How content & design create the best converting landing pages
As the band plays the last few songs at the wedding of content & design, we're left with five remaining revellers on the dance floor. Far from being ready to hit the hay, this quintet are still calling out for more. So with our shirts untucked and high heels flung goodness only knows where, let's find our final five top tips to the best converting landing pages. P.s. If you missed the previous tips they're right here so you can catch up in your own time.
Tip number 16: the marriage of content & design is integral to success
As a UX aficionado I'm acutely aware that my role is constantly changing before my very eyes. Although I kind of thought of myself as a designer, the importance of content has consistently been brought to the fore in everything I do and although it hurts me deep inside to admit – if you're design is poor but your content is great, your site is going to beat a site that's been built around great design but poor content, every time. Spending time on populating your best converting pages with quality content is much more relevant today than perhaps it used to be but finding the balance between great content and great design is obviously going to be win win as far as UX is concerned.
These days there are really no excuses for not creating a great design as numerous templates exist to help you brand and develop superb sales pages without the need for bringing in the devs.
Templates are an excellent means of providing a tried and tested platform for great content to sit comfortably, without the fear of tiny font and clashing colours putting off prospective readers. Affordable, varied and providing easy to use content management systems, page templates allow your support team to start the process of tweaking and personalising to ensure your best converting pages stand out from the crowd as you also discover more about your niche audience.
Although designing your own landing pages is the best way to ensure you're original and, in turn, worth paying attention to, this sort of customisation takes time and money so make sure you're fully prepared to pay the price as well as spending time fine tuning content to meet your exact customer spec.
Tip number 17: creating straightforward calls to action
There are certainly a few things to take into account prior to creating CTA's for your best converting pages, as suggested below:
Don't jump the gun – if you're selling an expensive product or an exclusive service, don't dive in too soon by asking a customer to commit before they've gained confidence in you and what you're selling. Don't be a stuck record – please, please, please buy from me, pleeeeease. Don't beg and don't add a call to action on every page that springs up way too many times. Don't lose trust or confuse a client by appearing way too desperate. Don't make things hard – a CTA should appear like a natural step on the path to a sale. Don't confuse the issue by making things too complicated so a customer loses the thread and goes in a different direction. Similar to the tagline formula – like mama's tagline recipe in tip number 11 – stick to a tried and tested structure and nine times out of ten you'll hit the right spot. Don't be inconsistent – keep things relevant and don't take a customer off on a tangent when they're ready to find a call to action relating to what they've just been reading about. It's the same as not tempting someone to click on a page link to hair gel and then directing them to a page for women's undergarments. Way too weird. A CTA should follow naturally from a well-written piece of content and underline an emotion or natural response triggered by an entire page. Don't be shy! – I've seen several site pages crying out for a call to action but only to find there's not actually anything to click on to lead a client further down the path. Sometimes an unassuming button is added at the top of each and every page. This subtle approach to sales doesn't work. Be specific, make an opportunity happen through a call to action button that leads on naturally from an emotional response. Don't be too subtle when it comes to sales by just keeping a generic button that might often be overlooked as it blends into the background only to be ignored.
Tip number 18: put yourself in your clients' shoes
The products that we're designing in this modern digital era have an opportunity to increase positivity and actually make the planet appear to be a much brighter place.
On a much smaller scale we have the ability to fine tune products and services to ensure they provide practical and aesthetic use for a specific client; something that somebody will find actually useful so much so that they wonder how on earth they got by without it for so long. It's the thought of creating something that can actually make a difference which is what makes me get up in the morning, well that and a warm croissant.
Making an app that means something, that's straightforward to use and gives a client's life a deeper meaning is what gives me pleasure however, communicating this in a way that's not too over the top can often be a tad tricky. Putting myself into my customers' shoes is a key component in connecting and communicating with my niche audience. It's really important to understand the language, the emotion and the drive that each customer feels for their product and to replicate this in my best converting pages. Character, identity, and perhaps above all, soul, is really missing from a lot of the websites and it's really important to grow this over time and source individuals that can promote and give your business a boost by adding enthusiasm and charisma so as to increase conversion rates as well as giving customer's a chance to empathise with what you're attempting to achieve.
Tip number nineteen: communicate with your customers
Although many website owners consider UX to take a long time for quite a lot of money this really isn't the case. User testing also actually reveals many more elements that can improve your business and that's where you're going to need to find the time if you're going to kick on from where you thought you were in the first place.
Best converting pages and recently created apps shouldn't stop evolving; and as your key sales page is so close to an actual sale, improving it on a regular basis is just the start of what you need to do to turn a click into a conversion.
Businesses are constantly discovering different things happening every day that weren't expected but that's why finding time for UX should be a necessity rather than a timely project that perhaps doesn't see the light of day as it's always being shoved down the pile when it comes to things to do.
Talking to your customers has to be the cornerstone for all projects. Move away from data research and analytical statistics and get back to basics when it comes to communicating with the people that matter. Not only will you learn much more efficiently, you'll also gain information that your competitors would kill for and metrics software wouldn't have the foggiest idea how you got there. Face to face is the best communications tool that you can't buy online so make things happen, be brave, and get out there and press the flesh of those who can transform your business rather than relying on those who are only interested in one thing: eating into your profits.
UX work needs to be undertaken on a regular basis although, in general, if you can find out what the key issues in your business are within five user tests then fix those first before testing those five again and repeating the process.
Two key areas of UX that people find tricky:
Letting your baby out of the box and into the big wide world can be scary and it's no surprise that an owner's bias will impact on some of the results relating to user testing. Placing words into a test subject's mouth such as 'we love this, we know you're going to too' or 'this is the thing we've all be waiting for, we can't wait to hear your feedback' are leading and will often go some way to manipulating results way beyond what they might have been. Be unbiased when user testing, get someone else to do it for you.
Which problem shall we solve first?
Bosses can, and will, become obsessed with issues that should be well down the pecking order when it comes to finding a fix. Basically, I suggest, starting with problems that are as close to the top of your sales funnel as possible, right back at initial interactions. It's all very well making tweaks to your payment page but if no-ones getting to that stage then that's wasting time and valuable resources.
Tip number twenty: everything will always take longer than you think it might
Break the mould of tech companies past and consider taking your time to get things right rather than rushing a project in pursuit of quantity over quality in terms of attracting more and more users.
Best converting pages aren't built in a day they need time to grow with strong, well-considered, foundations, the bedrock upon which you plot your pathway to success.
Be bold and ask key questions that might mean halting a project half way through in order to stop waste and turning your attention to actual solutions as opposed to blindly carrying on over the cliff edge. Previous experience is an essential tool in understanding when a page isn't being optimised to its full potential and following a trail further back down the sales funnel is, in my experience, the best way to go about fixing an issue at root level rather than keep on chipping away at the top.
And so we summarise:
Although this has been an albeit brief introduction to UX, sales optimisation and creating the best converting pages, I hope the points above will help you solve a few problems and point you in the right direction for many more years to come.
Below are some key highlights from the entire series of twenty tips to takeaway and digest at your leisure:
A solid base is integral for creating your best converting landing pages – understand who your key niche users are as this should form the structure for everything else you set out to achieve.
Be prepared to spend significant time on writing content – don't get bogged down in bells and whistles but do ensure your online content is bang tidy no matter how long it takes.
Express yourself – your tone of voice, character and what you stand for as a company should be instantly recognisable from the moment someone enters your site. You can find this out from user testing so embrace actual feedback from real life people, don't get caught in the vanity trap or only listening to the boss.
Provide examples of why potential clients should trust you and why you're an authority within your chosen industry – include reviews or get left behind.
Marry content with design to enable a clear understanding of why your intended audience should be using your product or service.
Your best converting landing pages should never be completed and you shouldn't be afraid to tweak and make improvements based on UX testing to ensure you increase conversion rates.
And there we have it. The end of our four blog posts on creating the best converting pages for your site. If you've liked what you've read then great, tell your friends and feel free to share. If you haven't, then good luck to you sir or madam, and we can only wish to reach higher in future posts that will no doubt include more insightful info on how to increase your profits and profile through awesome UX and UI. Over and out.