6 Tips to Optimize Your Landing Page for Conversion

Learn how to create landing pages that sell with these 6 lessons I learned from the online banking world that can be applied to small business websites.

How to make a landing page

How can I make a website that sells? This is the age-old question that any business operating in a digital space asks.

The answer is to add a landing page!

A landing page, also known as a “lead capture page” or “lander”, is a specific web page made for targeted visitors with the purpose of generating leads, sales, or some other desirable action for your business. It's a standalone page that is separate from your website designed for a single purpose.

Using a landing page is essential for your website's marketing strategy and key for conversions and the generation of online sales.

Bottom line, landing pages are essential for increasing conversions/sales and is something that you'll need to have for your marketing.

Where Can I Get a Landing Page?

There's a variety of ways you can get a landing page. If you're using a website builder, like Wix, you can typically create a landing page from there. For WordPress users, there are plugins you can use, like Quards. There are also a variety of professional landing page creation services that you can use like InstaPage or Lander.

The real glory of online marketing is that the tools and capabilities that the big guys use are generally available for those small business that don’t have a dedicated marketing department. It just takes some time and dedication to learn how to use them.

QUICK TIP: Ensure that your landing pages are consistent in design with your website and also with the ads, email campaigns, etc., that your landing page visitors are coming from.

How to Make a Landing Page that Sells

It’s not the easiest thing, but once you start learning about and applying conversion optimization techniques to your landing page, it is certainly something that can bring regular and ongoing value to your business. Small Business websites that have the ability to generate online sales can do so at a rate most retail locations cannot – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And, what’s better is that you don’t have to pay your website high commissions!

Here are 7 lessons I learned from the big guys – the online financial industry – that will help you crack the code to online sales for your small business.

1. Make Your Landing Pages Focused & Personal

Home pages speak to everyone. Landing pages are for a private conversation with a particular person or niche group of people.

Have you ever been to a seminar where the speaker is addressing a large group and they go on and on, talking in general terms – your attention slips. Then the speaker addresses you directly, by name or by habit (it does not matter) – and your attention slides back into place!

Web interactions work the same way.

FUN FACT: Less than half of businesses online develop landing pages for each marketing campaign. Landing pages need to be targeted/focused on a specific niche group of visitors for a specific goal!

You’re much more likely to interact with a website that engages you and speaks to your habits or your personality.

So as an example, if my financial business is offering a competitive Certificate of Deposit nationally, but I can break the market up by major players in each locality that drives behavior, I have a start.

Landing page example of GEO targeting
An example of a national online bank tailoring their message specifically to a Pittsburgh Market.

Ally bank has tailored this landing page directly to people searching for PNC CD’s in the Pittsburgh market. They’ve done this because it is the major financial institution in the area, by bidding on keywords related to “PNC Certificate of Deposits” on Google AdWords.

Landing page example of PPC advertising

They’ve taken a search that they know is going for a competitor that they know they can match and they speak DIRECTLY to their customer.

So, in summary, they're targeting visitors searching for “PNC Money Markets” and using a Google AdWords ad, directing them to a landing page about why Ally Bank Money Markets are better than PNC.

Cutthroat? Maybe.

Reality? Absolutely.

Effective? Definitely.

2. Landing Page Copy: Features Tell, Benefits Sell

Clear-cut benefits are what sell people, not clouded with the features of your product or service. Don’t get me wrong, features are important but there is a time and a place. And that time is after they get to the benefits and that place is directly below your benefits on your landing page.

Lead with your benefits. Your features will just reinforce those benefits at a later point.

How do you express benefits over features? Your business benefits are going to be the parts of your product or service that offer INSTANT GRATIFICATION. Here's some examples:

Industry Feature Benefit
Financials High interest rate Earn More Money!
Nutrition/Fitness Eating Healthy Lose Weight, Feel Good.
Automotive Hybrid Vehicle Pay Less (Save More) at the Pump
Online Retail Expedited Delivery Get your clothes in 48 hours or less!
Retirement Living Age In Place Assisted Living in a familiar surrounding

Instead of displaying features first, lead with the benefit.

Landing page example with benefits and features
A landing page needs to show benefits with features. In this example, people are looking at online CD’s for one thing – that’s earning money. Instant gratification comes from the yield. Once the benefits are shown, the features are shown next.

This is Sales 101. Your freshman sales and marketing course has completed and you now know how to sell with benefits. Every salesperson is told this the day they step out of training and into the sales field. It’s time your landing page stopped training and started selling for you!

Predictive Copy & Proactively Overcoming Objections

A salesperson gets the opportunity to engage with a person and have bilateral dialogue with them. This means when an objection is raised, an effective salesperson is able to jump in and overcome those objections.

A competent landing page needs to have the power of foresight. You have to step back and walk the buyers path when looking at your website. Too many business owners get caught up in what they do and take a myopic view of their customer’s journey.

If someone comes to your website looking to buy your product, you should naturally know more about this product than they ever will. However, this means your visitors may have questions as they most likely don't know much about it.

For small businesses that don’t have the opportunity to call in focus groups and get the buy in from a marketing group – reach out to friends and family members. The less familiar they are with your business the better! I leverage the infinite wisdom and questioning of my three-year old.

Digital Advertising Dialogue with my son:

What is a video ad, daddy? They’re the videos that show up when you’re watching Ryan’s Toy Review on Youtube. Remember, you always press skip on them after a few seconds and you get really angry when you’re not able to – unless it’s a Lego ad!

Dad, what is a proactive web app? Son, it’s the next generation of website development, geared towards the post-app world. People are becoming increasingly reluctant to download an app from the app store so developers are creating hybrid website-apps that leverage the benefits of both websites access online and apps that can be stored conveniently on your device.

Well what is SEO, daddy? SEO is what puts dinner on the table. Now eat your food.

Have someone else ask the questions and make sure you answer them on your landing page! Make sure they are quick and to the point! This is a lot of the time where the features come into play below a benefit, and when you can leverage a FAQ section of your landing page.

1.31% APY – Well how much does that equal in one year? A financial calculator works like a dream here because any amount can be answered right away.

1.31% APY – But for how long? 1-year promo APY.

How can I trust this online bank that I know nothing about? Social proof, industry awards and straight to the point sales copy, “A Bank you can trust”.

QUICK TIP: Learning helps. Having a place for customers to ask questions is a great last chance effort to save a business, but is also the starting place for adding onto your FAQ’s section of your page.

3. Use a Personalized Picture of Your Business or Employees

Websites are cold. It’s like interacting with a… machine.

Make yours stand out by adding a touch of personality to it. A human touch goes a long way by showing your customer that they are dealing with a real live person on the other end and not getting lost in cyber space.

QUICK TIP: A study showed that simply replacing an icon with a person’s profile image lead to an increase in conversions by more than 48%!

Should I Use a Stock Image or Not?

The (digital) age-old question.

I do urge caution when considering stock photos. You can certainly get these stock photos from places like Getty Images and Adobe Stock but the problem comes from their ease of access and the likelihood of choosing the same one your competitor is using or your customer has already seen.

You want to stand out after all, use an image that can’t be copied. Try taking one of your own business!

Landing page images example
Using a personalized image of an employee shows visitors that you're more than just a business and that you have real people who care.

How many of your competitors are adding photos of their employees?

4. Reinforce Your Industry & Competitive Advantage

Do your customer’s window shopping for them and list why they should choose you over your competitors!

Window shopping was historically the easiest way of comparing products.

Human evolvement has led to the “Tab Shopper”. Consumers use multiple tabs to pair up a half dozen alternatives and find which product is the best. So stop hiding from your competitors!

It’s time to stand toe-to-toe with your competition, and bring your competitive highlights together in a way that your customers can easily see them! That’s right, line up your competitive benefits right on your page, in an environment YOU control, moments away from your conversion point. The alternative is, your customer goes to other pages to find their details and ends on the last one because it sticks in their head!

5. KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid

Probably not the most political correct heading, but still applicable. Keep your communication simple and spell things out for your customer! If your landing page has left your prospect questions about your product or service, they’ll go elsewhere to find the answers. Keep them on your page with a simple and direct message.

Landing page example of KISS

In the screenshot above, EverBank has taken the “shopping around” part out of the equation by including a comparison to not only the National Average but two well-known names in the financial sphere. There’s no reason to even go to those sites to see what they have to offer, because you already know. Had I copied the entire landing page, the next thing you’d see is a call-to-action, directly converting people after price matching.

This is something a lot of businesses hide away from. Not pricing online or avoiding competitive matching, but that story is going to be told one way or another.

Do you want someone finding out about your price because, “he said, she said, who told my coworker, that told me over coffee, that your price is…” Or, do you want the local guitar shop rival down the road to tell your customers how YOUR prices stand up to theirs?

6. Continually Keep Optimizing

You should be continuously making your landing page experience better. Just because it works today, doesn’t mean it will work tomorrow. What’s more is that once you get a working landing page, your competition is seeing and researching what you do and they’re working at doing it better.

In today’s world, stagnancy is decline.

We toss around the idea of A/B testing all the time, and digital advertising isn’t going to disappoint! Google – the one’s shoving A, B, and even C testing down our throats for years on AdWords has kept to their guns and made it easy for you to test two versions of your landing page.

Simple A/B Testing With Google Optimize

Google Optimize allows you to conveniently set up landing page experiments using a WYSIWYG editor (Possibly one of marketing’s worst acronyms, yet most fun to say – pronounced WIZ E WIG). All it means is that you don’t have to have a background in coding to make small changes on your website – you simply drag and drop items, add or change small elements and update text.

AB Testing with landing pages

What’s better is that Google has once again made this tool FREE so whether you’re a big bank with national reach or a local boot maker, you’ve got access to the same powerful tools!

Conclusion

When you take the 6 tips above, you’ve got a landing page strategy that’s going to drive a return today and become better tomorrow.

Although I used examples from the financial industry, these principles can still be applied to most small business websites. You dont need to have the same resources that a large bank does. Let them pave the roads for us and we’ll learn from their success, not be deterred by it. The world is our classroom.

About the author


  • Jordan Atchison has a background in marketing and digital advertising. With an education and work experience in the US and abroad, Jordan is now heavily involved in the online business world and the local business scene of Pittsburgh, PA – where he works full time as the Digital Advertising and Fulfillment Manager at 535media. Within the SMB sphere, Jordan focuses on the Financial, Healthcare, Restaurant, and Automotive verticals. Jordan is also a contributor on SMEcomplete.com and offers part time classes for business professionals.

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