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So you want to be a landing page template designer? You may think you have it easy – after all, landing page templates are just a single page. That’s much easier than designing a full-on website. But the rules of design change quite a bit when building conversion-centered landing pages.
Before we get into the design principles behind landing pages, let’s get some definitions out of the way:
A landing page is a standalone, campaign-specific web page. Its intent is to get your visitors to complete a single action. It’s not your website, and it’s most certainly not your homepage.
Websites are brand central stations and are for people who organically find your site or who need to reference or look at it in the research mode of their purchase cycle. They are not good for marketing campaigns.
Marketing campaigns are based on a single purpose – buy this, subscribe to that – and as such need a more focused experience. The biggest reason for using a landing page vs. a homepage for the target of any campaign traffic (PPC, email, social) is because of something called attention ratio.
Attention ratio is the ratio of interaction points (links) on a page, to the number of intended actions on that page (which for a campaign is always 1). On a homepage this is typically around 40:1 meaning that there are 39 distracting actions and 1 desired action.
A focused landing page on the other hand has an attention ratio of 1:1. For this reason, smart marketers use a promotion-specific, dedicated landing page for every campaign they run.
Gone are the days when it was acceptable to design a beautiful web experience, put the brush down and walk away with a cheque in your pocket.
Conversion is one of the hottest words on the web right now. Every web page you design is now a piece of “accountable content”. By this I mean that its purpose, impact, and success can be, and is being, measured. If it’s not playing a part in successfully converting visitors into customers, it’s not been designed correctly.
Design isn’t the only factor in high conversion rates. Copy plays an enormous part. But the greatest copy in the world won’t help if your visitor is distracted, offended – we all know bad design can be downright offensive – or confused.
By combining a few simple design principles and some basic psychology you can completely shift your focus to design web experience that both delight and convert.
I call this Conversion-Centered Design. CCD for short.
This is a crash course in CCD, so I’ll discuss the 7 principles, get you juiced up on some Psych 101, then show you some beautiful and high-converting landing page templates that put them into practice so you can learn by example.
Ready to become a Conversion-Centered Designer?
The principles are simple. Learn them, practice them, and you’ll see your conversion rates soar.
Wrapping things is a smart practice. It works for your head in cold temperatures, baked potatoes in hot, and it makes Christmas more fun. So take the most important thing on your page (your conversion goal) and wrap it in something to demonstrate that it’s worthy of your visitor’s attention.
So many marketers talk about button color. This is a mistake. A good Conversion-Centered Designer knows that button color is irrelevant. It’s contrast that counts. If you have a primarily green hued page, a red button will jump out at your visitors. Don’t be concerned that it looks angry; your potential customers aren’t bulls.
In some cultures, it’s considered rude to point. Not in conversion land. When someone arrives on your landing page, your design should point them toward the goal you want them to reach. Use arrows and triangulation to create focal points. With photography, use line of sight to direct attention to your Call-To-Action (CTA).
This one’s simple. Don’t cram things together. Lack of whitespace is offensive design. By letting people’s eyes breathe (they can do that?) you create a more delightful experience which will give you a few extra precious seconds to communicate your campaign message.
This is the first psychology-based principle. Creating urgency or scarcity is primarily a written exercise, but it’s up to you to present the information using good design. Proximity to the conversion goal of the landing page is key when it comes to signalling scarcity. By ensuring your visitor understands that they have a deadline, you can make that click a little more likely.
Expedia does a great job here by using encapsulation to highlight the scarcity statement (“Only 3 tickets left at this price!”) in the image below.
Have you ever “sampled” a grape in a supermarket? That’s a preview of quality and it helps people make informed purchasing decisions. Examples in the digital realm include a chapter of an ebook or a visual slideshow that covers some highlights from an industry report, online course or a teaser/trailer video for an upcoming event. Amazon really set the standard with their “Look Inside” book previews.
By opening your product to scrutiny before the purchase, you appear authoritative and credible. This increases trust, and it can be an important factor in boosting conversions.
As a Conversion-Centered Designer, you should find creative ways to present these previews.
Elements of trust are a critical part of any landing page. They back up your claims and when done correctly, speak to your visitors from the perspective of a like-minded consumer. Testimonials are the most popular approach. Like principle 5, this is primarily a written element, but you can use aspects of smart content design – in particular hierarchy – to encourage people to actually read them.
Adding an explanatory headline above the testimonials (or customer logos etc.) can increase the power of social proof.
Armed with your new design tools, let’s take a look at five Unbounce landing page templates to inspire you as you create your own templates.
Being a Conversion-Centered Designer is the next evolution of design in business, and armed with today’s learning you’ll be making your boss/clients very happy when their conversion rates go up.
So as you design your Themeforest landing page templates, run them against the seven principles of CCD and see how they really stack up.