The Most Dangerous Landing Page Mistakes & How You Can Fix Them

By | , June 2nd, 2013 in Landing Pages | 22 comments
The Most Dangerous Landing Page Mistakes & How You Can Fix Them

The point of this article isn’t to continue to point out the obvious, but to show the more costly mistakes in terms of lost revenue and lost leads. Read the most dangerous mistakes you can make when it comes to your landing pages and learn how you can correct them.

Mistake 1 – The “Disconnected” Headline

When visitors see and click an ad, they immediately have a few “expectations” of what they want see on the page that follows the click of the ad. If your Landing Page Headline is NOT a continuation of the conversation that you started with your PPC ad, you are shooting yourself in the foot!

For example, let’s say you are selling electronics, but specifically want a Landing Page for “Bluetooth earbuds”. And let’s say your ad asks the question “Looking for the best Bluetooth earbuds?” (since ads that ask questions statistically perform well - source)

The Headline is not only an easy thing to test (we will cover testing in a minute), but the mistake that gets made too often is not continuing the conversation or not being the “other side” of the conversation that a visitor expects when they click.

Disconnected Headline
Example – From an ad that asks “Looking for the best Bluetooth earbuds

Mistake 2 – Missing Content Strategy

Different visitors respond to different tactics based on different things. That’s not a secret, but if your landing page messaging speaks to only one type of visitor, you are missing a solid opportunity to convert the other types of visitors.

Aspects that affect the “type of visitor”

  • How many times they have seen your landing page?
  • What (if anything) have they done on your site or landing page before?
  • What do they already know about you, or your company, and your landing page? Are they following you on Twitter, do they “Like” You, etc.?
  • What are other people are saying, doing, and buying?
  • How “warm” are they in terms of being ready to “Add to cart” or to “Talk to someone now”?

Each “group of visitors” in the funnel expects different items on a landing page, and as such, they respond better to different items on the page. In my opinion, HubSpot does a fantastic job of breaking down these visitors into sections of a funnel.

  1. Top of the Funnel – Consider adding a numbered list of the benefits on your landing page in a “Things you need to know about the product or service on this page” or say something along the lines of: “Did you know that this product or service can make your life easier by….”
  2. Middle of Funnel – Show the visitor what others are saying about the product or service on this landing page.
  3. Bottom of Funnel – Give the visitor a very clear, smart CTA. Lead Generation pages are a great place to add a “Talk to an expert now” with a live chat module CTA, or a Toll Free Phone Number. Even better than saying, “Talk to someone now”, let your visitor know what type of person they will be talking to. If your landing page is for Widget A with xyz features, let your visitor know they can “Talk to a Widget A expert about xyz features now”.

So, if your landing page items and landing page messaging are not created to offer something to each of the 3 areas of this funnel, then you are missing a massive opportunity to convert leads and move them further down the funnel.

Landing Page Mistakes messaging for conversion funnel
Content for each area of the visitor funnel.

Mistake 3 – No Incentive for the First Time Visitor

If you look at your landing page analytics from any ad or campaign (PPC, SEO, Banner, Display Radio etc etc), statistically you will see that most of your traffic is First Time Visitors (usually around 70% – 80%). Login to your analytics and take a look for yourself.

Landing Page Mistakes - Frist Time Visitor vs Buyer Incentive
 

For Lead Gen

The mistake here is simply not providing an incentive to the First Time Visitor. Offer them a reason to get in touch with your company today. Lead them to a form that allows them have their questions answered by an expert today.

  • Don’t just say “Contact Us” – that is too generic.
  • Instead consider “Speak with a _____ Expert today. FREE – No Risk – No Obligation

For Ecommerce – this is easy to remedy

Offer a coupon code or discount code. For example, “First time Buyers get 10% off this product today from this page”.

  • Will this coupon or incentive get used more than once? Yes – most likely.
  • Will this get shared? Yes – most likely.
  • Is an increase in sales no matter how they come okay with most companies? Yes – almost always.

Mistake 4 – Not Testing

This mistake gets brought up more and more – but is often oversimplified. If people don’t know how to test, then they don’t test and as a result of not testing, they are missing a huge opportunity.

Testing can get as hard and complex as you like. It’s often a good idea to get in touch with a conversion or landing page expert when you want to test multiple variables, certain conversions, etc. But at it’s simplest, you should have 2 versions of your landing page.

  1. A – Control Version – Get your page up with your best practice tactics in place
  2. B – Variation Version – On this page – change the headline – or try a video in place of an image or change the color or working on the Call to Action button
Landing Page Mistakes Testing
 

After a certain period of time or certain number of conversions – you will be able to see which landing page variation performs better. From here you can test additional elements that will help you find your own “secret sauce” that your visitors respond best to.

Bonus - Great Guide to Creating Tests with Google FREE Content Experiments Module

Mistake 5 – Not Using an Optimized “Thank you” Page

There is a short and simple remedy for this mistake. Once a visitor has converted to a lead or a customer, let them know what to expect next – A call in an hour? A product shipped in 3 days? An email within 24 hours? Why not invite them to follow you and connect with you Socially?

Landing Page Mistakes - Thank You Page
 

Next steps

So there you have it – the 5 biggest landing page mistakes I see again and again … and now you have no excuse for making them.

Look at the checklist below to be sure you are on the right path:

  1. Does your headline on your Landing Page continue the conversation started with your ad?
  2. Do you have content (or a strategy) for each visitor depending on their level in the funnel?
  3. Are you offering an incentive for the First Time Visitor or First Time Buyer?
  4. Are you Testing at least ONE variation of your Landing Page?
  5. Are you letting the visitor abandon without a popup based on what they are looking at or when they are leaving?
  6. Are you supporting all landing page optimization and effort with a thank you page that invites and encourages connection and communication?

– Dustin Sparks


About The Author

Photo of Dustin Sparks

Dustin Sparks, Landing Page, A/B Conversion Optimization Expert. He provides his clients with optimized landing page strategies for improving conversion rates. His comprehensive landing page optimization process includes the usage of advanced A/B testing to determine which landing page tactics will convert best for your specific campaign goals.
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Comments

  1. Great article Dustin! Simple, to the point and very common mistakes. Testing is so important but I find that MOST small business owners have a phobia of testing and the whole process.

    I always try and advocate testing for my clients. I also think the concept of dedicated landing pages is very important and ties in nicely with your “mistake #2″ above.

    • Hi Mash –

      I’ve never heard it called a “phobia of testing” – but that’s funny and in some ways it is “fear” but more often it is simple lack of knowledge regarding the process and “what A/B testing really means. Thankfully more people like yourself are helping clients with this education process which leads to results.

      • I have a client who hesitates to test. When I asked them why they said that they might lose qualified prospects who land on the new page instead of the control, and could be turned off because of something on the page.

        I am still working on them to prove that A/B testing will work for them. Have you come across these kinds of objections?

  2. Great step-by-step advice – thanks Dustin

  3. Jennifer Lee says:

    Landing page, it’s really very important in order to increase sales as it is the first page where user land. As CRO, I am always testing different elements and also searching new ways in order to improve sales. I had optimize thank you page for one of my client before approx six months. I had suggested some changes for Thank you page and adding social channels are one of them, I got reaction from client that it doesn’t make sense to add social channels in Thank you page. So I had request him to do for only week. After a week, I had email to client to remove social channels from Thank page and client replied, you are correct Jeni. You will not believe, but this changes had increased followers, likes and tweets.

    The reason behind sharing this conversation is that, Thank you page is really the scope for improvement. You can certain have good advantages by optimize thank you page.

    Dustin, you have really shared good knowledge and specially about Thank you page.

    Jeni

    • Hi Jeni,

      Thank you for sharing that success story!!! Good for you – I love hearing results based stories like that :)

      Keep doing good things,
      Dustin

  4. SLS says:

    First off, what an adorable picture of a kitten! The point you made regarding landing page Headline is extremely important. You might as well lie about your name in a Sales meeting if you want to be deceitful about what you’re marketing to your consumer. You want to build interesting, engaging content to match your Headline to build a level of transparency and trust. You want visitors who come to your site to feel engaged. I think the three step funnel process if great! These are small call to actions that will lead to conversion rates on your website. Let the client know about you, show them why they should work with you, then let them know why you’re the best and how they can reach you.

  5. Carol Manser says:

    Hi Dustin, these tips are really valuable to people like me – no landing page, yet….I know, it’s really bad….but where to start?

    Changing from a Blog Home Page to a Landing Page with ‘Blog’ in the Menu is something I really need to do, but the technical skills are daunting for beginners.

    Can you recommend landing page software/templates?

  6. Mike says:

    Great tips, Dustin. I’ve definitely seen a lot of PPC headlines that have little to no continuation of their ad on their actual landing page. And they wonder why their conversions are so low! This goes hand in hand with split testing like you mentioned as well. Continue your PPC message on your landing page and also have a variation of that same message to see what converts (you should see an improvement in this category if your landing page relates more to your ad anyhow) better.

  7. Hi Dustin.

    You are making some good points and and usefull infomation for anybody working with landing pages. Might use the blog for new employees to keep them updated.

    I have one question for you about testing variations of landing pages on webshops? Most webshops have one product page design, how would you test a product page (as a landing page) without changing the look of the entire webshop? Any good examples? Thanks – Claus :-)

    • Hi Claus,

      “how would you test a product page (as a landing page) without changing the look of the entire webshop”

      Easy – I’ll give you a free (and simple) example test below.

      Use the page you mention above becomes the “A” Version (Control Version).

      THEN Make a Variation – “B” Version – with the following.

      1 -NO Top Navigation
      2 -Big, fat headline (your value proposition)
      3 – A image/side by side comparison of you and your competitors (your key benefits)
      4 -A different color call to action (CTA) than your A/Control Version

      This way your colors and logo and layout etc all remains the same – you just have a Second “B” Version with 4 variables to monitor and test.

      OR your could even more optimally run a control page with 3 individual variations and serve up 25% of each to your visitors.

  8. Victoria says:

    Thanks a lot for the valuable tips. I’m currently making some landing pages for my clients. It will be very helpful. I’ve bookmarked the article.

  9. Mirco Dipo says:

    “Mistake 5″- Thank you Dustin, it’s a great advice I’ll use

  10. Katrina says:

    Will definitely try this out. Beautiful landing pages, those are. Thank you bro!

  11. harry says:

    thanks for your sharing. Through your post, I have found that my landing page have too much problems