landing page optimization tips
Project Ignite Podcast by Derek Gehl 3 Things Every Landing Page Must Have To Succeed
00:00:00 00:00:00
  • Episode  13
  • Derek Gehl


In this episode, I outline my top 3 landing page optimization tips to ensure that your landing page is delivering the results you want. People make these mistakes all the time, but it really isn’t that hard to correct! I talk about headlines, distractions, and the number one disconnect that pushes people off of your pages: congruence, or a lack thereof.

Transcript: Derek Gehl’s Top 3 Landing Page Optimization Tips

Welcome to the Project Ignite podcast, this is your host, Derek Gehl. In my ongoing quest to simplify online business, what I want to do today is share with you the three fundamental ingredients of a successful landing page. Now, many of the episodes I do for this podcast, the ideas are generated while I’m working with clients, students, or members of my online community, who ask me questions. It gives me great ideas for this podcast. This is something that comes up all the time – people come to me and say, “Derek, I’ve got this landing page and it’s getting traffic but the results are pitiful. What’s wrong with it?” Typically, when there’s a landing page that’s getting consistent traffic and it’s not generating a result, it’s not the finer details that we need to worry about. It’s one of these three things that is typically sabotaging the results. So if you have a landing page that is underperforming, you need to go back and take a long hard look at these three things.

One thing I want to clarify before I get into these three things, is that when I talk about landing pages today, I’m talking about landing pages that are trying to get people to take some kind of actionthere’s a call to action on the page. We’re seeking some kind of primary action, maybe it’s to buy, subscribe, opt-in, download, inquire, phone, whatever it is – there’s a specific action that we’re trying to get people to take. This might be different than how you’d treat, say, a blog post or content page, where people are coming in to consume content.

That being said, these three landing page optimization tips I’m going to share with you, they do apply if you want more people to read your blog posts, but there are some variations. So I’m going to be talking today primarily about getting people to engage with your landing page. The traffic sources of these pages could be anything, including other internal pages on your website. For example, if someone comes to a sidebar post or a pop-up driving them to this page to take an action. So let’s jump in.

landing page optimization tipsNumber one, and the absolute most important element of a successful landing page is something that people miss the boat on all the time. It comes down to one word: congruence. What I mean by that is when someone comes to a landing page, they’re coming from somewhere–maybe an affiliate said, hey, click here, maybe they’re coming in from something you posted on social media, maybe they came off a search in Google, maybe they came off another internal page. When they clicked a link to come to that page, they had an expectation in their mind about what it was that they were going to see. Maybe it was based on the keyword they searched in Google, or the link they clicked on your Facebook page, or maybe an affiliate referred them. You want to make sure the very first message they see in the first fold is as congruent as possible with their expectations. If somebody searches “how to groom my dog”, and they land on a page that says, “how to groom my cat,” that’s not congruent at all. They’re not going to stick around.

A less extreme example, from somebody I was working with, who was in a specific music niche, and was teaching a specific instrument. They had developed a program, a call to action, that was specifically targeting people that were brand new to this instrument. They were getting consistent traffic everyday, but after getting hundreds of visitors, the opt-in rate was dismal. We’re talking less than 1%. When we looked under the covers, what we found was a lot of this traffic was coming in on organic keywords. The keywords they were coming in on indicated that although they were beginners, they weren’t brand new to the instrument. They had probably the foundations down. So they were looking for one subtle step up – they didn’t need to know how to hold the instrument, they needed to know how to play a basic song or scales. They were up a level. It’s a subtle difference, but it made a huge impact on the result of that call to action. So we decided to shift the call to action and test out some new strategies.

With paid traffic, if you’re driving people to specific pages and you’re getting no conversions because of incongruence it’s either a mistake or you’re being lazy. When I say lazy in terms of advertising, that’s going out into AdWords and choosing all of these keywords that are related but aren’t necessarily going to have the same expectations associated with them. So, in advertising, that means creating multiple landing pages for your different ads to make sure they’re as congruent as possible so that they meet the expectations of that person coming in. Now, where that starts getting more difficult is when you start to deal with uncontrolled traffic. When Google starts indexing you and listing you for different keywords, you can get traffic but you might look at it and ask, why isn’t this converting? So this is where you have to start reverse engineering – going in, looking at your landing pages and your sources of traffic, and start massaging the offer to match the traffic coming in. The moral of this story is, the more congruent your landing page is with the expectations of the person coming to your website, the more successful you’re going to be.

This brings us to our next element. The number one element on your first fold of a landing page that is going to create congruence and get them to stick is the headline. There’s no such thing as a high converting landing page that doesn’t have some sort of compelling headline that tells people in five seconds exactly what they’re going to get when they stay on your page.

landing page conversion optimization

Now, in the most general terms, your headline should always answer the question, in five seconds, “what is in it for me?” What am I going to get when I stay? No other distractions. I could talk about headlines all day, and there are multiple variations and formats, and when it comes to writing headlines – don’t reinvent the wheel. There are tons of proven and tested formats that you can modify to work for your offer.

The other element is, you should always be testing. You should never just stick up a headline and move on. You need to be split-testing to see what converts the best. No matter what kind of headline you use, it needs to answer that question first, and then most importantly, you need to speak directly to the reason they’re there. If I’m looking to get more leads to my business and you’re going to sell me a source, you need to sell that benefit to me right away. I don’t need to see a bunch of accreditation, I just need to know that you can get me leads.

One more tip, in a headline, the more specific the benefit, the better. In your headlines, don’t be vague. Be very, very specific. So, headlines, again, I could talk for days, but the bottom line is this: the very first thing that someone sees when they hit your landing page is a benefit that answers the question “what is in it for me,” and something that specifically speaks to their pain. Vagueness does not work. It may work a little bit, but the more specific you can be, the better. Let’s look at weight loss. Do you ever see an ad that says, “try this, you can lose some weight!” No! Every good ad in the history of our planet has always been “lose X pounds in X amount of time.” 10 pounds 30 days, 30 pounds in 30 days. You don’t want to make it sound big and hard, you want it to sound good and easy. Go type “best headline formats” into Google, and you’re going to find lots of great templates that you can use. And test them! Once you think you’ve got a winner, try to beat that winner. There’s lots of tools out there to help you test, too. The fact is, your headline is your determining factor that when someone lands on your landing page, they will stay or they will go. If you can get 25% more people to stay on that page, that could be a game changer, okay?

Then, number three, this maybe sounds a little trivial, but the fact is people screw this up all the time. Rule number three is minimize distractions. So this happens all the time: you build a website, maybe you’re using WordPress, and it has all these great resources with all of this information on it. My average page maybe has a blogpost, and a sidebar with my socials and my widgets, and my nav bar, and my header, and that all looks really good. Then I decide I need to create an opt-in page, so I create a new page and I add my opt-in, and it keeps my sidebar and my nav and my header. All of that stuff that would exist on a blog page, now becomes your enemy on your page that is trying to drive a specific action.

For example, when I create an opt-in offer or a sales page on a website that has a blog, or is just a big, robust website – if you go to, you’ll see that I have stuff everywhere. But when I want someone to opt-in, they go to a page that typically looks nothing like the main structure of the site. We remove all distraction so that when they get there, they only focus on the opt-in. I might keep a little logo there, so that they still know where they are. But there’s no nav or header, there’s only a headline and a sales process or call to action. So what I want you to do is go look at your landing pages and ask yourself, do I need this sidebar, or this header? Probably not. Down at the bottom, in the footer, I might have a subtle nav bar, but I try to keep it as distraction free as possible. Go have a look at our pages, and keep in mind that your sales pages can look nothing like the rest of your website. That’s okay. I use ClickFunnels for my pages, and lots of people use LeadPages as well. It eliminates all distractions. Go click around on my website and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. The biggest mistake people make it using a page template with all their sidebars and page navs for opt-in pages. If someone clicks another blog post while they’re on my opt-in page, I’ve lost them.

So, quick review. congruence. Make sure the expectations of the visitors are met as closely as possible when they land on the landing page. Number two, make sure your headline speaks to them and is congruent with their expectations. Remember to be specific, because vagueness does not work. As you’re pulling them into that page, number three, minimize the distraction from that page. One more tip, here, if you have a WordPress website and your main container is 1200 pixels wide, and that contains your sidebar, stuff like that. Your opt-in page, if it’s a single sales message, it shouldn’t be that wide. Don’t be afraid to use a template with a narrower format as well.

I’ve got a few more things that have just sort of popped into my head, too, so I’ll add those on. First of all, when you’re creating a call to action, the level of commitment you’re asking for is going to vary depending on the source of traffic. So if you have a landing page and it’s not getting a good result, and you have a page that’s congruent and with a good headline, they other thing I’d ask, is is your level of commitment of your call to action too high for that source of traffic? So if someone is searching a product name on Google, and you sell that specific product, then you can go to the sale. If you post something on socials, and someone clicks, but they weren’t actively seeking you out, going for the sale doesn’t make sense. They weren’t out actively searching to solve their problem. You’ve kind of interrupted them and asked them to look. So taking them straight to the sale is like asking them to marry you. Let’s just ask them for a date. Just get the email address. Start the funnel, and build that relationship. Again, ask yourself, is the commitment I’m asking for appropriate for the source of the traffic? Are they going to be willing to make that level of commitment? For example, if you have an affiliate that refers a visitor to you, and recommends you, then that person is pretty qualified to be reasonably making a sale. But if someone has no prior relationship with you, expecting them to pull out their credit card and buy is asking a little much of them.

The last thing I want to bring up is, quit trying to optimize your landing and sales and opt-in pages to rank in Google. The fact is, when you try to optimize a sales page, you’re effectively screwing up all of the things that make it a good sales page. So even if you do get traffic, it won’t convert anyways. Optimize everything else to rank, but take that traffic and redirect them to your opt-in pages. Don’t optimize sales pages.

There you go. So we covered three things plus a few things in our little bonus round. So some of this stuff apply to blog posts, and stuff like that, but on a blog post you may not want to minimize distractions. You’d want to be engaging people further.

So if you have landing pages on your website, write those three things down. Then head over there and look at your traffic – is your page congruent with their expectations? Does it have a headline that answers the question, “what’s in it for me?” If you haven’t tested new headlines in awhile, go out, write a dozen, pick the best three, and test them. Ask yourself, does everything on this landing page work to get people to take the actions I want them to take? If it doesn’t, remove that element, and see if your results change.

Hope you guys learned something in this lesson that you can apply to your website to get a better result. It doesn’t have to be hard! I know that in the Internet marketing world, people have all these fancy terms, but it boils down to if you have a page, make sure it’s delivering what people are expecting, make sure it tells them what they’re going to get, and don’t distract them! It’s that easy. Well. Thank you very much everyone, I hope you learned something. If you like the podcast, do me a favour, if you’re an iPhone user, head over to iTunes and leave us a review. Don’t forget to head over to where you can find all of our podcasts with transcripts for your reading pleasure. Thank you very much once again, we’ve got a bunch of great interviews coming up with more tips for you to grow your business online. So, this is Derek Gehl, signing off. See you at our next episode.

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