Struggling with your landing page bounce rate? You’re not alone. For many businesses, decreasing that one number can be the most frustrating part of the entire optimization rate. The reality is that there might be hundreds of reasons people are walking away from your landing page, and while some are easy to fix, others are incredibly frustrating. Luckily, though, you landed here, and this guide can help you optimize your landing page and bring that bounce rate down so you begin seeing more clicks that turn into sales.
Let’s Start With a Definition
The first thing you might be wondering is exactly what landing page optimization is. While it seems a bit overwhelming, it boils down to a fairly simple process. It’s simply improving the elements on a given page where customers might find themselves so that you make the sale instead of watching them leave. those elements can be anything from the color of the page to the headline to the words on the page. It’s often considered part of the conversion rate optimization process, and usually, it involves a few different methods like A/B testing so that you can meet your goals.
Does this process actually matter? Absolutely. Your landing pages are essential components of any marketing campaign because their entire goal is to generate sales (or at least start the process). If you’re doing any sort of paid advertising, the landing page is usually the main destination, and that means you’re already spending plenty of cash and using other resources to get traffic to those pages. Why would you want to waste that money and that effort? Optimizing your landing page helps to ensure that doesn’t happen. In fact, a good landing page can mean lower costs in terms of customer acquisition. It can also mean more customers overall and a well-spent advertising budget.
Where Do I Begin?
Convinced it’s worth your time? There are really two pieces to the process. The first starts with a closer look at who is coming to your page. The second involves the page itself.
Who Will Be At My Party?
Many potential people may show up at your landing page. It could be the people you directed from a Google Adwords campaign. Maybe it’s individuals who arrived after you created some social media advertising. Either way, you have to understand who might be coming to begin the process. You spend so much time defining the audience at the outset of a marketing campaign, it makes sense to define it here, even if you have multiple audiences that may see that page. If your target audience is looking for a solution to a problem, your landing page has to provide that immediately. If, on the other hand, they’re looking for an easy, interesting retweet, that should pay off as well. To decide who is coming, there are a few different things you should do.
Look at the hard data you already have on hand. Who is buying your product or service? Who comes to your organization on a regular basis?
If you don’t have that hard data available, it’s time to do a little extrapolating. Answer these questions in writing. Who are your target customers? Describe them with some detail. Make sure you discuss what they want and what their needs are when they reach you.
Now, think about the needs of your business with regard to that landing page. Do you want leads for your sales team? Do you need investors? Are you looking to strengthen your reputation? Nail down the needs for that one single page. If you have multiple pages, be sure to do this for each one.
Understand what you want those audiences to do when they reach your website. It may be a click. It could be a phone call. Whatever it is, though, know what you’re looking for when they find you.
Your goal here should be to group your target audiences to those with similar interests, then create a unique landing page for each. If you can only work with a single landing page, create one that maintains the same message and meets the needs of all parties in one location.
How Do I Look Now?
Once you take a closer look at who is coming to the landing page party, it’s time to take a selfie of the page or pages you want to optimize. Essentially, you want to really take that page apart and decide what might be working and what you should get rid of before anyone else shows up.
Load Time: This is one you absolutely don’t want to overlook. The longer people have to wait, the more likely they are to bounce away from your website. Don’t just think about load time from a standard desktop computer, though, because most of your target audience likely isn’t reaching you from that medium. Instead, look at it across device boundaries. You want to make certain it loads as quickly for that guy on the train as it does for the woman looking at her laptop over a cup of tea. The faster you can make it load for all of those people, the lower you’re going to see that bounce rate go. One good way to do this is with Google’s Page Speed Insights. You just type in the URL you want to check, then hit “Analyze.” You’ll get a complete report that assesses the page(s) in question and makes some suggestions for change.
Stay Simple: In many cases, people get completely overwhelmed with the number of options they have on a landing page. Should they stop by the blog, fill out a contact form, respond to the call to action, stick around and read the next three tabs, or just click away to something a bit simpler? Your landing page doesn’t have to be your full site, and it doesn’t need quite as much as other pages do. To fix this problem, remove as many navigation elements as possible without damaging the page. If you have a form here, make it incredibly simple to complete. Paid add-ons like NinjaForms can help you in that department. One more tip to help simplify things is to add some white space to your site design. Just limiting what people can do may help to simplify the entire process.
Think Values: If there were ever a time for value-based propositions in marketing copy, your landing page is it. In fact, some experts suggest it’s the single most important factor in determining whether people will bother to continue down the sales funnel. If you get it right, it means a serious boost in sales. Get it wrong, and it could be detrimental to your bounce rate. How do you make it happen? Step 1 is to identify every possible benefit your product offers. Then, carefully describe what makes all of those benefits valuable. Identify the customer’s major problem. Connect the value you came up with in step two to their problem. Then tell them why they should see you as their preferred provider. Need an example? Take this one from Shopify: “Shopify is everything you need to sell everywhere.” Remember, all of this should be written for a real person, not a search engine. You want people to be able to read and understand what you’re saying, so buzz words and industry-specific terminology should often be turned away at this point. Instead of meaningless vocabulary, try to incorporate things people might say to each other in an elevator. Understanding how customers might talk about your service is a must at this stage. It may define the way you talk about your service.
Create Credibility: Finally, your landing page should help create some credibility for your company. This is one of the most difficult steps to take, but there are some easy ways to do it. You could hire a copywriter to create a downloadable case study. You’ll need to give the copywriter the information necessary to build out a full picture of what happened and what solution you implemented. If you’re uncomfortable with that idea, consider reviews. They provide customers with proof that you’re serious about your service or product, which means they’re more likely to move forward with you.
Testing, Testing, Is This Thing On?
The final step in optimization is to run a bit of testing. Remember that you don’t want to make too many changes at once. If you do, you won’t know which changes worked and which ones didn’t. Start with the headline. You want to shift things to ensure that it’s convincing, eye-catching, and encourages people to read further. The body text is the next place you may want to focus on. We mentioned before that simplicity really matters. What can you take out of that copy and still achieve the same overall effect? Your call to action has to be the next point of testing. The stronger it is, the more likely people are to enter your sales funnel. Play with some options there to decide exactly what you can do to get them to click. The last area you will want to consider is the form customers fill out. There are lots of shifts you can make here. Think about the button they click, the background color, and even the fields they must complete. The wording on the form can either encourage someone to complete it or push them away.
Once you decide what to change, start testing. Most people choose to use A/B split testing. It allows you to compare the results of two different landing pages. Typically, you want to make just a single change between these pages. To get started, choose a single variable liked the headline. Decide on a goal (like additional traffic, more form completion, etc). Change the variable on one page, but leave it the same on a different page. Choose a testing tool that allows you to track your results. Google Analytics is likely your best bet in this department. Determine your sample size, then decide how big the results need to be to make a change. Once the results start rolling in, decide which change helped.
Multivariate testing is your other option. This is more complex, but it can mean faster results. So you test multiple pages with a single element changed on each. To perform this type of testing, though, you’ll typically need to work with a professional service or a web analytics service to make it happen and get the data you really want. Convert Experiences is one great choice. Their software integrates with Google Analytics to give you a nice overall look at what’s working within your test. They also guide you through the multivariate process step-by-step because it’s so much more complex than A/B testing.
One Final Word
Landing page optimization can be just as important as any other step you take in overall site marketing. You have to use a landing page for almost every marketing campaign you create, and the best way to ensure you’re getting the rates you want is with better optimization techniques. If you’re not sure you have the time and energy to make it happen on your own, reach out to a professional company that can help. They’ll not only manage to create that perfect landing page for you, but they can also often create a better, more accurate testing environment so you know exactly what might land customers with your next campaign.