To increase the conversion rate on your landing page, you should implement best practices as a baseline, then continuously test changes and measure the results.
Truth be told, even conventional wisdom can backfire. When you creating landing pages, there are far too many nuanced issues that no single article online can address. Even the most well-intentioned best practice guides cannot know enough about your audience to recommend something that will actually work.
I see this play out all the time. A startup will "do everything right" but doesn't see a lift in conversions. There are a couple of reasons why this might be the case:
- They are trying to account for micro factors, ignore the big picture
- There is no product-market fit yet and sending traffic to the landing page is equivalent to pouring water in a bucket without a bottom. It'll never fill up.
- The conversion lift is not meaningful despite appearing to be.
What are the landing page best practices?
I've written an entire blog post on landing page mistakes and how to fix them. If you follow that, you'll pretty much nail most of the best practices. But, this doesn't necessarily mean you'll see an instant or long-term improvement.
Sadly, there is no substitute for a qualitative assessment. No checklist or best practices can account for something that's not very obvious.
For example, if you were Netflix and you were advertising in Japan, you might never realize that the reason people are not signing up for your service is because you are offering a free trial. (see the Netflix onboarding case study) Why would that matter? Well, because in Japan people consider free trials to mean inferior products.
Crazy, right? But... that is why you need qualitative analysis to get a deep understanding of your audience and the market. No amount of blind A/B testing on Netflix's landing page would yield meaningful lifts in conversions in Japan.
Knowing all of this, you can still fix quite a few obvious mistakes and at least raise the baseline from which you start testing. Here is a very quick recap of some of the things to look out for when creating your first pages:
- Cater to the appropriate product awareness levels
- Segment your visitors and create separate landing pages for audience types and their needs
- Address objections
- Design for clarity and simplicity
- Make it very clear what you are selling, who it benefits, how, and why they should buy or try the thing.
- Don't ask for a huge commitment, offer free trials, single-field signups
- Offer free trials
- Keep your words simple, you're not impressing anyone with fancy terms
- Add testimonials, reviews, ratings so people know they are not buying something no one else has touched.
- Add urgency and scarcity to the page
- Test big changes first. Once you have found a format that works better, start testing smaller changes on the page.
- Try shorter pages. Fewer things to read leads to more time for signing up.
My best recommendation to have a meaningful lift in conversions is to have someone do professional qualitative analysis for your startup. If you've tried all of the best practices but never noticed any significant differences in conversions, it might be because you've been working with people who are oblivious to truly understanding your business and your audience. It is not uncommon for people to come to me after working with agencies who failed to do even the basic qualitative analysis.