How To Increase Your Landing Page Conversion Rate - 14 Critical Fixes

This post originally appeared on my agency blog (Visify), here.


Landing page not converting?

Trust me, we get it.

There are few things in marketing more frustrating than a low-converting landing page…

Think about it. You’ve spent weeks creating a new marketing campaign. You’ve made sure the creative is perfect, the targeting is on point, and the copy is just what folks need to entice them to click.

When you launch, the traffic spills into your landing page… and then… crickets.

People seem interested. They’re clicking, after all. But they just won’t convert.

Luckily, we have some tips to help you fix your landing page and open the floodgates to conversions.

As a rule, we favor simple landing pages, separate from your website, with a single offer optimized for a single campaign. (ClickFunnels is our favorite tool to create high-converting landing pages.)

Here are the 14 most common mistakes that will kill landing page conversions.

1. Your offer is just plain wrong.

No landing page, no matter how perfect, will fix the fact that you’re audience isn’t interested in your offer.

If your offer is good, you’ll get conversions. The rest of the work is simply optimization. This can be true even if you’re getting lots of traffic to your landing page. Your audience may be deciding that the price, time or effort required, or even the cost of getting on another company’s email list just isn’t worth it.

That’s when it’s time to go back to the drawing board and decide how you’re going to replace or reposition your offer.

On the other hand, if you’re just not getting as many conversions as you should be, it’s time to review the below steps.

2. You offer more than one thing.

Think about the goal of your campaign. Is it to generate leads? Webinar attendees? Sales of a product? Whatever it is, just pick one goal and make sure that every. single. thing. on your landing page is dedicated to that one goal.

Any other offers – even a newsletter signup form – will distract from your goal by driving clicks away and confusing your visitors.

It is okay to have multiple ways to fulfill a single offer e.g. an offer to request a free consultation can be fulfilled through a form submission and a phone number. However, even then, you should optimize for one and offer the other as a secondary option for your visitors.

Here’s a landing page for a tutoring company. What do they want the visitor to do? Download the informational package, email them, submit the form, or call now? It’s not clear and it’s surely driving down conversions on their most useful action.

3. Your headline is cute – not clear and compelling.

Your headline should articulate a clear, compelling benefit that will entice visitors to convert.

It shouldn’t be cute or clever. Your readers don’t have time to understand your play on words.

Here’s a poor headline from a real company’s landing page for streaming music ads:

“Sounds Like Creativity. Sounds Like You.”

The headline takes a second to get. That’s too long. (I’m still not sure I understand.)

Worse, it offers no reason to buy. I’m sure the folks who wrote it are plenty proud of it, but it does nothing for the visitor.

Here’s what might work better: “Make More Money By Marketing To Customers You Know Are Listening.”

While this isn’t a perfect headline (I came up with it in two seconds while writing this post), it is a whole heck of a lot better than the original because it explains the exact benefit of streaming music advertising.

By the way, you can use the subheadline to explain further what it is you do. In this case, it could be “Streaming Music Ads: A Powerful Opportunity For Your Business.”

4. You have unnecessary copy.

As the author Elmore Leonard said, “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

Think about the bare minimum information your ideal customer needs to convert. Obviously, this depends on your offer but we tend to see patterns in how people add unnecessary copy. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have long paragraphs that could be turned into bullet points or broken into single sentence paragraphs?
  • Do you talk about yourself and your product’s features, instead of talking about the benefits of your offer to your ideal client?
  • Do you talk about thousand-feet-in-the-air company benefits, unrelated to the offer directly on the page? (e.g. if you’re offering a free e-book to get someone on your email list, you don’t need to talk about the benefits of signing up for your high-ticket services. Talk about the benefits of your e-book.)

This is the landing page for a dental practice and a great example of information you don’t need to include. The page starts by telling me that dental care can halt tooth decay and gum disease.

Here’s what I wanted to know after I clicked on this page from a Google search: Do they take care of my issue? When can I get an appointment? Will they take my insurance? Are they well-reviewed?

I definitely don’t need to be sold on the idea of dental care!

5. Your navigation isn’t limited to a single landing page.

As I said at the top of this post, every element on your page should be aimed toward getting visitors to convert.

Links to your social media or other parts of your website distract from that goal.

Check out this landing page. The purple arrow is the core offer of the landing page. The red arrows point toward other potential conversions. Visitors literally have a dozen actions they can take apart from the primary conversion goal. That’s not a great strategy for a high conversion rate.

I can hear you saying, “But don’t I want visitors to learn more about me? Won’t it help if they engage with me in whatever way they can?

Here is my answer:

>> No! You want them to convert! <<

If you’re efficient and persuasive and your offer is right for your audience, they should be able to learn everything they need to know to convert on your landing page.

Note: There are exceptions which I’m sure you have notice. Some companies take advantage of microsites, which have limited navigation and are focused on a single subject. Larger e-commerce companies (think Amazon or Gap) sometimes prefer to send you to their full website so you can familiarize yourself with their larger catalog. In general, however, dedicated landing pages should be your default option.

6. An image serves no purpose or accidentally gives visitors the wrong idea.

Visitors will bounce quickly if your image confuses them or makes them think that the offer isn’t for them. Images are the first thing they process and, therefore, your first chance to communicate your offer.

Here’s an example of a confusing image. Look at this page for one second. Ready. Go.

Okay, stop.

What do you think they offer? My first guess was something to do with clothing.

Actually, this company offers an e-commerce search tool that you can install on your website.

But, by the time I figured that out, I had to re-read the headline and the text to overcome my initial confusion. Not the mindset they want me in to consider their product.

Note: sometimes, we hear the tip, “never use stock photos.” We wouldn’t go that far. Some can be quite good. But don’t be cheap or lazy. Spend time looking for the right photos and buy them if required. The difference it will make in your conversions is well worth it.

7. Your page isn’t optimized for mobile.

Mobile optimization is critical.

Last year, mobile internet usage overtook desktop usage. Moreover, in our experience, mobile visitors from social media and Google search ads are the most likely to convert.

Needless to say, it’s not enough for your website to be usable on mobile. It needs to be fully optimized for mobile visitors.

Think about a mobile visitor to your landing page and how their experience differs from a desktop user. Generally, they have less time and they’re more likely to get distracted. They might be on the subway or in the middle of a meeting. They need to have the information and power to convert quickly.

They also have a much smaller screen and may be operating the device with one or two fingers.

Here’s an example of a mobile landing page for a plumbing company. It’s definitely not bad. The headline is clear and a call to action is above the fold.

But the text is small and in paragraph form. It could be a lot more effective for mobile visitors if it offered exactly what they need to know in bullet points i.e. locations served, services offered, and a quick visual trust validator like an industry award.

Moreover, mobile users tend to click on icons and images so it can help to link visual elements. Forms, of course, should be particularly easy to fill out on mobile.

Finally, use a tool that allows you to design your mobile landing page differently than your desktop page. Again, we use Clickfunnels for landing page design, which has an excellent interface for mobile design.

8. Your call-to-action is imprecise, not clearly visible, or below the fold.

On a landing page, your call-to-action (CTA) is the button that a visitor clicks on to convert. See the red ‘Request Service’ button in the plumbing example above.

It should be above the fold so the visitor doesn’t need to scroll to see it. Its color should contrast with the rest of the page (this makes a surprisingly big difference when it comes to conversions).

Finally, it should be precise. Don’t settle for “Start Now.” Think about what you want the user to do and ask them to do it e.g. “Request A Consultation”. (It might be worthwhile to test different CTAs if you have the traffic to do so.)

Here are two calls-to-action that appear on a landing page for a saas company. Both are asking for me to start a free trial and they take me to the exact form submission page. However, “Try it for FREE: Simple 5-Minute Setup” is much better because it tells me exactly what I’m doing while “Get Started” forces me to investigate further (which I might not be willing to do).

9. You ask for more information than people are willing to give.

There are two factors you need to consider when deciding how much information to ask visitors.

The first is time. The more form items you ask a visitor to fill out, the more likely they are to decide that it’s just not worth the time. Again, consider your mobile visitor who may literally be in a meeting, secretly trying to fill out your form before the boss notices.

The second issue is what information you’re asking for.

You need to make sure you’re not asking for information that they’ll feel uncomfortable giving. Consider the relationship stage you’re in with this landing page visitor. Is it appropriate for you to give them a phone call? If not, don’t ask for their number or they’ll assume you plan to call them.

Generally, for new leads from cold traffic (people who’ve never heard of you), we recommend asking for just their first name and email.

Here’s a great example of what NOT to do from a well-known MBA program. Keep in mind that this is on a landing page from cold traffic – people who may just be gently exploring the idea of an MBA.

Jeesh! Buy a guy a drink first!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to ask a little more information than normal. After all, expressing interest in an MBA program is more serious than downloading a content item from a software company and I’m sure it helps to segment the most qualified people.

But do they really need to know my undergraduate GPA this early in the relationship?

10. You give too much information.

If you’re trying to generate leads by offering a free content item in exchange for contact info, you don’t need to tell your landing page visitor your life story.

Honestly, you barely need to tell them anything if they’re coming from social media ads. You already persuaded them that you have a valuable piece of content. Now you just need to deliver on that promise.

This mobile template is one of our highest performing lead generation landing pages – converting around 50% of visitors for some campaigns. Sometimes, we include a graphic of the content item we’re offering, but that’s it.

For a lead who came to the landing page from Facebook, the experience is seamless and easy and, again, they already decided they want the lead magnet which is why they clicked. Moreover, we don’t risk shooting ourselves in the foot by offering information that could prevent a conversion.

11. You give too little information.

That said, it’s definitely possible to offer too little information. If you’re offering something that’s going to cost the visitor money or time, you need to prove to them that converting is worth it.

Moreover, if you are running ads on Google search, you will need a more substantive landing page. The reason is that visitors are arriving with limited information and probably are in their first interaction with your company.

We run into the problem of too little information sometimes with startup-type companies with landing pages that are chic, clean, and uninformative. Here’s a rather funny example that went viral last year after Gawker wrote an article headlined, “I Have No Idea What This Startup Does and Nobody Will Tell Me”.

We have no idea either. This is the home page and there’s no call to action, but, if there were, you can bet it wouldn’t convert.

Try this exercise. Write down what your offer will cost the people who convert (again, include time and money). Then, write down what information they’d need to know it’s worth the cost.

Is that information in your landing page?

12. It has untrustworthy design.

There’s something icky about this landing page. Maybe it’s the huge text. Or maybe it’s the big blue arrow. Of course, the absurd exaggerated copy doesn’t help either.  It just seems … scammy.

In some internet-based industries, these landing pages perform great. That’s why they exist and you’re probably familiar with them. However, if you’re in a more traditional business, you probably want to stay away from this design and stick to a more genuine feel.

Needless to say, the internet is filled with scammers and, if a visitor thinks you’re one of them, they’ll bounce immediately. Obviously untrue or hyperbolic copy will kill your conversions as will other elements commonly seen on these landing pages such as poor quality images and cheesy stock photos.

Make sure your design is clean, warm, and honest-looking and that your copy is the same. You’re speaking to a real person and need to seem trustworthy and authentic or they won’t convert.

13. It has poor ad scent.

Your visitor came to your landing page because they caught the scent of something they like, usually from an ad, a search result, or an email. If they think they’ve been misled or aren’t finding what they wanted, they’ll bounce immediately.

First, look at your ads and make sure that there’s no way that they can be misinterpreted or are misaligned with your landing page. It’s possible people are clicking for one reason, getting to your landing page, and discovering that the offer doesn’t match their expectations or isn’t what they thought it was initially. If so, change it immediately.

You also need to make sure the language and design on your landing page matches the language and design in your traffic source. This congruence in language and design between the ad and the landing page is called “ad scent”.

Your headline should be worded almost the same as the copy used in your traffic source. And, if you have a photo or brand colors in the traffic source (read: ad), use those in your landing page too.

In the example below, I searched for men’s jeans and clicked on Zara’s ad. Unfortunately, I ended up on a landing page that offered me the opportunity to buy professional trousers.

Now I’m sure Zara’s marketing team knows what they’re doing – it’s a great company and they probably have literally hundreds of thousands of keywords to track so it’s understandable that there are flaws. In this example, however, they screwed up and are wasting money paying for clicks from people who want to look at jeans and are offered trousers instead.

14. Your offer is not specific.

We’re getting into broader marketing strategy here, but this is worth mentioning. You need to give a specific offer on your landing page – one that visitors can quickly comprehend and decide that they want.

Recently, I clicked on an ad for the real estate website Zillow. Their targeting was on point. I am looking for a new place.

But when I got to the landing page, I saw this:

Here’s what their offer is: use our site to find a place.

Here’s the problem: I was busy.

If they had asked me to give my email and a few details about the type of place I was looking for, I would have happily done so. They could have sent me emails with suggested homes and I would have opened them and considered the options.

Instead, they insisted on a broad, company-wide offer.

So, without a clear nurture path that brings me back to Zillow, I clicked away and didn’t return.

[Nurture Paths are the 6th component of Growth Optimization.]

Quick Recap

Your offer is the star of the show.

Most of these 14 mistakes come back to one original sin: your landing page distracted visitors from the landing page’s offer.

Here are the key takeaways to make sure your visitors have a path of least resistance to converting:

  • Aim for a simple, clear landing page that highlights the benefits of your offer.
  • Inconsistent artwork, imprecise calls to action, and cutesy headlines can all distract from your offer.
  • Make your visitors’ lives easy. That means use a mobile-friendly design and pack sufficient information into minimal, easily-readable space.

Good luck!


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