Landing pages are a crucial component of your demand generation and inbound marketing strategy. You could write the best piece of content ever, but if you haven’t structured your landing pages to help users convert, your hard work could all be for not.
So how do you optimize a landing page to encourage interaction and ultimately conversion? First, let’s take a step back and define what we mean by “landing page.” There are plenty of definitions out there and plenty of debates to be had, but that is a conversation for another day. For the purpose of this article, let’s define a landing page as any page that helps nurture and direct website visitors to a conversion opportunity. Yes, that means I’m looking at pages that (gasp) don’t include a form.
Why? I want to point out an important, and often overlooked set of pages designed to direct users to what you might consider a more traditional landing page, where users exchange their contact information for a piece of content or offer that you have created. These are not necessarily core website pages, but they are vitally important in helping users convert.
As marketers, we spend a great deal of time on the conversion page itself but often forget about how users are getting there. Sometimes it just isn’t practical to push users directly to a traditional “landing page.” Sometimes users just aren’t ready for your “10 Step Guide to Running a Marathon,” they’re still training for a 5k! These intermediary landing pages help provide a little more information to help them identify and diagnose their underlying problem.
What is Page Optimization?
Page optimization is the process of improving the elements of a page to increase conversions using qualitative and quantitative data. The key component is data. Rather than re-design an entire page based solely on assumptions, you want to use data and observations to drive your adjustments. Note that this is a process and there is no magic wand. Page optimization takes time and often requires some trial and error.
Where Do I Even Start Optimizing?
Before you completely re-do everything on a page keep two things in mind, identify potential problems first and then start with small changes. If you’ve identified a page that is underperforming, do a technical review first. If you didn’t build the foundation correctly, you shouldn’t be surprised when the house starts crumbling. The same thing goes for your landing pages! Start by checking technical on-page SEO items like page titles, headers, load speed and image alt-text.
Once you’ve reviewed and confirmed that, from a technical standpoint, the page is setup correctly, it’s time to get down to business. But remember, you want to identify 2-3 things max to update. We don’t want to start throwing noodles at the wall to see what sticks! If you change everything on that page all at once, you’ll never be able to determine what your audience responded to, making it incredibly hard to optimize pages in the future.
Data, Data, Data
In a world of information overload, it’s hard to know exactly what data to look at and what target metrics you should be aiming for. Before you start looking at numbers, clearly define what the purpose of the page is. If the page was a person, what are you hiring it to do? With that in mind, select metrics that will help you reach your goal. In this particular case, we are focusing on pages that will provide valuable information and ultimately direct users to a conversion opportunity. That means we will want to consider quantitative data points like:
- Exit Rate - The percentage of people leaving your site from this page
- Bounce Rate - The percentage of people entering and exiting your site from this page
- CTA Views - The number of times the CTA is viewed on the page
- CTA Click Rate - The percentage of views that result in a click
Why are these things important? All four of these metrics represent key performance indicators for our specific objective. If your exit rate is high, your page is failing to entice the next action. If your bounce rate is high, the description of the page that leads the user there probably isn’t as accurate as it should be. And finally, CTA views will give you important insights into how many people are actually seeing the CTA while your click rate will signal how effective the CTA is at enticing action.
Don’t Forget the Qualitative Data
When it comes to encouraging interactions on a page, I’m a big fan of creeping on our users. Wait, what?! Heat maps people! While its not an exact science, observing how users interact with a page provides valuable insight into what’s resonating with them, what they want more information about, and what’s distracting them.
When reviewing heatmaps, don’t get caught up on a single set of information. With tools like Lucky Orange, you can review:
- Click data - visualize what your website visitors are clicking on
- Movement data - see how users are moving their mouse across the page
- Scroll depth data - see how far users are scrolling down the page
Each one of these reports provides a single puzzle piece that will help direct your optimization actions. Why is this important? Let’s say you review a click-map and note that users are not interacting with your CTA. That information alone sends a signal that the call-to-action needs to be adjusted. But that might not be true. If you then look at the scroll data for the page you might see that only 25% of your users even reach the CTA. With this additional insight your action changes from adjusting the CTA to possibly adjusting it’s placement on the page.
The Song that Never Ends
Between the quantitative and qualitative data you’ve reviewed, it’s time to take action. What is the data telling you? And from that story, how will you adjust the page to help you reach your goals? Remember, there is no magic wand, so progress is the name of the game. Start with small adjustments, give it some time, and repeat your analysis.
You put a great deal of effort into creating content to capture your website visitors information. If you aren’t spending any time optimizing the pages that lead your visitors there, you’re probably missing out! Even simple changes can lead to big rewards and spending a little time evaluating your landing pages can help them become valuable long term assets. With these basic components, you’ll be able to identify metrics that matter and develop a plan to optimize your landing pages. Taking this step of optimization now will help enable your company to achieve growth and success for years to come. Don’t wait for the right moment to start because the right moment is now.