The landing page is an extremely important part of the sales process. In a competitive environment, creating the right type of landing page that doesn’t overwhelm your user and still provides enough information for them to know they’re making a secure, educated decision is a balancing act.
For many businesses, minimalism is better. For other verticals, providing more detailed information is required to prevent a bounce. Sometimes, the type of landing page you should use can vary depending on how the user arrived: organically, or through a paid advertisement.
Your Vertical and Minimalism
Your vertical will largely determine how minimalistic you can be – and how many clicks you’re allowed before users drop off. Determining how much content a page needs can be determined by A-B testing. It’s better to start on the simpler side and work your way up to more content.
Your landing pages will look cleaner this way, and because it takes extra effort to add content in rather than take it away, you’re less likely to do too much and waste valuable time.
In a comparison of Intuit, Square, and PayPal (all for card scanners), Square was seen by the experts as the best landing page, and they had, by far, the least amount of elements on their page. The “hottest” part of the page (determined by eye tracking software) was the product itself.
Test for Success
When you’re testing your landing pages, don’t pick one page that’s super complex and one that’s downright minimal, as chances are, the correct page will be closer to the middle in terms of content. After all, you’re here to improve your sales – you don’t want to hurt them for the sake of testing extremes. Pick a central part of the landing page that will change with your variations – in terms of minimalism, that will be a piece of content or a lack thereof. It could be a paragraph or two describing your service, or an additional pitch.
Design for the Product
A complex product doesn’t always need a complex page. Instead, a more complex product should include some additional content for the visitor to scrutinize.
More importantly, there should be an easy, simple way for the user to access more information if they need it. Easy and simple in this case means: one or two buttons leading to other relevant content.
It can be tempting to add links to the rest of your content in a side menu, and as clean as that menu could be, it’s too much for a landing page.
Someone searching for a complex product or service is more likely to click further into the website, but still take the action that you want them to perform.
Minimalist Landing Pages for PPC
[row][col span=”md-6″]When users click on an ad, they are expecting exactly what the ad entailed, and little more. The amount of content required to reflect your ad will depend largely on your product and the limitations of the ad itself. Take the space available above the fold to focus on the aspects of your product or service rather than your company. If needed, additional information can be below the fold, and if your product is complex enough, this additional information can improve conversion rates. The top of your page, however, should be nothing more than your pitch (benefits) and your actionable item (a button, form, etc.).[/col][col span=”md-6″]For a more complex product or service, a short description about only the service advertised should be provided. At this stage of the buying cycle, they don’t need to know anything else but the product – this is not the point to pitch them on anything else. The difference with a paid landing page is that users are clicking with the awareness that they are being pitched to; they don’t care about your company so much as the product or service that you’re selling. It’s easy to overwhelm them with additional information because there’s a need to explain your product. For someone who’s arrived from an ad, though, you need to tell them what makes your product different, not what your product is.[/col][/row]
Selling a Simple Product
For a simpler product, let them know the product benefits, and then tell them to buy it. Little else is needed. When comparing a page for Landsend.com (first video), most of the visitors’ eyes went towards a “related” product at the side, almost as much as the product itself. When you’re using pay-per-click, that visitor is a valuable investment, and you don’t want to lose them in cluttered content, as amazing as your website content could be.
Landing Pages & Organic Search
[row][col span=”md-6″]Organic users that are arriving from search pages are looking for a concise set of information, and the less clicking they have to do to find it, the better. Organic users may not be as far down the sales pipeline as those who are coming from a paid ad, so the information you provide them must be enticing enough to have them take action or at least keep exploring. A page with concise, relevant content will give them what they need, and without it, they are far more likely to bounce. This was one of the criticisms of the Square page mentioned above – the ability for the user to access the information they needed wasn’t as clear as it could have been (the button for “more information” just listed a benefit, not a call to action to click). If a visitor didn’t realize the information was just on the next page, they would be more likely to leave.[/col][col span=”md-6″]This doesn’t mean that minimalism flies out the window, though. One piece of content, even a fairly long one, can still be encompassed in a clean, simple layout that makes two things focal: Your (quality) content and the pitch for your actionable goal. There’s no need to place anything else on the side of or above your content. If that visitor arrived organically, they’ve been searching for the content that you gave them. If they found what they were looking for, they’ll keep looking for additional content on your site or take action on it. Otherwise, they’ll bounce. Visitors will more than likely NOT continue searching for content if they don’t find what they’re looking for the first time, so placing too much “additional content” around the page will not help. [/col][/row]
Because a visitor can arrive organically to any page, these concepts should be thought of when designing all pages on a website. The main goal is to make sure you make your actionable goal as easy to access and possible and one of the few focal points of the page. Don’t place your main desired action below the fold! Giving users the information they need and little else is the way to keep them there, as they don’t have to go to another site to find it.
Avoiding Information Overload
It becomes easy to throw as much information as possible on a page so a person can find what they’re looking for, but this can become overwhelming, even for the modern internet user that’s accustomed to information overload.
Landing pages should not be overcome by the “newspaper” strategy, which seeks to fit as much information as possible on one page.
Their goal is information overload, but your goal is to make a sale. It becomes far too easy to overwhelm visitors with the wrong type of information, even for those who are more closely scrutinizing a complex product or service.
Keeping the page clean and simple with a clear call-to-action with appropriate testing is a necessary step towards improving conversion rates and decreasing bounce rates.