The overall success or failure of your forms depends on the clarity of all the other elements (headline, benefits, hero shot, call to action button text and field label alignment) of your landing page. Research has shown that humans have a limited amount of metal energy to dedicate to the decision making process. Apparently the more decisions a person has to make in a day, the less likely they are able to make effective decisions later on. This is called decision fatigue, which Wikipedia refers to as “the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making”.
Barak Obama discovered a method to reduce decision fatigue so as to free his mind to allow him be an effective President. He only has two suit colours, thus making the first decision of the day – (dressing up), a simple one. Likewise he deals with proposals using three check boxes: Yes, no and let’s discuss. In both instances complex decisions are reduced to 2 or 3 choices and you need to take these same concepts when designing landing pages.
Have a look at your landing page. Is the headline unclear or confusing in any way? Are the benefits and feature descriptions vague or worse not what your actual offer is? Is there a page highlight (something that stands out visually to the scanning eye) that is not adding any real value? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are forcing your visitors to do extra cognitive work so as to validate the purpose of your page. They will most likely suffer from decision fatigue which then drains their energy and make them leave without converting.
Steve Maraboli said “It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.”
Here are a few things I believe can help increase clarity on your landing pages
Be clear, not clever.
As marketers we tend to over work our minds during brain storm sessions and end up with sentences that don’t make sense. We can arm wrestle our colleagues in the office to understand and accept these “slogans” but please let’s not put our visitors through the same ordeal.
The Call-to-action needs to be clear
Worse, most pages don’t have CTAs and we leave the decision to do something to the site visitor. Steve Krug summed this up well in his book “Don’t Make Me Think”
Don’t waste the hero shot
This is a perfect visual opportunity to showcase your product or service in action. Not the staff photo, store front or boss’s dog.
Have a look at the copy on your landing page. Does it make sense? Why are some words capitalised? Poor grammar and spelling are trust and conversion killers.
Stay away from creepy testimonials
You have probably seen these too often, with that one free stock image of that smiling dude. I believe you have seen this guy on one too many sites. That smile…no comment
Don’t dilute the focus of the page
Every landing page should have a single campaign goal. Adding site-wide navigation links and social follow icons dilute the focus and increase the attention ratio
App download links have to make sense
I know we are all excited about mobile but we still need to make sense. I have seen tonnes of sites with the “download our app on Google Play or App Store” which is all good, if the user was on a mobile device. On a desktop session I think this is just a distraction.
Have only one intended action
Should the user call you or to fill out the form? Choose one and make the other a secondary option
Terms and conditions
Don’t overwhelm users with legal speak in the form. Move this to the footer or have it on its own page.
Copyright © 2013?
Its 2016 dude, um actually 2017 in 2 days so please get with the times
Mixed message CTAs
This is way too common. There will be two CTAs suggesting a different purpose. What will happen when I click the “Contact Us” button? It’s confusing as most of the page has CTA to get you to contact me, but your CTA suggests I can contact you. Which is it? I contact you or you me?
Spammy and confusing copy
Paragraphs of gobbledygook. Ha I have even seen some paragraph like lorem text like this
Vague value proposition
Address the user’s pain points and be clear on your VP
Lack of urgency
Urgent headline work best – words like “now” and “today” are great conversion pushers.
Cluttered Header images
Common when the company has a web designer who is forever high on caffeine. Most header image are a big mess and distract from the real objective.
What do the trust logos mean?
Don’t just put logos of well-known companies for the sake of adding them there. State whether they are satisfied customers, or perhaps it’s a “as seen on SABC” or recommendations.