It won’t be a stretch to say that auditing is a crucial part of your business. If your services are to survive, then your website will absolutely need auditing. And at the very top of that list is landing page conversion rate optimization.
“Well, everything in the business seems to be going smoothly. I’m converting enough visitors. Everything on the digital marketing front of my business is just fine.”
In the absence of a thorough audit, business don’t usually ask the hard-hitting questions that are needed to refine a strategy and ensure that every ounce of effort and financial investment is still in the right direction.
Regular landing page conversion rate auditing helps your business find chinks in your digital marketing strategies; everything from SEO to reputation management to customer acquisition. Having conversion optimization audits in place can help marketers increase their conversion rates by astronomical numbers -- if done right.
And yet, despite the emphasis everybody places on auditing, most companies tend to focus far too much on the SEO side of things, instead of the user’s journey.
It’s true that SEO plays a vital role in landing page CRO, but don’t make the mistake of ruling out landing page design and content. The three work together to attract your leads and convert them into customers and all three (SEO, web design, and content) are essential parts of a successful landing page conversion funnel.
The Why and the What
The need for a landing page CRO audit becomes apparent when sales and customer engagement problems begin cropping up every which way. Without you being completely aware of it, your landing page may be constantly running over several bumps that keep it from performing functions the way it should.
And when we say ‘bumps,’ we mean things that keep your consumers from making that final decision to purchase. Those bumps are what’s stopping them from clicking or compelling them to bounce.
Your landing page design might not be as pretty as you think it is. Your links might not be functioning. And the ‘bumps’ manifest in small things too; like a button out of place or a web copy with holes. There are many reasons for poor conversion rates and these kinds of mishaps are what audits were made to find.
This is why landing page CRO auditing is important.
Some would question the need for auditing when they are perfectly satisfied with their number of daily conversions. But then again, when we start talking about landing page conversion rates, there’s no such thing as too much, is there?
Even if you’re perfectly content and happy with your current conversion numbers, it’s still worth having a look to see which area needs improvement.
One thing you need to understand, as a marketer, before this all begins is that audits don’t immediately translate to instant conversions. The purpose of you conducting a conversion audit is to gather data for amplifying the quality of your landing page.
So, before you begin landing page conversion auditing, you’ll need three things:
A landing page or a minimum viable product (MVP)
A customer avatar or buyer persona
Simply speaking, you can’t do a conversion audit without certain information, and without meeting specific criteria. Conducting a conversion audit with any of the above missing will result in grasping at straws. You can’t gather relevant data and your landing page CRO would be a bust. And that is simply not what you want to go for.
So, let’s take a look at this step-by-step process that will help you implement a successful landing CRO audit.
Step 1: Reevaluate your goals
Every successful plan of action begins with a firm set of objectives.
Whether you’re currently in the process of setting up a few landing pages or you already have a functioning one, it’s necessary to reevaluate your goals, and check where you are on account of reaching that goal.
As many business owners surely know, everything in the business needs to have a purpose. So, set a goal and a definition for your various landing pages to be used in auditing. Doing this will make it easier to create tailored content and compelling calls to action.
Check your stats on Google Analytics to track your landing page’s progress, especially the number of conversions.
Step 2: Identify your audience and get to know them fully
Before you started your business, there’s no doubt that you already thought of who your target audience is. But if your landing page conversions are constantly falling through into oblivion, perhaps now is the time to re-identify your target audience again. And this time around, get to know them thoroughly to avoid committing the same mistake twice.
The Perfect Customer
Remember one of the three requirements before you begin your conversion auditing mentioned earlier?
Return to your customer avatar or buyer persona.
Think back to the initial days when you started your regular online marketing activities. During those early days, you should have put together a description of your ideal and perfect customer. From that moment forward, that customer avatar becomes essential to every marketing activity you conduct; including landing page CRO.
When you know the image of your perfect customer, you’ll be more capable of tailoring landing pages that will concentrate specifically on each customer segment. In reality, by sending each of your potential customers to different landing pages, you increase the chances of converting them.
But this ideal scenario will only become perfectly possible if each actual visitor is a perfect customer -- which they won’t be. (What a perfect way to burst all our bubbles).
Who is your actual customer?
Customer avatars and buyer personas are not an exact science.
It doesn’t matter how masterfully you’ve mapped out everything about your perfect customer, and how well you’ve targeted them. Highly likely, your actual visitors are very different.
So, is your ‘target audience’ even a thing?
Yes, they are. But the reality before you indicates that you have to spend more time identifying your perfect/target customers in the real world. And whether we care to acknowledge it or not, most of us get this wrong the first time around.
Now that we have managed to pin this issue down, we have the perfect place to start the landing page conversion audit:
Your Real Target Audience
Are your ideal customers who you think they are?
The answer is ‘no.’ And because your target audience and your real audience aren’t the same, then that means your landing page is not optimized for the right people to even start converting traffic.
You have two evident solutions:
Find out why you have the “wrong” audience, or…
Redo your landing pages to focus on the new audience (after segmenting them, of course).
Step 3: Know what your visitors are doing
The fruits of your labor in the first step should come to fruition around this time. By redefining your goals and increasing the clarity of your firm objectives, you’ll have set an aim. And included in that aim are the actions you want from your visitors when they hit your landing page.
What do you want your visitors to do?
How will you persuade them to do it?
Which path do you want to lead them down to?
Alongside the answers to those questions, write down what your visitors actually do. Your audience “not doing what you want them to” is the likely culprit behind the outrageous bounce rates in your landing page.
If they’re not filling out that form, they might be:
Clicking away instantly
Scrolling and skimming through the entire page before leaving
Clicking through another page in your site
Scrolling through the entire page before moving on to another page in your site
All of these outcomes point to your audience thinking that your options are not what they’re looking for. Simply speaking, your landing page isn’t giving them what they want, and they didn’t come to your page for that.
To remedy that problematic situation, you can try collecting visitor feedback via an audience survey. Another method is through conducting passive analysis using heatmaps or activity tracking analytics (Woopra, Google Analytics, Barilliance, etc.) to get an insight into user behavior, and make changes to your landing page accordingly.
Step 4: Check your landing page traffic
Having worked on online marketing for a good while now, you would know just the tool to use to track the traffic going through your website. This is yet another piece of information that you can acquire easily by using Google Analytics.
The source of your traffic is an important factor for your CRO audit. Does your traffic constantly flow from organic search results, paid ads, or your social media platforms? Narrow the tunnel even further by taking a look at the audience groupings of your visitors and their demographics. In addition, pay close attention to how each group of visitor acts.
Knowing these things will help you formulate responses and strategies that will meet their specific needs. Through your observations, you may find that one source of traffic might be converting better than the other. These types of findings will help point your future conversion optimization efforts in the right direction.
Step 5: Evaluate your current landing page content
A well-optimized and pretty site is attractive and has a positive effect on your audience -- no doubts there. But if the content doesn’t present any value, the final piece of the puzzle won’t fit into place.
That’s why it’s so important to create compelling content that will resonate with what your audience needs. In addition, expert marketers would advise placing your services and products in a unique position: where your audience is and where they want to be.
There will even be times when a situation will call for various tailored landing pages for each audience segment your business has managed to garner.
One size will almost never fit everyone.
And yet, despite the obvious variation needed, landing pages that convert have similar characteristics.
Catchy Headlines & Convincing Subheadings
A catchy headline lives up to its description and will make new visitors on your landing page look. Actually look, and not just spare a fleeting glance while clicking away before your other content and stunning web design can even have a chance to load.
Your headline is what compels your visitors to stay and learn more about what you have to offer.
According to marketing expert Neil Patel, your headline should:
Grab the reader’s attention.
Tell the reader what the product or service is all about.
Be short yet relevant. (Not more than 20 words; preferably only 10).
To complete that catchy headline, a highly persuasive subheading must tag along. Because if your headline was meant to grab your audience’s attention, the subheading exists to seal the deal and make them stay.
Besides utilizing extremely persuasive words, make sure your subheading supplements the headline in details and information.
For instance, take a look at Dlinkers’ omnichannel landing page:
The main channel is straightforward, directly telling new visitors and target audiences that they have arrived at Dlinkers’ omnichannel marketing page. Beneath that headline, however, the subheading goes on to discuss what omnichannel marketing can do for the businesses (increase in sales, cost effectivity, and faster and better ROI).
Optimized HD Images & Videos
An attractive landing page doesn’t settle for mediocre-quality images that pixelate when enlarged significantly. Neither do they embed videos shot in low-quality.
Visual content marketing has risen significantly and draws more attention than ever. So the role that images play in your lead conversions is a no-brainer. And according to scientific research, the brain processes images 60 thousand times faster than text.
In working with your graphic design team to select the visuals for the site, remember that your visuals should be:
Adequately large and rendered in 4K quality (HD in videos).
Catchy enough to grab visitors’ attention (especially if you run a service business).
Informative in nature when it comes to embedding videos.
Relevant or tailored to your company’s products and services.
Emotionally Compelling Messages
Explanations, introductions, and messages to audiences in your landing pages must be short, generally understandable, concise, and informative. Again, what is content without value?
But in addition to these explanations being straight-to-the-point, they must also appeal to human emotions. Your audience need to feel like they’re connecting to real people behind a screen rather than a pure unfeeling electronic machine.
Humanizing your content the right way can appeal to your audience’s emotions like you never expected. As expert marketers the world over would have it; appeal to your audience’s pains and pleasures. Psychology has proven that human beings are wired to avoid pain and losses, and feel attraction towards pleasures and immeasurable gains.
You can appeal to your audience's emotions by:
Mentioning what they can lose if they don’t do something, and what they can gain by taking a specific action.
Marketing your service or product as a solution to their problem.
Selling emotion in your products and services; not just functions.
Attractive & Readable Contact Forms
Yes, attractive cyber fill-out forms. You should know by now that anything that isn’t attractive won’t get attention. But more important than attractive fill-out forms and readable ones is your business’ legitimacy.
Can visitors trust that your products or services are genuine?
Then leave no room for doubt and make that fact crystal clear across your landing page.
Provide your target audience with multiple ways to contact you. Don’t hold back on flaunting your company’s phone numbers, email addresses, social media platforms, etc. The fill-out form on your landing page is just the icing on top of the cake.
Sell Your Assurance
Your target audiences are after surety. Since they are looking for solutions to their problems, they want to be guaranteed a resolution for their predicaments. That and the fact that customers love guarantees.
The simplicity of the word itself is enough to land you conversions.
And as you write your guarantee, there is no explicit need for you to delve into the legalities of it all. What matters is that you’re giving assurance to your customers. So just come out with it and say it. A guarantee is a guarantee, and customers will be happy.
CTAs are a Must
And of course, the most important element of all: the call to action.
Your landing page simply cannot thrive without one. And your landing page CRO won’t be complete without this being placed into account. This is, after all, the content on the page that is specifically designed to convert your leads.
So with that taken into account, ensure that your landing page CTA:
Compels and persuades in a few words.
Is loud, exciting, explosive, catchy copy.
Makes use of a button in contrasting colors.
Step 6: Analyze the landing page functionality & design
CRO auditing also means taking your landing page functions and design into account. You’ll want to evaluate all aspects of your landing page design and layout to see if there are other things you can improve to increase the number of conversions.
You can have a call to action button present in your landing page and have no conversions. And in situations like that, it’s essential to ask yourself why this happens.
Perhaps the button is buried behind large blocks of overly informational text. Or maybe the button isn’t even discernible in your page’s sea of colors. View your landing page through the eyes of your audience. Leave no room for subjective opinions. Look at it from an objective point-of-view. Second opinions are even a must.
Also test and see if your page is adhering to SEO rules.
Technical fixes to look for include:
Checking to make sure loading times are quick. (Slow loading may impede the landing page functionality).
There are more, of course, but those are just a few examples. Ensure browser compatibility and responsive web design across all devices for a fuller experience that your audience wants.
Step 7: Reassess the user experience
One thing a marketer should never forget is to prioritize the user experience at all times. Your audience won’t respond well to being constantly bombarded with blatant sales pitches. People know the importance of your products, of course, but they are also after the experience you business can offer.
As a part of a successful landing page CRO audit, you have the entirety of user experience to consider.
And to ensure satisfaction and avoid user experience mistakes, you want your landing page visitors to find value in every piece of information that your provide them with, and the way your provide it. To evaluate that, you can refer to Peter Morville’s UX honeycomb:
Is your landing page content useful? Does it provide answers to people’s problems?
Does the product or the service appear desirable?
Is your landing page accessible across all devices?
Do you provide credible services? Is your business legitimate?
Is your landing page fully optimized? Will your audiences find you on search-engines?
Is your landing page free of errors and broken links? Is it fast and responsive?
So to provide a wonderful user experience, take the time and effort to represent your product, service, or brand precisely on your landing pages.
Step 8: Do some A/B Testing on your landing page
When you have successfully fulfilled all the steps detailed above, don’t just sit there and declare the CRO audit complete. It isn’t.
Well, not yet…
As all has been said and done, are you seeing the desired results? Have you achieved the number of conversions you wanted? Have you accomplished your objectives? Take it further and gather information by looking at stats, heat maps, analytics, etc., to see if there’s room for more improvement.
It’s important to track and monitor your progress. So, test out your landing page -- or several of them across your different audience segments. Through this, you can formulate effectively tailored strategies to compliment each group.
Test different design versions of your landing pages against each other so you can see which one performs better. Through thorough A/B testing, you can further refine those landing pages over time.
So, what do you do with your conversion optimization audit results?
Why, the answer should be plainly obvious. You execute them accordingly, of course!
Implementing an audit to create a successful landing page means abandoning your presumptions and facing the reality. Not everything will appear as you pictured it out to be.
However, lucky for you, performing a landing page CRO audit doesn’t take a mad scientist stewing all day within the confines of his -- equally mad -- science lab.
Reevaluate your goals
Identify and get to know your audience
Know what your visitors are doing
Check your landing page traffic
Evaluate your current landing page web copy
Analyze the landing page functionality and design
Reassess the UX
Conduct A/B testing
A landing page that converts leads into loyal customers is the fruit of your auditing labor. But to make that happen, there is an immense need for time investment, and even a little bit of finances thrown into the mix.