Crafting the ideal landing page can be one of the more challenging aspects of a marketing strategy. There are numerous variables that need to be taken into account when creating landing pages that will drive traffic, improve lead generation and generate higher conversion rates. One of the most important components of a successful landing page is the call to action. A well-thought out CTA that's integrated in a clever way – keeping website design and user experience in mind – can produce impressive results for a marketing team that may be struggling with generating more high-quality leads.
Why CTAs are important
Without clear direction, buyers who arrive at a landing page will be left wondering what their next steps should be. It's similar to walking through an airport and trying to make a flight connection when there aren't any signs to direct passengers through security toward the correct terminal. While a landing page likely has text and images that explains what a specific product or service does, that alone doesn't always motivate purchasers to move further along the sales funnel. In an addition to being a directional tool, a CTA is also a way to distinguish leads, identifying those who are motivated by the offer (1). As a result there are a number of characteristics of CTAs that businesses should keep in mind when creating effective appeals.
- Simplify the message
One roadblock is complex or confusing language and design, which clouds what the company offers and customers are sure of what they should pay attention to. The note-taking and organizational software maker Evernote provides a clear example of what a simple, straightforward landing page should look like. In large text, the landing page's featured CTA is "Remember Everything," a concept that correlates directly with what the business provides (2). The CTA also reflects back on Evernote's branding and logo, which happens to be an elephant, the animal that notoriously never forgets.
At the same time, the landing page is relatively sparsely populated with significant amounts of white space and a few images of a laptop and other items that can create clutter. While the CTA button is fairly nondescript, asking visitors to "sign up," the primary message is at the forefront and is easy to understand.
- Keep customers curious
While "The Old Man and the Sea" may have won Ernest Hemingway fame and solidified his celebrity status, it's one of his less well-known concepts that applies directly to CTAs and landing pages in general is the Iceberg Theory of Writing. While online marketing isn't within the same genre as novel writing, there is some crossover. With the Iceberg Theory, Hemingway explained there's about one-eighth of the iceberg above the water, meaning that's the amount of the "complete" story an effective or truthful writer is responsible for telling (3). The remaining seven-eighths of the story is out of sight beneath the water, and it's information that's not essential for the reader to grasp the meaning of text.
With this in mind, a landing page that's weighed down with too much information risks drowning potential customers in data. As mentioned above, the message should be simple, and also develop a sense of curiosity among buyers. The desire to get more information is one of the most important reasons to develop attractive CTAs (4). The landing page visitor needs to get a clear sense of a product or service's value, but there should also be a sense of discovery once they click the CTA button.
- Test different approaches
Not all buyers will respond to the same static CTA. HubSpot integrated slide-in CTAs that increased click-thru rates and improved lead generation. Just as the navigation tool bars on the right side of the page disappear, the CTA would slide in asking readers to take a specific action (5). As a result, the marketing automation software provider was able to improve the CTR by 192 percent and 27 percent more customers filled out the form. The key here was testing out the strategy to see how visitors to the website would respond. Even CTAs and landing pages that perform well during a specific timeframe may begin to draw fewer qualified leads. In this case, there's a demonstrated need to investigate and test out different approaches to creating effective landing pages.
Another example of this can be seen with A/B test software provider Optimizely. Practicing what it preaches, the company carried out split tests to see if it could improve the landing pages linking to its pay-per-click ads on Google. Originally, three different PPC ads linked to the same landing page with fairly generic information. However, it tested out creating three distinct landing pages for each PPC ad and generated nearly 40 percent more leads.
Landing pages and their correlating CTAs are central to effective online marketing. Companies need to take the time to look at their strategies and make sure they're taking a straightforward approach that produces real results.
1. "Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action"
2. "Resistance Is Futile: 17 Calls-to-Action You Can't Help But Click"
3. "What Lies Beneath: The Iceberg Theory of Writing"
4. "Three Psychological Features Of A Landing Page That Make People Click"
5. "9 Real-Life Conversion Rate Optimization Tests to Try Yourself"