by Ginny Soskey, from Inbound Hub –

On the surface, landing pages seem simple, right? They’re one page with one form. They have a paragraph or two of copy, and an accompanying image. If you have all the elements of successful landing pages, you should be good to go … right?

For a bare bones landing page, that is enough — but you could lose out on valuable traffic, leads, and customers if you’re just shooting for bare bones.

Think of this post as the first step of your game plan to optimize your landing pages. We’ll walk you through some of the most common problems people have with landing pages and outline ways you can fix them. Keep in mind that there isn’t always one *right* way to fix a landing page problem — you may have to keep testing to see what works best for you.

So if you want ideas on how to improve your landing pages, keep on reading.

Landing Page Problem #1: No Traffic

Did you put together a landing page and have only your mom check out the page (and she didn’t even bother to fill out the form)?

If you want to send more non-mom traffic to your landing pages, check out which channels are sending you traffic now, and see where you could improve — either by improving poor channels or doubling down on channels that seem to be working. Here are few ideas you can try:

Work on your SEO.

You don’t need to stuff your landing page with keywords — instead, make sure that your landing page is about the right topics people are searching for, and is written in the same language your audience uses. Use similar terms to describe the offer behind the form on your landing page that your audience would use when searching for information on the topic. Besides just tweaking your landing page to be topic-focused, not keyword-focused, there are a few other SEO changes you can try.

Create more blog posts to promote your landing page.

If you have a decent blog readership, you can try including more calls-to-action leading to the landing page throughout your content and/or create more blog posts featuring those same calls-to-action. More quality blog posts means more potential opportunities to be featured in search results and get found on social media — which means more traffic coming to your website. If you’re looking to generate traffic to your landing pages through your blog, here are some more tips for you.

Build your social media following.

It’s possible that your social media audience is pretty small, which means that it can be harder to get people to your site from that channel. Want to learn how? Check out our guides for growing your following from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. That audience could not only convert on your landing pages in the future — they could refer new traffic to those landing pages.

Keep in mind that landing page traffic is only one piece of the pie — you could have hardly any traffic to your landing page but the people who are visiting your page are converting and they’re great fits for your business. Sure, more traffic means more opportunities to convert visitors, but looking at the whole picture helps you make a more informed decision on what to fix first.

Landing Page Problem #2: Poor Conversion Rate

Getting people to your landing page but not getting them to complete the form? You’ve got to get creative if you want to get better results.

If you’re stuck on how to fix this very frustrating problem, here are a few things you can try:

Find your proper form length.

If your form is really long, you may be deterring people from filling it out. Run A/B tests to see how short you can get the form so you’re still getting quality leads and making your sales team happy, but you’re not putting your landing page visitors through too much to receive the content on the other side of your landing page.

If you’ve never run an A/B test before, here’s a guide to show you how.

Tighten your headline and body copy.

It’s possible that your landing page visitors aren’t completely convinced they’re going to get anything of value if they give over their information to you. If you’ve created compelling content that lives behind the form, you should spend time sprucing up your landing page to better reflect what people will get. Tell them exactly what is behind the landing page form and how it’ll benefit them — in the most concise way possible.

Tweak your promotional elements.

You’ve got to promote your landing pages somehow. So ask yourself — do your promotional elements accurately represent what’s on the landing page? People will get annoyed if they expect the landing page to be one thing when click on a call-to-action on a blog post, and then when they get to the landing page, they’re shown something completely different. Your promotional elements should never try to dupe people into clicking on them — not only is it shady, but it’s not going to pay off for you in conversions.

Landing Page Problem #3: Poor Funnel Conversion Rates

You already track the conversion rates on your individual landing pages, but you shouldn’t stop there. Let’s say you’re using a landing page to generate leads. You should see how many people who come through that landing page turn into customers — that’s your end goal, after all. If you can keep the business in perspective when optimizing your landing pages, you’ll be able to make smarter marketing decisions that’ll benefit the whole company.

You can try improving your overall funnel conversion rates by doing these things:

A/B test form length and fields on the initial landing page. 

It’s possible that your form is way too short and you’re getting a lot of “junk” leads into your system. If you want to improve overall conversion rates, you might have to lengthen your form. Warning: You’ll most likely get fewer leads into your funnel, but they should convert at a higher rate later on. You might also consider testing different form fields entirely to see if more in-depth questions bring in higher quality leads.

Want to figure out exactly how long your forms should be to benefit your whole funnel? Check out this blog post. 

Investigate the offer behind the landing page.

Sometimes, people fill out a form on a landing page, get the offer behind it (for this example, an ebook), and then are really disappointed in the offer. Maybe they expected the ebook to be a really advanced, in-depth book dozens of pages of content, but it’s really a 5-page starter guide. They won’t trust your content in the future if this happens — once burned, twice shy, right?

You can avoid that disappointment and future hesitation by better setting expectations on the landing page — or you can take a hard look to see if the content behind the page should be there in the first place. Ask yourself the hard questions, and don’t be afraid to come to a hard conclusion: Is it worthy of someone’s information? Is tailored to the audience who is filling out the form? Would I ever want to download something again from my company?

If you answered ‘No’ to any of those questions, it might be time to re-do that offer.

Launch tailored nurturing campaigns.

It’s also possible that the rest of your landing pages are too far down the funnel from the initial offer to convert anyone. For example, the initial landing page was something very top-of-the-funnel — an industry how-to guide. If you have no landing pages for middle-of-the-funnel offers — content that talks about your company’s place in the industry at large — it’s not surprising you’d have few people converting to customers. They simply haven’t had enough information to advance to that stage of their buying process.

If that’s happening to your landing pages, you can implement a lead nurturing strategy. This won’t be on landing pages — you’ll have to use a combination of email, social media interactions, and smart content on your website to help people move on to the next stage in the buying process. If you want help figuring out how you should be nurturing leads, check out this free ebook.

Landing Page Problem #4: High Bounce Rate*

If you peeked into your landing page’s analytics, chances are you’ve seen this metric before. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who viewed a page, then left your site. They didn’t fill out a form, nor did they click to find out more about you.

Sounds kind of similar to the “poor conversion rate” problem, right? That’s because they’re related. If someone’s leaving your website without interacting with it at all, they’re probably not going to fill out a form. That being said, you can have a low bounce rate and a low conversion rate if people are going to investigate other portions of your website. Since they’re similar, a lot of the same solutions can be applied to both poor conversion rate and high bounce rate.

*That being said, bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing … unless it’s correlated with a short time on site, no conversions, or it’s only happening on a certain device. Here’s what you can do to address a real high bounce rate problem:

Decrease page load time.

If people are bouncing quickly from your page, there could be lots of reasons why. Most of them were covered in the “poor conversion rate” problem. But one wasn’t: Your page may be loading really, really slowly … so visitors clicked away. There are lots of little ways you can improve your site load time, such as changing the file size of your landing page images.

Show certain content to just mobile visitors.

If you find that you have a high landing page bounce rate on mobile — not desktop — you’ve got to do something about it. More and more people are using their phones to access your content, and you don’t want to lose out on valuable traffic and conversions because of it. On a large scale, you can fix this by making sure your website is completely responsive. But that may not fully fix the problem — you can also try displaying certain content only to mobile visitors. Special mobile-only landing page features could help them better convert and consume your content.

Landing Page Problem #5: Internal Disagreements 

It’s much easier to defend yourself to your boss if you have a hard number saying something does or doesn’t work. So if you’re getting a lot of internal back-and-forth over what you should put on your landing page and what you shouldn’t, let people put the data where their mouth is.

Is one person dead set on removing the top navigation on your website and another dead set on not doing it? Run an A/B test to settle that dispute — and pretty much any other one that comes up. Only through testing will you figure out what works best for your audience on your landing pages.

Landing Page Problem #6: Driving Traffic to Another Site Page

Did you notice your landing page is showing up as a large referral source to other parts of your website? That’s not always good. If your landing page is sending traffic to something further down your funnel — contacting sales or starting a free trial, for example — it could be great. But if your “about” page is getting all the traffic, you might want to consider doing something about it.

If this is happening to you, I’d take a guess that the page getting the referrals happens to be in your top navigation — it’s easy to access and might be distracting for a first-time visitor on your site. To combat this, try removing your top navigation from landing pages altogether. You might find that it helps increase conversions.

And that’s all we’ve got, folks. These are just a few ideas for you to get started on the path to optimizing your landing pages in the face of common problems. Now’s the time to roll up your sleeves and try some tests out.

What other problems do you experience on your landing pages? Share your questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to diagnose them.

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