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Landing Page Best Practices : Conversion Bias

Conversion Bias.

For landing pages, the move to conversion-bias can dramatically increase on-page conversion rates. But what is conversion bias?

In the past, organisations tended to drive (expensive) PPC traffic to a landing page focussed on the subject of the search. This is a primitive form of channelling that, when taken a few steps further, can make a huge difference to the cost of converting traffic.

The practical application of this involves creating a dedicated landing area for all paid traffic to land on. In this area, the normal rules of website design and build are superseded by a set of rules focused on acquiring data, or making a conversion. Within the area there are a number of landing pages that handle the incoming traffic.

We’ve been designing, building and testing landing pages for over a decade, and we’re often used as best practice examples in this space. It’s so ingrained in how we work, the last articles we wrote on PPC landing pages was almost 4 years ago. Time for an update.

There are core features of landing pages. They are,

  1. focussed on the immediate needs of the searcher,
  2. load as fast as possible and look great on all devices,
  3. empirically tested to destruction with clear objectives and targets,
  4. provide enough detail to permit conversion but nothing superfluous,
  5. tracked and managed as part of the overall digital strategy,
  6. shown to the right people at the right time,
  7. built using the less is more mantra,
  8. provide a range of calls-to-action, and
  9. based around psychological cues that encourage action.

1. The needs of the searcher

With PPC landing pages, you have intercepted a searchers need for something. He or she is looking for answers to a defined problem and, often, have searched for what they think the answer is. Their’s may be right or wrong, but understanding the motivation behind the search allows you to better craft the landing page.

So think:

  • What is the primary pain, or issue, for the person making the search.
  • Reflect back to them the search term. If I search for “Seagull Food” I will be more encouraged if the landing page has a title “Seagull Food for Sale” than something generic such as “AB Petstore”.
  • What stage of the buying cycle are likely to be at, based on the search phrase. Earlier in the cycle then it’s all about information, browsing and education. Mid-way through the cycle it’s about trust and comparison and in the final stages it’s about sales and product/service logistics such as delivery, timescales.
  • Don’t forget about the importance of price. Despite it being a deciding factor in so few transactions, it’s the simplest way us as human beings mentally compare value.
  • Engagement. Somewhere between 1/3rd and 2/3rds of PPC traffic bounces immediately away, lost for that session.

2. Load as fast as possible

It’s simple, if you keep people waiting they will hit the BKSP key and go back to the next advert in line. That means showing content instantaneously to engage and reassure the searcher they are at the right place.

This has become ever more important with the widescale adoption of mobile device that often load sites slower when on the move.

3. Always be testing

If you’re not testing you don’t know how well your search-flow is working. This changes over time as technology appears, attitudes change, demographics move, regulations alter and your competitors adapt their landing page strategies.

4. Focus on the conversion

Understand and learn what is required to create a conversion and focus the landing page on that. Stay away from “nice to haves” and other such junk. Whilst it may look good it may harm the conversion process, and could easily impact items 1 and 2 above.

“Less is more, but no so little as to become worthless.”

5. The bigger picture

Landing pages are just one element of a customer journey, think about the role they play in the wider sales and marketing strategy and make sure they are cogent, cohesive and consistent.

This would include your social welcome programme, literature/information packs, sales scripts and engagement strategy.

6. Right person, right time

Various factors affect the aims of the searcher and that includes time and location and not just immediate aim. A person commuting home on the train after work may be happier to engage in watching a 3 minute video more so than when they’re sitting at their desk at work.

On Sunday afternoon, as they’re waiting for their bids on Ebay to come to fruition they may be happy to spend more time on the time. This data can come from analysis of existing content and also by testing, rigorously.

And think about locational demographics, will your high-end “Chelsea Set” service appeal equally to those living in Pimlico as those living in a less-well off place in Glasgow (for example only). PPC advertising allows a very granular control over these elements so try to mirror those on the landing page.

7. Less is more

Honestly. It’s proven. For example, a form with fewer data fields will always convert better than one with more.

8. Stuff to do

The industry calls them call-to-action. I like to call them stuff to do, of things to press. The landing page visitors has made the effort to go looking for something and select results from a long list – this means they usually have an aim to do something so enable and encourage them to help themselves on the landing pages.

This means forms, buttons, click links, videos, likes, shares, prints and all manner of digital things that may suit the visitor.

9. Get subtle

An understanding of human psychology will help the visitor and your conversion rates. Blindly shoving poorly thought-out content in front of potential customers is the fast track to annoying them. Using gentle nudges and timely call-to-action elements you can ease the customer along the sales cycle without it feeling like a forced journey.

There are a number of approaches that have shown to work very effectively in the past, including

  • Trust, endorsements, testimonials. If and how the visitor trusts you has a major influence on the conversion rate. Trust should be, where possible, independent and from a trustworthy brand known to the visitor.
  • Colours and hues. From buttons to borders, backgrounds to blocks of text – colour influences the visitor more than you, or they, may imagine. For exmaple? Red buttons (mostly) rule for forms and actions and can increase submission rates by 10% just by themselves.
  • Motivation. It makes for interesting reading.
  • Option reduction. Fewer choices means a faster decision.

Roundup

Conversion is a wide subject covering skills and experiences from statistics to psychology and occasionally design and technology. We’ve got over 10 years knowledge in digital conversion, come and talk to us about your challenges, I’m sure we can help.