A landing page has one main goal: to earn you a conversion.

Whether a conversion for you is a lead or a sale, the elements of your landing page must all work together to convince the visitor that it’s a great idea to take action (and not the action of hitting the back button).

Today, I’m going to provide you with a professional critique of two landing pages.

The conversion elements I point out in these critiques are pretty universal. This means, whether your landing pages are B2B or B2C doesn’t matter – you can still use these tips to lift your conversions.

Let’s jump into the Landing Page Critiques

1. Bank of America @bankofamerica

Search Term:

Business Bank Account

Ad:
Here is a look at the top ads that popped up for my search:

businessbankaccountsearch

I decided to click the top ad from Bank of America.

Landing Page:

Below is a screenshot of Bank of America’s landing page. The first thing you will notice is that you have to interact with the page before you can explore its contents.

You must first select your location.

 

landingpagebankofamerica

Right off the bat, I would research whether this hurts conversions by testing a version of the page against it that does not require this first selection step.

It could be that this selection actually helps conversions, but the only way to know for sure is to test it.

Why would it help?

Sometimes asking people to perform low barrier pre-conversion tasks ,such as interacting with a small selection button or clicking through to a second page, can get them invested in the experience. This doesn’t always work, but it does sometimes, so it’s something you should consider testing

When setting up such pre-conversion tasks, try not to ask people to submit personal information, which can be a barrier to conversion. Rather, simply get them interacting with the landing page through a click or two.

On the Bank of America landing page, I went ahead and selected my state and then was given access to the full landing page:

langingpagecritiqueBOFA

I’ve marked up the landing page so you can see the five elements I really want to talk about on this page.

What I really like:

1.     There is no leaky navigation on this landing page.

So many times when you click an ad, the landing page you’re dropped onto is just a deep link (or worse – the homepage) of a website.

It is good that Bank of America has a dedicated landing page with no navigation. It’s so easy for a visitor to click a link in the nav bar, get lost in the rest of your website and never convert.

Don’t let that happen – keep your main site navigation off of your landing page, like Bank of America.

2.     The landing page creates a sense of urgency.

Everyone loves an offer, and Bank of America is giving new customers $100 for opening an account by March 31, 2014 (and doing some other stuff).

Putting a deadline on an offer creates a sense or urgency, which should compel the visitor to act/convert quickly.

However, I pulled up this landing page on December 11th, and the deadline is March 31st – more than three months away. It would be better to have the deadline much sooner  – maybe December 31st or January 15th.

Especially with something like a business bank account, where I’m probably looking to move quickly anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to make the sense of urgency much stronger by moving the date up.

What I Would Change on This Landing Page:

1.     Match the Landing Page Copy to the Ad Copy. 

As a reminder, here is what the ad looks like:

adBOFA

The copy of the ad reads, “Set Up Your Bank of America Small Business Account Easily Online Now. Bank of America: Best in Class for Identity Safety.”

This is actually great ad copy because it points out two features/benefits that would be of interest to someone researching business banking options.

First, it says that you can set up your account easily online. Second, it adds that Bank of America is known for identity safety. That’s great!

Unfortunately, neither of these two points are mentioned on the landing page, when, in fact, it would probably be best to not just mention them but to highlight them since they were features that got the searcher to click in the first place.

You have to remember to always pay off the promise in your ad on your landing page. When there is a discrepancy between what you said you would offer and what you’re actually offering, you lose the attention of the visitor as well as their trust.

Ultimately, when there isn’t message match between the ad and landing page, you tend to end up not getting the conversion. This means you wasted money on a click and drove up your cost-per-lead and cost-per-acquisition.

Instead of doing that, just remember to match your ad copy with your landing page copy, and you’ll be making a good decision!

2.     Where did the $100 offer come from? 

Enticing people to convert on your landing page with an offer is usually a really good idea, but why wasn’t it mentioned in the ad?

The $100 graphic is really eye-catching and probably the first thing someone looks at when they land on this page, but it’s not put in context at all unless you start reading the body copy.

There is no indication on the graphic what the offer is for – and the headline certainly doesn’t mention the offer. If you want to lead with an offer you should really lead with the offer.

I would probably enhance the graphic to read “Get $100 When You Open an Account by DATE” or update the headline to mention the offer.

Remember, all the pieces of your landing page should work together to convert the user. No piece should be off doing its own thing.

The elements of the page should NEVER compete against each other for the visitor’s attention.

3.     Boring Body Copy – Yawn!

The block of body copy on this landing page is very boring to look at. I don’t want to read it at all, do you?  It kind of runs together.

Additionally, the graphics that I assume are meant to get me excited about learning more and reading the copy are equally boring.

I would break this part of the page up with better visuals (probably use an image with an actual person in it) and shorter copy.

4.     Click the + Sign to Expand for Even More Boring Copy!

In the main text area above the fold are two plus signs within circles. They can be clicked to open up more information about the application process.

When you click them you see this:

popupBOFA

Pointing out this important information is GREAT! In fact, this is information that I’m sure almost every person who lands on the page will want to know.

Why hide it in a pop-up box?

Instead, I would rework the layout of the page so that this bulleted list can be viewed on without additional user action.

5.     Call to Action is Below the Fold

Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about this landing page is that the call to action buttons are below the fold.

No matter what size your monitor, the call to action should be easily viewed without scrolling!

I would also say that having two call to action buttons is not optimal. I understand that there are two different types of business accounts, but there is probably a better way to present information to these two different types of users.

For example, instead of asking a user to select their state before they can see the full landing page I would ask them to select whether they are an established business or a new business – since this seems to be the primary difference between the two accounts.

Here’s an example of how Iron Mountain asks users to segment themselves prior to accessing a full targeted landing page:

ironmountain

And here’s an example of how Howard Johnson asks users to segment themselves to receive targeted landing page content:

 howardjohnsonindex

After you select which option fits you best you are taken to a segmented landing page:

hojoselectionpage

This is more in line with what I think Bank of America should be doing to increase their conversion rates for the different types of business accounts.

I could be wrong, but it’s worth testing because it could lead to a huge conversion lift!

 

2. HootSuite @hootsuite

Search Term:

Social Media Software

 

Ads:

Here is a look at the top ads that popped up for my search:

socialmediasoftwaresearchresult

I decided to click the ad in the top spot from HootSuite.

Landing Page:

Here is HootSuite’s landing page. I’ve already marked it up so that you can clearly see the most important elements we’ll cover in the critique.

hootsuitemarkup

Overall, this looks like a very good landing page.

What I really like:

1.     The call to action is above the fold.

The “Start Now” button is near the top of the page, where it cannot be missed. It also is in a color that stands out against the rest of the page and catches my eye.

2.     The landing page uses a directional cue.

Directional cues, like arrows and the direction of someone’s eye gaze, are really powerful on a landing page. They can be strategically implemented to subtly draw the visitor’s eye to the most important part of the page (the call to action).

In this case the landing page uses an arrow to draw your attention to the Start Now button.

3.     Short paragraphs are employed to get the main points across. 

Long paragraph copy has no place on a landing page. Instead, it’s best to use bullet points and very short blocks of copy to highlight the main ideas you need to get across to convert a visitor.

You can see there is no paragraph of copy on this page that is more than four lines (lines not sentences). That makes the copy easily scannable and digestible by a visitor who probably has a short attention span.

4.     Social proof is used in the form of recognizable logos.

Directly under the main benefits for using the HootSuite software are logos for companies that HootSuite counts as customers.

The logos are from organizations that are well known and cross a variety of different industries.

When a visitor sees that successful organizations use the software, a certain trust factor is established and the visitor is more likely to be willing to sign up and give it a try.

5.     Social proof is used in the form of testimonials from recognized names.

Under the customer logos are two testimonials from users of the software.

Someone who is interested in social media software likely reads Mashable, as it is a popular blog about social media. A testimonial from the founder of Mashable is thus a really powerful endorsement.

Using testimonials as social proof on your landing page is almost always a good idea. People love to know that either A) People they respect and admire use your product or B) People very much like them use your software.

Testimonials are great at helping you win a conversion. You can use them like HootSuite does or even try embedding video testimonials, which can be even more powerful.

What I Would Change:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this critique, the HootSuite landing page is very well constructed. That being said there is always room for improvement.

Here are a few things I would try testing:

1.     Match the Landing Page to the Ad Better.

As a reminder, here is what the HootSuite ad looks like:

hootsuitead

The headline reads “#1 Social Relationship Platform” and the body copy says “Get Started with HootSuite Today!”

However, when we look at the landing page we see some small discrepancies that could be affecting conversions negatively.

First, the landing page headline reads “Speed Up Your Social Media Today,” but nothing about speed is mentioned in the ad.

Instead, it might be better to have a stronger message match and say, “Use the #1 Social Relationship Platform to Speed Up Your Social Media Today!” This would tie the ad and landing page together very nicely.

Second, the call to action in the ad says, “Get Started with HootSuite Today!” but the call to action on the landing page is “Start Now.”

There is no way for me to know if this very small discrepancy is affecting conversion, but I would test the call to action “Get Started” or “Get Started Today.”

In general, the more you can match the ad the better since the ad captured the attention of the visitor enough to make him or her click.

2.     Personalize the Landing Page a Bit More.

The HootSuite landing page is really nice, but could it be a bit more personal/emotional/persuasive if there was an actual person on it?

I think so and would test it.

This could help a visitor quickly visualize him or herself using the software.

I would likely test adding an image of a person sitting at a computer that has HootSuite pulled up in the browser.

 

Putting this Information to Work for YOU

If I critiqued your landing page right now, would your review be more like Bank of America (not so great) or HootSuite (pretty good)?

Please use the information in this post to review your own landing pages and create A/B tests to strive for conversion improvements!

Do you have any questions? If so, please leave a comment below and I’d be happy to answer them.

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