Landing Page Headlines and Calls-to-Action:
10 Great Tips from @mktgexperiments
Dr. Flint McGlaughlin and his good buddies at Marketing Experiments by MECLABS recently held a rockin’ web clinic on optimizing the areas of your website that have a significant impact on conversions.
In Minor Changes, Major Lifts, these esteemed gurus of research share vital information about the two most critical sections of a landing page: the first two inches – your headlines – and the last two inches – your calls-to-action.
Get the most from your first two inches. First and foremost, headlines should emphasize what the customer gets rather than does and be customer-focused. There are five common headline errors to avoid:
Error 1: A headline that is too clever
Remember that anything hard to read, such as all capital letters, italics, or blue text on blue background, distracts from your goal of readability. Ambiguity has no place in a headline, and ‘agency speak’ gets in the way of meaning. Clarity always trumps persuasion!
Error 2: A headline that sounds like a title
Instead, write an action-oriented headline. Don’t put the headline too low on the page or distract from it with complicated visual images. Use the headline to offer value and benefits.
Error 3: A headline in the form of an empty question, such as “Why ___?”
Give the answer in the headline. For example: Get _____ with your free trial. Your goal is to answer these visitors’ questions immediately: Where am I? What can I do here? Why should I do this? Handle all these points with the headline and the first paragraph, giving answers, not questions.
Error 4: A headline without a sub-headline (to help transition into the text)
A sub-headline makes an 88% difference in conversion. Your job is to make the headline make sense rather than asking the reader to do so.
Error 5: A headline that is point-middle
Make your main thrust point at the beginning or end, not the middle of your copy.
The last two inches are equally critical. This is the zone where your calls-to-action, or CTA, should be and where you add or reinforce the value you want to convey. You see, behind every CTA there is a perceived cost. What the customer perceives as value must exceed perceived cost. And here are five common call-to-action errors to avoid:
Error 1: CTA without implied value
It’s a bad idea to put asterisks around *Free* and/or put that word in a red font; both of these create perceived distrust and disbelief. Don’t plant little seeds of doubt in your customers’ minds.
Error 2: CTA among several others
Customers should not have to be choosing among the various actions you present. One clear strong valuable ‘call button’ makes all the difference.
Error 3: A CTA among evenly weighted CTAs
Again, this relates to the previous point. You want increasing velocity as your reader scans through the landing page. Make your CTA stand out, and place other action choices in positions that get far less eye-catching attention.
Error 4: A CTA ‘above the fold’
There is no incentive to read on. Above the fold is valuable landing page foreplay, but the climax is in the bottom two inches.
Error 5: A CTA that asks for too much
Sometimes asking for less will lead you to get more down the road when the timing is right. There is a technique to romancing your web visitors, and customer focus is essential to the copy you choose for your critical CTA.
Takeaway: Don’t forget to test, test, test and also to give your headlines a rest before you publish them. Write them, share them for feedback from your team, then put them to bed. After you sleep on them, make final revisions, then go forward with your best shot. When you only have two inches (top and bottom), it’s best to use them optimally.