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How We Use Landing Pages to Drive More Business

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Last week, we looked at how Nudge Theory can help you manage employees, highlighting how small changes—such as changing default 401(k) contributions—have a large impact. What if we apply that same idea to the customer-facing side of your business?

Using similar ideas, companies have generated higher conversion rates and increased revenue by making small, sometimes imperceptible, changes to their websites.

At Capterra, we help software companies build better rapport with, and remove barriers for, potential customers. To date, we’ve helped design and launch over 700 landing pages, generating thousands of leads for software providers.

Let’s take a look at how landing pages can help your business and what we do here at Capterra to ensure we’re building the best products possible.

What do landing pages do?

Take a step back from the web for a moment and think through a classic retail experience. You walk into Barnes & Noble with a vague sense of being in the market for a new book. Here’s a map of the Barnes & Noble at TCU to help you visualize the process.

The Barnes & Noble at TCU

The entrance, up in the top right corner, leads you into an area known as the “Impulse Zone,” which sounds like the name of an ineffective gym. This area is the physical store’s version of a landing page.

Detail of the Barnes & Noble at TCU

The company could put anything in that area. It could be fiction or self help, but instead it’s trinkets and some snacks. That little table right in front of the doors almost always has a themed display that rotates on a weekly or monthly basis.

The zone is carefully designed to put something in your hand. You walk in, see something affordable, and pick it up. Now you’ve built rapport with Barnes & Noble. When you make any purchase, even a small one, you break down a barrier to future purchases.

In a recent study, the totally-real-and-not-made-up Luxury Institute found that “Each time a potential customer walks out the door without buying, companies lose not only the immediate sale, but also a vast amount of future sales.”

Another study found that 27% of buyers return to make another purchase, so getting that first purchase in the bag is a big deal to building long-term success.

Taking the impulse zone online

For online businesses, the landing page is your impulse zone. It cuts out all the noise and presents a product or service with simplicity.

Landing pages are focused on generating a single action. This isn’t the front page of your website or the “About Us” section. There shouldn’t be huge blocks of text or lots of branching options for a user to navigate.

Remember, B&N saves the alphabetized fiction section for the back of the store. Up front, we’re focusing on getting a customer to interact with the brand and move from potential customer to customer.

In general, landing pages are where your customers arrive after clicking on an ad or a targeted link. Instead of linking your Facebook ad for custom drapes to your company’s homepage, have that link open to a landing page specifically for custom drapes. You sell all sorts of other stuff, sure—that’s not important right now.

According to Unbounce—one of the larger landing page options—“targeted promotion or product specific landing pages are focused on a single objective that matches the intent of the ad that your visitors clicked on to reach your page.”

Every landing page should have a clear action, whether that be a purchase or a contact or simply having the customer make another click. There should be no question about what a customer is supposed to do on the page.

How Capterra uses landing pages

At Capterra, we’re focused on making everything easier for software companies. That means we want them to get their messages across as clearly as possible. Many of the companies we work with have a small staff, which rarely includes an in-house web designer.

Using some best practices and well-worn paths, we can quickly get such companies up and running with a landing page.

Across the landing pages we’ve made—those we can track and that have had enough traffic to make generalizations about—we’ve seen conversions above the median conversion rate for all industries, as measured by Unbounce in its 2017 report.

For the companies we work with, this has translated into millions of dollars in revenue from a change as simple as adding a landing page.

Landing page best practices from Capterra

The most important part of any page is the top portion, “above the fold.” Back in the newspaper days of yesteryear, the most newsworthy stories were printed above the literal fold in the page. Word has it they still are.

With that in mind, we’ve got three basic recommendations for content you should keep above the fold:

  1. A clear headline and subhead. There should be no question about what your landing page is covering. If you’re building that drapery page, consider a headline such as “Custom Drapes and Off-the-Shelf Prices.” No one is going to mistake what they’ve landed on, and the sense of continuity between the ad they clicked and the landing page is clear.
  2. A “hero” shot of the product or service. We want to (a) add some visual snap to the landing page and (b) engage visitors who love graphics. This should be a beautiful representation of your offering or the emotion you’re trying to convey with the offering. Drapes in a large, sunlit room, blowing in the wind—think Pottery Barn or Apple.
  3. A clearly labeled call to action (CTA). This won’t be the only CTA on your landing page, but it’s the most important one. Remember the impulse zone—we want to lower the barrier to interaction as much as possible. “Click Here to Order Your Drapes” or “Click to Talk to Our Designers.” Make the action and its result clear and direct to keep the customer’s path as straightforward as possible.

Click for more.

If you lock these three aspects in place, you’re on your way to a fantastic landing page. Below the fold, there’s a little more flexibility with your presentation. You’ll want another CTA at the bottom of the page, but how you get there is up to you.

A/B testing your landing pages

Of course, when I say “how you get there is up to you,” what I really mean is that it’s up to your customers.

One of the keys to building a landing page is to keep testing it. Your first try is unlikely to be your best. Leadpages explains its approach to A/B testing in its Guide to Landing Pages:

“An A/B test is accomplished by creating two separate versions of a landing page, web page, or email, that differ slightly in one specific area, and sending an equal portion of your traffic to each version. Once a representative population of users has been driven to both Option A and Option B over a long enough period of time, the version with the higher conversion rate is determined to be the winner in the A/B test. At Leadpages we declare a winner when one version of your page outperforms the other by over 90%, which helps determine that a winning result is not due to chance.”

Trying out different configurations of your upper and lower landing page sections will help you determine how to get the best conversion rates possible.

The payoff for landing page success

“Capterra helped us overhaul our landing page, and dramatically improve our leads as a result. The effects were immediate, as lead volume from clicks multiplied 4x, and lead quality also improved with noticeably better fits.”

That’s one of our Landing Page Team’s happy customers explaining that they started seeing positive results from their landing page right out of the gate, and that those results were four times better than the previous iteration.

Landing pages help companies make more money and make consumers’ lives less complex when done well.

Kissmetrics has a great line-up of landing page success stories, with companies seeing clicks and conversions rising well over 100% just by making some simple changes to the way they interacted with customers.

If you’ve had similar success, I’d love to hear about it and see your winning landing page. Shoot me an email with your story or drop a line in the comments. Good luck making your business the best it can be.

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About the Author

Andrew Marder

Andrew Marder is a writer for Capterra. His background is in retail management, banking, and financial writing. When he’s not working, Andrew enjoys spending time with his son and playing board games of all stripes.

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