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How to Create Sales Pages that Convert [Tips and Examples]

sales pages that convert funnel

When you create sales pages that convert, you take some of the burden off your team. You don’t have to constantly be hustling to find prospective customers. They come to you. But let’s face it: Traffic doesn’t mean much without conversions. You need people to buy what you sell. Today, we’re going to talk about how to create sales pages that convert. I’ll provide you with some strategic tips and show some examples. We’re going to cover lots of information, so feel free to skip around: What are sales pages? Sales pages versus landing pages Long-form versus short-form landing pages…

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How to Create Sales Pages that Convert [Tips and Examples]

The Current State Of Email Marketing Programming: What Can And Can’t Be Used

Many people want to create the best email campaigns possible, and this goal can be realized by following best practices for email design and coding and by implementing advanced techniques correctly. This comprehensive guide, for novices and pros alike, delves deep into the nitty gritty of email marketing.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • best practices for email design, from creating a theme to designing the footer;
  • how to add images and incorporate rich media (GIFs, cinemagraphs, video) in your emails;
  • how to design responsive emails for a better user experience;
  • email client support for responsive mobile emails;
  • finally, advanced techniques in email design.

Introduction

Emails have transformed from being an ordinary text-based personal communication tool into a future-proof marketing channel. We have moved into a world of visually attractive HTML emails that have the feel of microsites in the inbox.

Getting acquainted with the best practices of email coding is, therefore, imperative if you want to avoid a broken user experience and instead improve user engagement. Moreover, as the digital world becomes more mobile, creating responsive emails is the need of the hour.

In this article, we shall delve deeper into best practices to follow for all email clients, as well as advanced techniques you can include for email clients that support interactive elements.

Let’s start with the basic structure of an email.

Basic Email Structure

As Leonardo da Vinci said, ”Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Accordingly, keep the design of your email simple.

Check out the email design below by Charity: Water. Simple yet engaging.

A simple yet engaging email design by Charity: Water.


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Developers have been coding emails using <table> layouts for a long time now. So, it is recommended that you place your email elements in a grid-based layout, rather than arbitrarily placed. Moreover, any element that might overlap needs to be added to a different layer.

The email shown above by Charity: Water looks like this when exported to a tabular layout:

Email design by Charity: Water divided into a grid.


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Email design is made up of different subelements. Let’s explore them now.

1. Email Theme

The logo is not the only element that reflects your brand’s personality. The overall theme of your email, including the fonts, color scheme and imagery, should be in sync with branding guidelines.

2. Width And Height Of Email Template

Because your subscribers use diverse email clients and devices, your email should be appropriately visible in the preview pane of all email clients. Keep in mind that the email will be displayed according to the display pane of the email service provider or client. Only certain email clients, such as Thunderbird, Apple Mail and native mobile email clients, will display email at full width.

For other email clients, the display boxes have variable sizes. Many service providers, such as MailChimp, go over the basics of HTML email, by recommending, for example, 600 to 800 pixels as a width, so that the full email gets displayed. Remember, that most subscribers never use the horizontal scroll bar in an email.

The height of your email template should usually be long enough to accommodate your copy within two scroll lengths. You can certainly have a longer email template if you have to convey a huge amount of information. However, if your email template gets too long, it might become boring for subscribers, who will be less likely to scroll to the end to check out all of the offers and promotions included.

The height of the preview pane of most email clients (which contains content commonly referred to as “above the fold”) is generally between 300 and 500 pixels. Make the best use of this space, so that the content included above the fold entices the subscriber to scroll down.

Every email developer knows that if an email’s file size exceeds 102 KB, Gmail’s app will clip the email, and they will not be able to track metrics.

Check out the screenshot below to see what an email looks like in Gmail when it is clipped:

Email message, the weight of which exceeds 102 KB, as seen in Gmail, with ‘View entire message’ at the end.


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To avoid Gmail’s clip, make sure your email does not have unnecessary code and is not over-formatted. Go for a minimalist email design, without any shortened URLs. Note that images will not be embedded in the email and, so, will not increase the file’s size. That being said, removing unnecessary images will help to reduce the email size.

For marketers who use predesigned templates, the height and width will already be taken care of. If you want to use your own design, consider the ideal width and height of an email template.

3. Body Of Email

Emails usually begin with a hero image at the top, followed by the main copy, a call to action and then the footer.

Because most people read on screens positioned about 2 to 3 feet away, your h1 title should be around 16 pixels; if your title is short, it could even go up to 20 pixels. A good idea would be to render the h1 title as text, along with an attractive hero image.

Your descriptive text should not be smaller than 12 pixels. It should be easily readable across all email clients and devices. Moreover, the alignment of paragraphs and paragraph size also play an important role.

4. Call To Action

The primary objective of email marketing is to persuade customers to take action. To do that, your call to action (CTA) should have engaging, actionable verbs. Use convincing and actionable text, like “Start the free trial,” rather than drab phrases like “Click here.”

An interesting study by ContentVerve, “10 Call-to-Action Case Studies With Takeaways and Examples From Real Button Tests”,” shows that use of the first-person perspective in CTAs increase clicks by 90%, regardless of the product. For example, “Get my free copy” converts better than “Get your free copy.”

Create a sense of urgency in CTAs and get higher click-through rates by adding the word “now.”

This email from 'Alice and Olivia' has a CTA in bright pink, contrasting with the white background.


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Campaign Monitor, in one of its guides, “10 Tips to Optimize Your Calls to Action,” emphasizes that a CTA button should always contrast strongly with the background color, so that it doesn’t blend in and that it grabs the subscriber’s attention. Based on your target audience, your industry and the message to be conveyed, including CTAs at regular intervals can increase email conversions and the desired subscriber action. Its height should be at least 30 pixels, and it should be easily tappable with a thumb on mobile devices.

Check out the email below from Asana. It places a CTA strategically above the first fold and also follows the CTA best practices discussed above.

Email by Asana strategically places CTA above the first fold.
Email by Asana strategically places CTA above the first fold. (View large version)

5. Images And Interactive Elements

If you are putting images or rich media in your email, add relevant alternative (alt) text, so that the purpose of the email is preserved even when the visuals are blocked by the email client. This is also greatly helpful with accessibility, because screen readers will be able to read the alternative text and convey your message.

Most email marketers tend to send emails consisting of a single image, which is first of many common HTML mistakes compiled by MailChimp. It recommends a text-to-image ratio of 80 to 20, to make sure that emails do not get trapped in spam filters. According to a recent study by MailChimp, 200 words per image yield a good click-through rate.

Using linked images in your email ensures an optimum file size. Load images from an external server using <img> tags.

The main advantage of this technique is that you can change images even after sending the email. It makes the email light and reduces the time taken to send the email. The disadvantage is that subscribers will have to download the images from the external server, which will incur download costs for those on metered connections, and the images might also get blocked by some email services.

Rich media elements, such as GIFs, cinemagraphs and video, are becoming popular in email these days.

You can add a GIF or cinemagraph in an email simply by uploading the file to the server that stores your images. Then, copy the URL and use the following HTML:

<pre class="lang:default decode:true" title="Code for adding GIFs or Cinemagraphs in Email"><img src="/wp-content/uploads/thefiletobeinserted.gif">
</pre>

Test the email to make sure that the GIF works properly.

Embedding video is a very adaptable technique of web development, but unfortunately, it’s not supported in email. Therefore, opt for HTML5 video.

To add a video in email, use the code below:

<pre class="lang:default decode:true" title="Code for including video in email"><video width="400" height="200" controls poster="http://www.art.com/images/blog_images/Imagefiles/2017/html5_video/valentinesday.jpg"><br/><source src="http://www.videofile.com/htmlfiles/movie-14thfeb.mp4" type="video/mp4"><br/><!-- fallback 1 --><br/><a href="http://www.xyz.com" ><br/><img height="200" src=" http://www.art.com/pictures/important/Imagefiles/2017/html5_video/valentinesday.jpg " width="400" /><br/></a><br/></video><br/><br/><br/>
</pre>

HTML5 primarily supports the MP4, OGG and WebM video formats.

Pro tip: Apple supports the MP4 video format in its email clients and browsers.

Some points to remember:

  • Make sure that the server configuration you use can output the right MIME type, so that the email client identifies the correct video format when retrieving the video.

  • If you are using an Apache web server, add this entry to the .htaccess file: Add Type video/mp4.mp4 m4v.

6. Number Of Email Folds

Your email should have just two folds, as mentioned earlier. The first fold should capture your brand and include the h1 title with a relevant CTA. If your email template exceeds two scrolls, then the third scroll should cross-sell your products. The idea is to change up the content and keep subscribers hooked by providing interesting information.

The footer is the most overlooked part of any email. However, it probably has information that subscribers are looking for, such as the company address, social sharing buttons and contact details. In order for your email to be CAN-SPAM compliant, the footer should have some additional elements.

An “Unsubscribe” link should allow subscribers to opt out of your mailing list easily and will reduce spam complaints.

Your contact details should link back to your company website and should include your postal and email address.

Additionally, you can have ancillary links, such as “Forward to a friend” and “View in Browser.”

As stated in “The Best Practices of Footer Design” by Bee, the fine print of your email should have the following sections:

  • Explanation of why the recipient got this email
    Your subscribers have probably subscribed to numerous mailing lists. Subtly remind recipients of the reason they received the email, to maintain your reputation as an emailer and to minimize spam complaints.
  • Copyright
    Include the copyright mark, along with the current year and your business name.
  • Privacy policy
    Link to your privacy policy, because subscribers should know where that information is stored. This is critical for e-commerce retailers.
  • Terms of use
    If you are sending out a promotional email highlighting discount offers, share the terms of use that govern the deals.

Cramming information into the footer sounds tempting, but you should determine the most important information for your business and restrict the footer to the minimum. Stuffing it with too much information could lead readers to dismiss it entirely because they will not be able to figure out which links to click.

Check out the footer below by Cotton on Body. Although it is well organized, it could be overwhelming for the subscriber who is scanning the email.

The Cotton on Body email footer, which is too lengthy.


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Have a look at the footer below by Alice and Olivia. It is simple, and it maintains a visual hierarchy according to the actions they want subscribers to take.

Alice and Olivia's email footer is concise and designed with all good practices in mind.


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The footer by HSN below is clean and makes good use of padding and white space. It is not overwhelming, yet it conveys important information that readers might be looking for.

HSN's footer is clean; padding and white space are used appropriately.


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Mobile Responsive Emails

Most subscribers will check email on their phone. Owing to this trend, your emails ought to be responsive. Responsive design includes several elements, such as media queries, fluid grids and fluid images, so that users can view the email as intended, regardless of screen size or device. The basics of responsive email design include the table element, easily stackable sections and full-width CTAs.

If your subscriber list consists of many mobile users, then avoid overlapping layouts. Hide non-primary sections, such as navigation and email advertisements, to cater to mobile subscribers. Mobile-specific email elements such as a navigation menu and image sliders can also be used.

Responsive email design is supported in these email clients:

  • iOS Mail app
  • Windows Phone 7.5
  • Android 4.x Email (OEM) app
  • BlackBerry Z10
  • BlackBerry OS7
  • iPhone Gmail app

The following email clients do not support responsive email:

  • Android Yahoo Mail app
  • iPhone Yahoo Mail app
  • BlackBerry OS 5
  • Windows Phone 7
  • iPhone Mailbox app
  • Windows Phone 8
  • Android Gmail app
  • Windows Mobile 6.1

Responsive design enables you to do the following:

  • change hierarchy,
  • modify navigation,
  • enlarge fonts,
  • change layout,
  • scale images,
  • add padding,
  • change or hide content.

Designing Responsive Email

To make their emails responsive, developers use a media query that is commonly referred to as @media. It is a special set of CSS styles, included in the header, that work as conditional statements or dynamic rules.

The point of media queries is to identify the screen size of the device being used and to execute various rules according to that screen size. The challenge is that media queries do not work in all email clients and might need detailed planning and testing compared to other design techniques.

Have a look at the media query below:

<pre class="lang:default decode:true" title="Structure of Media Query">@media only screen and (min-width:479px) and (max-width:701px) 
.em_main_table 
     width: 100% !important;


.em_hide 
     display: none !important;

}
</pre>

When this email is accessed on a device whose screen is between 479 and 701 pixels wide, the email’s width will be 100%, according to the width: 100% !important; attribute. The !important function forces this attribute in email clients such as Gmail, where it might be ignored.

The styles in the CSS rule block should specify the container or element type that the styles will dictate. Assign these rules in the HTML if you want them to work.

Here is the CSS:

<pre class="lang:default decode:true" title="Code for CSS"> td[class="body-header"] font-size: 18px !important; 

And here is the HTML:

<pre class="lang:default decode:true" title="Code for HTML"><td align="left" class="body-header">
</pre>

It is important that the element (td) and the class (body-header) added in the CSS and HTML match each other.

Advanced Techniques

With the advent of advanced email clients, such as Apple Mail, which is based on Webkit, email developers can even play around with keyframe animation, interactive elements such as carousels, and live feeds.

Conditional coding for different email clients (such as for Outlook and for Samsung and Apple devices) has also become possible.

Conditional coding for Outlook and for Samsung and Apple devices


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Wrapping Up

If you follow these simple tips, you will surely be able to create awesome email marketing campaigns that convert, whether you are a novice or pro at email programming. In the end, aim to create a good user experience and make subscribers look forward to your emails. Happy emailing!

Smashing Editorial
(da, ra, yk, al, il)

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The Current State Of Email Marketing Programming: What Can And Can’t Be Used

Your Author Bio Is a Conversion Goldmine

gold mine

Are you treating your author bio as an afterthought? If you’re like most online marketers, the answer is probably yes. Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘author bio optimization’ and see what your search turns up. Not much. Just one or two dated guides. Clearly, digital marketing experts are not seeing the business potential of an optimized author bio. Well, I’ve got news for you. By ignoring your bio, you’re missing out on a lot of business. Your author bio has a lot of marketing potential. It’s an untapped goldmine that can do so much for your business. Would you like…

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Your Author Bio Is a Conversion Goldmine

Why are You Neglecting the Highest-Traffic Lowest-Converting Page on Your Website?

I’m not talking about your home page. Sure that gets the most traffic, but notice the qualifier in the post title; highest-traffic “lowest-converting”.

But why would you care about a low converting page? Because chances are, it’s not converting because you forgot to add a call to action (CTA).

I’m sure you know about some pages like this on your website, but you’re using one of the following excuses to do nothing about it:

  1. I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with it.
  2. It’s not my responsibility.
  3. I don’t know what to do with it.
  4. I’ll get to it later.

The last excuse is the absolute worst. Because you never will “get to it”.

It’s 2018 – Stop Wasting Time Ignoring This Page

Don’t start this year with yet another failed attempt to go to the gym. Commit one day to optimizing just one page.

For Unbounce, that page is “What is a landing page?“. We’ve held the #1 spot in Google for this term since early 2010, and guess what? We haven’t updated it since early 2010.

Every time we look at Google Analytics, we see this:

10,000 unique visitors every month to that page. And 84.15% of them are NEW visitors. That’s an incredible amount of value.

What does the page look like?

It was embarrassing, to say the least. Spoiler alert I updated it last night. But here’s a screenshot of the abomination that was our previous 8 years of letting visitors down.

A few observations

  • The content is ancient, and has a lot of useless information. Some of which is fundamentally wrong.
  • The CSS is all broken making the layout and reading experience terrible.
  • It links to a bad blog post I wrote in 2010 that has a photo of Miley Cyrus wearing a carrot costume.

You read that right. Miley Cyrus in a carrot costume is the call to action on the highest traffic page on our website (aside from our homepage). #facepalm

How to Convert Top-of-Funnel (TOFU) Traffic

“What is a Landing Page?” is the most TOFU page on our website, which means we need to choose carefully when we ask people to do something.

I decided to go with three options in a choose-your-own-adventure format, as a learning exercise so we can study what these visitors are actually looking for.

Option 1: “I’m new to landing pages, and want to learn more.”
CTA >> [ Watch The Landing Page Sessions Video Series ]

Option 2: “I have a landing page, but I’m not sure how good it is.”
CTA >> [ Grade Your Page With The Landing Page Analyzer ]

Option 3: “I need to build a landing page.”
CTA >> [ Try The Unbounce Builder in Preview Mode ]

The New “What is a…” Page

(Click to see the full-length page in a scrolling lightbox.)

High-Traffic, Yes. High-Converting? We’ll see.

I’ll be looking at the analytics (Hotjar click and scroll heatmaps), Google Analytics (changes in basic behavior), KISS Metrics (changes in signups), and I’ll report back with the results later in Product Awareness Month.

Find your highest-traffic lowest-converting page, now

Do it.

Cheers
Oli Gardner

p.s.

Originally posted here: 

Why are You Neglecting the Highest-Traffic Lowest-Converting Page on Your Website?

A Comprehensive Guide To Web Design

(This is a sponsored post). Web design is tricky. Designers and developers have to take a lot of things into account when designing a website, from visual appearance (how the website looks) to functional design (how the website works). To simplify the task, we’ve prepared this little guide.
In this article, I’ll focus on the main principles, heuristics, and approaches that will help you to create a great user experience for your website.

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A Comprehensive Guide To Web Design

The Fine Art of Landing Page Design: Using F & Z Patterns to Increase Conversions

In a saturated online world with an abundance of information, marketers are constantly battling for attention. You’ve likely read that online users have an attention span less than that of a goldfish. Therefore, the more organized and straightforward your strategy is for converting a lead, the better. Over the last couple decades, eye-tracking studies have been performed to ascertain where consumer’s eyes move when they land on a web page. Jakob Nielsen even authored a book Eyetracking Web Usability which analyzes “1.5 million instances where users look at Web sites to understand how the human eyes interact with design.” Landing…

The post The Fine Art of Landing Page Design: Using F & Z Patterns to Increase Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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The Fine Art of Landing Page Design: Using F & Z Patterns to Increase Conversions

Do You Believe in… Conversion Magic?

conversion elixir
Do you believe in… conversion magic? Image via Shutterstock.

Like any potions master would attest, the secret to a great elixir lies in the measured combination of its ingredients.

Over the years, Titan PPC, a full-service pay-per-click advertising agency based in Vancouver, has developed a “magic formula” for designing lead generation landing pages that convert at average of 15% or higher.

The secret ingredient? For company founder, Patrick Schrodt, it doesn’t boil down to just one.

Read on to find out what key ingredients make Patrick’s lead gen landing pages so powerful. Then test them yourself with the new, kick-ass Hyperion template in the Unbounce app.

1. Make your landing pages relevant

Any smart marketer knows that when visitors reach a landing page, they won’t all have the same intentions for being there. Some may have clicked an ad looking for a plumber in West Seattle where others may have clicked one looking for a plumber in Capitol Hill.

But if your client is a plumbing company that serves the entire Seattle metropolitan area, your landing page should show both the visitors from West Seattle and Capitol Hill that you’ve got the service they need in the location they want it.

In other words, you want to use geo-targeting to make your landing pages especially relevant to your prospects. As Patrick explains:

There’s always been geo-based searches and there always will be. For our own campaigns, we’ve gone as targeted as including a map on every landing page. We highlight a visitors location on the map depending on the where their search is coming from — people go crazy for it!

And the conversion rates don’t lie.

Watch this clip to hear how Titan PPC used geo-targeting to increase a client’s on-page conversion rates from 6% to 33%, practically overnight.

Interview with Patrick Schrodt, founder of Titan PPC.

2. Use (awesome) images to break up your body copy

Never judge a book by its cover… right?

Well, fact is, when a prospect reaches your lead gen landing page, the first thing they’ll do is judge your offer or product by the way you’ve presented it to them. And they’ll do it within seconds.

That’s why you want to make sure it looks so good they won’t want to leave.

The key to keeping prospects interested? Great photography. According to Patrick:

Images help prospects get a clear picture of your client’s product or offer, and it shows them you’re a professional.

Titan PPC adds full-page horizontal image galleries throughout their lead gen landing pages.

It helps break up a visitor’s attention as they scroll by giving them something nice to look at.

But you can’t just slap a bunch of images into a gallery and hope that it all comes together.

If you’re going to source images for clients, you have to make sure you grab photos from a series. I’ve seen landing pages where it’s obvious that each image belongs to a different suite and it’s not coherent or nice to look at.

Check out this example of cohesive image galleries on one of Titan PPC’s lead gen landing pages for a lawn mowing client in Philadelphia:

GrasLawn

Screenshot of cohesive image galleries, landing page designed by Titan PPC.

3. Remind visitors why they are on your page

Remember that bit about making sure your landing pages were super relevant to your visitors? Well, that sometimes means reminding them exactly why they are on your landing page.

For Titan PPC, the best way to do that is by adding a smooth scroll call-to-action (CTA) bar right below the horizontal image gallery.

Why? Because it brings a prospect right back to where you want them: the form.

It works because every time a visitor sees something visual and eye catching [like the image galleries], they’re then prompted to fill out the form.

4. Make the form match the offer

Speaking of taking prospects back to where you want them, the design of a form on your landing page should never be an afterthought. That means weighing, measuring and sifting every item from the questions to the CTA so it’s fully optimized to ensure a conversion.

It’s so key that the form matches the offer. Otherwise a prospect will just be turned off.

So if your client is offering a 100% free quote on plumbing services, then the form on your landing page should reiterate, loud and clear, that the offer comes at no price.

Sounds pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it?

But matching a form to an offer also means making sure you have a solid understanding of your target audience. As Patrick explains:

For real-estate clients, the CTA is always to download a free floor plan. But for clients that are service based, like plumbers or roofers, the CTA is always to get a free quote.

It all comes back to personalization: different types of prospects want to see different kinds of offers. According to Patrick, real-estate prospects want the feeling of exclusivity, whereas service-seeking prospects are probably just looking for the cheapest way to fix a runny faucet or leaky roof.

Titan PPC’s last tip for optimizing the form? Make the form catch your prospect’s attention.

We always put a starburst or icon in the corner of the form. It’s usually something like ‘100% free’ so it pulls a visitor in and reminds them why they want to fill it out!”

Here’s an example of what Patrick means:

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 2.28.41 PM
Screenshot of a high-converting landing page form, designed by Titan PPC.

From showing your visitors ultra-relevant content to making sure that content has awesome design and flow, the landing page magic formula is all about giving prospects exactly what they’re looking for and expecting to see when they land on your page.

Care to try some of Patrick’s tricks yourself?

Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Unbounce and try the Hyperion template, a design inspired by Titan PPC’s powerful elixir for high-converting landing pages.

More here: 

Do You Believe in… Conversion Magic?

Simple Recipes for No-Fail Landing Page Copy [+ Free Downloadable Worksheet]

cake ingredients
Who knew landing pages and cake had so much in common? Image via Shutterstock.

In some ways, building a landing page is like baking a cake. Certain people prefer chocolate, and others like cream fillings, but there are some fundamental formulas (for both cakes and landing pages) that are tried and tested, and proven to produce positive results.

This post is a recipe for a solid vanilla sponge landing page. For advice on design (a.k.a. the buttercream frosting), check out these posts on user experience and essential design principles.

Here are the formulas we’ll cover in this post, using examples from great landing pages:

  • Action words + Product reference = Winning headline
  • Your exact offering + Promise of ease = Winning subheader
  • Your best offerings + Worded in the form of benefit statements + Appropriate sectioning = Winning body content
  • Active words + ‘I want to…’ + A/B testing = Winning call to action

Want to test the formulas out for yourself?

Download our FREE worksheet for creating no-fail landing page copy.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

The header is always active — it wants you to do something. The header almost always directly references the product or service, as well. As Kurt Vonnegut said,

To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

What are active words?

In the same way that active voice makes a sentence stronger by shifting focus onto the subject, active words help to promote action and create urgency. Active words in headers are usually verbs like build, get, launch, unlock, pledge, invest and give.

Here are a few examples of effective, action-led landing page headlines.

Codecademy winning headline
Codecademy’s headline is about as close to perfect as it gets.
Lyft winning headline
Lyft doesn’t use the “Get started” CTA we’ll talk about, but that headline is a winner.
Pro tip: To maximize your conversion efforts, ensure there’s message match between your click-through ad and headline.

Your exact offering + Promise of ease = Winning subheader

Your header is an active statement, introducing your product. Your subheader is the second wave, there to support the header and give visitors a reason to continue reading. In the subheader, you tell your audience exactly what you have to offer, and highlight how incredibly easy the whole process will be.

Easy as pie

Online, all it takes is a few taps and a few clicks to make a potentially big decision, but if it’s not easy, a lot of us won’t bother doing it. That’s especially true of a landing page, which is essentially a 24/7 elevator pitch for your business.

As a visitor to your landing page, I need to know if what you’re offering is going to benefit me, and that by handing over my details, you’re going to do most of the heavy lifting for me (at least to begin with.)

In our model for the no-fail landing page copy, the relationship between header and subheader looks like this:

Header: Introduces the idea or service in an active way (inspire your audience to do something).

Subheader: Backs up the header by giving a reason for your visitor to read on.

Outbrain winning subheader
Ooo, easy setup — just what we all love to see.

This example from Outbrain might not have the prettiest header or subheader, but both illustrate exactly what we’ve been talking about. The header is active, and so is the subheader, which tells you exactly what the main benefits of using Outbrain are, along with the promise of an easy setup.

Your best offerings + worded in the form of benefit statements + appropriate sectioning = Winning body content

The bulk of your landing page copy does the same job as the header and the subheader: it presents the benefits of your product to the user, and encourages them to act.

It’s tempting to go off-piste in the body content, to talk about your values and how you donate half of your profits to charity, but hold off. You need to make sure that your product is one your audience wants first. Stick to the benefits, and expand on those.

Break up your content

You’ll probably have more than one point to make on your landing page, but even if you don’t, breaking content up with headers and bullet points increases the chances of something catching your reader’s eye. It’s the equivalent of a supermarket arranging its products into categories and shelves, rather than bundling everything together in a big bargain bin.

With your body content, just like with your subheader, focus on what you have to offer, why it’s better than the competition’s and how you’ll do most of the heavy lifting should your prospect hand over their valuable email address. Let’s take a look at how MuleSoft connects header, subheader and body content.

Mulesoft body copy

The header: In this case, the header is just what the product is, which is likely the most appropriate approach for this audience.

The subheader: The subheader — or supporting header — focuses on the main benefit of the handbook. Clearly, MuleSoft knows its audience, and is giving it to them straight.

The body: It’s still laser-focused on those main benefits, giving visitors ample opportunity to become engaged.

Pro tip: A landing page is a pitch, and like any pitch, your job is to put forward your best offerings and do your best to secure a follow-up. If you’re struggling to prioritize your offerings, consider the following:

  • What does your product do, and how does it make your prospect’s life easier?
  • What are your product’s most ground-breaking or useful features?
  • Who does your product help?
  • How easy it is to get started?
  • Who else uses your product?

Here’s a great example from Startup Weekend. The body content answers all of the main questions, with no BS:

Startup Weekend landing page copy

Active words + “I want to…” + A/B testing = Winning CTA

Since we’re talking about no-fail copy, like blueprints for you to riff from, we’ll tell you straight up that the most common call to action phrase that makes it to live landing pages, is “Get started”. That’s followed closely by anything with the word “get” in it.

Why does ‘Get started’ work?

It needs to be clear that your call to action is where the next step happens. If you want serious leads, then the call to action button is not the place to test out your funniest one-liners. Just like the header and subheader, the call to action is active, it’s job is to create momentum.

“Get started” suggests a journey, it suggests self-improvement, which is probably why it works better than “Submit” or “Subscribe.” It could also be that “Get started” works because it finishes the sentence we’re thinking when a sign-up is close: “I want to… get started.”

Pro-tip: Best practices are best practices for a reason, but don’t use a “Get” CTA just because I suggested it. Do some research, craft a sound hypothesis and A/B test your button copy for maximum conversions.
Fluidsurveys CTA copy
FluidSurveys‘s button copy is active and timely.
Cheez burger CTA copy
Cheezburger pairs tried and true button copy with another one of our favorite words: free.
blab cake CTA copy
BlabCake uses a slightly different version of the “Get” formula for their coming soon page.

Conclusion

Let’s look at all of the formulas together:

  • Action words + Product reference = Winning headline
  • Your exact offering + Promise of ease = Winning subheader
  • Your best offerings + Worded in the form of benefit statements + Appropriate sectioning = Winning body content
  • Active words + ‘I want to…’ + A/B testing = Winning call to action

What you’ve got in these formulas, is the recipe for a basic vanilla sponge — the foundations of a successful landing page. Put them together and then — like any good marketer — your job becomes testing that landing page to see what works best for your audience.

What are your favorite copywriting formulas? Share ’em in the comments!

Original article – 

Simple Recipes for No-Fail Landing Page Copy [+ Free Downloadable Worksheet]

The Silent Landing Page Conversion Killer (And How to Stop It)

When creating a landing page, you’ve likely wondered, “How much copy should I include?” — a question to which copywriters usually reply, “Well, that depends…”

And it really does depend on the complexity of your offer and about a billion other factors.

Crafting concise copy is tough, so it’s only natural that many landing pages contain too many details.

You might be thinking, “Don’t added details help build a persuasive case for your landing page offer?” (Hey, sometimes you have a high-commitment offer on the table and y’gotta include what’cha gotta include.)

Well, yes… and no.

Including too much irrelevant info on your landing pages is dangerous because it dilutes your message, overwhelms visitors and hurts your conversion rate. If your visitors are slammed with excess copy, they can’t quickly determine what you’re offering, identify whether they want your offer or convert with your (buried) CTA.

excess-copy-killing-conversions-650
Don’t stand by and watch your landing page conversions get murdered by excess copy. Image via Shutterstock.

You can often recognize a page suffering from information overload because it’ll use external links to direct visitors to even more info (oof!). Using links this way directs your visitors away from your page and, once visitors navigate elsewhere, you’ve lost a conversion opportunity.

Because excess copy is such a common problem, in this post we’ll explore:

  • How to tell if your landing page suffers from info overload
  • How to distinguish between need-to-know and nice-to-know information, and
  • How to start including nice-to-know info on your landing pages without the visual clutter that hurts conversion rates

But first…

Why your pages might suffer from information overload

Typically, people err on the side of too much copy on their landing pages for the following reasons:

  • The page is trying to be everything to everybody. Imagine if Adobe made a landing page for Photoshop and used just one page to appeal to designers, publishing houses, design schools and potential employees. This would result in including too many benefits. If you want your page to convert, you need to be clear on your persona and their specific needs.
  • You’re not clear on your target audience’s stage in the buyer journey. Is your copy trying to appeal to customers in the discovery phase (those who are encountering your product or service for the very first time), or leads in the evaluation stage (determining if they want to purchase from you or a competitor)? Your audience’s level of familiarity with you will inform the amount of detail you should include.
  • There’s confusion around how much info visitors need to convert. Sometimes offers are complex or high-commitment (like a conference ticket purchase) and you need to include fine details. Ask yourself (and test) which details are absolutely essential to persuade prospects to convert.
  • You’re disregarding web writing best practices. Large paragraphs of text are overwhelming and people don’t read web pages like they do books. Everybody scans text online, so break up your copy into easily digestible pieces.
  • The page contains more than one offer — meaning it’s not really operating as a true landing page with only one CTA). Stick to one single landing page (and a singular goal) for each offer you pitch.

An example of info overload in real life

To help illustrate how a good page and good intentions can become a victim to excess copy, let’s take a look at a real example. Art & Victus, an online monthly food subscription box, set up an Unbounce lead gen landing page to collect subscribers for their service:

Art&Victuswithoughtlightbox

The page’s CTA prompts visitors for their email address in exchange for an access code to the invite-only food service.

Great, right?

But this page has limited conversion potential because it includes so much unnecessary info. Just look at those two massive paragraphs!

Moreover, the curators of the service are featured on the page using external links to their social profiles. If visitors click these links, they leave the page and the opportunity to convert is gone. We’re lookin’ at a classic case of info overload, folks.

The large paragraphs of text are signs that Art & Victus haven’t clearly defined need-to-know info versus nice-to-know info for the target audience of this landing page. Decluttering the page to display absolutely needed info more prominently would help this brand prompt a desire for their subscription service and hopefully increase this page’s conversion rate.

Pro tip: Info overload is often a result of skipping the copy development phase in a rush to build a page. Always write your copy first, then start your design in the your page builder.

Introducing a helpful hierarchy

High-converting landing pages often follow a logical sequence of info that’s designed to persuade. The hierarchy is based on answers your target audience need to know to evaluate the offer on a base level, and these answers are provided in order of their importance (or relevance to the call to action).

While the Art & Victus’ example landing page is packed with seemingly random details on the monthly food themes, their food charity and even their reward points, these details don’t directly contribute to a visitor’s decision to want to sign up to receive a subscription box. The audience of the page needs to see other info first.

When creating copy for your pages, consider the questions your potential customers will ask and the order they might ask those questions in.

If a piece of info is directly relevant to your CTA – explaining the offer, or how to claim your offer – it’s need-to-know info. If it’s info describing an extra of any kind (like Art & Victus’ food themes, a charity your company takes part in, or your loyalty points), it’s likely nice-to-know info that you’ll want to include after your key points are covered.

It’s helpful to rank each piece of copy’s direct relevance to your CTA (like we’ve done below) as a means of deciding where it should be placed in the visual design of your page.

The more relevant something is to your CTA, the closer it should appear to the top of the linear design of your landing page.

For Art & Victus’ offer, the hierarchy might look something like this:

information hierarchy
* Including price is tricky and at your discretion for your industry/offer. You can choose to include it on your pages if you believe visitors need pricing information to convert.

But what about all those nice-to-know details?

On the example page shown above, Art & Victus had a lot of nice-to-know info they wanted to convey, like their reward points, the custom guide included in the box to help you learn about the food, profiles of the individuals preparing the boxes and more.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to strategically sprinkle in nice-to-know info on your landing pages without the visual clutter associated with information overload…

Lightboxes: A remedy for excess copy

Lightboxes are modal windows that open over a landing page, filling the screen and dimming the content behind. They allow you to prominently display content requested by your page visitor (your visitors click a button to prompt them). You can see an example lightbox for a speaker bio below:

lightbox bio

Lightboxes help you add nice-to-know details onto your landing pages (like speaker bios, featured products, your privacy policy or terms of service), all the while keeping your audience’s focus on your CTA. By designing your page with these in mind, you can include information a visitor would otherwise have to navigate away from your page to find.

Art & Victus could make their landing page offer more clear by using lightboxes to feature their nice-to-know information. After addressing all of their must-have info prominently, they could add lightboxes like:

  • “Reward Points”
  • “Also included in your box”
  • “Who curates our boxes?”

They could also use lightboxes to:

  • Outline the three different types of boxes available in their service (i.e. “Intro box,” “Amateur box” and “Expert Box”)
  • Feature the curators’ profiles for those interested (instead of linking out to external profiles and losing potential subscribers).

Each lightbox would be triggered by visitors who want or need extra info before they convert (some will, some won’t), and would help to break up the massive paragraphs on the page.

Start using lightboxes to unclutter your pages

You too can use lightboxes to combat info overload and tidy up your copy.

Here are some examples of nice-to-have content that fits nicely in lightboxes:

  • Speaker bios: Include details about your keynotes or location in a lightbox so visitors don’t navigate away from a potential ticket purchase.
  • Extras and fine details: Extra product features, limitations, terms and contest rules
  • Privacy policies: Every landing page collecting lead info should link to a privacy policy, but you don’t want to link away from your page. Include your policy in a lightbox so visitors don’t veer off-course.
  • leadgenform
  • Lead gen forms – It’s a fairly popular marketing trend to include your contact form for a call to action in a lightbox. This tactic takes advantage of buyer psychology by empowering your visitor to decide when they’re ready to fill out your form. Check out this post to learn more about why you’d want to include a form in a lightbox.

Examine your own pages for potential lightbox opportunities

Start by reviewing your existing landing pages to see where they might be suffering from info overload.

Remember to check if you’re linking out to external pages — this is a sure sign that you’re confusing need-to-know and nice-to-know information.

Start making the distinction between these two info types for your audience, organizing your page with a better information hierarchy, and you’ll have a more streamlined message and more conversions in no time.

Read the article: 

The Silent Landing Page Conversion Killer (And How to Stop It)