In the past, marketers were able to drive demand by following a linear approach to the consumer decision-making process. However, the rise of technology and the internet has fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with brands and make purchasing decisions. Today, consumers have access to an overwhelming amount of information, and their decision-making process is no longer linear or predictable. Instead, they engage with brands through multiple touchpoints, and their experience shapes their opinion of every subsequent decision. This ongoing cycle has led to a decrease in consumer loyalty thus an increased focus on providing exceptional customer experiences. To adapt to the ever-changing needs and expectations of customers, brands must customize their digital experiences, particularly through landing page optimization. By tailoring landing pages to match the preferences and behaviors of their target audience, brands can enhance their engagement and conversion rates.
Map The Ideal Customer Journey to Optimize the Online Experience
Successful landing page optimization begins with brands researching and mapping their ideal customer’s journey. Doing so will allow a brand to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and help them optimize their online experience. Customer journey mapping typically involves identifying the touchpoints and interactions a customer has with a business throughout their entire journey. Furthermore, with the help of UX research and journey analytics, brands will be able to understand what customers are thinking, feeling, and doing during each step of the customer journey, and be able to identify pain points and opportunities to improve the experience.
UX Research Provides Insights into Customer Behaviors
UX research, such as user interviews, surveys, and usability testing, can help identify a customer’s purchase journey by providing insights into their behavior and preferences, which is critical for landing page optimization. These tactics can help businesses understand how customers behave throughout each step of their journey while navigating your website.
For example, a company may conduct a series of user tests with customers to understand their motivations and pain points when visiting their website. This can help the company identify usability issues and areas of improvement, such as simplifying the checkout process or improving the navigation of their website. By understanding the user’s experience at each step of the journey, the business can create a better overall experience that aligns with the user’s expectations and needs.
UX research can also be used to identify customer touchpoints, or the various points of contact a customer has with a business. By mapping out these touchpoints, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of the purchase process and identify areas of improvement. This can help create a more seamless customer experience and ultimately lead to better business outcomes.
Journey Analytics Track How Customers Interact
Journey analytics involves using data and analytics to track a customer’s journey across touchpoints to identify areas of improvement or optimization of a landing page.
For example, an organization may use analytics to identify touchpoints where customers are dropping off or experiencing frustration and make improvements to these areas of the website. By analyzing customer data, it can help identify patterns and trends in customer behavior. This helps businesses understand how customers move through the purchase process, where or when they leave your website, and what factors influence their decision-making.
Align Customer Expectations with Desired Actions
After you’ve mapped the customer journey and have identified opportunities to move your brand up in your customer’s consideration set, it’s important to avoid the urge to test arbitrary ideas (e.g. changing the color of a button from blue to green). It’s best to be more strategic with your approach to landing page optimization. Below are three steps to take.
Turn Research into Problem Statements
Problem statements are descriptions of problems you want to address or improve upon, and they often get overlooked. Spending time combining your methods of research and findings into clear and concise sets of problems is step one in keeping your landing page optimization efforts focused. When crafting your problem statements, identify the gaps between the current state and the desired state. In other words, what is preventing customers from taking action such as requesting more information or making a purchase.
Examples of problems statements may be:
- Our point of differentiation isn’t visible or clear on our landing pages
- Pricing of our services is too complex which frustrates our users
- Users on our landing page are not ready to give us their email address
Notice that these are overall business problems, not just simple tactical ones. They are intentionally broader statements (not too broad that they lose focus), which allows enough latitude to test “bigger and bolder” hypotheses, which is what is needed to make landing page optimization programs effective.
Develop Business Metrics
Your business metrics such as lead submissions, add to cart or subscriptions should be the primary goals of your website or landing page optimization. Independent of research findings, these metrics should reflect what’s most critical to your business. For example, lead submissions might be your primary business metric for land page optimization because a certain percentage of them ultimately generate revenue. But if your website is an ecommerce site, then add to cart is a critical metric because users cannot purchase products without first adding them to their cart.
You must decide what business metrics are most important for your landing page optimization program. We recommend only choosing a few metrics to focus on, as trying to align with too many at once quickly prevents efforts from gaining clarity and focus.
Consider web pages to be like different kinds of cookware at home, each one designed to serve a different purpose. In the same way that pots and pans are different, so are landing pages and checkout pages. As you choose the most critical business metrics, be aware that they will likely change based on the user experience.
Develop Engagement Metrics
Engagement metrics can be defined once you’ve identified the problem you want to solve and determined your overall business goals.
For example, let’s say that John (a consumer) bought a house in a new neighborhood and is looking for lawn service. There are lots of national and local lawn services to choose from, but he wants to know that the company he selects doesn’t just treat every lawn or home the same and is knowledgeable in treating diseases and pests in his specific area. He stumbles across SpringGreen but the content on the website is generic and undifferentiated from what he has read on competitors’ websites.
Let’s assume that SpringGreen has done their research and has identified that the generic, non-personalized content on their site is creating friction, preventing users from requesting a quote. In this scenario, SpringGreen has identified a problem and a critical business metric, which they can now focus on for improvement.
Problem Statement: Our copy is undifferentiated and doesn’t communicate our customized service, leading to lower contact rates with customer support (CS) and therefore fewer sales.
Business Metric: Customer Contact
- Form submissions
- Chatbot engagement
- Navigation clicks for more information
Form submission, for example, is only one engagement metric that can be optimized on your landing page. By adding more page functionality such as tap-to-call or a chatbot, you will expose the user to important information and in turn they may be more inclined to contact the SpringGreen support team. For this reason, providing users with engagement options is critical.
Develop a Continuous Optimization Plan
When customer needs are aligned with business needs, and engagement metrics have been identified, the next step is to develop a landing page optimization plan that is efficient and effective. Below are two steps to take to create a plan:
Hypothesis development is key to landing page optimization. Hypotheses are educated guesses, or an informed starting point for further investigation. There are no wrong “guesses”, but it’s important to inform your hypotheses with data and research. If you’ve never developed a hypothesis, focus on the IF, THEN, AND BECAUSE. IF we do X, THEN we’d expect Y, BECAUSE of rationale informed by data. After creating hypotheses for each problem statement, prioritize them.
Here’s an example hypothesis based on the problem statement above for SpringGreen:
If we personalize our landing page to explain what regional pests we treat, then we’d expect customer contact to increase, because we are addressing the users need for local treatment information.
Develop Variants for Testing
With a well thought out hypothesis, and by following the above process, it will be much easier to develop a list of test variants that addresses your customers’ concerns while also improving your overall business metrics. Based on the example hypothesis, consider the following types of variants:
Existence: Without spending too much time on design and content, can we prove that the existence of content (maybe in the headline) has a positive impact on form submissions?
Location: After knowing whether the existence of localized copy works, does location have an impact (i.e., headline vs body copy vs form copy).
Quality: Once you know what’s important to users through experimentation, then consider how the message is presented. Should it be styled in a certain way or should it be accompanied by other visuals to draw more attention?
When developing test variations, don’t hold back. Develop as many iterations as possible, then prioritize them in accordance with the higher priority hypothesis. More importantly, be strategic in how you utilize your learnings. Your customers change and so do their needs. Continue to align those needs with your business goals.
Landing page optimization requires businesses to map their ideal customer journey, align customer expectations, and develop strategies for continuous optimization. Businesses must provide exceptional customer experiences that align with the changing needs and expectations of modern consumers. By following these steps, businesses can create a better overall experience that leads to better business outcomes and ultimately increased customer loyalty.