Ever have a late-night craving for a sandwich before? You know the feeling — thinking about how deliciously rewarding it would be to put all of your favorite ingredients together to create that delectably satisfying final product. You pop open the fridge, pull out the lettuce, some sliced tomatoes, mayo, and your favorite cold cuts. All laid out and organized on the countertop, just waiting for you to put it together and take that first juicy bite. However, let’s say instead of putting all of your fresh ingredients together, you simply spread the mayo on the bread and throw the rest of the ingredients straight into the trash.

You know that amazing feeling of almost creating a wonderful sandwich but falling short at the last second, right? Of course not. That would be downright silly. Why would you go through all the hard work of getting everything together, just to have it fall apart right before the finish line? Not to mention the waste of money on all of those ingredients. I think we can all agree that this scenario makes absolutely no sense.

So why then are advertisers often so quick to waste time and money on putting their “ingredients” together for the perfect conversion funnel, only to have it fall apart at one of the most critical parts: the landing page? Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Instead of having a grasp on the entire funnel vision, advertisers get tunnel vision by focusing only on the traffic aspect of filling the funnel. The second half of the conversion battle is disregarded, like those bread ends that nobody wants to use in their sandwiches.

However, just like a complete conversion funnel has to be made up of the right ingredients to make it work, so do landing pages. While it’s true that different types of landing pages will contain different ingredients, in this post we’ll be analyzing the core components that every landing page should contain.

Hero Image

Just as the visual presentation of a sandwich can determine whether or not you dive into it face first, the visual presentation of your landing page can determine whether or not your visitors will continue on. When it comes to the overall look of your landing page, people make very snap judgements. On average, research has found that visitors form decisions of whether or not to immediately bounce within 1/10th of a second! That’s right, you have about 50 milliseconds to convince your visitor to stay. Regardless of how fast they can read, the actual content of your page is deemed worthless if this first test is not passed.

That’s where the hero image comes into play to save the day! As the predominant visual image above the fold, the hero image plays a vital role in forming your company’s valuable first impression. A powerful hero image will be the centerpiece of your landing page, and as such, it should be relevant to your product or service while also being emotionally persuasive. Additionally, it should go without saying that you’ll want to use a high-quality HD image, since not many things can hurt the overall feel of a page more than a blurry or pixelated image.

Headline (and subhead)

So you’ve convinced your visitor to stay and learn a bit more about your product or service with a convincing hero image. At this point, the next gatekeeper to your conversion is the headline and subhead.

The headline is one of the simplest parts of the landing page to test that can also have one of the largest impacts on conversion rate. The headline (and subhead) should include your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). While many marketers are inclined to think of something clever and outside the box, oftentimes successful headlines actually fall into one of several proven headline formulas:

  • The “How-To” — Show the visitor how your product or service will help them achieve their desired outcome.
  • The “Cliffhanger” — Give a little, but not the whole shebang. Keeps the visitor on their toes and eager to continue on in the funnel.
  • The “Value prop” — Straight and to-the-point. This is who we are, and this is why you should choose us.
  • The “Testimonial” — Probably the easiest headline to write up. Steal it straight from your very own testimonials!
  • The “Listicle” — A list of bullet points can help simplify an otherwise complicated product.

Benefits

If there were a “best supporting aspect” award for landing pages, it would most likely be awarded to the benefits section of the page. The benefits section is where the landing page can explain in further detail what the headline started. While this part of the page is often overlooked, it is also usually the section that will be most effective in enticing your visitor to continue reading and move on to the next step in the conversion process. Depending on the complexity of your product or service, these details can be presented concisely in a bullet point format or more drawn out in a paragraph format. However, it is typically best practice to avoid being too wordy.

Social Proof

As we’ve already seen in one of the proven headline formulas mentioned above, testimonials or other forms of social proof (awards, trust seals, celebrity endorsements, case studies, shares, etc.) can have a major impact on the performance of your landing page. Nobody likes a bragger, and while it’s essential to mention the benefits of what you offer the visitor, it can easily be construed as “salesy” and not trustworthy. However, when someone else says it about you, your trust points increase ten-fold! Social proof also doesn’t need to be limited to one section of the landing page. Testimonials may be spread throughout the page, while trust seals can be strategically placed near the CTA to ensure to the visitor that they are in a safe place.

CTA (Call-To-Action)

Every point of the landing page that we mentioned above becomes meaningless if you don’t nail the Call-To-Action. The CTA is basically the meat (no pun intended) of your landing page. It is ultimately what determines whether your visitor will be a buyer or a bouncer. The core of the CTA is the offer, or in other words, the desired action that the landing page is attempting to persuade the visitor to take. Typically ecommerce CTAs are more transactional by nature; however, lead generation type landing pages can be a wide array of offers (gated content, consultation, demo, trial, etc.). Depending on what the offer is, the wording in the CTA will also be important to test and optimize.

Every aspect of the page should be focused on pushing the visitor towards completing the Call-To-Action. For this reason, it is also recommended to include only one single conversion goal on your landing page. This will help to eliminate any cognitive dissonance that the visitor might be experiencing and build a better and easier user experience.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have the secret ingredients of a tasty landing page, we challenge you to go out there and be the best sandwic… I mean, landing page chef possible. Complete your conversion funnel by using proven strategies that will help bring those conversion rates up. Always remember to test, test, and test some more. Hopefully with some of the above tips, you’ll be able to think up your next test; however, if you ever feel like leaving the cooking to the pros, feel free to contact us for a free PPC audit!