12 steps to creating landing pages that convert
So you have a killer product and now you need to craft a landing page to sell it. Here’s how we create high converting landing pages.
Most landing pages for SaaS products tend to focus too much on highlighting what you get (the features) and not enough on what it will do for you (the benefits). And those that do highlight the benefits tend to go too far. There’s too much “marketing fluff” and you’re left walking away thinking “what the #$%^ does this product actually do?”
What actually defines a high converting landing page?
A high converting landing page needs to highlight both your product’s benefits and its key features. It needs to do so concisely, using language that resonates with your target audience.
“Your landing page needs to highlight both your product’s benefits and its key features”
The goal of these landing pages is to move website visitors down the sales funnel. Depending on your sales strategy, it might generate leads that your marketing team can nurture, get users to start a free trial of your product, or convert visitors into prospects that your sales reps can immediately demo to.
12 steps to create landing pages that convert
Creating a high converting landing page isn’t as simple as writing a punchy headline and adding a few product screenshots. So where do you start?
1. The need: Focus on the job that needs to be done
Most SaaS products have a shared set of jobs that they enable their customers to accomplish. Customers can come in all shapes and sizes, from all verticals and industries, but the business problems they’re looking to solve are often very similar. We’ve found using the Jobs-to-be-Done framework to be a powerful way of understanding those common problems.
The first thing you should do before writing a single line of landing page copy is get an intimate understanding of the job that people are hiring your product for. You should know what creates demand for it and what people are searching for when they need to hire a product for that job. Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen refers to this as “job-based marketing.”
How did we identify the jobs people hire Intercom for?
With the Jobs-to-be-Done approach in mind, we initially engaged the team at The ReWired Group to understand what jobs Intercom helped customers do. The process involved interviewing a mix of active, inactive, lost, and trialing customers. We then meticulously studied and debated the conversations we had with each of them to truly boil down what it was that they each “hired” Intercom to do.
2. The story: Create your messaging guidelines
Next up we created a messaging guide – a document that helped us put together content on the landing pages for each of our jobs. In order to create a landing page that converts, you need to pay careful attention to the story you’re telling, from who your audience is to why they should care.
3. SEO: Optimize your page for organic search
Your landing page is useless if your target audience can’t find it. When people are looking for products to hire, they’ll often start their search on Google or Bing using a few relevant keywords. For example, if one of your company’s priorities is to implement real-time customer support, you might use the keywords “live chat software” to pull up a list of possible tools.
Identifying and focusing on those keywords in your landing page URL, headline, and copy is one tactic to improve your page’s organic rank. The higher your page ranks, the more site traffic you’ll drive to your page from popular search engines.
4. The hero: Illustrate how your product gets the job done
Eight seconds – according to a study from Microsoft, that’s the attention span of an average person today. To create a high converting landing page, you need to ensure each of those precious eight seconds are spent capturing your visitors’ interest.
That’s why the first thing your landing page needs to do is make it clear what jobs your product can do. At Intercom we call this the hero. With only a handful of seconds to make an impact, your copy and headline must be punchy and the illustration needs to be simple to understand.
Here’s what we came up with for our landing page for Intercom’s lead generation solution:
5. The product showcase: Show how it works
“Show, don’t tell” is particularly crucial when marketing software. It’s a much more efficient way to communicate what a product does rather than relying on text or a bulleted list of features. People are far more likely to watch a short GIF or video than they are to read a paragraph of text.
We always feature our product’s capabilities in our landing pages to show you how Intercom can help you get a specific job done. On our Custom Bots landing page, we show off how you can use our chatbots to speed up resolution times in customer support:
6. The sticky nav: Make it easy to find key information
It’s no secret that product landing pages tend to be very long. You’ve probably heard the myth that “long pages don’t sell” and it’s much better to have short pages that don’t require scrolling. If your content isn’t engaging, that’s probably true. But if your content is engaging, then why wouldn’t people scroll?
On each of our landing pages, we have a “sticky nav” – a navigation bar that sticks to the top of the browser window as you scroll down the page. Designing our landing page this way allows visitors to quickly jump to relevant pages on our site, including the pricing page, our resources hub, and customer stories. It also enables an ever present call-to-action to get started.
7. The overview: Tell people what they can do
Now that you’ve piqued your visitors’ interest you need to back up your claims. This means breaking down each of your product’s jobs into easily digestible chunks. Oftentimes, this is an “overview” section where you explain the “sub-jobs” that your product enables customers to do.
We’ve taken different approaches to this section for each of our product pages. For example, on the landing page for the Intercom Inbox, we use the product overview to explain the three main sub-jobs that make our team inbox so powerful for sales and support teams.
8. The features: Explain how they’re able to do it
In order to do the things you’ve just claimed, your product needs certain features. People don’t need every feature your product offers, they just need to know about the ones that matter most for the job they’re looking to hire your product for.
The “key features” are the must-haves. These are the features that are essential for your product to get the job done and, in some cases, differentiate you from your competitors. On the landing page for Intercom’s customer engagement solution, we show the different types of tools you can use to onboard and activate customers – rule-based campaigns, in-app messages, interactive tours.
9. The social proof: Highlight key customers to establish credibility
It’s incredibly important, especially if your product is the first of its kind, to establish credibility with your prospects. Customer logos are an effective way to provide this kind of social proof. They assure prospects that there are real businesses using your product.
Surfacing success stories from some of your most recognizable and successful customers can also improve the conversion rate on your landing page. That’s why we highlight key customer testimonials on each of our landing pages along with company logos.
10. The price: Tell people what it costs
A key question people want answered is “can I afford this?” You should make it easy for them to find an answer. On each of our landing pages, we have an ever-present link to our pricing page, which breaks down our product offerings and starting price for each option.
11. The goal: Make it easy for people to sign up
This one’s simple. If you don’t make it dead clear how they can try your product, they won’t. High converting landing pages should include multiple call-to-actions throughout the page. You’ll want to consider both placement, i.e. where it is on the page, and copy, i.e. what you’re asking prospects to do.
On each of our landing pages, we have a call-to-action in the hero section for people who are convinced straight away. We also have one near the bottom of the page for website visitors who need a little more convincing. In our navigation bar, we have an ever-present one that follows you as you scroll down the page, so you can sign up whenever you’re ready to get started.
12. The results: Measure, test, and iterate
What’s a good conversion rate? There’s no straight answer. It varies based on the type of landing page, industry, and product. For example, a landing page for a free screenshot tool is likely to convert at a higher rate than a paid solution for email marketing.
“One thing is certain: there’s always room to improve the conversion rate”
While there’s no hard and fast rule for a “good” conversion rate, one thing is certain: there’s always room to improve. Fortunately there are a bunch of tools available to help you understand what’s working and what’s not, and experiment with new things. Here are a few tools to check out.
Track traffic and goal conversion with Google Analytics
This one’s a no-brainer. Implement Google Analytics before you set your landing pages live, so you can track visits, pageviews, conversions, and more.
See how visitors are interacting with your page with Inspectlet
Using the heatmaps feature from Inspectlet, you can see what people are clicking on or likely to be reading. You can also use it to see how far down visitors scroll on your long landing pages. In instances where we’ve noticed customers aren’t scrolling on new landing pages, our Marketing, Brand Design, and Web teams have gotten together to iterate on the page.
Conduct user research with UserTesting
UserTesting helps you source real people to test your website. For example, you can ask participants to record themselves talking out loud as they use your product. You can have a list of questions you want to them to answer or give them a set of tasks to complete.
One feature we’ve found especially useful is UserTesting’s video editing capabilities, which are optimized specifically for research purposes. You can quickly annotate videos of people interacting with your landing pages and even turn them into highlight reels. These videos can help you pinpoint areas of confusion with your website and any usability issues.
Test your hypotheses with Optimizely
As you optimize your conversion rate, you’ll likely arrive at some hypotheses for your landing pages that you’d like to test. That’s where Optimizely can help. Whether it’s a simple change such as changing a button color or something more drastic, Optimizely allows you to run rigorous A/B tests on your landing pages.
Several years ago, we tested the hypothesis that shorter landing pages would perform better and we removed a section detailing a number of our product features. We were wrong – the original won. Lesson learned.
We’re still learning
Creating a high converting landing page is not easy, but if approached methodically, it can be done efficiently and produce impressive results. We’re still learning – whether it be through direct feedback through UserTesting, experiments in Optimizely, or iterations to our messaging. Chances are our landing pages will look different the next time you look at them.
That’s enough from us. What’s worked for you?