You’ve seen them everywhere.
Like this one on Sumo:
And this one by Amy Porterfield:
And even this one on The Art of Charm:
The landing page.
You've heard of landing pages. You may even have one on your own website. But I hate to break it to you…
Unless you're enjoying a 5% or higher conversion rate on your landing page (which you can expect after actioning this guide), you're leaving a ton of email subscribers and sales on the table.
And that's just not acceptable, now is it?
So in this guide, I’m going to help you. Obviously. ‘Cause that’s what we do!
I’m going to pick apart every single element of a landing page, pinpointing EXACTLY what makes one effective.
For those of you who who are chomping at the bit to get into the meat, there are seven elements of a landing page you need to nail:
I’ll show you how you can reverse engineer the perfect landing page no matter what you need to build it for.
But first, for everyone else...
You have limited time and resources, and you want to make sure you’re allocating them in the best way possible.
A landing page (often called a squeeze or splash page) is a page that your users first land on (duh) which has a call to action on it.
Usually it calls the visitor to click a button to go to another page of your website, or subscribe to a mailing list or for a discount or freebie.
Typically, on a landing page, the magic all happens above the fold. Just like a folded newspaper, the top section of the paper should tell you exactly what the paper will be about.
The same applies for a landing page, you shouldn’t have to scroll down to get more information. If you do, they’re usually sales pages or other types of pages (which, yes, technically are landing pages).
You could use a landing page for anything you want your user to do. For example, maybe...
Sounds simple, right?
So how can such a short, simple page call for such a detailed guide? Well, because...
So back to my earlier point…
Do you have at least a 3% conversion rate on your calls to action yet?
If you answered “no”, that’s why you absolutely need to set up a landing page for whatever it is you want your visitors to take action on.
If done right, your landing page could convert like crazy… like 20% or higher crazy. We’ve seen 30% and more. Check out our results from the Welcome Mat on our Kickstarter guide:
It converts an average of 21.18%. Yup, you read that right!
In case you’re not great with the mathematics, for every 100 visitors that saw our Welcome Mat (which is the easiest way to create a landing page), more than 21 of them gave us their email addresses.
I don’t have to tell you this, but the money is in the email list.
The people on your email list make up your fans. They’re giving you permission to connect with them directly. They’re the people who will hire you, buy from you, and interact with your brand.
So to convert 21% of your visitors to email subscribers means more influence, more reach, and more money in your pocket.
So why do landing pages work so well?
Well, let me tell you! Landing pages work so well because they isolate the call to action. Take, for example, this landing page we worked with Pat Flynn to create:
The call to action is to get Sumo now. You can’t do anything else. You can’t click on a menu link, read an article or crawl down a social media rabbit hole.
Nope, the call to action is absolutely isolated.
That’s because when you give people too much choice, they tend to choose to do nothing.
Imagine your website like a menu with 100 options. That’s pretty overwhelming, right? Now imagine a menu with just one yes/no option. Makes your decision time / processing MUCH easier.
This was demonstrated by the infamous jam study of 2000, which proved that people who were faced with more jam flavor choices were 1/10th as likely to convert (in this case, purchase a jar of jam) than those with fewer flavor choices.
Just like in the jam study, landing pages work because they literally removes almost all choice - your visitor can choose between one of two options:
Now, I doubt I need to say this, but your landing page will only convert like this if it’s strong.
So buckle up - I’m going to walk you through every single element of a kickass landing page, so you can get amazing results like we have.
And don’t worry. You don’t need any fancy software or mind-reading abilities to knock this out of the park. Here’s what you do need:
OK, now that you’ve installed Welcome Mat and put on your party pants (they’re on, right?) here are the seven elements almost every landing page has:
Of course, I’ll go through each one in order and I’d highly recommend you don’t skip any of them.
After you go through all of these elements and set up your landing page, you should be able to convert a minimum of 5% of your visitors.
Your landing page will convert like peanuts if your offer sucks.
That may have sounded a bit harsh, but you'd be surprised as to how many people commiserate about a low conversion rate even though their offer sucks.
If you're just asking the person to "sign up for your newsletter", your conversions will be in the bottom 25%.
Which is actually not too bad at 0.53% but that’s just because Welcome Mat is bomb diggity.
Anyhow. You need to make sure your offer is something that your target audience actually wants. Surprise!
So if you’re just setting up your landing page now, consider what it’s for.
If you already have an active landing page, now is the time to be honest with yourself: if you were in the position of your target audience and landed on this landing page, would you take action to get the offer you’re throwing down?
If your offer leaves a lot to be desired (or you don’t have one yet), here are some ideas:
If you still have a small list of under 1,000 people, you have a unique opportunity to not only get to know your target audience but also convert them like crazy by offering a free consulting session in exchange for their email address.
It doesn’t have to be long (it could be 15 minutes) - and not everybody who opts in will take advantage of it, but this will absolutely provide a ton of value to you, as well by giving you the opportunity to have a sneak peak into your target audience’s challenges.
Your offer doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated to create. Spend a few minutes digging around in Google Analytics to find your most popular content.
Chances are people are engaging with that content for a reason! They’re interested in it. When people land on your website, turn that content into an offer by creating a PDF or a checklist out of it.
You already know it will perform well.
If you offer a product or have an eCommerce website, there’s nothing more enticing than a discount, is there?
Chances are people are already on your website because they’re interested in buying your product - collecting their emails for a discount code is a no-brainer.
Even without the rest of what we’ll discuss in this guide, you can still rake in the conversions just by offering a simple discount.
Spend some time digging into exactly what your target audience wants, so you can create an irresistible offer for them. Maybe it’s a free email course or challenge to help them reach a goal or desired outcome, or a free eBook or video series.
You can see in our example that the offer is pretty enticing:
Smart Passive Income is a huge, established blog that most of our target audience is familiar with. We’re offering up an opportunity to use the same tools Pat used to grow SPI - for free.
A great place to start if you want to skyrocket your conversions is to create a page specific content upgrade - meaning an upgrade to the content the person landed on when they found your website.
For example, let’s say I’m a visitor who came to get your recipe for Easter dinner on your food blog. Whipping up an entire Easter dinner is a lot of work! How likely am I to opt-in to a free printable grocery list you’re offering when I initially land on the page? Very!
You can make this all automated so once your visitor signs-up, right away they’ll receive an email with your content upgrade.
The best thing? It’s something you can do yourself and it’ll only take a few minutes with Welcome Mat.
Pro tip: When you’re creating your Welcome Mat for your offer, make it available only to the content your visitor landed on. To do this, create Display Rules in Welcome Mat to only show on that particular page.
Once you’ve installed Welcome Mat, you’ll see something that looks like this:
On the left sidebar, you want to click on ‘Display Rules’ which will bring you to this:
In this section, click on the ‘Add a show rule’ button, you can control where your Welcome Mat appears on your site.
Welcome Mat will only show when any of your “Show” rules match, and none of your “Don’t show” rules match. One thing to note is that the “Don’t show” rules will always win if there’s a conflict.
To make sure your content upgrade only shows up on the content your visitor came for, go to “On URL Paths…” option and copy/paste the link to that content.
Once you’ve done that, just click ‘Save’.
Pro tip: Disable instant landing page for this one, making it easy to scroll down to the content itself after they’ve finished giving you their email.
Only disable that for content upgrades though - Instant Landing Page makes conversions go nuts.
So what can you create for your audience that will be irresistible to them?
And don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis. Choose two of the options from the list above and A/B test them. That way you’ll know what your audience responds to without the guesswork (and losing leads).
Okay, so you’ve nailed down an awesome offer for your landing page.
Now you need to figure out the best way to describe that offer to draw your target audience to take action on it. And that piece of the puzzle is all in your headline.
The headline on your landing page is how you communicate the offer you just worked out.
Headlines are our first point of contact between a piece of content or a call to action, and a headline is what hooks us into engaging with that call to action.
This should be indicative of just how important your headline is to your landing page. This will be the first thing that your visitor engages with on your page, and will be the difference between those visitors actually following through on your call to action…
And skipping off without converting.
A kickass landing page has a kickass headline. And yours needs to, too. Check out this headline on ClickMinded’s Welcome Mat:
If you’re part of their target market, that is one sexy headline. Why?
Don’t know where to start with your headline? Start by listing off a few elements:
You may not use all of these elements in your headline, but being clear on the specifics will help you describe it.
Once you’ve nailed down these elements, there are a few ways you can find a great headline for your landing page so you can start raking in the conversions:
Now that you’ve nailed the headline, you can move onto the next element...
Your headline is just one of the elements describing what you’re offering on your landing page.
Sure, it’s the most important. But many offers require more than one line to describe. Not all landing pages have a subhead, but a good subhead can be incredibly compelling and draw people in almost more than the headline.
Your headline captures the attention of your visitor, and your subhead holds their attention, leading them to take action on your call to action.
In our example, we describe the offer in a little more detail, using words like “get more traffic” - things that we know our audience wants. You should use the subheading as an opportunity to convince those who are on the fence.
Here’s a few ways to push them over the edge.
You’ll note that we also use the word “free” in our example, which you should use at every opportunity.
Well, it turns out that we act rather irrationally when we are faced with anything “free”. Dan Ariely did an impromptu survey of people in line for a free tattoo, and found that 68% of the people getting a tattoo wouldn’t have gotten the tattoo had it not been free.
Yeah, I know.
The sad thing is - they weren’t even that drunk.
If your offer is free, use the subhead to take advantage of this madness in our human psychology and describe it as such.
Almost anything you offer holds value.
If you’re giving away an email course, how much is it worth? If you’re offering a discount, what is the average dollar amount they’ll save? If you’re giving away consulting sessions, use the subhead to describe how much you’d normally charge for this. Is it a $200 value?
The human brain loves to know what we’re getting for free.
For some reason, despite our pathetic attention spans, we humans still put a heavier weight on longer, bigger, and more meaty things. If you’re giving away a video series, describe how many videos are in the series.
If your offer is a Webinar with an hour of bonus features, mention that. If you’re giving away an eBook, tell them how many pages they’re getting.
You get the idea.
If you’re having a tough time figuring out what to include in the subhead - for example, if your offer is relatively simple - then just tell your visitor exactly what to do.
“Enter your email address and click the button below to get your FREE __” is simple, explicit and effective.
Your subhead should be used to sell the offer - to close the deal if the headline didn’t take it all the way.
Once you’ve nailed your subhead, you can pay attention to...
Every single thing on your landing page should be pulling it’s weight.
There should be no deadweight, no real estate that is being taken up by useless elements, and certainly no extra noise.
This, of course, includes your images.
Every visual element on your landing page should serve a very specific purpose. A purpose like…
Here’s how to execute all of these:
There’s one thing that brick and mortar businesses have as a competitive edge and that’s the tangibility of their products.
You can pick them up, hold them, and picture yourself using them.
You can’t really do that with a digital product or offer. You can’t exactly hold a webinar in your hands or test out an eBook, right?
So use the visual elements of your landing page to make your offer more tangible. If you can make the visitor picture holding it, consuming it and interacting with it, you’re more likely to convert them.
It’s a case study but the visual element makes it feel more “real” - and thus enticing. Far more interesting than the alternative:
Never mind the awkward blank space.
You can see how being able to actually see the offer helps solidify it, and boosts conversions.
Plus... because I’m a smart marketer I intentionally used the next concept as well:
Regardless of whether you’re giving away a digital product, a discount, or a consulting session, you need to incorporate line of sight into your landing page.
I’ve described line of sight in a previous guide before, and I’m sure I’ll mention it again… because it works.
Line of sight images are images that draw the eye to the call to action - usually the button or email input form. Eye-tracking software has shown that our eyes automatically go where the lines lead them.
What’s more, is that it turns out we love looking at human faces. Weird right? Studies show that we are wired to pay attention to the human face.
So by using line of sight, paired with a human face (preferably a familiar one) you can increase conversions like crazy.
See how your eyes automatically go to the input box in this Welcome Mat?
The smart marketers behind the website HelpMyBusiness.com knew how line of sight worked.
Which of these two visuals captures your attention more?
Okay, I’ll admit that was a trick question. I know the answer is the second one.
It’s so eye-catching because it incorporates movement. Have you ever experienced that knee-jerk reaction you get when we’re on a mission and there’s something standing in our way of completing it?
You’re on your way to read an article and before you even registered that there was a pop-up in front of you, you had x’ed out of it.
Or you’re trying to buy a product and you’re past the landing page before you even knew you were on one?
Incorporating motion captures the attention of this type of user, causing them to slow down and pay attention to what you’re putting in front of them.
You can do this easily with a video file and the Motion template in Welcome Mat:
The Sumo Welcome Mat that converts at 21.18% uses the Motion template:
Better than all of our non-moving Welcome Mats.
We’ll talk a bit more about social proof later on in this guide, but if you’ve interviewed an influencer or if a well-known person has used your products, don’t be afraid to use your image to display social proof.
Before you do this, please check with the person you want to use the image of. Yeah, that means no swiping images of influencers or celebrities off of the internet and using them for your own purposes.
In our example, we use Pat Flynn’s image as triple duty: social proof, line of sight, and he, as a human, has a human face.
Don’t throw up some stock photos and call it a day. Your landing page deserves an image it can be proud of… and that almost converts for itself.
I know it might seem crazy to give a button it’s very own section on this guide.
After all, a button is small. Inconsequential, right? It’s a means to an end?
Well, not quite. The button requires it’s own section because it’s actually really damn important on your landing page.
I’m only going to say this once, so lean in nice and close…
Your button should be the first thing your visitors eye is drawn to on your landing page.
You want it to be what people notice when they initially land on your page. Not your image, not your headline, and not your subheading. Your button.
That means not making your button blend in. It shouldn’t be part of the upholstery. It needs to pop.
And you can make your button pop off the page and grab the visitor’s attention by using an action color.
Take a look at these two buttons. Regardless of your color preference, which jumps out at you more?
The first is an action color. The second is not.
An action color is any color you use across all of the things you want your user to - you guessed it! - take action on. Links, buttons, and calls to action should all be this particular color - and it should be bright, eye-catching and stand out on the page.
So how do you choose the right color?
It’s probably no surprise to you that color is important to us. You’ve heard that certain colors mean certain things, colors can be used to calm or incite emotion, and you probably even have a favorite color.
You might not know just how powerful color is on our decision making, though.
Some estimate that anywhere between 60-90% of our decisions are made based upon color alone, though the effect of color can be difficult to study.
There are a million case studies that conflict about the highest converting button color and that makes sense - different audiences respond to different colors. Women respond to colors in a different way than men. Different colors have cultural implications. It may even depend on the time of year.
That’s why Website A may have boosted conversions by 60% with a red button, but red performed poorly on Website B.
A/B test several button colors to see what your target audience responds to.
Regardless of what color you choose for your call to action button, just remember that it should be bright, eye-catching, and stand out from the rest of the colors on your page. Like Sumo’s does:
It’s the first thing your eye is drawn to on the page (even if you didn’t realize it!).
Other than your main button, there should be one other link or button on your landing page: a “no thanks” button.
This is just a button to allow your visitor to opt-out or move onto the other pages of your website if they don’t want your offer (or maybe have already signed up!).
You’ve seen it before and have probably used it. Sometimes this says “take me to the blog/website now”. On a regular Welcome Mat you haven’t made an Instant Landing page out of, often it’s just a downward arrow (unless you’ve removed that, too).
This button is the least pleasant part about creating your landing page, so you might as well have fun with it.
We say things like “I hate traffic”. I’ve used “Womp Womp” before. Use your branding and throw some personality in.
Once you’ve picked an action color and had some fun with your decline button, you can move onto the next element of your landing page...
You’ve seen buttons that say these things before. And that’s a shame, because those who are using button copy that weak are letting so many conversions slip through their fingers.
Think you have more pressing priorities and don’t have time to do “small things” like changing a few words on your buttons?
The folks at ContentVerve would tell you otherwise, because just by changing a few words on their main call-to-action button, they increased conversion rates by 11%:
Paying attention to button copy is one of the main things you could do right now to almost instantly increase conversions on that landing page you’re creating.
The best thing? It’s easy and doesn’t take much time to do.
A great template to follow when writing an effective button copy is to fill in the blank with the outcome of your offer:
I want ______
For example, Sumo might use:
The reason this formula works is because the button copy is benefits-driven.
When you’re writing button copy, keep it simple and specific. You want the reader to know exactly what to do at a moment’s glance.
Focus on just one message and communicate it simply and clearly.
And don’t try to be clever! There should be no question about what you mean. Do all the work for the reader so they know exactly what they’ll get when they click the button.
So for your newsletter, instead of just using “subscribe”, try something that clearly spells out what they will get (“I want to See the Case Study”):
If your website requires users to create a profile, instead of just using “sign up”, let the user know why they should spend the time to create an account (“I want to create an event”):
This is just one of the many formulas for effective buttons. Here are a few more:
Chances are you attracted your visitors in the first place for a specific reason.
Maybe they resonate with what you stand for, or maybe they love your product or love your brand. So don’t be afraid to throw your own branding into the mix on your button copy.
We’ve used everything from “Gimme” to “I Love Checklists” for our content upgrades.
You’re probably aware that Sumo is a bit goofy and fun and that’s why people love us (we’re not just a pretty face that gets you more traffic and emails!), so we let that trickle into our copy, too.
When you see the word “order”, what comes to mind?
For me, I visualize myself online shopping - meaning, spending money. But when I see the word “get”, on the other hand… well, I picture less commitment.
In other words, the word “get” makes me feel like I’m getting the better end of the stick. And I’m not the only one who feels that way. Another A/B test done by ContentVerve pitted “Order” and “Get” against one another and “Get” increased conversions by 38.26%.
See how sexy these look?
Don’t skip over this important element of your landing page, even if it seems inconsequential. It’s clearly not.
And button copy is one of the most fun elements to A/B test! Test out a few different phrases and see what converts best.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise by now…
But social proof increases conversions like crazy, because it relies on the psychological tendency for us humans to want to do what other people are doing.
That’s what makes social proof such a great thing to include on your landing page. This is optional, in that it won’t necessarily make or break your page…
But if you can include one of the many forms of social proof on your page, you’ll boost those conversions even more.
Take a look at how Noah’s uses social proof in the form of endorsements on his landing page:
And how Sumo used social proof with Pat Flynn’s image and quote:
If you can use expert endorsements, quotes, testimonials or any other form of social proof in your landing page, it will make it that much stronger.
Now that you know exactly what it takes to create a kickass landing page, you need to know what works with your audience.
With A/B tests.
Running A/B tests will allow you to make an informed decision based on what works the best. It allows you to compare two versions of something by showing a variant to your visitors at the same time.
So if you have 100 visitors each day, one half will see Version A, and the other half will see Version B. You can then compare the two to see which ones have the highest conversions.
And think about it. If you have two different landing page designs, and one outperforms the other by 10x, what could that look like for your business?
Let’s assume your website attracts 100 visitors every day:
And the only way you could have known which design converts the most is by running an A/B test.
The best thing? You don’t need to be a programmer to do it. We’ve got you covered. You can A/B test within Sumo with two things:
All you have to do is open up your Welcome Mat settings (if you have Pro) and click on ‘A/B tests’:
You can then add as many Mats as you want for your A/B test (I recommend starting off with just two).
Set the frequency (recommend keeping it 50/50) and then just click save. If you get stuck, check out our video guide on how to create an A/B test.
When you’re just starting out, make your two versions vastly different and pick the one that converts the best.
From there, you can narrow down specific improvements by changing just one factor at a time (e.g. changing just the headline copy).
The reason for this is because unless you have thousands of visitors a day, you won’t have enough data to make an accurate decision.
By just changing one aspect of your landing page (e.g. button copy), you probably won’t see that much of an improvement until you have a bunch of traffic coming in.
If you 10x your conversion rate (which many of our customers have done!), you could earn tens of thousands of dollars more in your business this year, right?
I want you to start converting and get amazing results TODAY!
So If you upgrade to Email Pro by Saturday, April 2 at 11:59 PM and action this guide, a conversion expert from our badass marketing team will personally review your Welcome Mat to give you detailed feedback and help you increase conversions even further.
These reviews are INSANELY valuable. They are hands down the most popular part of any webinar we do.
We normally don’t do this but if we did, a 15 minute session would be worth somewhere around $300.
So what do you need to do?
We only have enough experts to do 50 reviews. You have to upgrade by no later than April 2 at 11:59 PM. No exceptions!