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How To Fix Your Landing Page Conversion Mistakes

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How To Fix Your Landing Page Conversion Mistakes

You notice traffic picking up on your landing page. You eagerly wait for the weekly report to see a corresponding increase in conversions.

It arrives, and you discover the conversion rate dropped.

Why didn’t more traffic lead to more conversions?

Many reasons exist, but to identify the one(s) relevant to your page, take a step back and analyze the root cause.

Conversion rates drop as landing page traffic picks up? It’s time to investigate, says @Lakshmi_writes via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Here are five of the most common pitfalls to consider and some ideas on how to rectify them:

1. People visiting your website aren’t your target customers

Think about it. Some people are visiting your landing page, but they don’t convert because they aren’t looking for what you offer.

To get to the bottom of this possibility, check the source(s) that leads your visitors to the landing page. One of two problems likely exists.

Search engines

If much of your traffic comes from search engine results, your page’s content, especially its keywords and key phrases, could be the top suspect.

Google and other search engines like categorize and rank your content differently than how you intended. Let me break it down with this example:

Let’s assume you create a landing page designed to convert visitors interested in your air conditioner maintenance services. The target keyword is “air conditioner maintenance.” You include product names and key phrases mentioning buying options.

When the search engines crawl the page, they interpret it as a page selling air conditioners. People who click on the ranking result intend to buy air conditioners. Instead, they find content about how to maintain them after they buy.

Now you can see why the visitors who land on the page don’t convert.

If search engines interpret your #content with an intent different than yours, search-directed visitors likely won’t convert, says @Lakshmi_writes via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

How can you check to see if that’s the problem? Find out the keywords for which your site’s pages are ranking. The keyword analysis will identify your top-ranking keywords. Do they match your content and business intentions?

This process is especially helpful for businesses that serve customers in their region. You need people from the location where you sell to visit your website. You don’t care about the same type of audience from other locations. In this case, you need the keywords relevant to your location.

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Online ads

You want people to click on your ad. In doing so, you may go overboard with promises you can’t fulfill.

Let’s assume your brand sells food to a diet-focused audience. The ad includes the text: “Guilt-Free Snacking – We Mean It!” The health-conscious prospect is excited and clicks the ad. After landing on the page, it would just take a few seconds to figure out the “guilt-free” snack contains significant calories. Not only does the calorie count induce guilt, it induces the visitor to leave the landing page without converting.

Though an enticing promise in an ad can lead to a spike in your landing page traffic, it will not yield high conversions, and worse, it could make visitors distrust your brand long into the future.

Keep your ads honest and straightforward. It’s OK to add some garnishes and sugary words if you want, but never cross the line and add details to mislead people.

2. Your content doesn’t hook visitors

The headline and opening line matter a lot since it’s usually the first thing people read when they land on your page. It needs to hook visitors and keep them interested. Advertising legend David Ogilvy says it all in this quote:

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.

His thinking is reinforced by a stat from Copyblogger: On average, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy. Only two out of 10 will read the rest.

You need that headline to be compelling, magnetic, and tempting enough for your audience to read further.

To convert landing page traffic, first write a compelling, magnetic, and tempting headline, says @Lakshmi_writes via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Of course, you also can’t neglect the impact of the rest of the content, as it all contributes to the likelihood of a visitor converting.

Just think about what you generally do when landing on a website. You read the headline and you’re intrigued. You read more of the content. However, you probably don’t read every word from top to bottom. You read the first few lines, scroll down, read the headings, go to the last section, and may scroll back up again. If it doesn’t relate closely to what you want to know, you leave unconverted. It’s as simple as that.

People typically don’t read websites; they scan them. Here are a few tips to keep your scanning visitors hooked:

  • Make every single heading matter.
  • Use an easy-to-read font size.
  • Use a combination of header tags, italics, and font colors to differentiate the content and bring attention to specific points.
  • Keep the tone casual and conversational. Make the audience feel as if you are talking directly to them.
  • Identify pain points the visitors likely are experiencing.
  • Highlight a few ways your brand aims to solve them and include testimonials.

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3. The design doesn’t do justice to the content

Yes, content is important. But the website design is at least if not more important. A bad user experience could harm your conversion funnel even when your content is perfectly on target.

Go back to your web designer with information so they can work to design a more attractive and useful page. Give them links to customer profiles, previous successful converting landing pages, etc. Then, they can work with the page’s content creator to better design a page that functions well for visitors.

TIP: Create two or more landing pages to test CTA positions, color schemes, etc., to see what converts the best.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 3 Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

4. Your landing page takes a long time to load

You could have the most relevant content in the best-designed package, and sometimes visitors leave without seeing the whole page. No one has the patience to wait for 10 seconds for the page to load.

A long loading time also can contribute to poor search engine rankings. (Go to Google Analytics and check out your site speed to see the current speed and loading time.)

If it’s more than three seconds, reduce the size of images and videos to increase the pace. You can find other options to save time in this Moz article about increasing page speed.

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5. Pop-ups get in the way

Irritating your visitors with pop-ups they don’t want to see is a sure way to drive them away. You frustrate them more when those pop-ups have tiny close buttons that are impossible to find. Visitors click on the corners, on the outside of pop-ups, and wherever they can to close it. When nothing works, they simply leave.

Let’s be honest. As much as people hate pop-ups, you still might benefit from them. The best solution is to create pop-ups that are less likely to annoy visitors. Create them in a medium-size with crisp and attention-worthy content and an easily visible close button.

Don’t bombard visitors with 10 pop-ups. Use no more than three at the most. If you think you need more, rotate the pop-up promotions or send them on a time-appropriate basis.

Stick your landing page conversions

When you get good traffic on a landing page but the visitors don’t convert, it’s time to investigate. Explore the root cause – likely related to your content, design, or user experience – and fix it immediately. Then, you can see your conversions rise higher in proportion to the landing page traffic.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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MARKETING

Before Deciding Where Your Content Team Reports, Pay Attention to This

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Before Deciding Where Your Content Team Reports, Pay Attention to This

When a brand creates a new content marketing or content strategy team, they often ask, “What function or department should the content team report to?”

My answer? “Yes!”

Now, I’m not trying to be a smart aleck. (Well, I am a little bit, do you even know me?) But seriously, my yes comes from years of helping implement content teams in dozens of businesses. My affirmative response indicates the most important thing isn’t to whom content reports; it’s that content teams report to the business.

When it reports into a function, such as brand, marketing, sales enablement, demand gen, PR/comms, or even (yes, really in one case) finance, the business acknowledges content marketing is a real thing with real responsibilities, power, and capabilities to affect business outcomes.

“What outcomes?” you might ask.

Well, that depends on where content marketing reports.

Now you have the real conundrum.

You can’t figure out where content marketing and content strategy should report without knowing the expected business outcomes, and you can’t know the business outcomes until you know where they’re reporting.

The most important thing isn’t to whom #content reports; it’s that content teams report to the business, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It’s tricky.

Content’s pervasiveness creates the challenge

Content as a strategic function in business affects almost everything. That pervasiveness means nearly any function in the business could “own” content as a strategy.

For example, we recently worked with a company about a year into its enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy. They have a content team, and we were to help them assemble a governance and operational approach for their website content.

When we determined the right operational processes, we got into trouble. A content team leader asked, “What if someone proposed a new AI chatbot as part of this digital transformation for the website? Is it a content project with a technology component or a technology project with a content component?”

The question isn’t semantics. Instead, the answer determines the process for development, the team owning implementation, and the measurement by which it’s deemed successful.

Knowing where a #content project is assigned determines its development process, implementation owner, and success metric, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It’s not just a technology challenge, either. The company also wanted to create new brand content guidelines for the website. Is that a content team project informed by the brand team or a brand project in consultation with the content team?

Given content’s pervasiveness, you can argue it is part of any meaningful communications initiative the business takes on. But sales’ needs are different from marketing’s, and HR’s requirements are different from the demand-gen team’s. However, to achieve consistency in content and communication, it doesn’t make sense to let each function determine its content strategy.

To achieve the balance between an enterprise-wide content strategy and the unique needs of every function in the business, the leaders and practitioners must decide to whom content reports. Again, the agreement is important, not the where or what of the agreement.

3 key attributes to identify in the decision-making process

As you and the leadership ponder how to balance the enterprise content strategy and where it should sit, consider these three key attributes that play an essential role in success.

1. Develop a content operations backbone

I don’t care if you have two people and one blog and a website or a team of 50 who operate on 35 content platforms across multiple channels. A content operations infrastructure creates consistent success across your digital content experiences. Content operations is an enterprise-recognized set of integrated and shared systems (meaning technologies), standards, guidelines, playbooks, and processes to ensure reliable, consistent, scalable, and measurable content across the business.

Content operations acts as the backbone – the foundation – to ensure the content is created, managed, activated, and measured the same way across whatever audience and whichever channel the brand presents to.

2. Connect with the audience across platforms

You can no longer expect to create one optimal experience that makes up for a bunch of sub-optimal ones.No matter your size, it’s not good enough to have your blog subscribers separate from your marketing automation database and all that separated from your CRM system. This goes for all of your audiences – from new employees to external parties such as analysts, journalists, partners, vendors, etc.

In this approach, the goal is to engage, build, and develop relationships with audiences. Thus, connecting audience behavior with insights on how to communicate better is not a siloed functional need; it is an enterprise need.

3. Build an accountability framework

This attribute in one word? Standards (and a team to keep them.) In a truly fascinating way, one of the earliest activities in building a content strategy makes the biggest impact on larger businesses: Come to terms with what words around content strategy and marketing mean. What is a campaign? What is the difference between a campaign and an initiative? What is an e-book? What is an article vs. a blog post? How long should a white paper take to write? Most businesses assume these things or create meanings based on contextual needs.

At a recent client, one group expected the content team to produce white papers within a week of the request. Another group expected them to be delivered in six weeks at double the length that the other group thought.

An accountability framework – and its ongoing evolution – presents clear ownership and coordination of content standards (roles, responsibilities, processes, types) across the enterprise. This model should not detail the definitions and standards but identify how they will enforce them.

Start your content decisions by deciding together

Where should you begin?

Well, just like in the beginning, my answer is yes. Independent of where you start, the critical point happens in the deciding of the elements. To be clear, these are institutional decisions, not simply “what you think.” In other words, it doesn’t matter what you believe the definitions, roles, or processes should be if the other parts of the organization don’t know, believe, or care.

A great first step is to create that accountability framework and make people care about its existence. At first, it might create a language of content that everybody in your business understands. When someone says, “I’d like to do a campaign,” or, “I think we should write a white paper,” everyone understands what that means and what it takes to do it. Then, the benefits of an accountability framework will start to become clear.

It makes the case for a team assigned to lead this consistency easier. And that enables the team to connect those experiences and audiences in a way that makes sense for everyone.

In the end, you have found determining the where, how, and what of a content strategy implementation isn’t the most important. The act of deciding is.

It’s a strange combination. In isolation, the reason for deciding seems straightforward. So why wouldn’t anybody want a clear definition of what a campaign is or a single source of the truth when it comes to the tone of your content?

But stacked together, those decisions feel like they are bigger than the content team and really should involve the entire enterprise. (Spoiler alert: They do.)

If you want any desired consequence, you had better decide on all the things that would help create it.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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