At the Turing Festival’s #FullStack15 in Edinburgh last week, Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner stole the show with his closing keynote using one of Scotland’s greatest pop culture exports – the film Trainspotting – to explain the four key pillars of creating a successful landing page that converts or drives leads.
Oli Gardner’s Four Corners of Conversion
Copy: Communicate More Effectively
Gardner gave several examples of the recent landing page trend to have some kind of BOLD ATTENTION GETTING COPY in a headline – that actually means nothing – that’s then explained by a sub-head. For example:
REACH MORE PEOPLE, FASTER
A social marketing tool that scales social distribution.
Why can’t marketers just say what they mean and communicate more effectively? In a perfect world, Gardner believes that your landing page should have a goal, you should write copy that helps achieve that goal, and then design an experience to present the copy. Unfortunately design often informs copy, and marketers are trying to shoehorn experiences and language into a space that doesn’t make sense. Gardner tested several marketing landing pages on UsabilityHub (the guilty parties will remain nameless), and found that when the subhead and headline were reversed, users were far more likely to understand what the company did and the services they were trying to offer – often 60% got it right as opposed to 0% in the original format. “What we say and what people hear are often two entirely different things,” says Gardner, using some often misinterpreted song lyrics to drive this point home (“There’s a bathroom on the right!”).
Terrible cellphone photo of Unbounce Cofounder Oli Gardner, courtesy of the author
Copy: Think About The Words You Use
The most successful word in landing page conversions? Because. Think about it – because is the most persuasive word in the English language. “When we ask ‘why?’ as children,” Gardner points out, “we constantly get the word ‘because’.” Pages that not only use the word “because,” but use it 11 times convert highest compared to pages that use the word less or not at all.
Design: Distraction Is The Enemy Of Conversion
Gardner pointed out the ratio 82:1 – that is the ratio of things you CAN do on a landing page vs the things you SHOULD do if you’re looking for conversions. “When you design a more targeted experience you can communicate more clearly,” says Gardner. Another rule to live by? NSAMCWADLP: Never Start A Marketing Campaign Without A Dedicated Landing Page. As the cofounder of Unbounce it may be fortuitous for Gardner to promote this tactic, but he has a point when it comes to attention and conversion. The more links or copy that are on the page (like on a traditional home page or company website), the less likely your page is to convert, hence the concept behind using dedicated landing pages.
Design: Use Your Real Estate Wisely
When you’re considering the design elements of your next landing page, remember that anomaly – or something that draws the eye and is different – is a GOOD design principle and drives attention. You also want to be sure the area around your CTA is distraction free: “It’s really precious real estate,” says Gardner, who reminded the audience to protect their CTA above all else.
Another thing to keep in mind is that people may think they want more choice, but choice can also be confusing. When Gardner offered two options on a CTA: “Start free course now or sign up for a free trial,” sign ups for the course went down 14% and only one person signed up for the free trial. When he reinforced that the course was free by adding a picture of himself and the words “free course” under the CTA, signups also went down by 14%.
Interaction: Avoid Bad Design Trends
“All interactions cause some type of friction,” Gardner warned. This can work in your favor or against it when it comes to conversions depending on how you design these interactions, noting that in his opinion, “theme designers are breaking the internet,” and not in a Kim K. way. He pointed out that design trends like scroll assist can make reading a landing page impossible, and that carousels get nearly 90% click through with the first position but next to nothing for the following images and links. He reminded the audience to keep interactions “delightful” and generally minimal when pursuing conversions.
Psychology: Avoid Negative Language + Cognitive Leaps
Gardner suggested when considering the psychology behind your landing page and what will motivate people to sign up or convert that you consider the difference between influence, persuasion, manipulation – and err on the side of influence. Additionally, consider the cognitive ease of use to understand what you’re saying and fill out a form. If your landing page creates “cognitive strain” by being difficult to understand or complete, your conversions will go down.
How To Create A Video That Converts
Gardner reminded the audience that when you feature video on your landing page, only 10-20% of people will actually watch it. But there are a few ways you can improve the conversions.
Even though it’s a video, copy is still important and often a missed opportunity. Gardner suggests captioning your visuals because, “captions under images are read 300% more than the body copy – treat them like headlines and make them so compelling you want to read the rest of the page.” Also because people are unlikely to play the video, your landing page copy should also communicate your offer.
Making sure your content is “above the fold” still matters when it comes to video and engagement. If you’re linking from a video thumbnail, auto-playing a video makes the experience more seamless. Also, having your CTA 14% of the way through the video makes viewers more likely to convert. When it comes to the psychology behind your video campaign, think who is in the video and how trustworthy they are to your audience. People your viewers can “relate to” (customers or experts) do better than CEOs, executives, or government figures.
How To Create A Form That Converts
When it comes to creating a lead capture form, one line alone has the most success, but Gardner notes that there’s no difference between four to seven lines, so you might as well do seven. What you ask for in your copy can also change the outcome of your form’s conversions. When Gardner asked for just an email address, 41% gave a company email. When he asked for “your best email” he got 47% company emails. When he asked for a “business email” he got 65% company emails. Sometimes you should just ask for what you want. Gardner also suggests A/B testing specific words. “Your free e-book” converted 3% less than “my free e-book.” Also the word “get” converted 4.2% less than the word “click” in a CTA. When it comes to the layout of your form, Gardner says: “Design your form as if it’s the only thing on the page. If it can communicate in isolation you’re much better off.”
Finally when it comes to the psychology behind your form, he reiterated the importance of avoiding cognitive strain, noting that parolees are more likely to receive a harsher penalty if their trial is at the end of the day as opposed to first thing in the morning or after lunch. “We make worse decisions when we have to do more work,” says Gardner, so make sure your form fill process is easy and simple. Also, if people are filling out a form, avoid any negative or manipulative language: “If they’re about to buy, get out of their way and don’t interrupt their momentum with negative language,” he says.
Oli Gardner’s Perfect Landing Page
According to Gardner, the highest converting landing pages include the following:
-Label copy for ideal customer
-High contrast design
-Proximity: don’t clog up the CTA
-Top aligned (landing pages convert better if the form is in the top 40% of the page)
Amber van Natten is Managing Editor at NewsCred