Landing Page Hot Messes

We marketers do a lot of work to get people to our sites—through search, social media, content marketing—and the landing page is usually where we get the sale or collect the user information. Landing pages are also the place where we tend to muck things up by inhibiting the conversion somehow.

To use a football analogy: It’s like we just marched down the length of the field, on a potential game-winning drive, only to fumble on the goal line.

Here are 10 common errors I see on landing pages that turn them into hot messes—and how to fix them.

Unclear or hidden call-to-action: Don’t make the next step hard to take. People want a clear understanding of what they’re supposed to do: Tell us what line to get in, what exit to take, how we’re supposed to fix this thing. It’s no different with landing pages. Make it clear in your call-to-action (CTA) what you want the person to do and how to do it.

CTA overload: We all like choices, and, as marketers, we like to give people options. But throw too many options at people and they get confused and walk away. Opt for a primary CTA that tells visitors what’s most important to them and have them do that one thing. It’s fine to give people one or two secondary options, like a link to a demo or tour, in case they aren’t quite ready to commit, just make the secondary options less prominent on the landing page.

Greedy marketer: Don’t get all TMI (too much information) with people. I know when I see a conversion page that’s asking for way too much information than I’m in the mood to give (It’s just an email signup, why do you need my blood type?), I hit the eject button. Just get the essential information—name and email address are good starts—then slowly collect more information over time.

Vomit all over the page: Yes, I know you have a lot to tell people but don’t jam it all onto the landing page. Give them the highlights in the form of benefits statements that reinforce what they’ve already read to get to the landing page. Remind them what they’re getting out of the deal then send them on their way. Don’t clutter the page with a ton of text.

You broke your promise: Your prospect went to your page expecting one thing then was offered something different. This broken trust will send people scrambling for the back button. Deliver on your promise.

Shiny object syndrome: Your prospect got to your site and was so dazzled by the artistic achievement he couldn’t remember why he was there. Save the carousels, videos, and pop-ups for another time. If you do use them, then make them available upon user request—“Click here for chat” or “Watch testimonial video.”

Why should I believe you? Make people feel like this is a transaction to believe in. Show people your logo, a short client list, some good testimonials—make them feel confidence in you.

You have the Do Not Disturb sign out: Give people a clear way to contact you if they have questions or issues. Make the phone number, live chat, or email address easily accessible and obvious, not buried somewhere.

Don’t scare the bunny: Stop trying to upsell, cross-promote, or complicate the transaction. You got the prospect to the conversion point, so step back and let her convert. Bonus tip: The Thank You page (you do have one of those, right?) after the conversion is a great place to promote other services or content.

Checkout dissonance: The checkout page looks different than the landing page. It will startle your customers if your checkout pages aren’t identical in look and feel to your landing pages. Consistency is the key to everything when it comes to conversions.

If you want more information on landing pages, this primer from HubSpot has some good tips. Or, just leave a comment or question for yours truly.