Introduction

Regardless of how you point visitors to them, landing pages all have one thing in common: Their main goal is conversion. Landing pages short, long, search-driven, PPC-driven, and otherwise are all designed to convince visitors to take a certain action—to convert.

No matter how well (or poorly) your landing pages perform today, there’s always room to improve. That’s where landing page optimization comes into play.

In the guide below, we dive into everything marketers need to know about landing page optimization—from what it is and why it matters to KPIs and best practices to diagnosing (and fixing) conversion-busting issues on your landing pages.

What is landing page optimization?

Referring to the process of systematically working to improve each individual element of a landing page, landing page optimization enables you to squeeze more conversions out of your existing landing pages.

Since marketing teams put a lot of financial and monetary effort behind the creation of landing pages, it’s important that they glean the best results possible from those efforts. Landing page optimization enables that, by allowing marketers to continuously test, iterate, and improve upon their landing pages.

Web analytics is a collection of metrics, reports, and insights on any website that provides you with this exact data. For example, you publish a blog post covering the 10 Best CRM Providers in the UK. After two weeks, you haven’t seen any leads generated, and your sales team is twiddling their thumbs.

Instead of spending time writing a new blog post without direction, you can use web analytics to find out how many people have read your post, the time they spent reading, and even where they clicked away (and didn’t convert to a prospect).

With real-time and historic data on any of your web pages, you can make informed decisions about what is and isn’t working on your website.  Your next blog post might change from 10 Best CRM Providers in the UK for 5 Best CRM Providers in the US.  In this example, you’ve found out that your readers stopped reading before the sixth CRM provider. Further website analytics also suggest your audience is in the US rather than the UK.

Why landing page optimization matters for every business? 

 

Put simply, landing page optimization allows you to make every landing page you publish more effective. By understanding the factors that impact conversions and making and testing tweaks to your landing pages, you can squeeze more conversions, more leads, out of the landing pages you’ve already created.

That principle applies to any of the different types of landing pages, too—including, among others: 

Marketers, salespeople, and more spend a lot of budget and other resources driving traffic to landing pages—so you want the end page to be capable of providing ROI on those efforts. Plus, when you improve landing page performance, you create a direct positive impact on business metrics from lead generation to customer acquisition to revenue.

And data around landing page optimization and testing bears that out. Steelhouse found that targeting and testing landing pages can boost conversions by 3x. Similarly, data from Econsultancy showed that companies whose conversion rates had improved over the past year, were found to have performed up to 50% more tests on their landing pages.

Elements of an effective landing page

Now that you’re sold on the impact of optimizing your landing pages, let’s talk about how to do that. Step 1 is to start with the right elements on each page—then you can experiment, test, and optimize each individual element from there. Here are the 5 elements every successful landing page should include:

 
A clear headline communicating the unique selling proposition (USP)

Visitors don’t give landing pages a lot of time to capture their attention. That’s why a clear, compelling headline—that gets straight to the heart of what your landing page is selling—is key.

 

 
Compelling benefits copy

Once your headline draws visitors in, it’s important to follow through with compelling copy that explains the benefits of conversion in more detail. Clearly explain to visitors why they should complete the action you want them to take—what’s in it for them?

 

 
Social proof

No landing page is complete without social proof to establish trust and credibility in your company and/or product. In fact, Nifty Marketing found that a whopping 37% of top landing pages include testimonials, specifically. That can include testimonials, reviews, customer logos, industry badges and awards, etc.

 

 
A lead capture form

For landing pages designed to generate leads, a concise lead capture form is a must. The idea here is to collect the information that’s vital for your sales team—and to eliminate everything else. Typically, the fewer fields a form has, the higher the completion rate.

 

 
A strong call-to-action (CTA)

Finally, every landing page needs a strong call-to-action that creates a sense of urgency on the part of visitors, spurring them to convert and convert now.

 

Getting started with landing page optimization

Now that you have a solid foundation on landing page optimization, it’s time to get started. Step 0 is to choose the tools you’ll use to measure landing page performance and A/B test variations. Once your landing page optimization tech stack is in place, here are 6 quick steps you can take to start optimizing your landing pages for conversion.

Get a baseline understanding of how visitors behave on the page, including metrics like conversion and bounce rates. You can use tools like heatmaps, session replays, and page analytics.

Double-check your landing page follows general best practices (more on these later!)

Ensure your ad copy matches the language of your landing page.

Form a hypothesis about how you can improve the page. For example, if a notable portion of visitors are starting to fill out your form and abandoning it, your hypothesis may be that reducing the number of fields on your form will increase form completion rate.

Create test and control variations and run your A/B test.

Implement the most effective version—then rinse and repeat!

Key metrics to track the performance of your landing page

Before you dig into making changes to your landing pages, A/B testing, and other optimization techniques, it’s important to understand how you’ll measure success. What does “improvement” look like for your landing page? What does “optimization” mean for you?

Those answers will vary from one company to another and from one individual landing page to another. That said, there are some key metrics commonly used to track landing page performance.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is one of the most common ways companies benchmark the performance of landing pages—in large part because conversion rate is a very flexible metric.

Put simply, a conversion happens when a visitor to your page completes the action the page is designed to get them to do. In that way, what constitutes a conversion can be any goal your business builds a landing page to further.

A conversion might be signing up for a free trial of your software or downloading a whitepaper. It may involve clicking one button, filling out 5 form fields, or even submitting payment details.

So what does a good conversion rate look like? As you may have guessed, it varies. Some industries see higher average conversions than others. That said, there are some benchmarks to help guide your goals. Wordstream offers, for example, a benchmark of around 2.35% average conversion rate.

Bounce rate

Measuring the conversion rate for your landing pages gives you a sense of how effective the page itself is at selling conversion. But landing page optimization involves more than just the page itself—it’s also about optimizing all the channels that send visitors to the page.

That’s where measuring bounce rate can come in handy. Your landing page’s bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who quickly bounce off the page, likely without ingesting much of what’s there.

A high bounce rate on your landing pages can often signal a disconnect between the marketing efforts sending visitors to the page and the page itself. For example, if the copy in your Google search ads makes promises your landing page doesn’t deliver on, you can expect higher than average bounces.

Similar to conversion, bounce rates vary widely across industries and page types. However, as Customedialabs estimates, most landing pages boast average bounce rates around 60-90%.

Other important landing page metrics

Conversion and bounce rates are the two most common KPIs for landing pages—but they aren’t the only metrics you can use. The metrics below include a few other ways to gauge the performance of your landing pages and add additional context to the numbers you may see in conversions and bounces.

Page load speed 

It’s well known that web users are impatient. Wordstream reports that a page load delay of as little as 1 second can lead to a 7% drop in conversions. That’s why it’s vital to understand how quickly (or slowly) your landing pages load.

Form fills 

If visitors fill out your lead capture form—in full or in part—that’s a good sign your landing page is working to an extent. Knowing that form fills are high but conversion isn’t, for example, can help focus your optimization efforts on the CTA button.

Page visits 

Understanding how many visits your landing page gets can add context to some of the other numbers you measure. For example, if your conversion rate is low but the page sees a ton of page visits, you can still expect to see a large number of leads coming from the page.

Time on page

If landing page visitors don’t convert, but they do spend time looking at the page and your website, that’s a signal that something may be distracting visitors from the central goal of your landing page.

Traffic source

Analyzing where page visitors come from and how traffic source affects their behavior on the page can help you optimize the kind of traffic you send to landing pages, boosting their conversion rates in the process.

Best practices for optimizing landing pages

Optimizing your landing pages for conversion is more a science than an art—and it creates a lot of useful data. As such, there are several well-established best practices proven to help your landing pages succeed right off the bat.

Give each landing page a singular goal

TechJury reports that adding more than one offer to your landing page can yield 266% lower conversions. The key is to cut distractions and funnel users toward one, central goal—that’s the best way to ensure a solid conversion rate. For example, your page goal may be to get users to download an ebook or to sign up for a demo with your sales team.

Ground landing pages in your broader marketing funnel

Landing pages shouldn’t be one-off assets—they should be a stepping stone that fits into your broader funnel. That way, it’s easy to know what that singular goal from above should be and to ensure the page meets incoming visitors where they are in your funnel. For example, if you know visitors are coming to the landing page from a specific mid-funnel email campaign, you can use that knowledge to inform the landing page and its goal.

Make your offer clear

When it comes to landing pages, clarity > cleverness. Visitors should be able to clearly understand what the page (and conversion) offers them within a few seconds of landing on the page.

Make your offer clear on your website landing page.

Make your CTA stand out

Once you’ve sold visitors, make it radically easy for them to convert by using bright or contrasting colors and compelling copy for your call-to-action.

Keep the good stuff above the fold

OptinMonster reports that mobile visitors, in particular, give 80% of their attention to the top of the page. Keeping the most important aspects of your landing page above the fold ensures those visitors don’t miss out on the juicy stuff.

Add social proof

Including social proof will increase your conversion rate, period. According to TrustPulse, simply adding testimonials to a sales page can increase conversion by a whopping 34%.

Optimize for page speed

Page speed and load time are often overlooked elements of landing page performance. According to Portent, every extra second of load time leads to a 4.42% drop in conversion rate. Keeping page speed up ensures you aren’t losing out on conversions for totally unnecessary reasons like slow load times.

Test everything

Headlines, copy, and every aspect of your CTA (location on the page, color, copy, format, etc.). Data and experimentation are your friends when it comes to optimizing landing pages.

Why isn’t my landing page converting? 

If you’re looking at the metrics above and wondering why your landing page isn’t performing as it should—especially with regard to conversions—don’t fear. That’s what landing page optimization is all about.

Boosting conversions on your landing pages then starts with understanding what’s currently standing in the way of a higher conversion rate. While that can be a number of things, there are a few more common reasons for low-converting landing pages.

Page design is confusing, clunky, or unintuitive

Landing Page Best Practice 1 - Page design should be intuitive and not clunky

 

One of the most common reasons landing pages don’t convert is design. If your page is difficult to read or navigate or doesn’t follow a logical format, it’s easy for visitors to get lost or annoyed. And the end result is the same—they don’t convert.

Poor page design can look like a million different things, but here are some of the most common offenders:

There’s a disconnect between ad copy and landing page copy

Funneling visitors to your landing pages and getting them to convert is a game of expectation management.

Wherever landing page visitors come from, they’re landing on your page with some level of expectation about what the page will offer. When there’s a discrepancy between those expectations and what’s on the page, users bounce away.

Your headline needs work

When visitors land on your landing page, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention and convince them to stay. The page headline bears the brunt of that responsibility, meaning a headline that isn’t compelling enough can lead more visitors to bounce, reducing your conversion rate.

Landing Page Optimization Best Practice 2: Headline should be clear

The screenshot above is an example of how to do landing page headlines right. Hopper’s headline is clear, simple, and benefits-focused.

Users are distracted from the page’s central goal

Landing Page Optimization Best Practice 3: Set clear website page goal

Even the most effective and well-optimized landing pages can suffer from low conversions if there’s something that distracts users from converting.

A site-wide popup, for example, may lead visitors away from the core purpose of your landing page. Excessive linking in your copy (especially external links) can encourage users to leave your page and your site. Offering visitors more than one CTA can have the same effect (as in the screenshot above).

Distraction is a common reason for non-conversion, and it’s the reason many marketers opt to remove site navigation from their landing pages entirely.

Tools to help optimize your landing pages

The best part about optimizing your landing pages is that you don’t have to go it alone. An entire industry has sprung up with a focus on landing page optimization. Below are a handful of solutions to help you build landing pages, track user behavior on your landing pages, and optimize for conversions.

Landing page builder

Typically including visual editors, templates, and content blocks, a dedicated landing page building platform enables your team to get landing pages up and running more quickly. Plus, most of these tools are no-code—meaning marketing can build landing pages on their own, without technical resources.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools

When you’re ready to test and optimize your landing pages—along with understanding how visitors interact with them and how and why they convert—a conversion rate optimization platform is your best option. Freshmarketer's conversion rate optimization features make it one of the best tools on the market for optimizing your landing pages.

Wrapping up: Making your landing pages ultra effective

Once you get started with landing page optimization, it’s a constant process of improvement. No matter where your conversion rates stand today, there’s always room to tweak your landing pages to yield more leads and conversions.

Throughout that continuous process, you need a conversion rate optimization software and CRM that makes it easy to experiment, iterate, and measure the efficacy of your landing pages. 

That’s where Freshmarketer can help. Our CRO features allow marketers to:

Sound good? Try Freshmarketer free for 21 days today.