The truth is there are actually very few “best practices” for landing pages that work across the board. That’s why you test. Sure, you want to write persuasive copy. You want to match the messaging in your ad text with that copy. And you don’t want anything extra that could distract visitors from your main purpose. But ultimately, there’s no way to say for sure what will drive conversions with your audience until you test it.
1) Landing pages should be source-specific. Just as a targeted ad for one demographic might show poor results when displayed to another demographic, variations on your landing page will have a different effect depending on the source of your visits. But don’t let this overwhelm you; test broadly at first, then narrow down to optimize on your initial findings. The goal is to find the right combination of ad, demographic or source, and landing page.
2) Be sure you’re working with a flexible landing page template from the start. This will allow you to test anything you can think of without having to make major adjustments on the backend. Optimizing your template for mobile devices will also help boost conversions.
3) Remember to consider foreign audiences. This can involve more than just ensuring it’s correct linguistically. Is it designed with the target culture in mind? What variations need to be considered for payment options or form fields? Planning for these requirements from the start will help simplify and reduce costs down the road.
4) Keep in mind your landing page may be part of a conversion funnel or a series of landing pages. By letting your visitors segment themselves, you can display the most relevant content possible depending on the path they choose. This will allow you to keep your landing pages simple, focused and highly relevant to the user.
5) Remember, testing happens in cycles. There are many ways to test landing pages. Test every page element possible.
6) Determine how large your test slice should be. The more data you have, the more confident you can be in the results.
7) Collect enough data to be confident before you select a winner.
8) Avoid inconsistencies in testing. Be sure to only change one element at time. For example, you can’t test two different calls-to-action if you’re using a different offer on each page.
9) There are a lot of tools out there to help with landing page testing and website optimization. Google Content Experiments, Optimizely, Experiment.ly and Unbounce are just a few. What’s best for your project will likely depend on how much traffic you get and how extensive your landing page program will be.
10) Keep testing!