Training: Web Site Design, Landing Page Optimization and Conversion Rate

Yesterday we held a Provo Labs Academy training session on landing page optimization. I played about 15 minutes of excerpts from the May 23rd MarketingExperiements.com conference call recording. They described how they increased the conversion rate of a hypnosis product landing page by 40% by improving the layout and design slightly.

They also offer some excellent guidelines for landing page design at the end of their report.

We also reviewed the landing page design guidelines listed in the free 30-page report from Enquiro.com (Inside the Mind of the Searcher) from 2004. (Registration is required.) Here is the list they provide:

What Purchasers looked for on a Landing Page

(in order of importance)

* Query Keywords – In a heading or other prominent location
* Product Picture
* Offers – Value added offers, i.e. free shipping
* Prices – Don’t make them ask for it
* Features — Find out more about the product
* Clean Professional Layout – Is this a trusted site
* Clear Conversion Path – Is it easy to buy or ask for more information
* Selection – Ability to see different products in one place. Should have trusted brands featured
* Comparison – Direct comparison between models
* Clear Navigation – Is it easy to move around and continue researching

It is incredible how many PPC campaigns take you to the home page of a company’s web site or to a page that doesn’t match at all what the person was searching for.

Your landing page should contain the keywords your visitor was searching for and if they are searching for a product, it should have a picture of the product. Otherwise, in the few seconds that they spend scanning your page, they won’t immediately see what they were looking for and they will leave. Your bounce-off rate will be extremely high.

We also discussed the MarketingSherpa Landing Page Design Handbook, which sells for $247.

The editor of this handbook Stefan Tornquist shared 5 ways to increase landing page conversion rates with TechWeb last year.

Some powerful tools for optimizing landing page conversion rates include Optimost and Offermatica. The new Google website optimizer tool is in beta and we don’t know anyone who has been accepted into the beta yet.

One of our Academy members has 20 years experience in direct marketing. He said long format direct mail pieces traditionally pulled better than short format, but in today’s world of information overload, he has been finding more instances where short format pulls better.

In 2004 MarketingExperiments showed that most of the time long copy still pulls better than short copy, but a recent example (see test #2 on this page) had different results.

Landing Page Tools

As important as it is to increase clickthroughs from your Google/Yahoo/MSN keyword campaigns by using Dynamic Keyword Insertion, it is even more important to match each one of those ads with a customized landing page that will maximize your conversion rate.

Here’s a good article that lists 11 things you can do to improve your landing pages.

My BYU internet marketing students are going to run some lead generation campaigns starting in November. Each team will be given a budget of $100 and will be able to choose their external marketing tactics. (We’ll discuss dozens in class so that can be familiar with a wide variety of traffic building tactics.)

Then, each will be given a landing page which they can use, which will include their lead capture form.

If they want, they can customize this landing page. Perhaps they can test dozens of variations until they have found the page that works best (or the page that works best for each keyword).

So I’m trying to find some landing page testing/optimization tools that the teams might want to try out.

There are high end tools like Offermatica.com that start at $125,000; but I’m not sure our student teams can’t afford that one.

So do you know of any freeware or open source landing page building tools that we might want to look at?