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Landing page optimization: Best practices for agencies

Example of a headphone company’s landing page.

Here’s the good news: Landing page optimization is a skill you can learn, and even start to master, pretty quickly. And here’s some better news: Once you do master this skill, you’ll have the ability to boost your clients’ bottom lines in a big way.

The numbers are undeniable. A typical landing page can result in a conversation rate of roughly 4-5%. Some of the more successful landing pages, on the other hand, can generate more than 10 times that amount.

So, no doubt, it’s time for you to make optimization a priority. But first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.

What differentiates a landing page from other types of websites?

The terms landing page and homepage are sometimes used interchangeably. But let’s not forget that they’re 2 different things. A homepage can sometimes be a landing page—and vice versa—but a landing page always has a very specific mission. And that mission is, simply, to convert site visitors.

What that conversion is will depend on your client’s goals. One landing page might be selling a product while another might be extending an invitation or promoting a limited-time offer. In every case, the more conversions your clients bring in, the closer they’re getting to achieving their business and/or marketing goals.

The opportunities are vast. After all, the process for actually reeling in page-visitors has never been more efficient and effective. A typical customer journey these days moves organically and often seamlessly, with keywords and search results funneling users with increased precision. Services such as Google Ads or Outbrain are primed to keep the visits coming, so it’s up to you to make sure those clicks become conversions.

What are the essentials of a landing page?

A landing page itself is ultimately the product of 3 central components: the company, the product and the offer. If these elements are working in true harmony, your client’s page is on the path toward optimization. You’ll see these elements included in our landing page examples below.

In addition to higher conversion rates, your client stands to reap a number of additional benefits:

Stronger customer relations

An optimized landing page makes the process of user engagement quicker and more efficient. Visitors will appreciate a fluid path toward getting their offer and finding their call to action (CTA). A smooth user journey in turn helps start the customer relationship on the right foot.

Insights on your clients’ services or products

Because a landing page focuses on a specific goal, your clients can use the page to get a clear idea of what is and isn’t working with their offering. You can help them analyze site performance, identify what channels brought the most people to the page and see where people clicked. Clients can use that data to improve their keywords or their product.

Better SEO rankings

By including the right search terms on a landing page, and evolving your client’s content strategy to match shifts in user search intent over time, you can make them rank higher on search engines. This brings more visibility to your client’s business, drives the right traffic to their page and helps them achieve their business goals.

15 key steps to optimizing your clients’ landing pages

Now that we’ve covered the essentials of a landing page, here are 15 essential steps to building a landing page that converts:

  1. Set a clear goal

  2. Understand the audience

  3. Strengthen the lead-in

  4. Appeal to pathos

  5. Write a bold headline

  6. Include a sharp subtitle

  7. Use striking visuals

  8. Create the right hierarchy

  9. Emphasize the call to action

  10. Consider multimedia

  11. Show social proof

  12. Provide contact options

  13. Retarget

  14. Go the extra mile

  15. Test and test some more

1. Set a clear goal

Before starting on a landing page, work with your client to define their goal. Ask them: What’s their company’s greater mission, and how does the page fit into it? What is the specific action they want their visitors to take? Are there other landing pages your client sees as inspiration? By using market research and solidifying these answers, you’ll influence all the choices that follow.

2. Understand the audience

As you’re setting your goal, think about the page from the visitors’ point of view. Talk to your client about their target customer. If you find your client has multiple target audiences, consider creating a different landing page for each customer segment or giving those different segments separate options on the page. You may also want to use custom code or geo-targeting features to create dynamic content that changes depending on the visitor.

3. Strengthen the lead-in

From strong SEO content to your choice of advertising platforms, you’ll want to use all the right tools to drive traffic to their page. If you and your client want this page to rank on search engines organically, you can use tools like Ubersuggest to help you identify the right keywords to include.

4. Appeal to pathos

The core challenge for a landing page is getting the visitor to act in a limited amount of time and space. This is why experts suggest including some sort of emotional appeal. Maybe you touch on the visitor’s pain points, create a fear of missing out, inspire them or highlight a problem. Consider how your target audience is feeling when they reach the page and how you want them to feel once they’re there.

5. Write a bold headline

The importance of your headline can’t be underestimated. With limited attention spans, many readers may not even make it past the headline at all. But a headline doesn’t have to sell everything—its core goal is to make an immediate impression, and to give the user a quick sense of what the page is about. After all, you’ve only got roughly 5-25 words. Make sure the writing is easy to understand, compelling and targeted for your client’s audience. You’ll also want to stay away from language that overpromises or includes too much jargon.

6. Include a sharp subtitle

While the headline gets more attention off the bat, the subheader is key to supporting your client’s central message. With a little more space—but rarely more than a few sentences—you can branch out and “complete” the idea set up by the headline. Use the subheader to clearly communicate your client’s value proposition and get into more detail about what your client has to offer. Like you did in the headline, avoid language that sounds gimmicky and instead keep your messaging focused on laying out the features and benefits.

7. Use striking visuals

There are countless approaches to ensuring that a landing page tells your client’s brand story visually. For some landing pages, design is the backdrop to the text while for others it’s the focus. Regardless of the balance your client has in mind, be sure to use photos and graphics that are original, high-quality and fit your client’s business. You should also keep in mind that people process images much faster than text, so visuals are an important part of the user experience.

8. Create the right hierarchy

Your content and design need to work together just right to maximize the impact of a landing page, so make sure you’re strategic about your information hierarchy. Keep the most essential information above the fold and design a structure that makes it easy for the site visitor to continue on their journey through the page. You can think of each fold as a chapter in a story. Create an arc with a beginning, middle and end.

9. Emphasize the call to action

Your calls to action (CTAs) encourage users to click and are some of the most important elements of the page. Make sure the CTA button stands out visually, in color or shape, and that your page features no additional buttons that might distract readers.

Keep the text of your clients’ CTAs around 2-3 words and be direct about exactly what the visitor should do. CTAs often start with verbs like “register,” “sign up, “start” or “get started.” You can also create a sense of urgency and encourage your audience to act right away by including “today” or “now.”

10. Consider multimedia

When used properly, a video can add a lot to a landing page. Video gives you an opportunity to entertain visitors and show them exactly what they’re getting, in a more personal way. If you do include a video, keep it short and easy to follow and make sure it loads quickly. And if you want to keep it even briefer, easier and quicker, consider a winning GIF instead.

11. Show social proof

There’s ample data pointing to the value of social proof, and you’ve got assorted options to find the kind that works best for you.

Direct testimonials from users can be effective, as can quotes from online reviews and celebrity endorsements. Featuring the logos of partner brands is known to work well—which is probably why you see it done so often. If your client already has an impressive number of customers, you can also include a real-time customer counter, which shows site visitors that many other people trust them.

12. Provide contact options

Like social proof, providing contact info can help make visitors feel more comfortable and supported. You want to ensure that your clients’ visitors know that there are real people on the other side of the offer and that they can get help if they need something or have a question.

Don’t hesitate to include discreetly laid-out contact options, from phone numbers to email addresses. You might even consider a live chat that guides visitors through the conversion process. In the right context, live chats create an opportunity to strengthen your bond with the customer.

13. Retarget

Let’s face it: Even the best landing pages won’t convert a large share of visitors. However, a visit to your client’s landing page can set up a visitor to convert later on. With retargeting (sometimes known as remarketing), you’ll have tools in place to send ads to your unconverted visitors, reminding them why they came in the first place. A recent report showed that retargeting can boost conversion rates by nearly 150%.

14. Go the extra mile

Once your client’s landing page has successfully converted a site visitor, there’s still room to continue streamlining the user journey. On the thank you or confirmation page, consider how you can add even more value. This might simply be a helpful link related to the client’s business, or it could be a bonus offer. The visitor will appreciate the surprise and the personal touch.

15. Test and test some more

Keep in mind that nailing the perfect landing page takes a good deal of trial-and-error. To improve a landing page strategically, you’ll need to run A/B tests and track the performance on your client sites over time. Opinions vary on the number of unique landing pages that you should test, but don’t be surprised if you need to run a good 5-10 before finding one that gets the results you want.

12 successful landing pages examples

With companies of all sizes and industries creating landing pages, there’s no shortage of strong landing page examples. We’ve rounded up a dozen success stories that demonstrate the above principles and why they work.

1. Flickr

Flickr’s homepage.

Flickr’s product and homepage are particularly well-matched and the page itself serves as a case study for the Flickr platform. As the background images alternate, the headline stays the same, keeping visitors focused on their main, inspiring message. Overall the page balances visuals, the right text and does a great job guiding visitors to get started.

2. Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway’s landing page.

Similar to Flickr’s approach to their homepage, the photos on Berkshire Hathaway’s website rotate while the text stays the same, creating a seamless blend of word and image. The photos cover a diverse range of real estate properties that can appeal to a variety of site visitors. Their headline, “Our network knows great homes,” also makes a strong statement and is written in a font that matches the company’s brand. The rest of the page offers multiple options depending on what the site visitor is looking for, including searching for a home, finding a local real estate agent and exploring the latest news about the company. Each of these options caters to different user intent in a way that’s professional, easy to navigate and encourages people to click.

3. ConversionLab

ConversionLab’s homepage.

Here, the CTA in fold 1 of ConversionLab’s homepage pops and that bright, handy arrow makes it stand out even more. The orange plays well against the background of the page, the text is in all caps and the arrow pointing to it helps guide your eye. The key image on the page—a photo of the founder, Finge—makes the company feel personal and relatable and also works as social proof. The text on the page clearly tells you what the company does, how you can benefit and what to do next. Fitting, as Conversionlab builds landing pages.

4. Design Dream Lifestyle

Design Dream Lifestyle’s landing page.

The visuals along the border are deliberately busy—but in a good way. The handbag, lipstick and high-heeled shoes suggest activity and excitement and do a good job targeting their ideal audience. On this landing page, the headline and bright call to action button help site visitors quickly and easily understand that they should download this guide to lifestyle coaching. The social proofing with the logos for Forbes and The Huffington Post, which establishes the validity of the brand without belaboring the point. The proof of this page’s success is in the numbers: it has a 75% conversion rate.

5. The Vegan Society

The Vegan Society’s landing page.

This page features images of a stack of rocks and a flock of flying birds, which you might not expect on a page for an organization promoting veganism. Instead of showing disturbing images of animal abuse or food you shouldn’t be eating, the Vegan Society’s donation page instead takes a more uplifting approach. The message here is not focused on political activism, but on helping and harmony. In line with the serene graphics, the text stays positive and encouraging. Though we will point out that the CTAs here could be positioned more strategically. There’s a button that reads “donate” in the upper righthand corner, but the rest of the page gives you far more options to “read more” than to act now, which might be hurting their conversions.

6. Doctors Without Borders

Doctor Without Borders’ landing page.

The color palette on this page is strikingly blunt—just red, white and black. The layout and form options on this landing page feel functional and actionable with hard lines and bold fonts. Similar to The Vegan Society’s page, the images here feel positive rather than showing the suffering the organization works to address. In the 1 photo at the top, we see a boy getting medical help. This image provokes a sense of compassion and shows visitors an example of what their donation can accomplish.

7. Food for Fitness

Food for Fitness’ landing page.

The social proofing, while simple, practically pops off the top of this page. It’s a single quote from a customer and frames the offering and gives the page a personal touch. The text in the first fold covers what the offering is, why a site visitor should care and what to do next. In the background, visitors see an inviting image of healthy-looking food that helps illustrate the company’s offering. By shading the image, the colors never overtake the main focus, which is that big CTA.

8. MasterClass

MasterClass' landing page.

The enlarged video clip practically demands that you click on it—and doing so proves worthwhile. You get a fast-moving trailer that runs just a bit more than 2 minutes, with clips of the famous filmmaker. Plus, as a company that offers online video classes, it makes sense that MasterClass would include a video trailer on this landing page. The videography and background music in the trailer feel exciting, educational and serious. Additionally, the CTAs stay prominent without being intrusive. In a color scheme that’s otherwise black, white and gray, those buttons are a bright red. Even with the elevated feel of MasterClass’ branding, this page still leaves room for basic social proofing. The overall rating from students is featured directly under Scorsese’s image and you can see individual reviews at the bottom.

9. Fitbit

Fitbit’s landing page.

The headline on Fitbit’s new product page—”See What’s New”—might seem simple, but it’s more strategically crafted than it reads at first glance. It tells the visitor both what to do and what this page is about. The s