Day 5: Learn the Anatomy of a High-Converting Landing Page

High performing landing pages combine form with function. There is more to them than great design — they’re set up to facilitate transactions, sign-ups, and engagement with your brand.

Great landing pages combine disparate elements into a unified, sales-driving tool. Landing page optimization means knowing how the different parts contribute to the overall effect. In addition to the “what,” you need to understand the “why” and “how” of each individual page element.

Know the Following Concepts

  • Call to Action (CTA) – The call to action signifies the end goal that you want users to complete on your website. It’s usually a big, bold, bright colored button. Believe it or not, there are entire blog posts devoted to CTAs — they’re THAT important. It isn’t enough to say “click here” either.You need to use CTAs to guide your audience through the conversion process and let them know exactly what to expect as far as next steps — learn more, download e-book, try free demo, etc.Notice how for Speak2Leads, the CTA stands out, includes an energizing action verb, and stands apart from any other element on the page:

  • Social Proof – These are indicators that people 1. use your product and 2. like your product. There’s way too much BS and way too many scams online. You need to show that there are real people who use and like your product. We’ll explain this concept in depth later, but think: client logos, testimonials, social media follower counts, subscriber data, etc.

  • Trust Signals – Similar to the concept of social proof, trust signals help your users understand that you’re running a legitimate business (and that they can trust you with their personal information, credit card data, etc).

  • Cognitive Dissonance – To get your target customers from point A to point B, the path needs to be clear. If you complicate the messaging by throwing a bunch of page elements and concepts together, you risk confusing your prospects with ambiguity. This concept is what conversion rate experts and psychologists call cognitive dissonance.

  • A/B Testing – Improvement requires constant iteration. If you’re thinking of redesigning a page or testing a new element, you need to compare two or more versions (and quantify the results). This concept is known as A/B testing.

  • F-Shaped Pattern – This is the typical pattern people follow when they read a webpage. Study after study from researchers like Jacob Nielsen shows that people will scan a page from left to right, down, left to right again, and then down. Your design should follow an F-shaped pattern to help audiences digest information as efficiently as possible.Image Source

  • One Conversion Goal – That’s right. Just one per landing page. Absolutely no more, no matter how tempting it seems. No matter how much you try to streamline multiple conversion goals, you’ll end up confusing your prospective customers.

  • Value Proposition – At any given moment, your prospects and customers have one question in mind. “What’s in it for me?” Your landing pages need to answer this question head-on. Convince your customers and prospects to do business with you.

See How It All Fits Together

The following infographic will help you visualize the anatomy of a high-converting landing page:

Today’s Homework

Today’s homework will be hands-on and really fun:

  1. Start by memorizing the landing page diagram above. Learn it, embrace it, and start thinking about it from the perspective of your company. Take out a pen and some paper to sketch out how you want your landing page to look.

  2. Mock up a landing page for 1-3 product or service pages. Have your team critique to make sure you’re conveying trust, social proof, a clear value proposition, and a straightforward CTA. This should be a real landing page, not a practice one.

  3. If you’re limited on design and IT resources, sign up for Unbounce. This software lets you create high-performing landing pages, no matter your technical capabilities or experience level. Unbounce will help you save time and get up and running in a few hours max.

Day 6: Create Variations of Existing Landing Pages

Conversion optimization requires constant iteration. It’s rare that you’ll find the right combination of elements on just the first try. To really find a great solution and ensure that you’re positioned for success, you need to keep testing ideas.

Be Smart About What You’re Testing

When it comes to landing page iterations, you can test anything from colors to fonts, messaging, and CTAs. If you spend your time changing anything and everything, you’ll get very little done.

You need to take a step back and think about the big picture. Every testing strategy starts with an intelligent framework.

When deciding what to test, start with the concept instead of the individual page element. Here are some examples:

  • Trust

  • Value proposition

  • Information overload

  • Action items on CTA

  • Emotion/Feeling/Sentiment

  • Option Overload

  • Friction

  • Incentives/Promotions/Offers

  • First Impression

Here’s an Example to Model

There should always be a reason why you’re testing something. Steve P. Young has gone through this process while leading marketing at SmartShoot, a marketplace to connect photographers and videographers with buyers who need media. For SmartShoot to succeed, customers need to go through three steps:

  1. Fill out a project request form

  2. Create an account

  3. Publish the project request

Like most companies, SmartShoot gets significant traffic to their company’s homepage. The funnel looks like this:

The goal is to get more people past step 2 (the project request form).

To boost this conversion rate, SmartShoot could have tested hundreds of variations. But this strategy is like throwing darts in the dark. It’s a huge waste of time and money. The path to ROI would be long and confusing.

To decide what to test, SmartShoot went back to the data.

“To have the quickest and largest impact on our lead form conversions, we won’t work on the page where the conversion occurs, but rather the page immediately before the conversion — the highly-trafficked home page.”

The process would be less complicated and costly but would produce higher ROI.

This was SmartShoot’s original homepage:

Steve guessed that the CTA, “Post a Project” was not as effective as it could be. Who wants to post a project? That just feels like work.

Customers don’t want to do the work. They want SmartShoot to do the heavy lifting. So Steve talked to his customer base to get a more accurate perspective of what they wanted:

Here’s what they heard:

  • We want quotes from vetted photographers and filmmakers

  • We want samples of their work

  • We do NOT want to sift through emails to see the quotes and sample work

Based on this feedback, Steve and his team decided to change three words. They changed the CTA from “post a project” to “get a quote.”

In terms of getting people from the homepage to the request form, “Get a quote” converted at 40% higher rate than “post a project”.

Clicks aren’t the only thing, though. For SmartShoot, the ultimate goal is to move users down the funnel. “Publish request” is the real conversion goal (because it’s the most direct path to monetization).

“Get a quote” won by 35%.

Test concepts that make sense, not on-the-fly ideas.

Today’s Homework

Open up the landing pages you made yesterday. Pick 2-3 page elements that you think might need adjusting, and figure out an explanation for why. Go through the methodology we outlined in the SmartShoot example to figure out variations worth testing on your landing page.

The goal of this exercise is to have 2-3 versions of your landing page to test. We’ll tell you what to do with these tomorrow.


Emily Anderson