Landing page mistake #1: one landing page for different audiences and ads

A common mistake people make with landing pages is creating one page for all of their audiences or ad sets. This ends up wasting money because the landing page copy (word choices) do not match the ads or "speak" to the intended audience.

How to fix it: The easiest way to fix this is to create multiple pages for multiple audiences.

For example: if sell scheduling software for small businesses, make landing pages for multiple types of small businesses. Instead of "scheduling software for small businesses" say:

  • Scheduling software for dentists
  • Scheduling software for mechanics
  • Scheduling software for hair salons

You get the idea...

Landing page mistake #2: Presenting the visitor with too many choices

Do you want them to call you? To fill out a form? To get a demo? To schedule a call? Which is it? It can't be all.

I see this happen too many times when people design landing pages - they include all sorts of buttons to "learn more", to call, to schedule - all in one place. Hick's Law states that the more options a person has, the harder it is to make a decision.

How to fix it: Knowing this, you should keep the pages to one type of action. For example, if you want to collect emails then only ask for an email.

Landing page mistake #3: Putting too much stuff on a page, making it too complicated.

Founders who are passionate about their products often make the mistake of putting too much information and "stuff" on the page. This creates cognitive overload and people have a hard time processing all of the information in front of them.

How to fix it: Keep your pages simple, clean and spacious to reduce cognitive load. The more information you stuff on your pages, the harder it is for the brain to process it. Knowing this, you can keep your pages clean and easy to scan.

Landing page mistake #4: Making the page too long

Similar to #3, when people want to explain everything about their product, the page ends up being too long and too much to read. Life can get in the way of a long landing page with all sorts of distractions.

How to fix it: Keep it short. The best converting pages have fewer than 200 words. The more you say on a landing page, the more likely people will get distracted and not accomplish their task. There is also the fact that more information usually leads to more processing in the brain, which could trigger comparison shopping.

Landing page mistake #5: Poorly written copy. Complex phrasing. Using Jargons.

Most people are terrible at copywriting. It is a skill that takes practice. Yet, we feel that we can write whatever we desire and people will instantly understand it. This is far from the case.

While you cannot improve overnight, you can take certain steps to make your writing better.

How to fix it: Aim for a 6th grade reading difficulty. The best websites use basic language and avoid jargon. Use Hemingway App and re-write your copy multiple times, on different days to clear your head between each re-write.

Landing page mistake #6: Lack of urgency

If I give you the option to buy now, or think about it for 7 days and come back later, which is more likely to result in a purchase?

Lack of urgency only incentivizes people to put the decision off for later (which typically results in a lost sale / conversion).

How to fix it: Add urgency to your action sections. You can create urgency by:

  1. Offering a limited time discount
  2. Offering lifetime deals
  3. Notifying of near-future price increases
  4. Using countddown timers as long as it's done in an ethical way
  5. Offer additional features or services if they sign up today
  6. Limit the deal to a specific number of people who can claim it.

Landing page mistake #7: Burying your most important elements on the bottom of the page

If you've ever ran extensive A/B tests and looked at heatmaps,  then you know that most people never reach the bottom of a long page. Yet, I see people putting important information at the bottom (where nobody will find it). Things like testimonials, client logos, case studies, all buried at the bottom.

How to fix it: Place your most important elements on top. If you have ratings or testimonials, include those at the top too. A lot of times people don't scroll all the way down so if you have some important information buried there, they may never see it.

Landing page mistake #8: Using inappropriate styling for your industry

When everything looks like a Lamborghini and your website looks like a used Honda Civic, it's hard to take it seriously. Startups sometimes make the mistake of styling their website and landing pages inappropriately for their industry. This is especially evident in new online bank websites that look like they were made for kids.

As much as we'd like to have people take our products seriously at all times, people's expectations are anchored to previous experiences. This means your landing page has to fall in line with those expectations and not stand out in a significant (negatively perceived) way.

How to fix it: Use appropriate typography and color choices for your industry to create a sense of trust. People use other anchor points to understand whether your page is trustworthy. If all websites in your industry are blue and yours is yellow, that may cause the person to hesitate.

Landing page mistake #9: Using illustrations and stock photos in place of product screenshots / gifs

I see this mistake all the time - people using illustrations or stock photos just to make a website look pretty because they don't have anything else to use for that section. Not only does this cheapen the landing page, but it also takes up valuable space and adds to load times. If you have nothing to show, it's better to just use words and CSS backgrounds if you want, but avoid illustrations and stock photos.

How to fix this: Try to show the product / service instead and make the images communicate a very specific point. If you are talking about a specific feature of your dashboard, show that feature not just the full dashboard with no visual indication of what the person is looking at.

Landing page mistake #10: Split testing micro changes to the landing page

Which color should the button be? Should we put this here, or there? Should the button say A or B. These are all micro changes and would be perfectly fine to test down the road, but a big mistake if you are testing them right away. Most times, the big changes in conversions happen when you test significant changes.

How to fix this: Create pages that are significantly different from one another at first. For example, if you have a long page, try a short page. If you have zero product images, try lots of product images. Don't get hung up on testing button colors or placements. Larger changes initially will help you narrow down to layouts that work best — then you can focus on micro-changes.

Landing page mistake #11: Misaligned copy from the referring source

One of the easiest ways to get people to hit the back button in their browser is to have a mismatch in copy from wherever your visitors are coming from. I see this with ads all the time! The ad will say one thing, but the landing page will say something else entirely. You'd think it would be a simple fix, but no... this persists everywhere. Who are these people hiring to do their designs?! Anyway, it's an easy fix!

How to fix it: Make sure your messaging matches the source of your traffic. If your traffic is coming from ads that advertise an app downloads, the page better offer an app download and not a demo for example.

Landing page mistake #12: Huge forms

This is common in B2B and companies who rely on information from a form to close the sale or provide supplementary information, and it's killing their conversions. People hate long forms and they have to be REALLY motivated to complete them. You can easily avoid this mistake...

How to fix it: Break up your forms into multiple steps and collect the email field up front as step one. If your conversion rate on the form is low, consider an email harvest strategy. For most paid ads, a form conversion is usually around 2%. You can improve your conversion rates just by eliminating the form and replacing it with an email field. Then use the email addresses collected to nurture your prospect relationships and turn them into customers.

Landing page mistake #13: Not testing the page for performance on desktop and mobile

One time I had a client who complained of mysteriously low conversions. Upon an audit I discovered the page was loading a 55MB image. On mobile, this broke the experience for most people not on a Wi-Fi. Even with Wi-Fi it was horrendous.

How to fix it: Test your pages for page size and mobile performance. Use tools like PageSpeed Insights and https://www.webpagetest.org/ to make sure you are not serving huge images or broken scripts. Generally speaking you want to avoid too many requests on the server (font loads, large images, many images, custom scripts). The longer it takes to load the landing page the more people will leave it.

Compress your images. Tools like TinyPNG and similar allow you to compress your images by up to 90% - creating for a faster page experience.

Landing page mistake #14: Lack of scarcity on the page

99% of landing pages I've encountered give zero reason to sign up now. I might as well come back later (except, I never will).

How to fix it: Add scarcity to your pages. Use copy to create scarcity and fear of missing out (FOMO). For example, if you offer a free webinar, limit the number of seats and the window for registrations so people can sign up right away instead of saving the decision for later (and forgetting about it).

Landing page mistake #15: Not addressing the visitor's objections head-on

People naturally seek out ways to invalidate a decision and save themselves from the pain of pulling out their wallet. Most landing pages I've seen do not bother using direct copy to address the person's objections and this is costing them conversions.

How to fix it: Address objections. Think as your customer would - what kinds of things would they object to? Write copy to address those objections.

Landing page mistake #16: not making it clear who the product is for

When time is of the essence, the landing page has to be super clear if the product is the right fit for me. While a good portion of the landing pages I've encountered eventually make it somewhat clear who the intended audience is, it is never fully spelled out.

How to fix it: State clearly who the product/service is for. "Email marketing fo {writers | ecommerce store owners | fitness coaches}".

Landing page mistake #17: Poor headlines that make it unclear what the product is, what it does, who it is for and why I should care.

I once looked through a landing page while trying to do an audit (so I intentionally took time to understand it) and still couldn't figure out what they were selling. It took me 20 minutes of reading every sentence, every word and I couldn't tell what I was looking at.

Most people don't have that kind of time. If they can't figure out what you are selling, they will likely leave. Your headline is the perfect opportunity to make it super obvious what you are selling, who it's for and why I should care.

How to fix it: Try the perfect headline formula:  Social Proof + What + Who + Why I should care.

There are a thousand and one ways to write a headline. Some choose to write mysterious headlines to pull people in (which can work just fine).

But I’ve found over time that there is one headline formula that works well consistently:

Social Proof + What + Who + Why I should care.

Let’s look at an example to help us break it down:

“234 SaaS companies have saved $11.4 million with SiteAlert by getting instant phone notifications when their websites are down”.

  • Social Proof 234
  • Who it’s for - SaaS companies
  • What is it? a tool that notifies you via a phone call when the website is down (implied that this is a tool)
  • Why should I care? Because downed websites lose money, and you save all that money by keeping your site up (11.4 million in our example)

This formula works well because it always makes it clear what you are selling, who it is for, why they should care, and backs it all up with “social proof”.

Landing page mistake #18: catering to the wrong audience awareness levels

This mistake is usually coupled with having one landing page for people in different stages of product awareness. The company will create a page that tries to explain the basic benefits of the product, when their audience is much further in the buying cycle and need more advanced levels of information. Imagine trying to explain to ice cream buyers why ice cream is tasty. The buyer doesn't care, they just want to know how much it costs and what flavors are available.

Cater to the audiences' awareness level. Are they a seasoned pro who is looking to compare your product with another? Are they total beginners and know nothing about your industry? How deeply are they familiar with the problem that your product solves? These are all questions that will play into how you set up your landing page and what kind of copy, tone and language you will use to take the prospect to the next step.

Landing page mistake #19: Not having any testimonials, ratings, reviews (social proof)

Reviews are critical to helping people smooth out their decision to fork over time or money. I've seen people go to great lengths to take care of everything on their landing pages but for some reason leave out reviews. Maybe they didn't have any? Well, that shouldn't be a reason not to acquire some.

How to fix it: include testimonials, ratings and reviews on your pages. At this point, in 2021, it is practically expected to have "social proof" on your pages. Products that don't have any positive testimonials are automatically at a disadvantage.