Conversion optimization ought to be the primary goal of your website. There’s a lot of people out there who want to build beautiful websites that “capture the essence of your brand”. I’m actually one of them. But beautiful websites don’t always convert.
If you’re a new or growing practice, that’s not sufficient. The purpose of your site is to guide your visitors into a revenue-generating opportunity. That’s what we talk about here.
Home Pages vs. Landing Page
In past posts, I’ve discussed using SEO, Paid Search, and Content to attract users to your site. But up until this point, I haven’t talked about where to send those visitors. You never ever ever want to lead your traffic to your home page. Home pages don’t convert. That’s what landing pages are for.
For the sake of conversion, there are two basic types of web sites:
- Homepage – This is your main website, where you have your home page, the services, about us, and contact pages. These all serve a specific purpose. That purpose is so that those who are already familiar with your organization can learn more about you at their leisure. You can think of this as a “brochure”. Accordingly, your main website is not (and should not be) optimized as part of your sales funnel. That’s simply not its purpose.
- Landing pages – These pages are specially crafted to guide leads from a specific online marketing campaign through the sales process, and finally convert them into customers. You should have as many landing pages as you have campaigns. Your Google Ads, your Facebook Ads, etc. should all be linking to a specific landing page.
Many times I have had Doctors tell me “We have a beautiful new landing page, we’re using SEO, Adwords, Facebook Ads, etc. but we’re just not getting results. People click on the ads, and then just leave the site.” When I go in and take a look, I can confirm that the page is beautiful but it’s not a landing page. It’s their homepage.
What happens is this: users are clicking on an ad, being redirected to a home page, are not sure what they’re supposed to do next, and then they leave. If there’s one thing to take away from this post, it’s do not use your homepage as your landing page. It’s simply not effective.
The Principles of Conversion Optimization
Designing your landing pages in such a way to guide the visitor through the sales funnel is a process called Conversion Rate Optimization. There are three principles of conversion that we’re going to cover, and then we’ll talk about the core elements of the landing page.
The first principle is the content of your website. In addition to strong copy writing, conversion rates increase when you provide genuinely valuable content to your audience. This content should attract and reward your visitors, and push the further down your online sales funnel towards conversion. This content is your unique sales proposition, and it should be used to create the curiosity, need, or desire for your product or service.
For example, you might offer a high-value downloadable, or a free consultation in exchange for the visitor’s contact information.
The second is design. There are really two parts of design:
- The Aesthetic – This describes how pleasing the design is to the eye.
- Conversion Optimization – This is how the design aids in conversion. Remember, although you want your landing pages to look nice, what you really want is for it to have a high conversion rate.
So much of marketing is about experimentation. Nobody gets it’s completely right on the first try. Instead you do your market research, then you throw your marketing out there and see what performs. Testing, testing and even more testing is what helps us optimize and find the unique consultation formula for your business.
Designing for Conversion Optimization
Elements of a Landing Page
Landing page should be sparse and neat. Only a few essential elements should be present – the elements that specifically contribute to conversion optimization
- First is what we call the “Hero Spot”. This is where the user’s eyes will usually land first, and this is where your most impactful message should be. Usually this is located on the upper left-hand side of your page. It should be bold, it should be beautiful, and it should immediately grab the visitor’s attention.
- Second is your lead form or “Presentation”. That could be a contact form, an appointment form, consultation, etc. But this is where (1) you deliver on whatever promise your ad made, and (2) where the patient provides you with the information you need to move them to the next step.
- Third is your content. A lot of people are going to reach your landing page out of curiosity. Your content is where you make the sale. I recommend sticking to bullet points that highlight the benefits of your service. If necessary, you can use short paragraphs, but this is NOT the place for long copy writing.
- Finally you have your Call To Action. This is the “Book an Appointment”, or “Schedule a Free Consultation” button that you have beneath your form.
Designing For the Fold
Another thing to understand about designing your landing page is what goes above the fold, and what goes below.
The fold is the scroll point. So when you visit a website, there’s that stuff that you can see automatically when the site first loads – that’s above the fold. Then you can scroll down to see more content. Anything that you have to scroll down to see is below the fold.
Typically you want to have at least your hero spot and presentation above the fold. However, if you find that most of your visitors are curious and not ready to buy you can try moving the content portion above the fold, and see if that increases your conversion rate.
The last thing I want to talk about in terms of design is what’s called Information Scent. Basically this means that your message or your offer is consistent from the beginning of the sales funnel to the very end. For example, if your Facebook Ad advertises 25% off, then each and every page the user visits should reiterate “25% off” until they’ve booked an appointment.
It should be that way with everything. The message that you convey, the style with which you do it, your writing, your imagery, it should remain consistent throughout the entire process. That’s one of the main problems with using your homepage as a landing page – it’s completely inconsistent. Your visitor should never stop and wonder “Wait, how’d I get here?”
By including a landing page – rather than your home page – in your sales funnel, you have the opportunity to more fully align your funnel elements with the core message of your campaign, and achieve much better conversion optimization.
Although we’ve really only skimmed the surface here, I think I’ve given you enough to get started on.
If there’s anything that you feel like maybe we didn’t go deep enough here, or even overlooked, please feel reach out to us. And, of course, if you feel like we can help you in your online marketing efforts, we would love to hear from you. You can reach us at www.epowet.com/contact or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Conversion Optimization check out our short presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smz6fLJFpUY&t.