Design for your target audience.
Creating effective converting landing pages can be achieved without spending huge amounts of money and without the need for too much tech, and if you can bear in mind that the right landing page should be designed for the right person then you won't go far wrong.
Although this particular post has just five tips to help you publish, practically, guaranteed converting landing pages this is just the first in a quartet and, as such, you'll find 15 more pearls of wisdom published over the next few weeks. Also, within the series, I'll also identify a few remedies for landing pages that have time and time again failed to convert. I see the same mistakes day in day out and if there were three words of advice I could give to anyone looking to create worthwhile converting landing pages it would be – LISTEN TO ME!
Ok, there, I've said it. So, where were we? Ah yes, designing those all-important converting landing pages...
Below is a three minute test for a site that I plucked at random that I'd like you to take a look at. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Off you go.
Now, can you tell me the name of the company and how they can help you and your business?
No, not so great.
This five second rule is just one of numerous that will help you design your landing pages for your very own target audience. Basically, if five seconds isn't enough time to get over your key message and help to create a CTA then you might as well ditch it.
Understanding UX is pivotal to knowing how to produce top converting landing pages and also can be applied to a variety of other disciplines such as dev, design, content, overall strategy etc.
Anyway, tip number one is coming up so take notes if you wish or just relax and read on. Remember making effective converting landing pages isn't hard, but it's not something to take for granted either.
Good luck, we're all counting on you.
Tip number one: learn all there is to know about your key users.
When it comes to great converting landing pages you need to know who you want to read it. Ok, so this sounds painfully obvious but then it's an issue that I see resurfacing pretty much every other UX project that I'm working on.
It's a sort of similar scenario to this statement from the boss:
“Of course I understand my key target market; I've just installed an app that's got universal appeal, anyone can use it, it's universally appealing, it appeals universally.”
Before we berate the boss completely let's look at a social media site like Facebook, for example. Surely that's 'universally' appealing? (Although increasingly annoying.)
When FB first started out, Mr Zuckerberg wasn't targetting across the board, or across the universe, for that matter, he was solely targetting a niche group of Harvard University students. He basically knew everything about his audience, including where they lived and what they ate for breakfast.
Although your product or service isn't probably going to be on the world domination scale in quite the same way as FB, you can still see the picture.
Keep your message clear and don't allow it to become watered down which, in turn, will have a detrimental effect on your workforce as your vision begins to fade and no one really understands where the business is heading. Think of the smallest amount of people possible that you can appeal to. How can you make the greatest difference to their lives? How can you connect with them and encourage them to share their experience? Concentrate on keeping things small, and then go for world domination. Only if you want to, of course.
Also, remember, you, the boss, are not the audience. Content should not be written for you. Don't be the HIPPO in the room.
Here's a link to a UX post I wrote about creating amazing experiences through understanding your audience.
Tip number two: make your niche group real.
Moving away from traditional online marketing techniques, including Google Analytics, is a sure fire way to start narrowing your niche, and to do this you need to meet your key users. By talking, listening and debating with people who you consider to be your most important customers you'll make a much greater connection than sitting in a darkened room mulling over statistics.
Your key users are not numbers, in fact, they're not 'key users', they're people. They hang out in places online, they have jobs, families, hobbies. Once you've worked out a way to actually communicate with these people you'll be much better equipped to understand how they tick in terms of what they want and what drives them to want to buy something or use a service.
I'd recommend the tools, content and coaching resources on leanstack.com. It's a great way to brainstorm and discover what works for you. Once you've narrowed down your key user niche, sorry, the most suitable group of people for your product, you need to find these people in real life and ask them whether they agree with your decision and your ideas. This is the only way to validate your marketing techniques and ensure your creating converting landing pages rather than universal trampolines.
Tip number three: Validating your niche audience is the bedrock to developing top drawer converting landing pages.
Your sales pages, your online content, your marketing and your business strategy should all stem from knowing your niche audience. There really isn't anything else to add, especially your hard earned money. Don't waste time on anything else other than finding out who your niche audience is, getting validation and then starting to imagine converting landing pages.
Tip number four: winning content was not written in a day.
Once you've got to know your target group and had your findings validated then you can start to write landing page content. The art of writing is rewriting so don't be afraid to leave what you've written for a couple of days before returning to it and fine tuning before finally publishing.
Allow more time than you might initially anticipate to write content for converting landing pages as it's incredibly important to get the balance between development, design and content evenly split.
The whole user experience may well be based around design but it will stand and fall on what's been written and if you're unable to dedicate the time to carefully craft a piece of content to fit your target audience then make sure you employ someone who can. Remember, your website is not a vanity project or a vehicle for showing off your content writing credentials.
Tip number five: short, sharp sentences.
Don't waffle, don't go off at tangents and learn to feel comfortable chopping text in half and then half again, and again, if necessary. Get your point across instantly. Communicate your message within five seconds. Remember the rule mentioned at the top of the page.
If you've got lots to say then draw your reader in with easily understandable titles and headings.
Use 'read more...' with a link or drop down box to the bulk of your content. The marriage between great design and great content is sent from the gods so don't disappoint by underestimating the need to spend equal amounts of time on both. Top converting landing pages work in five seconds. Don't forget that and don't forget to write for your niche audience not universally.
And there endeth the first lesson on the secrets behind effective converting landing pages. The following four posts in the series of five will be published over the course of the forthcoming weeks so watch this space for details on landing page structuring, how to use taglines, the importance of call to action buttons and much, much more besides. Thanks for reading.