15 questions to ask yourself before publishing a new landing page
Building landing pages? Contributor Jacob Baadsgaard has compiled a tried-and-true list of 15 questions to help guide you in creating and evaluating new landing pages.
Landing pages are an important part of most online marketing campaigns. They are a great way to tailor the page that people see after clicking on your ad to your target audience and actual ad content.
Unfortunately, while there are a lot of great articles out there about how to test, tweak and refine your landing pages, not every tip or trick works for every page. To make things even more complicated, it can be hard to know where to start with a new landing page:
- Do you just guess?
- Do you put together a page and hope for the best?
- Do you give it your best shot and then tweak once you have some data?
- Do you create multiple pages and start testing from day one?
While all of these are certainly viable options, an inadequate landing page can cost you a lot of potential conversions and sales while you figure things out, so it’s worth it to do your best to create a decent landing page the first time around.
To help with that, I’ve put together a list of 15 questions every marketer should ask themselves before pushing a landing page live. If you can answer “yes” to every question on this list, your landing page might not be perfect, but it should provide good results.
1. Does my above-the-fold experience feel consistent with my advertising?
Your ads set expectations for your landing page. If you’re advertising personal injury services, but your landing page talks about divorce litigation, you immediately create a sense of confusion and unmet expectations for your site traffic. That’s not a great way to get people to convert on your landing page.
Instead, your landing page should match the advertising that brings people to your page. Keep in mind what your ad looks like and promises, along with who you are targeting and what platform your ads are running on. The more seamless your ad-to-landing page transition is, the more likely people are to stick around and potentially convert.
2. Do I have a headline that clearly defines my business and/or offer?
One of the easiest ways to establish a sense of ad-to-landing page consistency is with your headline. Your headline is the first place people look for confirmation that your page matches their expectations. This is the ideal place to confirm what your business does and what your offer is.
Remember, your main goal here is to maintain momentum and build confidence, so keep your headlines clear, concise and focused on the messaging that convinced someone to click on your ad in the first place.
3. Am I communicating value with my headline and subheading?
A good headline and subheading should make a strong value proposition to your potential customers. After all, if you want people to stay and convert, you need to give them a reason to stick around and consider your offer.
The best way to do this is to focus your headline and subheading on how your business or offer will improve the lives of your potential customers. So, instead of saying something generic like “industry-leading software,” it’s better to say something more along the lines of “Close twice as many deals with our sales software.”
4. Is my CTA immediately obvious?
The whole point of a landing page is to help transition potential customers from interest to action. For this reason, landing pages tend to work better if you make the next step immediately obvious. In some cases, you might want an above-the-fold call to action (CTA) encouraging people to convert directly. In others, you may want an above-the-fold CTA that leads people to read more content farther down on your page.
Additionally, it’s almost always a good idea to make your CTA stand out (contrasting colors, smart placement and so on). The easier you make it to find and follow the next step in your conversion path, the more likely people are to do what you want them to do.
5. Is my CTA clear?
Most good CTAs require an investment of some sort. And, like all investments, your CTA comes with a measure of risk. So, if you want to get people to give you their contact information, money or something else, you need to be clear about what they’re going to get in return.
Whether it’s in your button copy or at the top of a submission form, it’s usually best to explain exactly what people get in exchange for what they’re giving you. That way, they understand the exchange and feel more motivated to do what you want them to.
6. Do I have any unnecessary links?
Unlike your home page, you know exactly why people are on your landing page and how they got there. As a result, you can give them the content they need, and you really shouldn’t have any reason to send them to another page. Unnecessary links to a site or social media profile pages simply distract people from what you want them to do on your landing page: Convert!
7. Are there distracting elements on my page?
While there might be a lot that you want to communicate about your company or offer, too much information or too many images can distract or discourage your potential customers. Remember, the goal of a landing page is to help people take the next step toward becoming a paying customer. If elements on your page aren’t an important part of helping people take that next step, you probably don’t need them.
8. Does my copy focus on things that matter to my customers?
Along the same lines, many businesses fall into the trap of creating landing pages that focus on how great their business or offer is. The problem is, your potential customers don’t care how awesome you think you are. They care about what you can do for them.
Instead of focusing on why your company is great, it’s best to focus on how your product or service will help your potential customers. How will it change their lives for the better? What value will they get from buying from you? If you can give them convincing answers to those questions, they’ll be a lot more likely to convert.
9. Are my testimonials compelling and relevant?
The right testimonials are incredibly compelling. The wrong testimonials undermine the credibility of your business. This is just as true on a landing page as it is on a third-party website.
On your landing pages, you have the advantage of picking which testimonials to use, but your potential customers know this, so your testimonials need to be particularly compelling. A great testimonial should be specific to you and your business (or offer, ideally) and should come from a reliable, verifiable source.
10. Are all my form fields necessary?
As I mentioned earlier, your CTA represents a degree of risk for your potential customers. The less you ask for, the lower that perceived risk will be. So, if you don’t need a piece of information at this particular stage of your funnel, don’t ask for it!
11. Does my page have a page title?
A page title might seem like a fairly simple thing, but our brains are designed to associate inconsistency with danger. Most reputable websites and landing pages come with a page title, so if people don’t see a page title on the tab for your landing page, they may immediately become more suspicious about the legitimacy of your business.
12. Has my page been proofread?
Ideally, reading through your landing page should be an effortless experience for your potential customers. When someone has to think to figure out what you’re trying to say or make sense of a misspelled word or poor grammar, they enter a state of alert. Something is wrong with your page, which automatically makes them question everything you are saying on your page.
As a result, they’re a lot more likely to question whether or not they need what you’re selling, which is bad news for you.
So, apart from simply creating a professional-sounding landing page, proofreading (especially if you get someone else to proofread for you) can also improve the overall performance of your landing page. The less people have to think while reading through your content, the more likely they are to be swayed by your pitch and convert.
13. Have all of my forms and buttons been tested?
Of course, the most compelling page isn’t worth much if people can’t actually convert. Any time you make a change to a button, form, integration or another interactive element, you should retest your whole process. Make sure that lead info ends up in the right place, buttons work and links direct people to the right place before you launch your page.
14. Have I mobile-optimized this page?
These days, it’s a fairly safe bet to assume that a lot of people will view your landing page on their mobile devices. It’s a bit of a pain to have to design a desktop-friendly and mobile-friendly version of your page, but that’s just the world we live in.
15. Will this page make my customer feel like ‘This is for me’?
As people progress through your marketing and sales funnel, they are constantly asking themselves, “Is this for me?” In other words, your potential customers are looking for a business and/or offer that fits them and their needs.
We’ve touched on this point throughout this article, but it’s so important that it’s worth specifically mentioning here. If you can convince people what you’re selling is a match for who they are and what they need, it will be hard for them not to convert.
This can be tricky to do on your home page, where you don’t really know who is visiting or what their motivations are. But a landing page is different. With a landing page, you control who sees your page. Only people who match your targeting and are interested enough in your advertising message to click will see your landing page, so you can create an experience that is personalized to them.
After 10+ years of building and testing landing pages, I’ve found that these 15 questions are a great way to evaluate the quality of a new landing page. If you can answer “yes” to all of the questions on this list, your page might not be perfect, but it’ll be a great asset to your online marketing campaigns from day one. Over time, you can test and refine things, but the fundamentals will all be there.