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Using your landing page to boost your conversion rates

One of the fastest ways to boost profits is to turn your attention away from website traffic for a while and start thinking about your conversion rate. If your site is like most on the Web, you’re throwing a lot of sales out the window by making some simple mistakes or missing a few key pointers. So where should financial advisers focus in order to maximise conversions?

Tip #1. Navigation
Nothing is more important than making it easy for your user to find what they’re looking for. Navigation starts with your choice of landing page in the first place. A large majority of marketers are sending clicks straight to the home page. Instead, send your users straight to the most relevant page; you want them to see exactly what they expect to find. If they feel even slightly misled, they go straight for the back button.

But navigation doesn’t end there either.

Check your internal searches to find out what your visitors want to find most, and make sure it’s placed somewhere prominent and obvious. Don’t make the mistake of trying to force your visitor into a conversion right away by making other popular navigations difficult.

Visitors want to be persuaded before they transact business. People are much more likely to do business with you if they feel like they arrived at the conclusion on their own.

Tip #2. Images
Images are arguably the most important aspect of landing page design. Humans are visual creatures, and our first impressions are typically formed on sight alone. If the landing page looks haphazard, old, unmaintained, clumsy or cluttered, you’re going to lose a lot of ground in the first second of the visit.

There are four principles to keep in mind:

1. Meaningful – images have implications, even with the most basic of shapes. For example, to users, a horizontal line usually means ‘stop reading’. Photographs tell a story. No matter how basic the image, always consider what it means to your audience.

2. Custom – a stock photo here or there is fine for blogging, but when it comes to site design – and landing pages specifically – your images need to be custom-made. If your images aren’t unique, it’s difficult to present a consistent brand image and nearly impossible to portray a unique selling proposition.

3. Logical – all too often, landing pages contain great images that just don’t make sense for the site. Approach images logically by using them in a way that makes sense for the user. At the same time, think logically about your images and split test them for maximum benefit.

4. Clean – images should not clutter your landing page or distract from text. They must always serve to enhance the experience. An image that fits right in between two paragraphs as part of the narrative is always better than an image of a smiling model wearing a headset (not that a little of both is always a bad thing).

Tip #3. Content
The content of your landing page is all about the user. Visitors don’t want to know your life story or why your business is better than the rest. They want to know how to solve their problems.

Keep the following four points in mind:

1. ‘Unique’ isn’t enough – your content needs to serve a unique purpose. The content of your landing page should serve a purpose that isn’t met by any other page on the Web. Content should have its own unique selling proposition.

2. Forget SEO, at least for now – if you think about keywords while you design your landing page, it’s going to end up being junk. Optimise for user satisfaction – keyword stuffing doesn’t work for search engines anyway.

3. Be ‘neutral’ – when we say neutral, we mean that you don’t want to go for the hard sale. Most visitors are savvy enough to realise that they can’t take anything you say for granted. Instead of getting promotional, get specific. Focus on the ‘how’ of your product or service. How is it going to help visitors solve their problem? How is it different (different, not better) from the alternatives?

4. Address concerns before the user has them – the default response to any buying opportunity is to say ‘no thanks’. We all have low-level fear and scepticism before making any purchase or commitment. Address these concerns before the user even has them. Find out what your users’ most common objections are right now and address them as quickly as possible.

Tip #4. Call-to-action
Everybody knows they need a call-to-action, but this is also one of the most common places where mistakes are made. Be sure to split test your call-to-action. You want to try different images, different text, different fonts and different placements. Test as much as you can, and always think about new things to test. It’s amazing how much a small change can have a big impact.

Tip #5. Credentials and featured badges
Visitors are naturally hesitant to work with you or buy your products. By default, they have no reason to trust you. One of the easiest ways to overcome this is to demonstrate that firms they are familiar with have been more than happy to mention you or endorse you.

If you can add certifications on top of that, it also does a great deal for your credibility.

If you haven’t been featured on any prominent sites or earned any credentials, get started now. It’s worth it for the conversion rate boost, let alone the referral traffic.

Tip #6. Loading time
The loading time has a very strong and direct relationship with your conversion rate. Your users always feel like they’re in a hurry, whether true or not, and they won’t wait around to see what you have to offer when they know there are hundreds of other options to choose from and millions of other ways they could be spending their time.

Invest in high-speed hosting, and keep needless clutter off your site. Make sure the most important parts of the page (for the user) load first and that the page doesn’t suddenly reorganise itself as soon as more images and multimedia finish loading.

Tip #7. Responsive design
A significant amount of web traffic is via a tablet or a smartphone. If users visit your site and it looks ugly on their device, the odds are they’re going to pack their bags and head elsewhere. Meanwhile, study after study confirms that mobile users are more engaged, wealthier and more likely to make a purchase than desktop users.

Responsive design ensures that your landing page looks perfect on every device. It means that images and text are clearly visible without side-scrolling, that buttons and links are large enough to be pressed with a finger, and that users get the experience they expect from a smartphone or tablet.

Without responsive design, you’re more or less sacrificing 15% of your traffic without giving it a second thought.

Conclusion

The key to a higher conversion rate is to put the user first. They’ve seen enough infomercials and scam sites to last a lifetime. Put the focus on their unique problems and how you can help solve them, and give them the information they need to feel comfortable with to transact business. Test your calls-to-action and be sure to give them contact information.

Paul Bearman, Senior Editor, Goldmine Media

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