers to a purchase.

2.    Repeat the CTA that got them there.
It seems simple but a lot of retailers fail to repeat the message that got customers to click in the first place. By repeating the message, you're letting them know they landed in the right place (i.e. not in North Korea). And speaking of your CTA, remember to repeat it at the bottom of the page, particularly if customers have to scroll.

3.    Carry through the same or similar imagery. Again, you want customers to know they've ended up in the right place. The imagery needs to feel like an extension of what they saw in your email, direct mail, print ad, etc.

4.    Don't make them hunt. Whether you're giving them information or selling a product, you need to make sure whatever you're offering is easy to find. Eye-tracking studies show that people read in a rough F-pattern so, when you build your landing page, design it with the F in mind.

5.    Break up your content.
One long block of copy won't get read, certainly not easily. Break up your copy with subheads, bullets, color backgrounds, and the like. Do whatever you can to draw your customers' eyes through the information you want them to read.

6.    Stay focused.
You don't want to distract customers with irrelevant information. Write your copy to support your primary goal — everything should be driven by the action you want customers to take.

7.    Keep your message relevant.
If you can, create dynamic content that changes based on what you know about your customers. New customers may need to be introduced to your brand whereas repeat customers might need you to explain the benefits of upgrading to a higher-tier product. The specifics will vary based on your particular business goals. The thing to remember is to tailor your content for each customer's needs.

8.    Don't settle for a flat experience. On a landing page, you have the freedom to create a richer, more interactive experience. Use animation to create visual interest. Better yet, use it with purpose. If you can convey a benefit through your animation, that's even better.

There you have it. Eight ways to make sure that when your customers set out on their journey you don't parachute them into North Korea. Instead, give them a landing page that guides them to their destination — the sale.

What tricks do you use to create landing pages that turn clicks into conversions? Let me know in the Comments section.

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