Friday, June 26, 2009

Landing Pages - Does Size Really Matter?

It's an age old question, does size really matter? When thinking about landing page design this highly provocative question still rings true.

My company helps our clients get more value from their landing pages, aiming to squeeze every last conversion from what on the surface looks to be a simple internet marketing process - get some qualified traffic to a web page and enable that traffic to convert to leads or sales.

What we find time-and-time again is landing page design is a highly complex process that is part art, part science and part voodoo magic!

There is no shortage of tools available to help with landing page optimization including Google's free Website Optimizer for A/B split and multivariate testing. But tools and data analysis will only get you so far because at the end of the day the human element, and in particular user intent for arriving on your landing page in the first place, often plays the deciding factor.

This often intangible element of 'user intent' can be difficult to plan and design for, particularly when users are in the early stages of the conversion or buying process.

Our clients often wonder if we can't be exactly sure of where the website visitor is in the decision making process is it better to have a long form landing page that contains loads of information about the company's product, offer and business or is a 'less-is-more' approach more effective to gently move the prospect step by step through the conversion process? Does the size (length) of the landing page really matter?

It depends.

There really is no right or wrong answer, it comes down to establishing a proper testing framework so as many variables as possible can be isolated and analyzed effectively and contextually. This also means being able to issolate user intent.

As a side note, pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising can assist in issolating user intent, by grouping keywords around key themes and sending that visitor to a specific landing page that considers where that visitor may be in the conversion decision process based on the keywords they have searched for.

But back to the question at hand...

As a general statement for highly targeted lead generation campaigns (like B2C competitions or B2B whitepaper downloads), I've found that short and simple landing page design works best. A single and very simple call to action and everything on the landing page above the page fold.

For more complex conversion goals (like early stage eCommerce research or detailed information products) a multi-step conversion funnel where the objective of the landing page is to have the visitor complete a micro conversion (like clicking a link to learn more) also works well.

There is also a place for the long form conversion page, and we generally see them tailored to information or digital products where the credibility of the product and the desire to own them is built up over a very long page with techniques like customer testimonials and free offers.

Determining which one will work best for your product and your business is a structured process of testing, measuring and optimizing. The true measure of a sucessful landing page is really only determined by how it meets the stated objective of the campaign (more views, more clicks, more leads and ultimately more sales).

If you have experience of which type of landing page works best for certain products, I'd love to hear you comments?


1 comment:

  1. I Guess from the perspective of the receiver - the long page format is a real turn off. Just don't have the time or patience to wade throughthe details, special offers testimonials etc.

    Get the gist then skip to the bottom to see that the botton line is.