A landing page isn’t the same as your typical web pages. You probably knew that already or not.
A landing page is the page users land on after clicking a link from an ad or other sources. It is particularly focused on one clear conversion goal.
If you’re already familiar with landing pages, you would already know that they are not perfect at first attempt — they require constant optimization. If you’re just getting to know about landing pages, hold fast as there’s more to know.
The landing page optimization course as part of CXL Institute’s Growth Marketing Minidegree is a valuable go-to-resource for everyone looking to learn about it.
I mean, Michael Aagaard really did a great job simplifying the optimization process. The subsequent course about product messaging and copywriting and design further cemented the lessons.
Although some of the concepts therein have been covered in the Conversion Research and Optimization course, the course examines the subject from a wholly practical angle. I thought that was brilliant.
I’ve taken out a few learning touchpoints and fleshed them out below. Read on!
What are the characteristics of landing pages?
Michael itemized 5 important attributes of landing pages:
- A landing page answers important questions and creates clarity
- It shortens the journey from click to conversion
- It follows up on “promises” made in the ad
- It speaks to user motivation and addresses barriers
- It creates a clear path to the conversion goal
The Landing page is a small part of a bigger experience
Here’s the typical process
When a prospect finds your PPC ad while going through the search results of a particular query, the user clicks on your ad if the motivation is high enough. The page the user lands after clicking your ad is the landing page. On the page, you want the user to complete a task or take an action. Ideally, confirmation should follow after but that’s not always the case. Some of your users may drop off after hitting a friction point.
Search — PPC Ad — landing page — form — confirmation
The Layers to optimizing a Landing Page
Landing page optimization isn’t just about fixing a landing page and making it look pretty, it can be much more profound than that — there are different layers.
- Copy, design, and UX — always keep in mind that design and copy go hand in hand. You don’t start designing without having content (even if it’s a draft)
- Device, Browser, OS
- Context, user journey, funnel steps, ad source
- Users: age, gender, location, expectations, and questions
- Psychology: motivation, barriers, concerns, anxiety, brain chemicals
The optimization process at a glance
This process is similar to the growth process. It starts with research and the cycle hits a repeat after test implementation.
- Form hypothesis
- Create treatment
- Conduct experiment
- Analyze experiment and data
- Follow-up experiments
Research, really, is the most important part of the optimization process. It comprises:
- Heuristic Walkthrough — empathy and understanding
Heuristic walkthroughs involve you jumping into your customers’ shoes and going through your designed customer's journey. Here, you’ll be looking to find out if the site performs well in terms of impression, credibility/trust, clarity, information hierarchy critique, copy/content critique, bugs, UX, etc.
- Do an at-a-glance review of the page — take a look at a page for only 5 seconds and answer important questions
- Do a detailed analysis
2. Google Analytics walkthrough
Spend about an hour to check your Google Analytics getting:
- Overall landing page performance
- Overall device performance
- Overall browser performance
- Traffic, conversion rate, transactions, bounce rate
- Source, second page, exit page, gender, age
- Potential bugs
3. Quantitative Research — “what” and “where”
4. Qualitative Research — “Why”
In my conversion optimization review, I went into further detail about these 2 research types.
What’s important to note here is that you need to be mining for content via Customer review sites and don’t forget to talk to your audience, customer support, and sales teams. You should also be paying attention to session recordings to find out where people are dropping off the most.
What is a wireframe?
Simply, it’s a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a page or website
How does it work?
- It helps you visualize the landing page early on
- Helps prioritize content and build structure
- Makes it easier to align copy and design
Why is information hierarchy important?
Information hierarchy helps to answer two questions — what information is most important? and how much information is necessary?
How much is too much?
Having a lot of information on a page is fine as long as it’s relevant, arranged logically, and concisely written.
Too much information at once = confusion and a higher bounce rate
Not enough information = irritation and higher bounce rate
Information hierarchy helps you find the right balance.
How to build your information hierarchy
- Start with defining: who, what, where
Who are you communicating with? — Target audience
What do you want them to do? — Action
For a free product, it requires little to no effort, no risk, and minimal explanation. An expensive or complex product requires much more effort, much more risk, and a lot of explanation
Where is the traffic coming from? — Source
Traffic from newsletter links bring users who already are aware of your product or company. Traffic from a banner ad, however, brings users who know next to nothing about your brand.
- Move on to questions, motivation, and barriers
- Start by wireframing and build a logical information hierarchy
5 most important copy elements
Headline: capture attention and ensure it’s relevant
Benefits/features: Present important information, emphasize the value of the offer
Credibility: make the content trustworthy, social proof, answer questions
Expectation manager: mitigate ambiguity, ensure users know what to expect
Call-to-action: motivate users to click, start with a verb, ensure it's relevant to your conversion goal. Avoid using generic CTAs like click here, send, submit, etc
Momoko Price’s Product messaging course added more credence to the landing page course. She examined the different ways to tweak your copy in a way that improves conversion.
I particularly liked her copy teardown model, the message mining methodology, and her explanation of punching up sales copies.
I’m finally half-way through. It’s been an amazing past 6 weeks. 6 more to go.