Landing page psychology
First things first, let’s define what a landing page is.
- A landing page is a web page where people are led to arrive after they click an advertisement which can be either a paid ad or any social media activity could work as an ‘advert’. In this case, the landing page is the page we want the user to arrive at as a result of your marketing or advertising social media action.
- However, any page of a website can function as a landing page through which the user enters the website.
What’s that got to do with psychology?
Well, quite much.
Your main aim as a business owner is always to get an action from the satisfied user. That's beneficial for your business, isn’t it?
And you can’t achieve that unless the user on the page gets exactly what they wanted to get.
In this article we are only focusing on landing pages according to definition Nr. 1., and will have a look at motivation, intention and expected behaviour of the website visitor.
Big marketing companies have already written thousands of pages on research results with useful tips and tricks.
Now we are analysing those elements only which are essential for small businesses to bear in mind to avoid pitfalls and money being unnecessarily thrown out of the window.
This article is not about technical details; we are focusing on the wonderful human brain, how it acts and reacts and what you can do to please the mind of your potential clients.
If you are eager to get some advice straight away, scroll down to the end of this article to read the main ideas as a takeaway. However, we recommend reading the whole stuff to understand the psychological factors behind a successful landing page.
Why do website visitors arrive at your landing page?
Because they are after a specific product, service, piece of information, solution etc. and having seen your advert or post on social media, they think you can give it to them if they click.
On that note, don't make your visitors disappointed.
How do website visitors behave?
Most people are choice rich yet time-poor. Visitors are impatient, hungry for instant information.
They might be frustrated because of the overwhelming choice on the world wide web.
Statistics show that visitors make up their mind whether to stay at a page or leave it in about 4-5 seconds. (We assume that as the world is speeding up, this figure might be even less in a few years’ time.) So you as a website owner have 5 seconds tops to grab your visitors’ attention and convince them that they have found what they had been looking for.
Let us insert a technical reminder here: website speed is crucial. If 4 or 5 seconds are wasted for the page to be loaded, the chance to lose the visitor will inevitably increase. So bear that in mind. A frustrated website visitor is not an ideal website visitor.
How do business owners behave?
The drawback of in-depth knowledge
It goes without saying that business owners are fond of what they do. They certainly know their fields inside out and are keen on talking about it in detail. If they are loquacious and use long and convoluted sentences on their landing page, it’s because of their attitude as mentioned above, which comes naturally. However, when creating a landing page, you should ‘tame’ that attitude with a cool head, and consider each word and sentence carefully. For you, your website is ‘the’ website; your new landing page is ‘the’ landing page: being your brainchild, you know it, have plenty of time to grow it, get to know it.
But, your website visitor - who has no prior knowledge of the content of your landing page, only certain expectations - will see your page for the first time.
As such, your message must be clear and straightforward, easy to understand in a few seconds. Only a clear message will encourage the visitor to stay and act.
Fear of focusing on one thing only
Certainly, even the most ‘simple’ business is offering more than just one product, one type of service, or one solution. You can and, of course, have to showcase your offer clearly and appealingly on your website (just think of SEO).
However, when it comes to ads and landing pages, the rule of thumb is:
Keep it simple. Focus on a single thing both in your ad & on the landing page! And make sure that both are similar in nature.
Some might say: "OK, I can accept the idea of advertising just one product in my advert. But why on earth should I have a dedicated landing page if I already have a product page in my e-commerce with all the product details, photos, description etc.?"
Yes, that’s true, but that page can’t be fine-tuned in a way that is necessary for a successful campaign. In an e-commerce system - however excellent and versatile it is - all product pages have the same structure, same scheme. Whereas on a landing page, you have a blank canvas where you can highlight the especially essential characteristics of your product, and describe it in a unique way that suits your current campaign best.
The second reason for going for a dedicated landing page is that you have a blank canvas in terms of the top section of the page as well.
On a landing page specially created for a marketing campaign, there is no need for the top menu of your website because that would just act as a factor of potential distraction.
Tendency to be unique in the wrong way
As a matter of fact, business owners want to stand out with their product/service. Certainly, having a unique selling point is crucial for a successful business.
Just by having something extra special doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to show it in an extra unique way too...
It’s great if you are creative, but when it comes to visual communication, stick to the standard things that users already know (can recognise and understand easily). Your visitors have been educated to recognise and understand certain icons, symbols and web elements.
If you decide to go against the current in that respect and use
- symbols that look nice but are new to everyone and hence will be confusing
- a call to action button on an inadequate background just because you like those colours, but they make the button fade into the contexts instead of making it stand out,
a loss in conversion will be the price to pay.
What can be expected as a conversion?
In general: Any action which you expect your visitors to do. E.g. some sort of interaction that promotes your business either in short or in the long run.
It can be:
- direct sale
- collecting visitor data (mostly email address)
- Clicking a link
- just spending more time on the website reading more about your business (building trust, growing commitment & engagement)
Business owners, when running either a paid or an organic marketing campaign, usually want instant sale; that’s the primary motivation behind campaigns. (Quite an understandable attitude, they have to make a living and the more they sell, the better.)
However, there are quite a few business areas (coaches, educational experts, advisors etc. ) where you can’t expect the visitor to act and pay instantly. When the nature of the business is quite complex, and the client’s commitment and action require trust, persuading them to visit a specific page or just making them watch a video might be a wonderful and valuable conversion goal. When you are offering such service and manage to achieve that, you really can pat yourself on the back. The first step to success is to recognise and accept that your field of expertise is special and know what you can expect realistically.
Know your audience better than your competitors.
Are you thinking with your own head or with that of your potential client?
Do you really know your audience well?
“Knowing” is a lot more than just knowing some data, such as age group, location, education level, interest, etc.
Ask yourself: What’s their motivation and what are their typical problems? Is there anything they fear? Do they worry or have specific desires?
Don't forget: All people in the world act based on their feelings - even if they think their action is based on a rational decision.
- Think with the head, mind and soul of your potential customers.
- Put yourself into the shoes of your targeted persona. Feel what they feel. And do use that information when creating your landing page.
- Don’t focus on what you offer.
- Focus on their problems and mindset instead.
Choose the right tone of voice
A good “salesman” can choose words and phrases which put the potential clients’ minds at ease. Be aware of how your targeted audience uses the language. Use the required style and a well-balanced verbal complexity.
Psychology of images:
The saying “a picture tells a 1000 words” may seem to be old-fashioned commonplace, but it’s so very true. The human brain processes visual information much faster than any text.
Since it’s those visual elements that your visitors’ eyes will catch first, it’s essential that you use that powerful tool wisely. Choose them carefully and strategically to get your message across effectively and drive your potential customers towards the desired action.
How to do that?
Be aware of their motivations, desires and needs, and appeal to them on an emotional level. Although the majority of people consider themselves as being mainly or entirely rational beings, the truth is that the way we make decisions is entirely emotional. Our acts - and our purchases - are based on emotions. A well-chosen and well-placed image can evoke the right emotion and trigger action.
Depending on the service or product that you are offering, either use images that represent the state your customers are currently in or show one with the desired outcome. The main idea is that they can identify themselves with that image.
Boring and overused stock images must be avoided. Instead of well-worn clichés preferably use your own high-quality images or, if you have to go for stock images, try to find ‘natural’ looking ones imitating real life. If you wish to add a bit of playfulness, there is nothing wrong with that. You can make your images stand out by manipulating them to a certain level. The human brain enjoys solving puzzles in general - however, bear in mind that a landing page is not exactly the platform for difficult ones. Hiding a small odd or funny detail - that is relatively easy to recognise within 1-2 seconds - can be a good idea. If the mind is satisfied and the owner of the brain is made proud by “solving the puzzle”, it might win the customer over. Having said that, it’s not easy to know that “certain level”.
The balance between giving & get
People are more and more aware of the fact that their personal data (mainly email address) has value. As such, when running your ad, make sure that you give something in return. People are a bit selfish, so they won’t give it to you just because you ask kindly.
You have to promise something valuable and deliver it.
Well, what can it be?
- useful information
- extra speed
- extra add-on
It doesn’t necessarily have to be value in money (in the form of a discount or voucher).
What makes a landing page straightforward & clear?
- visual message
- consistency between wording & imagery
As for the wording, don’t rush it. Take your time to choose your words carefully (or ask a copywriter).
As for the visual appearance, success depends on tiny details, such as adequate font size, font face, colour, white spaces, alignment.
One more thing - yet again in connection with our hectic lifestyle: Ditch the idea of using rotating images (a so-called carousel).
However lovely images can be (yes, they are, so use them),statistics show that 94% of website visitors don’t wait for the second image to come up in a carousel. As such, they don’t get to see them. On top of that, having rotating images could also negatively influence website speed.
Take a look at your web pages as if you were one of your potential clients
1.) Don’t use marketing cliches. Think instead.
- Do you know your targeted audience? Do you really know them well?
- Ask yourself: what’s in their head, what kind of problems, questions and wishes do they have?
2.) Skim your landing page quickly.
- Always have a look at your advert for no longer than 3-4 seconds.
- Is it really crystal clear what you are offering?
3.) Step back and use your empathy.
- After that, devote 4-5 seconds to your landing page. Try to do it with a fresh pair of eyes.
- Is it 100% clear what you are offering?
- Why should a person who reads it decide to choose you?
- How easy is it to act as you want them to act?
EXTRA PRACTICAL TIP:
Show your ad and your landing page to people who don’t know your intention with the ad. Their feedback (especially the negative ones, or those showing confusion) is invaluable and might work as an eye-opener to make you notice things you have never thought would be a mistake.