Landing pages are powerful tools for marketers. Online advertising, including e-mail campaigns, that use landing pages typically see a conversion rate improvement of least 25%*. But what makes a good landing page? Interestingly, this is a topic on which most marketers agree. However, landing page success is all in the execution, and you have to test them to get it right.

Here are some best practices to turbo charge your landing pages for optimal conversions:

Design and Format

The basic tenet here is simplicity. You want a clean design with no visual clutter. While you want to put all the essential elements “above the fold,” use the design to help move your reader down the page. Connect the design of the landing page to the email or ad visitors clicked through from so the reader feels she is in the right place.

Use a single column, letter-like format that keeps the reader with you – scrolling and scrolling. The reason you see so many single format landing page/sales letters is that it has outperformed a double column format in test after test. But every offer is different, and you will want to test the format for yourself to see which converts more effectively.

With so much communication moving to mobile devices, you also want to make sure that your landing pages are mobile friendly.

Powerful Compelling Copy

Begin with a strong benefit headline and that identifies a need or want your prospects are feeling. Streamline your copy so that you are moving the reader through your conversion process without distraction. Stay on point. Don’t send them off on a tangent with links to other pages. Your goal is to keep them with you until they respond to your call to action.

Your initial copy should mimic the style of the email or ad copy for two reasons – 1) so visitors feel like they are in the right place and 2) to reinforce your call to action. Make it easy to read. No need to use complex terminology and complex sentences. Stay on point to lead the reader through all the reasons why they should respond. Use uneven paragraphs and even single sentences as paragraphs as they keep the reader engaged.

Clear Call to Action

Make sure your landing pages have a single purpose. Tell your reader what you want them to do such as sign up for the newsletter, begin a trial subscription, or buy a product. Design and copy should lead your reader steadily toward the call to action – which can appear multiple times. Some people will convert earlier than others. You need to test this as well. Make it easy for readers to respond to the call to action with easy response buttons, and then determine which points in the landing pages are most effective.

Personal Information Caution

In general, the more information you attempt to gather in your initial conversion with a prospect, the fewer people you will convert. This is especially true in the K-12 market where educators are resistant to marketing. The more information you ask for up front, the faster they bail. To maximize your conversion opportunity, keep your information request to an email address. Then you can you use an autoresponder series to make additional offers that convert prospects into full-fledged customers.

When you incorporate these best practices for your next landing page project you should see an increase in conversions. Keep testing your design and copy until you have effective and efficient conversions for each landing page. Using these best practices and testing your offers will provide data to connect your efforts to conversion success.

*Omniture

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