I'm thrilled that one of my favorite experts on landing page optimization, Tim Ash, is joining us this September at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit on Conversion/Analytics Day (Friday, September 21). Tim will conduct live landing page reviews for attendees—so sign up and submit your landing page URLs early. Tim Ash is author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners, a firm that specializes in improving website conversion rates for clients large and small, including Canon, Google, Expedia, CBS, Sony Music, Facebook, Nestle, Verizon Wireless, Texas Instruments, Cisco, and Coach.
To give you a taste of the great conversion advice we have in store for you at #OMISummit, I picked Tim's brain on landing pages, copy, calls-to-action and more. Here's what he had to say:
1. What are some of the most common landing page mistakes marketers make?
That's easy - in the 2nd edition of my book Landing Page Optimization I have a whole chapter devoted to the "Seven Deadly Sins" of landing page design. They include too much text on the page, visual distractions, lack of overt trust symbols, asking for too much information, too much choice, and unclear calls-to-action.
2. How long should landing page copy be?
Most copy should be short and hard-hitting. People don't read on the web. They skim and scan - mostly looking for visual cues or links to click on. If you need to include supporting information, you can often hide it under a "more details" link. However, if you have a single product direct response situation, long-form sales letters can still work online. But there is a very specific formula to make those kinds letters work - so work with a specialized copy writer.
3. How many calls-to-action should you include on a landing page?
Ideally just one. What I mean is that the visual priorities on the page should be clear, and the call to action should be prominent and obvious. The easiest way to accomplish this is to tone down the rest of the elements on the page so that the call to action can arise naturally out of this quiet.
It is possible to have multiple conversion goals and calls-to-action, but make sure that you give them the appropriate visual emphasis. The important stuff should be prominent, and secondary calls to action should be appropriately muted.
If you have a long page, remember that the viewer is looking through a little window on their browser. So make sure that as they scroll, the call to action is always visible. Repeat it several times as you go down the page. But don't use those annoying jittering overlays which pin the call to action to a specific place on the screen.
4. What question do you wish people would ask you?
"What should the balance be between driving traffic and converting it?" Unfortunately most online marketers focus on traffic acquisition. That is where they are spending the money. But they neglect to do anything to improve the actual experience of the visitor once they get to the site or landing page. Converison rate optimization will turbo-charge all of your traffic sources, so it should get a lot more attention.
5. How did you get started in landing page optimization?
My company was running large-scale pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for clients. Then we decided to add a division to be a super affiliate. We would by PPC traffic with our own money and send it to landing pages. Unfortunately the landing pages were awful. So we would improve the pages with the agreement of the affiliate program, and would then make a lot more money. Over time we realized that this was the big opportunity. Since then we have jettisoned the PPC completely and have become an acknowledged expert in conversion rate optimization. We have worked with over 1000 clients worldwide over the last decade.