A well-designed landing page connects with a visitor and attracts them into visiting the full website. It offers them just enough to entice their buying bone and draw them in. Landing pages function as an extension of the website itself yet are easier to update while targeting specific key demographics. However, if landing page visitors back out instead of following links to the website, the problem lands solely on the landing page itself. A properly designed landing page attracts customers. A poorly performing landing page turns them away. These are the most common copywriting mistakes that lead to potential customers bouncing from landing pages.
What is a Great Bounce Rate?
Before looking at problems with landing pages, it’s important to identify whether a business actually suffers landing page problems. It’s possible the landing page does deliver desirable traffic for the industry, it’s just the website itself isn’t performing. According to Kissmetrics (2010, updated 2017), the average bounce rate is 40.5 percent, although the number increases to 62.9 percent for new visitors (with an average number of pages viewed sitting at 4.6).
The bounce rate is, according to Brandon Gaille (2017), one of five key analytics a marketing department needs to monitor. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate to at least once more page beyond the landing page. The other four important landing page analytics, include the exit rate, the click-through rate, the conversion rate and the segversion rate (the percentage of visitors who both segment and convert).
According to the same Kissmetrics analytics though, different industries and landing page types will experience varying bounce rates from landing pages. A retail website, for example, will see a bounce rate of 20 to 40 percent. Anything higher than this means there's a problem with the landing page. The bounce rate jumps dramatically to between 70 and 90 percent for a simple landing page with a single call to action (for example, "add to shopping cart"). So if a landing page sends more than 30 percent of visitors back to the actual website, the landing page is likely outperforming that of the competition.
Targeting the Wrong Audience
A website should not rely on a single landing page. One of the beneficial tactics provided by a landing page is it can be directed towards a specific target audience. Every key demographic should have a landing page crafted for it specifically, with directed marketing towards the audience utilizing the landing page. One of the biggest reasons why a landing page fails to convert visitors into customers is because it is not designed specifically for the audience in question.
Landing pages provide small, but important, information on a product or service. Everything included on the landing page must be aimed towards the target audience. According to Brandon Gaille (2017), the top reason why visitors exit a landing page is because the landing page is not correctly segmented. With 40 percent of online retailers using landing pages, not all segment the landing pages to better fit a specific target audience. To do this, it is important for a business to understand its key demographic. Failure in this regard will not only lead to poor landing page performance but poor marketing in general.
Understanding the exact reason why a particular landing page visitor backs out isn't possible. Outside of a visitor completing a survey as to what caused them to leave the landing page, the marketing department is left with assumptions. However, like customer segmentation issues, there are a handful of easy-to-identify problems with a landing page that likely plays a role in poor bounce rates. Legibility issues stand near the top of the list. If a visitor can't easily scan through and read the presented information quickly, they are more likely to leave.
When a customer arrives on a landing page, they’ll scan first, read second. If they find the information of any interest following a quick scan, they will leave. If they can't scan the information at all, they will leave. There are a handful of ways to improve legibility for a landing page. According to Wishpond (2017), this begins with the font. The font needs to be neat and clear. Next, the color of the font is important. The font needs to pop against the background. If it doesn't, a visitor either will either struggle reading it, or they won't see all the included text, both of which are problems. The landing page needs clear structure, with plenty of space in between lines (such as 1.5 line spacing) and every paragraph should contain ideally one, but no more than three short sentences.
Wishpond recommends taking what it calls is the “5-Second Test.” If it’s not possible to scan over the entire landing page in five seconds, customers will become less likely to follow the call to action and instead back out of the page.
Not Understanding the Visitor’s Position
Understanding the target audience and properly segmenting landing pages is one thing. Understanding a visitor's current position is something completely different. It makes up a very important piece of the landing page puzzle, yet not all pages take this into account.
Every marketing director or landing page creator needs to ask a handful of questions before publishing the page. First, according to Wishpond (2017), it is important to identify what buying cycle the visitor is in. Have they purchased the product before? In which case the landing page is designed for follow-up purchases or as a way to extend a current subscription. If the landing page is aimed at potential customers who have not made a purchase previously, it is necessary to understand whether the visitor has even heard of the product previously. If they haven't, the landing page needs to be directed at introducing the viewer to the product. If they have, why haven't they made a purchase before? Is it the price? Stock issues? Or another reason altogether? Again, segmenting landing pages and understanding a visitor's position work hand and hand. The two put together can result in powerful and high performing landing pages.
The rest of the landing page needs to hinge on these important questions. If a customer isn’t yet ready to make a purchase, using a “Buy Now” call to action won’t work. Instead, it is necessary to offer them additional information, or to “Request a Demo Now.”
Benefits of the Product, Not Features
The best landing pages educate a potential customer on how a product or service can improve their lives. It offers benefits and offers solutions to issues the viewer has. This helps attract the visitor and motivate him or her into following the call to action and entering the website. However, far too many landing pages instead focus on features, not on benefits.
Features and benefits are directly connected, yet not interchangeable. A feature is something the product does. A benefit is how this feature helps the person buying it. As visitors on a landing page should be able to scan the contents in just a few seconds, the features need clear identification. This way, it instantly informs the prospective customer how their lives can improve. If the landing page focuses on features, it fails to do this. A potential client would need to see the feature and mentally digest the information into how buying the product would improve his or her own life. As landing pages function best when providing quick-hit information, forcing a visitor to put in additional mental effort results in a higher than desired bounce rate.
No Clear Call to Action
It is important to tell visitors to a landing page exactly what they should do next. This needs to be clear, precise, and there should only be one. Without a call to action, bounce rates increase because potential customers do not know what is wanted of them. Do they need to provide their email for a mailing list? Does a business want them to follow their social media accounts? Or maybe the company wants a customer to make a purchase? If the call to action is not clear and direct, it hinders the potential of the landing page.
According to Protocol 80 (2016), 90 percent of all visitors to a landing page also read the attached call to action. Additionally, content featuring a clear CTA button experience a clean-through boost of 2.85 times more than content without the clear call to action. Anchor text CTAs help boost the conversion rate by 121 percent while CTAs done in first person (“Purchase My Free eBook” versus “Purchase Your Free eBook”) sees an additional 90 percent click-through rate.
The same Protocol 80 article indicates the top click-through performing a call to action include the term "Learn More," followed by "Shop Now," "Download" and "Sign Up." The click-through rate language does depend on the industry though. "Learn More” performs best in the finance, healthcare and educational industries. “Shop Now" sees an increased click-through rate when used for consumer electronics, crafts, and hobbies, home and apparel industries. "Download" works best with technology, social and gaming industries, while "Sign Up" sees an increase when used with medial, entertainment and technology industries.
Failure to include a call to action, or at the very least the wrong call to action, directly connects to a landing page not having defined goals. When creating a landing page, the marketing department needs to have established goals for the page. In other words, what is the desired outcome of the landing page? Is the goal to convert visitors to the landing page into buying customers? Perhaps it is simply to obtain an email address and turn the visitors into leads. Maybe the desired outcome hinges on growing a company’s social media following, so having the visitor follow the company on its different social media platforms is wanted. To not only use a call to action but to use the right terminology within the call to action, having a clearly defined goal prior to publishing the landing page is needed.
Load Time Issues
While not directly connected to copywriting, landing page load time is worth mentioning. Similar to loading times for a website, the length of time it takes for a landing page to fully load directly impacts bounce rates, exit rates and converting visitors into customers. According to Neil Patel (2018), 47 percent of visitors expect a page to load within two seconds. Every additional second reduces the chance of a visitor following the call to action and entering the website. At four seconds, 25 percent of visitors will back out, and by 10 seconds, this number increases to over 40 percent.
Unlike a regular website, a landing page contains very little in way of information, so slow load times should never exist. However, if the landing page does drag, the size of graphics within the landing page is the likely culprit. Non-compressed images may push into the hundreds of megabytes in size. In order to correct load time issues for a landing page, these images need to be properly formatted for the Internet. Doing this significantly reduces load time and helps prevent this issue from causing visitors to leave a landing page.
The very purpose of using a landing page is to connect with specific target audiences in order to attract them to the website itself. If visitors to a landing page are more likely to bounce instead of stick and follow embedded links, it usually has to do with the content of the landing page. From targeting the wrong audience to now clearly demonstrating how a product will solve the customer's problem, correcting these handfuls of problems will go a long way to boosting landing page productivity while at the same time increasing leads and sales. Most landing pages do not need a major overhaul, but instead, require these simple tweaks and corrections. By taking advantage of these adjustments, any business, regardless of size or services offered, should experience a substantial increase in its bottom line.
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What do you think is the MOST common landing page mistakes? What can you do to correct it?