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5 Killer Landing Page Techniques that Defy Conventional Wisdom

by Neil Patel

Recently, I’ve watched landing pages explode with creativity and new levels of power. For a long time, landing pages were pretty much all the same — a headline, a few bullets, and a capture form.

And they were boring. Dull. Not to mention ineffective. You can A/B test headline placement and CTA button color until the end of the age, and not experience any significant uptick in conversions. It’s big thinking, big ideas, and mold-shattering innovations that really take you places.

We’re in a new era of landing page optimization. Designers, marketing pros, SEOs, CROs, UX experts, and other professionals have pooled their collective wisdom to come up with landing pages that blow the mind and defy conventional wisdom. These are not your grandma’s landing pages.

Here are some of the disruptive elements in landing page optimization that I believe signal a new era in landing page design.

neilpatel placeit

1.  Multiple Calls to Action

  • Conventional wisdom: Use a single, powerful CTA
  • New strategy: Use multiple CTAs throughout the page. Placing a CTA after each persuasive technique increases the likelihood of a conversion at other points throughout the page.

Using several CTAs on a page sounds like a recipe for user confusion. But not if you do it the right way.

First, let me tell you what the wrong way is. You should not have different calls to action. In other words, a landing page is about one thing. Asking the user to do several things is not good — sign up for the newsletter, like you on Facebook, get your free ebook, and buy your product. No. Don’t do it. One thing. Just one thing.

Even though you have have multiple CTAs, they should all be calling for the same action.

Adding in more calls to action can increase the likelihood of a conversion. Here’s how the multiple CTA technique is used.

Long landing pages.

It would make zero sense to have a bunch of CTAs on a short page. The landing pages that use more than one CTA are usually long.

Parallax design.

A page with parallax features — or at least chunks of visual segments — can use this technique with power. Each section of the page comprises its own landing page within a landing page. The section that fills the browser screen at that point has its own images, features, copy, and call to action.

Through flow follow.

The most strategic way to use several CTAs is to do so in a way that tracks with the user’s thought process. For example, the first section of the landing page answers the question, “What is this service all about?” The images, copy, and headline answer that question. Then, there is a CTA. At that point, the user may be ready to convert, so he or she can click on the CTA.

If not, the user scrolls down to the next section. This section answers the question, “How will this help me?” Again, after the persuasive copy, there is a CTA. The user has another chance to convert at this point. If not, there is an additional section below that addresses other concerns — cost, guarantee, product comparison, etc. Each section has its own discrete CTA.

Let’s take a look at this technique on several landing pages.

Basecamp’s landing page looks like an ordinary single-view landing page with a fat headline and big CTA button:

Basecamp trail

Actually, the landing page is long.

basecamp landing page

Each section of the landing page has its own CTA. Three large CTA buttons will help to convert users at any given point on the landing page.

Dell’s storage solution landing page takes this approach. The innocuous “learn more” text isn’t the strongest CTA I’ve ever seen, but at least it appears 15+ times on their landing page.

Dell storage solutions

Landing pages with lots of CTAs stand a higher chance of conversions. The more intuitive and strategic the placement, the better.

2.  Longform Content

  • Conventional wisdom: Make your landing page short.
  • New strategy:  Create lots of content in order to completely answer the user’s questions, provide assurances, and give them all the information that they need to convert.

The idea behind short landing pages is to reduce time friction. If the copy is compelling enough and the copy is short enough (so went the thinking) then the landing page will be effective.

But maybe not. Maybe for issues of greater buy-in and higher significance, users want more information before they will convert. Maybe the whole idea of a landing page is to give the user everything that he or she needs to know before signing up, buying, or sharing an email address.

An A/B test from Marketing Experiments found that a longform landing page performed 220% better than it’s short-form, above-the-fold CTA counterpart:

control treatment

Long landing pages have an inherent SEO advantage because of their extensive copy. But they also have a persuasive edge. The wider variety of persuasive techniques you unleash on a page, the greater your chance of converting any given user.

Different buyers are persuaded in different ways. There are three main types of buyers — spendthrifts, tightwads, and the unconflicted. It’s important to craft a landing page that has techniques that will address each type.

3 types of buyers

Conversion Rate Experts created a landing page for Moz, which was effective at harnessing a million dollars in sales. The number one secret that they revealed was this:

We created a page long enough to tell the story. There’s a popular myth among web marketers that “long pages don’t sell.” These people believe that it’s much better to have short pages that don’t require scrolling. What we’ve discovered from many client consultations around the world is this: What counts is not how long your page is but rather how engaging it is.

But here’s the thing. Longer pages are usually more effective at being engaging than short ones.

When Conversion Rate Experts got done redesigning Moz’s landing page, it was six times longer than the original.

origianal page redesign page

And it was dozens of times more effective.

Kindle’s landing page is enormous. But if you have any question about the Kindle — any issue that needs to be address prior to purchasing — this landing page will answer it.

kindle landing page

3.  Strong Visual Features

  • Conventional wisdom:  Keep landing pages as simple as possible.
  • New strategy:  Add visual elements that engage users, attract attention, and improve conversions.

If a page lacks visual panache, it’s not going to be very effective at converting users. The simple truth is that people want to look at pretty things. If a landing page is not pretty, the user imports that “not pretty” idea into their idea of the product or service. If, by contrast, the landing page has a lot of visual interest, it creates a superior user experience.

VW.com uses landing pages that are packed with visual features. They sell cars based on how they look. Notice the spread of photos on this landing page.

vw.com

Scripted looks more like an infographic than a landing page.

scripted

Inspiron is selling a tangible device, so obviously people want to see it if they are going to buy it. That’s why the Inspiron landing page features a prominent image and options for additional pictures.

dell inspiron 14

I’ve discovered that videos are part of this visual power, too. Vidyard recently tested a video on their landing page, and came away with a 100% increase in conversions.

challenger

  • Challenger “D” – video in a light-box
  • Challenger “H” – video in an embedded iframe
  • Challenger “J” – a version of the page with no video

Video helped improve conversions on CrazyEgg’s landing page, thanks to some optimization by Conversion Optimization Experts. They reviewed the case, and made this remark:

Even though the video’s message was similar to that of the rest of the page, during the split-test the version of the page with the video in it generated 64% more conversions than the control.

Images and videos are an important part of the sales process. Landing pages do not exist merely to capture information. They are a huge part of the conversion funnel. Without images and visual power, landing pages are completely uncompelling.

4.  Interactive Elements

  • Conventional wisdom:  The only thing a user should have to do is input their information.
  • New strategy:  Invite interaction, and you gain buy-in, which leads to an increased likelihood of conversions.

When I think about optimizing a landing page, I like to consider interactive elements. An interactive element is anything that invites a user’s active participation, beyond just visual intake and scrolling. I would place videos in this category, especially those that require the user to click and play.

There are other ways to invite interaction. If you can compel a click/tap on your landing page, you are inviting the user to interact. This requires that you develop interactive elements somewhere on the page.

CommVault uses an interactive calculator on their storage solution landing page:

simpana storage

Inviting customer buy-in without asking for an explicit conversion is a strategic way of drawing them further down the conversion funnel.

5.  Extremely Short

  • Conventional wisdom:  Every landing page should have a headline, subheadline, value proposition, and bullet points.
  • New strategy:  Use a single explosive technique to compel conversions.

I don’t recommend the short landing page technique for everyone, but I’ve seen incredible effectiveness in some cases.

My personal website, Neilpatel.com, is short but powerful. With less than fifty words, one image, and one color, I’ve boosted conversions by incredible amounts.

neil patel more traffic

The power is in the simplicity.

I believe in long landing pages, but for some types of conversion actions, shorter works.

CrazyEgg has tested the same model — really short.

crazyegg heatmap

Again, the success is in the simplicity. All the elements that are necessary to score a conversion are right there. The process is so straightforward and simple that the user can’t help but convert.

Optimizely knows a thing or two about landing pages. They’re using the same technique. Short short.

optimizely ab test

Conclusion

There is no such thing as a formula for the perfect landing page. What used to be accepted as unchanging wisdom has been shattered by powerful innovation.

But even in the brave new world of new landing page techniques, the new is not necessarily the better. For example, in this article, I suggest both a short landing page and a long landing page. Which one is right?

The right solution depends on your product/service, your customer, and your conversion action. The right solution is always strategic, never formulaic.

My advice is to question conventional wisdom, experiment with wild variations, and discover unknown conversion power through unorthodox means. (And don’t forget to A/B test.)

What unconventional landing page solutions have you discovered?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

9 Comments

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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  1. alessandro says:
    August 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Hey Neil,

    I reckon an extremely short LP – like yours – works only with already well-known brands/people.
    It’s missing most of the elements needed to persuade people. At an high level, in the words of Aristotele, there’s no ethos (credibility, trust, reputation) nor pathos (the emotional bond).

    What do you think?

    • Neil Patel says:
      August 24, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Allesandro, I think you really have to look at it from a case by case way. This one requires a short landing page, however, other services that are more complex like Basecamp require longer landing pages. It’s all about testing to see what works best.

      • Alessandro says:
        August 25, 2014 at 2:02 am

        Hey Neil,
        sure, testing is the only way to know what works: mine was an hypothesis to test (that’s actually what I’m doing).

        I saw that neilpatel.com changed from the screenshot above. Can I ask you what’s you CR? And how did it change with the design you had until June?

  2. Lana says:
    August 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Great read, but there’s a typo in the title… 😛

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      August 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Thanks, Lana. Got it.

    • Neil Patel says:
      August 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Lana, thanks for catching that 🙂

  3. Lewis says:
    August 14, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I also think marketers need to bare in mind what it is that they are selling. If it’s a $5 eBook and the topic is pretty straight forward then a long sales page, asking for lots of input from the potential buyer and lots of images might not work to push conversions up.

    Whereas a $19/month piece of software is going to require, at the very least, screenshots/demonstration of the software, a list of features and will require more selling to the potential buyer.

    Marketers also need to remember not to compromise useability for the latest design features (most notably Paralax) which is often implemented by designers to show off as opposed to help with the selling process.

    • Neil Patel says:
      August 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Lewis, great points! Looking forward to hearing more gems like this.

      • Lewis says:
        August 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm

        Will do my best 😉

        Great post by the way – Forgot that bit!! Nice to see a post about improving conversions that doesn’t involve the normal things and telling me to think outside the box a little more.

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