“Don’t make me think.” - Steve Krug
Those four words sum up user experience at its core – and it’s the most fundamental key to successfully selling your product or service with inbound marketing. We know that a well-designed landing page should have engaging graphics or images, clean fonts that are easy to read, and pleasing colors. But does the user actually enjoy the experience of a website page that’s simply pretty to look at?
Perhaps, but the user enjoys getting their desired result more. Making the end result as simple and pleasant as possible is the key to increasing your conversions and keeping your customers happy. Let’s look at six strategic lessons you can implement on your landing pages for more success in conversion rates.
Embrace the White Space
It can be tempting to fill in white space, especially if you’re trying to fit lots of information into limited screen space (think: designing for mobile).
Image credit: www.usabilityhour.com
A combination of white space and clear, concise text communicates your bottom line much better than trying to squeeze everything into a tight space. Even if your area is limited on the screen, try to maximize your visuals and your text for impact. If it isn’t absolutely crucial to your main point, you might be better off without it. With the right amount of white space, your visitors will be able to focus more on the most important visual elements on the page, letting your headlines, key benefits, and call-to-action shine.
Design Around the User’s End Result
We already mentioned what the user really wants: the end result. Make it clear what the user will be getting once they fill out your form, enter their email, take the next step, whatever it is – and make it clear that this end result will come to them in a timely manner. People want to get on with their lives, no matter how interested they are in your product or service. Include a short (perhaps visual) explanation of any steps included in the process required to get the end result, like the example below.
Keep Text Light and Varied
When was the last time you genuinely read the entirety of something on the Internet? How many of us mindlessly scroll through Facebook feeds, skim headlines of articles, and only stop when something catches our eye and makes us pay attention? My guess would be a majority, especially we digital marketers whose second home is the World Wide Web.
On your landing pages, it’s instrumental to mix up pieces of text with complementary visuals, using formatting like colors, emphasis like bolding, and different sizing to keep the eye interested. Text is certainly important, however, as it gives the user valuable information. A good rule of thumb is to break up big sections of text into smaller chunks that are easy to digest – 12-15 words max. As soon as your user sees a rambling paragraph, their brain jumps to the assumption that it’s too long to read. They’ve got better things to spend time on. Keep it simple and to the point.
Make Your Page Familiar to the User
As humans, we are attracted to the familiar. Remember when you learned about the mere-exposure effect in your college psych class? People prefer things that they’ve been exposed to before, from faces to words to shapes to songs. Seeing and hearing familiar things create a “glow of warmth.” The UX lesson here: design your landing page simply and intuitively, using the tried-and-true elements of web design. You don’t want the user to have to spend time figuring out how to navigate your landing page – use a layout that’s already familiar to the user. Structure your landing page cleanly and logically, incorporating some visual breaks to prevent repetitiveness.
Use Valuable Above-the-Fold Real Estate
Your user will form a decision as soon as they land on your page. Thus, the most valuable area is what the user sees right away. But does this mean that your CTA should go above the fold, as many landing page best practices suggest?
Not necessarily. Recent studies have suggested that placing your CTA above the fold really doesn’t affect conversion rate one way or the other. It completely depends on what you’re offering. For instance, Skype’s product is well known and straightforward, so they’re completely fine putting the CTA above the fold.
However, if your product or service takes a bit more explanation to answer the user’s question “what am I getting out of this?” – you might be better off using that valuable above-the-fold space to tell the user why they need what you’re selling.
Basically, whatever you put above the fold, just make sure that it entices the user. When you grab the user’s attention right off the bat, they’re much more apt to scroll down and learn more about your product or service. More time spent on a landing page typically means more interest, which typically means… you guessed it, more conversions.
Show the User How to “Join the Crowd”
No one wants to be alone. Being part of a crowd of like-minded people is comforting. Incorporating ways of showing the user that they’ll be joining others by purchasing or signing up for what you’re offering is a proven means of increasing conversions. Check out how CodeAcademy incorporated social proof onto their website:
From the user’s perspective, there’s no way that 24 million people have made a mistake by signing up for CodeAcademy. The user is likely to think, “I might as well join them!” Right?
You can also add in Facebook page likes, Twitter followers or mentions, or metrics for whatever other social networks you use. Just be sure the numbers are substantial enough to impress the user – displaying small numbers might work against you.
Another good way to express social proof on your landing page is to display client testimonials, or at the very least, simple logos of clients your company works with. Adding client photos is even better – it makes the social proof that much more real. And if your product or service is truly as outstanding as you advertise on your landing page, the reviews will be stellar.
Each landing page is different, so don’t assume that these are by any means “best practices” or applicable to every industry. Test what works best for your business or product, and learn your audience. As a user, I will most likely be interested in something placed behind a beautiful, clean, straightforward landing page. As long as you don’t make me think.