the-7-principles-of-conversion-centered-design-29-638

How Ecommerce Company Packlane Delivers On-Brand, Targeted Campaigns with Custom Landing Pages

Step inside the marketer’s brain and you’re likely to find some healthy skepticism. Does this $50 Airbnb come with a three-digit cleaning charge? Will “free shipping” require my firstborn to clear customs? Why does this anonymous benefactor need a credit card number to give me my millions? (And how did he get my email?) Do “fully customized” landing pages secretly mean slower launches, a bulkier building process, or not-totally-customizable-but-hey-close-enough?

Not so—at least when it comes to landing pages. Just look to the customization masters at ecomm packaging company Packlane. They make retail-ready, custom corrugated mailer boxes, shipping boxes, and folding cartons for subscriptions, ecommerce, and gifts that can be as simple or fancy as your heart desires. And they get real meta when it comes to their customization. Not only is it a pillar of their service, it’s also instilled in their marketing with oodles of customized landing pages.

But do oodles of customized landing pages equal oodles of time? Oodles of effort? Oodles of conversions? We pulled the lid off a few of Packlane’s landing pages to find out how they use them to create speedy, beautiful, super-targeted campaigns.

Are you an ecommerce marketer? Learn how Unbounce can help you turn more browsers into buyers.

When you need to publish fast

It’s no secret that ecommerce is a highly competitive and fast-paced world—one with so many options, you can buy your chicken a leash for both casual and formal occasions.

No matter which ecommerce niche you’re in, keeping up often requires working fast to get new promotions to market. But the catch-22 is that your landing pages can’t look like they were created quickly. When they do, they undermine your campaign thanks to inconsistent branding, rushed copy, or poor-quality images.

Full disclosure, one of the reasons we approached Packlane is because we have serious :heart-eyes: for their gorgeous branding—and how seamlessly it’s woven into each of their landing pages. We asked Remy Tennant, Packlane’s Director of Growth, about getting pages published fast while running a tight design ship.

One launch comes to mind. We had to get a page up really fast to get this campaign out the door. We often work with an agency, but this was a complete DIY job for our marketing team with no development or design resources.

The page—where customers can apply to be featured as part of Packlane’s Custom Packaging Inspiration Gallery—is relatively minimal and, says Remy, “admittedly not our most beautiful.” But at an 18% conversion rate and climbing, it’s a rush job that’s more than delivering on its investment.

Image courtesy of Packlane (Click to see the whole thing.)

It’s also easy to duplicate and rework, opening the floor for testing and expansion within the campaign. “Word on the Lane” is a video series featuring Packlane customer stories, with a similar submission landing page (converting at a cool 23%) to add a multimedia element to their customer showcase.

Image courtesy of Packlane (Click to see the whole thing.)

Being able to build and customize landing pages quickly creates more breathing room for experimentation, lower-stakes launching, and higher margins of ROI. Says Remy:

On our own, the entire process of launching a page—from initial content creation, to picking a template, to building and customizing it—takes about four to six hours. Our marketing team can easily get a page up within a day, working completely in-house.

Get inspired with 27 jaw-dropping examples of ecommerce landing pages in our Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook.

When you need to collaborate

A more typical scenario for Packlane’s marketing team involves working with outside resources. Though their agency is an ocean and several time zones away, collaborating on landing pages is a simple process. Remy explains:

Our website is beautiful, but because it’s 100% custom, there is no CMS. Being able to collaborate with outside developers and designers on Unbounce without having to involve our internal tech team is a huge win. It saves time and allows our devs to focus on more important things.

Their “Size Matters” page, where customers can calculate custom sizing, is a ringing example of what this can accomplish. Pixel-perfect branding, slick design, animated graphics, and a dynamic calculator that gives recommended dimension and style options for your packaging make for a landing page that’s not only beautiful, but fully interactive.

Image courtesy of Packlane (Click to see the whole thing.)

It’s versatile, too. This page is used at several points of the customer journey, particularly as an onboarding and educational tool.

Our sales team and customer service team use this page to lead prospective and new customers through the customization process and help them figure out the right measurements for their packaging.

It’s simplified what can be a very complex and technical process, and has definitely helped convert more customers.

Learn from another ecommerce success story and how landing pages helped Zola boost their conversion rates from 5% to 20%: How Hyper-Targeted Marketing Helped Zola Take Over the Wedding Industry.

When you need to really target

With great customization power comes great responsibility. Packlane offers endless packaging options—be it by style, size, material, design, and labeling. They service customers from all sorts of verticals within ecommerce, and they cater to all of their different needs based on product type, seasonality, and audience. It’s a tall order, pun intended.

How do they tackle this complexity? Custom landing pages for specific industries and campaigns. Instead of relying on visitors to browse their website, or talk to a sales rep, or sign up to see their smorgasbord of packaging options, Remy describes how Packlane comes to them with targeted landing pages.

Our custom cosmetics page is one of our most-visited pages and ranks pretty well for custom cosmetics packaging. We do a lot of SEO, and the ability to add metadata is obviously really important.

We’re also big into A/B testing—one page I recall saw a conversion lift of 15% after testing headlines—so we’re looking forward to running experiments with this page. Results TBD!

Image courtesy of Packlane (Click to see the whole thing.)

Seasonal promotions are another example. For ecommerce marketers, the holiday season brings more than just sleigh bells and eggnog and strained small talk with your distant uncle over a shrimp cocktail platter. It brings massive opportunity for sales and festive campaigns.

Packlane answered opportunity’s festive knock with their “winter wonderland” White Ink landing page. It showcases white-ink designs for Packlane’s customers to get their customers (didn’t lie when I said they get meta) in the holiday spirit. Plus, they get a free downloadable package with 30 holiday-themed design assets.

Image courtesy of Packlane. (Click to see the whole thing.)

The results put Remy in a merry mood, too:

This page gets a good amount of traffic as well, and was a great way to test different promotional techniques like the free graphics package. We’ll probably do something similar in the future.

So whether you’re in a mad rush, managing a lot of cooks in the kitchen, or creating a bunch of different pages for specific audiences with specific needs, it doesn’t have to be accomplished at the expense of brand quality. Just ask Packlane.

Customize your way

Ready to start building and customizing your own ecommerce landing pages? Publish as many as you want, for free, with a 14-day Unbounce trial. And if you have any comments or tips of your own you’d like to share, fire away below.

Ecomm landing pagesOriginal Article

2020 Ecommerce Landing Page Best Practices (with 27 Examples)

Everything You Need to Know About Ecommerce Landing Pages (But Were Afraid to Ask)

If your online store isn’t generating a ton of sales, it might have something to do with where you’re sending your traffic.

As an ecomm marketer, there’s a good chance you’ve advertised a product through paid search or announced a seasonal promotion via email—and, maybe, been less than delighted with the results. These campaigns can sputter for all sorts of reasons, but there’s a common blunder that tons of marketers make: they send their traffic directly to product pages on their ecommerce storefront. And that’s a problem.

Here at Unbounce, we want to answer some of the most common questions about poor ecomm performance (plus explain how landing pages can help), including:

Why Isn’t My Ecommerce Website Selling?

First things first. Why doesn’t your ecomm storefront convert as well as you’d like?

Your website (and the product pages within it) has a ton of distractions that can throw your prospects off course and away from purchasing. Think top-level navigation, related merchandise, external links to follow, and a dozen other shiny redirections. Ideally, you only want to present one path for your shopper to take—not the thousand options your website inadvertently presents.

Your online storefront’s messaging will also tend to be pretty broad, lacking the sort of persuasive details that different segments of your audience need to make a purchase decision.

Consider a pay-per-click (PPC) use case. If a potential customer was searching for “bikes for commuters” and clicked on your paid ad, they’d expect to land on a page showcasing bikes built for riding on the road, plus a clear way to redeem the 15% discount that you promised. Instead, they find themselves on your homepage, swamped by a ton of products they weren’t ever looking for: bike helmets, outerwear, and other sports accessories.

Where are the commuter bikes from the ad? How does this visitor claim the 15%-off discount? As you can see below, the message falls apart.

Why Isn't My Ecommerce Website Selling? (Bad message match!)

Research suggests that you’re better off sending traffic to ecommerce landing pages, which have been shown to double conversion rates and average order value. Landing pages focus on just one conversion goal at a time—and because you can build them separate from your ecomm store, you can launch promotional campaigns and test new products faster. In combination with the ads or emails you’re running, landing pages help you learn what type of messaging your visitors need to convert.

What’s an Ecommerce Landing Page?

An ecommerce landing page is a page that has been specifically designed to drive sales by matching your visitors’ search intent, showcasing the benefits of a product, and prompting conversion with a clear call to action. By building a unique landing page for each of your paid ads or ad groups, you can dramatically improve the chance that any given visitor converts.

Remember our PPC use case? Let’s look at an improved experience:

An example of an ecommerce landing page

In the example above, your visitors are directed from your ad targeting “bikes for commuters” (the keyword you’re bidding on) to a dedicated landing page that aligns perfectly with the search term and the visitor’s intent. From the slick imagery that screams “commuter bike” (as much as a bike can) to the descriptive copy and sticky bar focused on ordering now, your page gives visitors exactly what they expected to find. With fewer distractions (there’s no top-level nav and all of the links point to purchase), you’re far more likely to make the sale.

Landing pages aren’t just for paid search and social ads, either. Because they’re separate from your storefront and so quick to build, the ecommerce use cases for these pages are practically limitless. Linking out to a seasonal campaign from your website, or promoting a new product through an email blast, are also great opportunities to boost your sales with conversion-optimized landing pages.

Unless you’re working with one of the top-cheese ecomm platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, implementing changes to your storefront can require some serious technical know-how. There’s also a certain amount of risk in making tweaks without truly understanding the impact they’re going to have. With landing pages, your ecommerce brand can build pages and validate new products or promotions in a jiffy.

What Are Some Ecommerce Landing Page Best Practices?

“Hey, that’s great, Unbounce,” you say aloud, prompting concerned looks from nearby coworkers. “I want to build my page. But where can I learn more about incredible landing page design?”

We’re so glad you asked.

The team here at Unbounce is pleased to bring you The Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook, which includes some of our favorite landing pages from ecomm marketers in apparel and footwear, home decor, food and beverage, and everything in between. We’ve got spectacular examples from loads of brands you may already be familiar with, including wedding marketplace Zola, shirt brand Twillory, and sweet, sweet Drizzle Honey.

Unbounce Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook - Preview

The Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook is presented in partnership with our friends at KlientBoost, an agency that specializes in helping your ecommerce company get more from your PPC ad spend.

Inside the lookbook, KlientBoost’s Director of Ecommerce, Reese Garcia, shares some of his best practices for creating a landing page that sells—and we’ve got a quick preview for you below.

A Great Ecommerce Landing Page Is:

#1. Perfectly aligned with your paid advertisement

This is all about message match, which we touched on earlier. When someone clicks through one of your search ads (or social post, or promotional email—whatever), you’ve already shaped their expectations for what they’ll see next. Ensure the copy that motivated their click is mirrored on your landing page. That way, you can indicate to potential customers that they’ve found what they’re looking for.

#2. Easy to follow with straightforward and concise messaging

It’s pretty unlikely that your visitors are going to read all of the copy on your landing page. Instead, they’ll skim for the information they want to see: your product’s differentiators, your promised benefits, and your price. Stick to the value of your offer. Keep things digestible with section breaks, headers, and bullet points.

#3. Optimized for desktop and mobile visitors alike

More of your visitors are on-the-go than ever before, and you need to make sure that your landing page delivers a positive mobile experience. If you’re not building separate pages for smaller screens, you need to at least make sure the pages you do have are responsive. Use a simple layout and keep load times as short as possible.

#4. Laser-focused on its primary goal: conversion

Every element of your landing page should be nudging visitors towards making a purchase decision. Remove unnecessary navigation and exit points to keep potential customers on the page. Consider using additional calls to action (like sticky bars or popups) to keep your offer top-of-mind.

Make more ecommerce sales with popups. Get started quickly and easily with our high-converting popup templates. Once you have a template you like, tailor the copy for your offer and add specific targeting filters (like in the examples here).

Where Can I Find Awesome Ecommerce Landing Page Examples?

It’s one thing to read tips for how to create an awesome ecommerce landing page. It’s another thing to see those principles come together in a way that not only looks great but also prompts action and drives revenue. That’s why the Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook (from Unbounce and KlientBoost) includes 27 jaw-dropping and high-converting examples from the top bananas of online retail.

Here are just a few ecommerce landing page examples from brands you’ll find in the lookbook. Follow their lead and you’ll be well on your way to building like the best of ’em.

Alps & Meters

Industry: Apparel
Model: Storefront
Page Type: Click-Through

ecommerce landing page alps and meters

One look at our example from Alps & Meters and you’ll instantly understand how landing pages can elevate your product in ways your storefront rarely does. The luxury sportswear brand uses this opportunity to tell a story, imbuing their clothing with the emotional power of pioneering female athletes. Pair that with striking photography, plus big-name social proof, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

SnackNation

Industry: Food & Beverage
Model: Subscription
Page Type: Lead Generation

Ecommerce Landing Page SnackNation

This example demonstrates how you can use landing pages to run limited-time promotions and crank conversions into overdrive. SnackNation captures our attention with an unbelievable offer above the fold, then tackles objections by explaining exactly how their subscription service works and what’s included. Add in bold, colorful visuals and this whole page feels like a celebration.

This is just a taste of the insight you’ll find in The Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook. Download the full thing for Unbounce-certified critiques and reccos on 27 top-notch pages.

Alchemy Fine Home

Industry: Home
Model: Storefront
Page Type: Lead Generation

Ecommerce Landing Page Alchemy Fine Home

Even with sparse copy, this landing page from Alchemy Fine Home (built by KlientBoost) does an amazing job of attracting new customers with a 15% first-order discount. Not only does it incentivize a purchase, it gets visitors onto the email list regardless of whether they actually buy something. Smart.

This page also makes terrific use of photography, visually conveying the sense of elegance that’s central to Alchemy’s brand.

Want to Build Ecommerce Landing Pages Like the Pros?

“Good ecomm marketers copy; great ecomm marketers steal.” — Picasso, probably.

Creating a masterpiece is a lot easier once you’ve found a little inspiration, and landing pages are no different. That’s why we created The Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook: to help marketers like you find your ecomm Erato, your online retail muse.

Unbounce - The Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook

What’s Inside the Lookbook?

  • Our hand-picked selection of 27 ecommerce landing pages from a bunch of different product segments and retail models.
  • At-a-glance insights into what makes these pages work so well (plus recommendations from the marketers who built them).
  • Heaps of amazing ideas for your own landing pages, including persuasive copy tips and gorgeous design techniques.

Don’t let your next ecomm product launch or promo campaign fizzle. Download The Ultimate Ecommerce Landing Page Lookbook and get the inspiration you need to build beautiful, high-converting pages that turn looky-loos into customers.

Original Article

4 Lessons We Learned in 2019 (and How Marketers Can Apply Them in 2020)

It’s been a heck of a year, hasn’t it? And it’s not over yet.

Even if you’re still knee-deep in holiday and end-of-year promotions, it makes sense to take time to pause. Now’s the time to reflect on the challenges, opportunities, and accomplishments of 2019—before the crazy starts up again.

With that in mind, we’re revisiting the big lessons drawn from our most popular pieces on digital marketing and landing pages. For each, we’ll talk about how you can best apply these lessons in 2020 and beyond.

Lesson 1: Slow page speed is killing your conversions.

Unbounce predicted that 2019 would be “the year when the difference between fast and slow content becomes the difference between showing up in the search results (whether paid or organic) or disappearing completely.”

In January, we also published Think Fast: The 2019 Page Speed Report to shed some light on how slow loading times are impacting conversion rates.

We wanted to know where improving page speed was falling in the marketers’ yearly priority lists—as well as what their customers experience (and how they behave) when a website is slow to load.

This research stirred up all kinds of reasons why you definitely need to keep speed in mind when creating landing pages. For instance, Google says 53% of visitors will bounce after three seconds of waiting. But our check-in at the Call to Action Conference in late 2018 revealed that 85% of participants’ pages came in slower than 5 seconds at a 3G connection. (We’re not naming names, but some took more than 20 seconds.)

The survey results also revealed that consumers are pretty frank about the impact that slow ecomm sites can have on their willingness to buy:

Slow load times lead to fewer sales
Source: Think Fast: The 2019 Page Speed Report (Stats and Trends For Marketers)

What surprised us most, however, is that improving load times remains an overlooked way of optimizing the visitor experience. Very few marketers we surveyed identified it as a priority for the year, even though those who did have likely seen the benefits.

What Marketers Can Do in 2020

The thing is, these page speed concerns aren’t going away.

The average time for a web page to load is actually slower at the end of 2019 than it was a year ago. Some marketers have resisted making big improvements to loading times in the hopes that technology will save them (“5G is coming any day now!”). But speed remains a competitive differentiator.

Google hasn’t backed away from forcing the issue, either. They’ve always said that speed matters, but in November, they outlined plans to indicate when a site has been historically slow to load using badges in Chrome: “We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly, while rewarding sites delivering fast experiences.”

Chrome testing speed warnings
Source: Google Chromium Blog

All of this adds up to a continued need to boost speed on your landing pages and website. To help, Unbounce’s Garrett Hughes put together a shortlist of page speed fixes (plus a downloadable checklist). And if you want to achieve blazing speeds on mobile devices, you’ll also want to investigate using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) as well.

Marketers need to get faster and stay that way.

Let’s make speeding up a habit in 2020.

More Reading About Page Speed

  1. Think Fast: The 2019 Page Speed Report (Stats and Trends For Marketers)
  2. 2019 Is the Year of Page Speed. Are You Ready?
  3. 7 Page Speed Stats Every Marketer Should Know
  4. Increase Your Landing Page Speed (By Stealing Our Homework)
  5. Your Shortcut to Lightning-Fast Speeds. AMP Landing Pages Come to Unbounce.

About Unbounce Speed Boost. We’ve made backend improvements to the landing page builder to ensure that, under the hood, every landing page you create is designed to follow Google’s best practices for performance. So you don’t have to think about it. You can read about these improvements here.

Lesson 2: A/B testing isn’t your only optimization option.

At Unbounce, we’ve been preaching the gospel of A/B testing for a very long time. (For as long as there’s been an Unbounce, as a matter of fact.)

Here’s a snippet from our very first website, ten years ago: “With built-in A/B testing as a standard feature, you can experiment with unlimited variants of your page until you achieve the optimal design.”

In those days, we saw the promise of a “no-nerd approach to landing page construction” that included “a digital dashboard to rival the Starship Enterprise.” (No-nerd? Riiight.)

Unbounce.com circa 2010

Today, A/B testing remains an incredible way of testing an informed hypothesis about your landing page. For many people, though, the number of visitors you need (and the time necessary) can put it too far out of reach. No wonder while 98% of marketers recognize testing has definite value for their business, 42% say it’s too difficult for them.

But optimizing and A/B testing aren’t the same thing. And smaller teams and businesses that don’t get the critical mass of traffic to test efficiently should still make optimizing part of business as usual.

What Marketers Can Do in 2020

Nobody would blame you for taking a one-and-done approach. If you find yourself in the camp of marketers who’ve struggled to A/B test in the past, the good news is that the times are a-changin’. New pathways to optimizing your landing pages are opening up as you read this.

In November, we made Smart Traffic™ available to Unbounce customers. Powered by machine learning, this tool dynamically sends each and every visitor to a page variant that’s right for them. Plus, while running A/B tests requires tons of traffic, Smart Traffic starts optimizing after as few as 50 visits.

It’s not only extremely rad, it’s also bone simple: build some variants, set a conversion goal, and turn it on. I encourage you to try it out for yourself.

Beyond Smart Traffic, it’s almost guaranteed that machine learning (from us, from elsewhere) will continue to reshape your marketing stack and enhance your marketing practice. In 2020, you can expect more options when it comes to optimization, personalization, and automation.

The takeaway: adopting a growth mindset means making optimization an everyday practice. Thanks to new technologies, the barriers are beginning to topple—so keep an eye out for opportunities.

More Reading About Marketing AI

  1. Marketers Need an Easier Way to Optimize Landing Pages
  2. Match Each Visitor with the Landing Page Most Likely to Convert [Introducing Smart Traffic™]
  3. How Marketing AI Will Transform Your Lead Generation (and Conversion)

Lesson 3: We all need to raise our marketing IQ.

According to a recent paper published by 13 marketing scholars with the Harvard Business School, marketers see the most potential gains when machine learning technologies enhance human capability: “The brightest future,” they write, “is based on the synergy of what the machine can do well and what humans do well.”

Machine learning will free us from the grind, allowing us to do more of what humans do best. But this also means that it’s more pressure than ever to become the best darned human marketers we can be.

It’s time to raise our marketing IQ. That means moving beyond best practices, received wisdom, and going with your gut. It means making smarter, more informed decisions based on a highly developed skillset. And it means optimizing yourself as a marketer, not just your landing pages.

We think it’s incredibly important, which is why raising your marketing IQ was the theme of this year’s Call to Action Conference.

Over three days, we sought to bring marketers and industry leaders together to talk and sharpen our skills in six vital categories: design, copy, analytics, process, emotion, and strategy (which ties ’em all together).

Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner summed up the benefits of high IQ marketing in a blog post earlier this year: “This is marketing that takes things to a new level, going past surface-level findings to understand the true value of your generated leads.”

Oli Gardner at CTAConf
Oli Gardner at CTA 2019

What Marketers Can Do About It in 2020

In 2020, BYOTL (be your own thought leader). Keep devouring blog posts and other content from the experts, sure, but look for those sources that challenge the status quo and go beyond the best practices. (If you’re looking for some blog recommendations, I think this list from The Search Agency is a pretty good place to start.)

Finally, if you weren’t able to join us at CTAConf in 2019, you can also get caught up on all 20 speakers, watch videos, and review slide decks on our recap site. This includes experts like Joanna Wiebe, Larry Kim, Ross Simmonds, Nadya Khoja, Jason Miller, and Andy Crestodina—as well as a few surprising perspectives on marketing today.

(Finally, binge-watching you can feel good about.)

More Reading About Marketing IQ

  1. Call to Action 2019 Speaker Videos and Slides
  2. The Simple Reason Why Your B2B Lead Gen Conversion Rates Are Completely Wrong
  3. Raise Your Marketing IQ at CTAConf 2019

Lesson 4: SaaS rebrands are a huge challenge.

This lesson became immediately apparent when people began to take notice of a single illustration trend that dominated SaaS branding in 2019.

As Unbounce’s Luke Bailey wrote in a post back in August, “Depending on who you ask, these drawings and animations are either fun and whimsical, or strange and faceless. Maybe you see them as friendly-looking doodles … or maybe you see them as just plain weird.”

Image courtesy of the Stubborn Free Illustrations Generator

It was the sheer ubiquity of these “little buddies” in 2019—especially given the time and thought that SaaS marketers put into standing out from the crowd—that’s particularly striking.

Jimmy Daly, Marketing Director at Animalz, first called out how common the style was becoming:

i genuinely respect all of these companies and use these tools but saas websites are perpetually homogenous. what gives?

— Jimmy Daly (@jimmy_daly) June 4, 2019

Like many of us, Daly doesn’t necessarily dislike this trend, but he isn’t sure how these illustrations were suddenly everywhere. In his words, what gives? Should SaaS brands even care about achieving originality? And if not, where should there focus lie?

These are some big questions, it turns out, and I’d recommend checking out Luke’s epic post for the details on his quest for answers. (There’s some interesting speculation in the comments too.)

What Marketers Can Do About It in 2020

Given the enormous pressure to carve out an identity that’s distinct from competitors, marketers might be tempted to try to avoid all influence from others in their space. Even if this were possible, though, it probably isn’t the best approach. Wildly different branding isn’t necessarily what your customers want from you.
Instead, Luke advises taking a more thoughtful approach to your SaaS rebrand:

If you’re planning to launch a new version of your website in 2020, there’s nothing wrong with looking to other companies you admire for inspiration. But, at the same time, you’d be doing your own brand a disservice if you just try to straight-up swipe someone else’s style.

Luke Bailey, Unbounce Content Team

Luke says to consider your product, your place in the market, your target audience, and your brand personality before jumping on any design trend. Striving for some originality makes sense, sure. But matching your brand with your audience is more important.

Whether the cycle of SaaS rebrands in 2020 brings us more of these little buddies or something a little more out there (“What if our new website was, like, entirely turnip-based?”), it makes sense to keep your eyes on the prize: converting visitors into customers.

More Reading About SaaS Branding

  1. Here’s How the Illustration Design Trend Caught Fire and Why Every SaaS Is Rebranding
  2. [Brand Reveal] Celebrating You with a New Look

Get Ready for 2020…

The lessons you’ve learned from 2019 don’t stop being relevant at 11:59pm on December 31st. It turns out that the earth orbits the sun all the time, and we’re just marking the time.

So how will what you learned in 2019 transform how you do your job in 2020? What are your own marketing lessons going into the new year? What are your marketing resolutions? Now’s the time to start thinking…

We’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.

Original Article

Evergreen SaaS Landing Pages You Should Have Running at All Times [Examples]

It’s a vicious cycle that many SaaS marketers fall into—you’re trying to hit your lead-gen targets, but your budget and resources are tight. So you turn to a quick, one-off campaign to generate some leads.

Then, once that campaign runs its course, you start planning the next one.

And so on. (And so on.)

While this cycle can be effective in the short term, it’s just not sustainable. Running campaigns in this way create spikes in traffic that can quickly die out if you don’t invest in ongoing promotion. They also take a lot of effort to execute (and don’t guarantee returns).

Cue the infomercial voiceover: “There has to be a better way!”

Pictured: A typical SaaS marketer workin’ the lead-gen funnel.

Turns out, there is a better way.

If instead, you invest some time developing ‘always-on’ campaigns, you can drive consistent growth in a much more efficient, scalable way. For instance, if you have core assets (like a webinar, newsletter, or demo page) that you routinely drive prospects to, you can make these work year-round by creating some landing pages that run on auto-pilot.

There are tons of evergreen landing page campaign possibilities, but we’ve rounded up five that we think every SaaS marketer should have in their arsenal. Keep these ones running 24/7/365 for steady lead generation all year long.

1. The “We Solve Your Problem” Long-Form Landing Page

Do your prospects tend to do a lot of research before they start a new trial or demo your product?

This is where an evergreen, long-form landing page shines. Evaluation-stage prospects are hungry for details, proof of results, examples, and info tailored to their experience. They need to be persuaded to choose your offering over the alternatives.

So, for paid search ads targeting transactional keywords, you may want to create a standard SaaS long-form landing page explaining your offer.

Like this one:

A Pitchbook Page

Image courtesy of Pitchbook. Click it to see the whole thing.

The SaaS sales page above from Pitchbook has a preview video, a customer testimonial, and a logo bar of social proof to build credibility. It does a great job giving visitors a comprehensive rundown of the product’s features and benefits. All in support of that awesome ‘request a free trial’ call to action.

Why should you build one?

Long-form landing pages help your audience make more informed decisions by providing in-depth information about your software. With more sections on the page, you have room to expand about what sets your offering apart from competitors and the value you deliver.

As a bonus, these pages aren’t just effective for middle-of-the-funnel prospects. They can also help folks at earlier stages of awareness. For instance, people in the discovery stage may not know they have a problem, but they’re likely experiencing the symptoms. The extra length lets you conduct a thorough investigation and lead visitors down the path from the symptoms to the problem to (hopefully, your) solution.

With a long-form landing page that runs 24/7/365, you can show potential customers how their current situation is costing them money, time, resources—or any other problem you’ve helped them identify. You can also anticipate the objections your target customer might have about your software and address them with compelling, long-form storytelling.

2. The “Weekly How To” Webinar Landing Page

You can raise awareness of your webinar through your email and social media channels, and you’ll definitely see some engagement for your effort. (After all, how hard is it to click a little ♥ icon?) But without a dedicated landing page, it can be tough as old leather to convert interested people into actual registrants.

It’s easy to forget that once you finalize your content and secure your speakers, you still have to convince your visitors to register to attend.

This webinar landing page that Thinkific built with Unbounce gets it right:

A Thinkific Page

Image courtesy of Thinkific. Click it to see the whole thing.

Promoting an entire digital summit, this page has a large, eye-catching header section that tells the viewer exactly what they’re going to get out of this online event. It also has strong calls-to-action placed above the fold and below the body copy, plus detailed descriptions of the speakers.

Thinkific even includes an FAQ section to help potential registrants get as much information as possible before they make the decision to sign up.

Why build your own webinar page?

If you’re asking prospects to give you their email details and an hour or more of their time, you need to make it clear what they’re getting in return. With a landing page, you can communicate the value of registering for an online or offline event using persuasive elements like benefit-oriented headlines, social proof, and testimonials.

You can also use these pages as an entry point for visitors to explore other relevant content. For example, the bottom of the Thinkific webinar landing page features a short value statement that highlights the benefits of their product in a call-to-action to start a free trial.

Editor’s note. Looking for some advice on how to run a webinar for your SaaS brand? We’ve got you covered: How to Build a Great Webinar from the Ground Up + 8 Examples That Don’t Suck.

3. The Interactive Lead Magnet Page

Let’s face it: the traditional lead magnet is losing its pull. Years ago, you could offer a simple downloadable piece of content like an ebook or a PDF resource and watch your conversions soar.

Today, it’s often a different story. Fewer visitors are willing to part with their email addresses—and if they are, you better have something truly valuable to offer in exchange. To address this, SaaS businesses are upping their lead magnet game by trying out quizzes and other types of personalized, interactive, or tool-based marketing elements.

Here at Unbounce, for example, we developed a free analyzer tool that offers insights on how you can optimize your landing pages:

While an ebook or downloadable PDF can also help to educate visitors, what happens once they finish with that static piece of content? It’s up to each individual to figure out how to apply the learnings, and they’re not always motivated to follow through. That means it’s often the end of the road. They close the book, and they’re done. That’s not great for engagement.

People also have to set aside some time to actually read through your material. In comparison, a quick tool like the analyzer provides each visitor with a personalized report on their specific pages—instantly. No pain, all gain.

And we serve this tool up on an Unbounce-built landing page that converts almost 30% of all visitors. It’s a great way to offer value, all the while serving as an evergreen awareness campaign that’s directly plugged into what we do.

Why should you consider a tool on a landing page like this?

Calculators, quizzes, and other tools are a great way to inject a little fun and—ideally—high value into your lead-gen or awareness strategy. They empower your visitors with insights on their specific situation. And they give you more info about your audience than you could get from a piece of static content.

Interactive lead magnets can also reduce the time your business spends on sales queries and save you time by automatically sending someone’s contact information through your funnel via integrations with your CRM or email marketing platform.

Finally, an interactive lead magnet can help instill loyalty in your visitors. If you’ve helped someone solve a problem, they’re much more likely to bookmark your page and remember you for next time. Plus, you get more credibility because you’ve proven that you know your stuff and understand your audience’s needs

4. The “Newsletter Audience-Builder” Landing Page

These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a company without an email newsletter. It’s one of the most efficient, cost-effective ways to stay top-of-mind with your audience.

But people also find these newsletters increasingly easy to ignore, easy to tag as spam, and easy to unsubscribe from. That’s why it’s imperative that you keep your list fresh by adding new subscribers.

It’s easier than ever for someone to unsubscribe from your newsletter. (Source: AndroidPolice)

Sure, you can put a newsletter sign-up button on your website and call it a day. But if you really want to grow your mailing list, you should consider adding a dedicated landing page into the mix. With a landing page, you can experiment with copy and compelling visuals to ensure your newsletter’s differentiating value really comes across.

For instance, Pitchbook’s newsletter sign-up (which is another hit landing page from their team) checks all the boxes. It has a clear headline, uses visuals to show what the newsletter looks like in different formats, and has a short-but-sweet form:

Image courtesy of Pitchbook.

If you prefer to keep things simple, though, you could follow this example from Later. There’s not a lot of text on this page, but each piece of copy serves a purpose. The headline (“Never miss an Instagram trend again”) drives home the key benefit of signing up for their newsletter. And the subheading acts as social proof. (After all, a million-marketer-strong email list is nothing to scoff at.)

Image courtesy of Later.

The last section sets expectations around frequency, so potential subscribers can feel confident knowing Later won’t spam their inbox with multiple messages a week. And by only asking for an email, they make signing up even more enticing to their audience of marketers (who are usually wary about giving up their personal info, but often do so when it’s in exchange for more data).

5. The “Sign Up For a 1:1 Demo” Landing Page

While you can give your website visitors a small taste of what you offer through videos and webinars, this often can’t compare to leading someone through your product personally—where your guest can ask questions live. This is why offering a free demo is a common step in the SaaS buyer journey and a key landing page you’ll want to have available evergreen.

Visitors at this stage can be pretty close to making a purchasing decision, so your number one priority should be to make this process as frictionless as possible. Fortunately, a landing page is one of the easiest ways to do this:

Image courtesy of Skillshare.

The most effective demo landing pages are pretty straightforward. They typically have a clean and simple look, a form, a phone number field for an alternative form of contact, social proof, a video, bullet points, or another short message that outlines what users can expect from the demo.

While the “request a demo page” from Skillshare above is missing some social proof in the form of testimonials, all the other important elements are present. It’s easy to follow and the lead-gen form is a reasonable length to help the Skillshare team understand how to tailor the demo.

Conversion tip. You can take things a step further for your always-on demo landing pages by adding a pop-up. For example, you could use this calendar notification pop-up template and have it appear after someone converts. This would prompt your visitor to add a calendar reminder to join the session and ensure your live demo attendance is high.

Evergreen Your SaaS Landing Pages

If you set up these evergreen landing pages as a first step, you can generate a ton of leads for your software without developing campaigns on a typical one-by-one cadence.

As with any other type of campaign though, it’s a great idea to optimize these pages to ensure you’re getting the best results possible. Experiment with on-page elements, the copy on the page, or adding social proof. Even tiny tweaks can have a big impact.

The work of a SaaS marketer is never done, but by building pages for the long term you can create conditions that help you generate leads and conversions—without climbing on the campaign hamster wheel.

Find out how to build high-converting Unbounce pages without disrupting a single developerOriginal Article

More For Your Clients, More For You: The Best Way to Give Your Agency an Edge This Year

The agency life ain’t easy. There’s constant competition to acquire new clients and new agencies are poppin’ up every day.

You know your agency delivers and that your team is stacked with experts. You know your clients will be happy they chose you because you’ve got a great track record. But, you also know every agency out there is saying the exact. same. thing.

It helps to have something extra in your proverbial utility belt—something to offer outside your stellar services that sets your agency apart. Something like The Unbounce Partner Program, which gives you several of those somethings. In fact, you may need a bigger belt. And a bigger wallet.

Skip the details and see for yourself. Sign up to join the Unbounce Partner Program.

A referral program designed for agencies and marketers, the just-launched Unbounce Partner Program gives you 20% of the monthly recurring revenue (or 25% of the total annual revenue) for every client you help discover Unbounce. It was inspired by those who’ve been referring Unbounce unofficially for years—and who we wanted to give thanks to on top of the returns that were naturally occurring.

Agencies teaming up with Unbounce, in particular, have seen advantages over their competitors in two ways.

First, by creating landing pages for their clients that get higher conversion rates time and time again. Customized landing pages are a proven way to improve the performance of paid advertising, email, and lead generation campaigns. The results speak for themselves, clients listen, and more often than not, the agency that provided all that R for their I becomes the go-to choice for future services.

“Once [clients] hear that we can go out and buy the same clicks anyone else can, there’s nothing proprietary about that, but we can leverage the PPC experience with landing page testing….That’s when clients start to understand ‘OK, this is a company worth working with’. If only for that differentiator.” – Andrew Miller, Co-Founder of Workshop Digital

And second, agencies add to the power of their own expertise by combining it with ours. We’ve been toiling away in the marketing industry for ten human years, 70 dog years, or approximately 378 marketing years (we all know how fast that shizz moves) and have become the top choice for conversion platforms by doing our homework and testing for what works.

We back you with the tools to pull off the results your clients will get excited about, as well as tons of learning resources to stay ahead of the game. Whether it’s demystifying GDPR, choosing Accelerated Mobile Pages, explaining the wild world of Google’s rules, or figuring out makes a page as optimized as possible, we’ve got you covered.

Becoming an Unbounce Partner is a way to underline these benefits, weave in a couple more, and add to your cash flow on top of it all. Without further ado, here are some of the ways you can use the Unbounce Partner Program to grow your agency and make your clients really, really happy.

Offer Landing Page Services with Inarguable ROI

It’s no small potatoes to put your word behind a product—putting yours behind Unbounce means making a promise to your clients that it’ll help their business. At over 500 million conversions clocked in by our customers, you can rest assured that promise will be kept.

“In some cases, we saw conversion increases of over 70%, just by switching a client’s landing page over to Unbounce. Because Unbounce allows us to test and iterate more rapidly, we’re able to increase our speed of testing which is a win for everyone involved.” – Nicholas Scalice, Founder of Earnworthy and Unbounce Partner

And, it’s easy to start offering these services. Any member of your team can create slick, on-brand landing pages, popups, and sticky bars using drag-and-drop functionality and a huge variety of templates that can be customized to your (client’s) heart’s content. Under the hood, you’ve got Unbounce Speed Boost for fast-loading pages on desktop and mobile, super-granular audience targeting, dynamic text replacement, and more features that create a better and higher-converting visitor experience.

In other words, we make sure your word delivers.

Easy Campaign Management (for all) and Ongoing Profit (for You)

Multiple client sub-accounts have always made for easy campaign organization and collaboration. Before the Partner Program was born, agencies using Unbounce would typically add clients into their own account. As an Unbounce Partner, a simple switcheroo—giving your clients their own accounts and having your team members added as users in theirs—allows for the same campaign management and collaborative freedom while bringing in that sweet, sweet referral cash to boot.

“We’ve been using an agency account for years, often charging clients a usage fee to use our agency account. The Partner Program is great because it gets clients to use their own accounts that earn us a referral fee, which can really add up over time. And our commissions increase if they opt into larger packages.” – Patrick Schrodt, Founder of Titan PPC and Unbounce Partner

If you and your client end up going separate ways, a silver lining remains in the form of lifetime Partner Program earnings. As long as they remain an Unbounce customer, you keep getting paid.

Discounts Your Clients Will Love

Who doesn’t love getting something awesome for less money? Joining the Partner Program gives you access to exclusive discounts you can pay forward to your clients. Discounts they literally can’t get anywhere else (and by literally, we mean literally).

Every client you refer to Unbounce gets 20% off their first three paid months on top of the 30-day free trial. Or, 25% in total off of an annual plan if that’s more their speed. Between your agency’s super team growing their business and serious savings on Unbounce’s conversion power, you’ll be primed for a good ol’ fashioned money fight. We all know that’s what you really do in those pitch meetings.

“We typically see a 2-3x increase in conversion rates with Unbounce. I can’t imagine building a client’s account without Unbounce these days. Especially for anything lead gen. Titan has been growing year over year and a lot of that has to do with client retention. These clients are sticking around because they are converting like mad.”
Patrick Schrodt, Founder of Titan PPC and Unbounce Partner

Brand Alignment and Promo Power

When two rights come together, they can make a damn right. You’ve got a killer team who knows their stuff and a portfolio to prove it. And as mentioned above, Unbounce has a decade of experience in conversion marketing and pudding full of proof that our product works. An official partnership is an instant way to bolster the reputation you’ve worked hard to earn, and strengthen the relationships with your clients over time as you continue to give them results worth celebrating.

As a Partner, you’ll also get co-branded sales enablement materials and templates that will highlight your agency as you promote your partnership to bring in that extra revenue. It’s a partnership, after all—we’re determined to get you as much out of it as we can.

So, want to partner up? Learn more about the program for agencies here or email partners@unbounce.com with any questions you have, be they burning or lukewarm.

Original Article

Sloppy PPC Landing Pages Hurt Your Ad Spend. Here’s How To Fix ‘Em.

Sloppy PPC Landing Pages Hurt Your Ad Spend. Here's How to Fix 'Em.

Median conversion rates hover between 3-6%, according to the Conversion Benchmark Report. But the best?

Anywhere between 12-27%. That’s two to five times the median.

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re stuck somewhere in the depressingly-low single digits. Most are.

You’ve got the right keywords, your Ad Groups are on point, and your landing pages nail the essentials. So why are conversions and costs not budging?

The problem is that while ‘best practices’ can be helpful, they’re not enough. You need to rethink how those PPC landing pages are organized, who they’re targeting, and what customers need from them at different points in time.

Here are three places to get you started moving up into that double-digit club where you belong.

1. Funnel Segmentation

PPC landing pages arguably have the biggest impact on campaign ROI—just not for the reasons you think. It isn’t just the cheesy, tool-generated headlines that are stopping you from converting. It’s the lack of funnel segmentation in your campaigns.

In a perfect world, your PPC campaigns look like this:

Multiple stages of your funnel
+ Multiple offers for each stage of the funnel
+ Multiple keyword variations + ads for each offer
= Dozens and dozens of landing pages

And yet, you probably don’t have dozens and dozens of landing pages. You’re probably rocking one landing page. Potentially five. Rarely, ten.

Because: work. I get it.

But you don’t need another lecture about TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. You need to start differentiating campaign offers with pages for each one.

Check out Jon Loomer’s 15 Facebook ad campaigns, for instance. He’s got awareness-based content campaigns at the top, lead gen nurturing ones in the middle, and revenue-producing sales offers at the bottom. Each with a different offer and associated landing page:

Jon Loomer's 15 Facebook ad campaigns

Loomer’s 15 campaigns cover the whole funnel (image via Jon Loomer)

He’s even got different offers for different segments in the same funnel stage. Beginners get one page, while power users get another. This is an excellent example of how it should work, but where do you start?

How Directive Consulting built a funnel

Here’s a common way this plays out. Brady Cramm, Director of PPC at Directive Consulting, had trouble driving results from LinkedIn display ads at first. That’s because up until recently, LinkedIn’s advertising options were a nightmare.

Targeting was a significant part of this problem. LinkedIn tempts advertisers to laser-target an audience based on job title or role. But the audience sizes often weren’t large enough based on the poor click-through rates. As a result, it used to be brain surgery to manifest a few clicks a day. And your chances at turning those into any meaningful lead count was minuscule.

Thankfully, there’s been significant improvements since then.

Brady now uses LinkedIn ads to drive eBook downloads and views. But they’re beginning to move away from gated content in favor of tracking pixels on different pages.

For example, you can drop the LinkedIn Insights Pixel on your site. You don’t even have to be running ads to use it:

LinkedIn: Campaign Manager

The Pixel can be targeted towards specific pages, like your guide, eBook landing page, or ad offer. Once you get over 300 visitors to that page, you can tap into their matched audiences.

As Brady points out, “you can see what job titles, industries, and functions are on each page. You can see that you’re getting VPs of marketing and then create a tailored campaign specifically for them.”

And that’s the killer targeting he now looks for:

LinkedIn Insights Pixel demographics lets you figure out who’s visiting. (image source)

Here’s an example of how it all comes together. Brady’s company, Directive, has a popular post about B2B marketing ideas. They rank high on the popular search query. And as a result, they net a ton of traffic.

The LinkedIn Insight Pixel here helps them figure out exactly who’s visiting (and why).

Then they can turn around and create a Facebook lookalike audience based on the people who’ve visited that page from search:

Facebook: Lookalike Audience

It doesn’t stop there. Once someone becomes a lead or provides their information, custom audiences can be spun up on both on LinkedIn with Matched Audiences…

LinkedIn: Matched Audiences

… or Facebook with Custom Audiences:

Facebook: Custom Audiences

But Brady’s strategy doesn’t stop there. “There are a lot of PPC opportunities outside Google Ads,” he says.

For instance, Directive also uses Quora ads to promote an opt-in eBook. The book’s topic dealt with “B2B marketing demand gen,” so he targeted “B2B demand gen” topics in Quora. Makes sense. (And the Quora listing is written like content, so it blends in and gets a better response rate.)

Third-party directories are also huge for B2B.

Think about the typical customer journey for a second. The very first step is for someone to realize they have a problem. When that happens, they start looking for information around that particular issue. After gathering enough research and evidence, the next step is to begin transitioning into potential solutions.

Most competitive markets have different affiliate-based sites that aggregate, rank, and suggest possible solutions. Local businesses have Yelp. Travel has TripAdvisor.

And B2B has Capterra.

Capterra lists companies within specific verticals, like “construction marketing software.” Options are then ranked based on a number of criteria, like the number or quality of reviews.

But you can also pay to be listed at the top too. It’s a PPC bidding war. Potential customers look up related software alternatives, and you pay to be listed in the top five to get the most interest:

Using Capterra for B2B promotion

Brady elaborates on the benefits of using Capterra:

“I see those as highest Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) at lowest costs. In consumer’s eyes, they see our client ranking as top three [blank] software company. And then from there, you can audit the competition’s landing pages, improving the messaging and CTAs to outperform them.”

Managing ad spend across campaigns

Beyond this basic setup, Directive uses Shape.io to manage budget and ad spend across many different concurrent campaigns in places like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Capterra:
Using Shape to manage budgetsThey work with a lot of large accounts that frequently start and stop campaigns based on iterative performance. That can be a managerial nightmare. It’s incredibly time-consuming to babysit campaign performance to the required level of granularity. And the risk of missing something and overspending is high.

Shape lets Directive set up predefined targets with caps for multiple campaigns under each client that make it tailor-made for scaling agency accounts. Brady agrees:

They offer a cool, all-in-one visualization of all channels. It includes budget trend, predicted spend based on real-time performance, how increases or decreases will affect performance, and also an autopilot feature to catch trend lines to not overspend.

2. Message Match

Now, if you’re following Jon Loomer or Directive Consulting’s example, you’ve got funnel segmentation. You’re treating landing pages like content mapping, aligning unique pages with each different offer, segment, or audience, within each stage. You have SKAGS or other tightly-controlled ad groups.

The next step is to align messaging for each page to (1) who’s visiting, (2) why they’re visiting, or (3) where they’re visiting from. Why?

Better message match
=
better Quality/Relevance Scores
=
lower Cost Per Leads

That’s where Dynamic Text Replacement comes into play, a handy little off-the-shelf feature in the Unbounce Builder to help you personalize PPC landing page content. It’d be challenging to do this hundreds or even thousands of times, but dynamic text replacement solves this (almost) overnight.

Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR)

Inside the Unbounce Builder, you can highlight a content section, like the headline. Head over to the “Properties” tab, and click on “Dynamic Text Replacement.”

Next, you can set the parameter and default text to show visitors as a backup plan. It’s all pretty straightforward.

Dynamic Text Replacement

And we’re still just scratching the surface here.

ShipBob is making a killing by optimizing message match across all campaigns. Chief Marketing Officer, Casey Armstrong, reported that they’ve been able to scale their ad spend over 60% quarter-over-quarter while keeping ROI the same:

At ShipBob, we hyper-focus on customization from ad to landing page to on-boarding experience. We’re launching some exciting new on-boarding elements shortly, so today we can focus on the ad-to-landing page experience. We use Unbounce and run a script to create dynamic header and copy changes throughout the page. We mirror our ad campaigns and ad groups to each landing page, as we run over 1,000 campaigns and over 100,000 groups.

So, for example, you Google “Shopify Order Fulfillment” and see this exact-match ad:

You click it, and then land on a page that exclusively focuses on “Shopify order fulfillment”:

ShipBob landing page

EDITOR’S NOTE. Dynamic Text Replacement can greatly simplify the steps involved in ensuring message match. You can read more about how DTR works in Unbounce here.

Google Ads IF Functions

Google Ads IF functions are another game changer for message match because now you can pair it with DTR to customize ad and page, automatically.

For example, you can use RLSA audiences or even device type to customize ad text on the fly, even going so far as to change the offer for each. Take this example from Samantha Drane of CPC Strategy:

The way we use our mobile device is different than the way we search on desktop. Mobile is more ‘in the moment’–maybe you’re going somewhere or looking for something near you, but desktop is considered more of a research tool.

Here’s how it works out:

Comparing AdWords and Google Search

Targeted Templates

You can create page templates for each segment, too. So that in addition to copy, other page elements can be customized, like an attorney-looking dude that pops up when you search for “attorneys”:

While a doctor-looking dude comes up for “doctors”:

(Note: These examples are both dudes because the targeting was primarily dude-specific.)

In fact, laser-targeting each landing page like this to every single keyword you’re bidding on might be the lowest-of-low-hanging-PPC fruit. Obsessive message match in this last example decreased cost per converted click from $482.41 to $147.65 while increasing the conversion rate from 4.08% to 12.76%.

Before:

Cost before messaging match

After:

Cost after message match

Multiply those cost changes against a $30,000/month budget (which this was), and you’re talking about hundreds of more leads for tens of thousands less.

3. Offer Messaging

Google Ads can trick you.

Nowhere else can you get sales-ready leads with such precision and accuracy. No other platform—online or off—delivers people to your door with wallet in hand.

That’s why the same old boring “Free Quote” landing page works OK on Google Ads but absolutely bombs on pretty much every other channel out there. Don’t fall for that trap.

The final ingredient separating double-digit landing pages from sub 1-2% is amplifying the offers you’re using to draw people near (three billion in ad spend analyzed can’t be wrong.)

It’s about moving away from a direct hard sale:

Hard sale: "Request Disability Insurance Quotes"

To one that focuses on the end result that your customers receive:

Focus on end results: "Protect your income."
Except, how do you balance message match (who they are, where they’re coming from, etc.) with more persuasive copy that gets them to convert?

Luckily, Joanna Wiebe’s got the trick to balancing the two with her 10/90 messaging hierarchy layout:

Joanna Wiebe's 10/90 Messaging Hierarchy

10% message matching, 90% convincing (image via Copy Hackers)

Customize the top ten percent for message match, and the bottom 90 percent for persuasion.

EDITOR’S NOTE. Read more about the message hierarchy here. And pick up your free copy of Joanna’s Conversion Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Copywriting.

Trimming your word count

When you’re trying to be persuasive, it’s easy to forget that you still need to be as concise as possible. The Conversion Benchmark Report states that pages with fewer words (less than 100) convert 50% better.

So how can you possibly persuade, while ruthlessly cutting word count?

Wistia recommends split testing with video placements: “Put your video to the test by making two different versions of the page and seeing which one drives more conversions, the one with or without the video,” according to Venngage’s guide on lead gen. Then you can even split test different types of videos or demos.

Split testing pages, not necessarily A/B testing, is a recurring theme. For instance, you can split test different types of offers for the same campaign. No matter if it’s a quote request, free assessment, webinar, or interactive calculator, like the one we created for Podia:

For Directive Consulting, on the other hand, software demo videos work really. They’ll often do on-demand or evergreen ones (as opposed to scheduled ones), so prospects can view the video at their own convenience. Here’s a perfect example:

Software Demo Videos

Extras like this help a lot in a competitive environment, like Google Ads or Capterra, where the same person might click on the first ten companies to compare them all within a few minutes.

“Convenience can provide a big lift,” says Brady.

Brady focuses next on ad copy, but not just for message match in this case. Page elements, like teaser bullets, quickly summarize the main outcomes and benefits (not features) a prospect might get.

This is also one of the most common mistakes he sees on most B2B landing pages.

It’s so important to get that outside perspective. There’s a poison in many B2B companies, where everyone uses their own language around the office. They all understand it. But nobody (outside of the company) knows what they’re saying when they bring it to the web.

So not this:

🤔

But that:

Coconstruct

🤗

Device targeting

Last but not least, device targeting can make or break your campaign’s offer messaging.

Landing pages need to be treated differently if they’re on mobile versus desktop. One time, a Directive client had their form below the fold on mobile devices. The page was responsive, but the mobile layout wasn’t ideal, forcing the form out of sight and out of mind:

The solution was obvious: “We swapped [the form] to the top and conversions went through the roof.”

And Brady also decided to segment paid campaigns only for mobile or desktop. Not both: “Mobile traffic was sharing and clicking, which is good. But they weren’t staying very long, consuming it, or opting-in.”

Users exhibit different behavior on mobile versus desktop. Brand awareness campaigns or content promotion might work well on social, but lead gen campaigns are often better reserved for desktop. We’ve confirmed this across several promoted content tests on Facebook.

My company spent $984.69 on one content campaign and found that the three primarily-mobile placements (Audience Network, Messenger, and Instagram) significantly outperformed desktop and right column placements for top-of-the-funnel traffic.

Top-of-Funnel Traffic

In this case, it makes no sense to continue spending anything on desktop placements. You might as well drive as many cheap clicks as possible, so you can later retarget them with better offers on desktop when there’s a better chance they’ll convert.

Here’s how the math breaks down after shifting more ad budget to the mobile-based placements:

That’s nearly 2,000% more clicks for the same spend. And we were able to repeat this trend again and again and again.

2000% more clicks

So the campaign success wasn’t just indicative of a single headline or button or any other variable on your PPC landing pages.

Rather, we learned that campaign success more often comes from aligning everything from the funnel segmentation, with message match, and offer messaging across each placement.

Conclusion

Button color has basically zero impact on your PPC campaign performance. Yes, landing pages should have certain elements. Yes, they should be convincing and professional.

But what separates a >10%+ converting landing pages from a <2% one isn’t just what’s on the page.

  • It has to do with your funnel segmentation and how you’re delivering offers to people on different platforms and different times.
  • It has to do with message match at scale so that each combination of ad and landing page aligns perfectly.
  • And it has to do with how you’re testing page offers to better match what people want.

So while ‘best practices’ are a good starting place, true landing page success doesn’t come down to any single variable but how all of these puzzle pieces fit together in the end.

Looking to boost your PPC ad results even further?Original Article

Increase Your Landing Page Speed (By Stealing Our Homework)

Increase Landing Page Speed

If you’ve read Unbounce’s 2019 Page Speed Report (and you really should), then you already know why speed is so important this year. Slow-loading landing pages have always been an obstacle to higher conversions, and now Google is punishing poor mobile load times in its search rankings. To be successful in 2019, we—marketers—need to be thinking fast. But are we?

To find out, we polled almost 400 marketers on their attitudes around page speed and asked what (if anything) they were doing to get faster.

Unbounce 2019 Page Speed Report - Graph 1

Just 56% of marketers are happy with their mobile load times, according to the 2019 Page Speed Report.

Almost three of every four respondents said they had taken steps to improve their page speeds over the last year, and that’s pretty good. Alarmingly, though, only half of marketers we surveyed are satisfied with their load times on mobile.

So most marketers are trying to get faster, but many aren’t where they want to be. Which begs the question: what are people doing to speed up their landing page load times?

Computer, enhance!
Unbounce 2019 Page Speed Report - Graph 2

Only 39% of marketers have bothered to find out how fast their pages are actually loading. Not great.

Here, we start to see why marketers are somewhat pessimistic about their page speed progress. Just over half have optimized their landing page images—ostensibly one of the simplest ways to speed up your load times—and even fewer have done any of the real technical-sounding things they need to get faster. (I mean, fair, they sound pretty boring to us, too.)

Here’s a doozy, though: just one in three marketers have run a website speed test to find out whether their load times are impacting their conversions. That’s the easiest one!

And hey, we get it. Marketers are being asked to do more than ever before, often with fewer resources. If you’re a small team (or a single person, the smallest of the teams), you might feel you don’t have the time or expertise to meaningfully improve your page speed.

But I’ve gone and done the hard work for you—me, a film school graduate who, until recently, believed that his Apple computer was impervious to viruses. (Hoo boy, it is not.) I’ve spent hours talking to Unbounce developers, reading how-to guides, and generally just bombarding my brain with the most dull, technical page speed information I could get ahold of. (Apologies to said developers.) And if I can get my head around it, there’s no excuse for the rest of you.

Below, I’ve simplified some of the most effective ways to increase your landing page loading times in a guide. For each fix, I’ve indicated the technical difficulty and the estimated time it’ll take, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself in to. Use the table of contents below to jump to what’s relevant to you, or go ahead and do it all in order.

Jump to a Landing Page Speed Fix

How to Check Your Landing Page Speed

Improve Your Landing Page Speed: Easy Fixes

Improve Your Landing Page Speed: Intermediate Fixes

Improve Your Landing Page Speed: Hard Fixes

Ready to boost your page speed?

Get Unbounce’s landing page speed checklist and follow our step-by-step guide to improve your load times in a single afternoon.

Final note: If you’ve built your page with Unbounce, you can skip a lot of this stuff—we make many speed fixes on the back-end automatically. In this post, look for the ‘Building Pages in Unbounce?‘ callout boxes to see if a given fix is something you need to implement.

Look for these callout boxes throughout this post to get Unbounce-specific tips and learn how we automatically optimize your landing pages to make them load super fast.

How to Check Your Landing Page Speed

First things first.

Before you throw on your hard hat and start hitting things with a hammer (both figuratively and literally), it’s important to have some idea of what’s working—and what’s not—on your landing page. That means running a speed audit.

It’s important to point out that, regardless of which speed test you use, you don’t want to get too hung up on your score. Achieving a perfect score is not always technically possible (and it might not even be desirable). Instead, use your results as a general guideline to improve page speed and implement the fixes that make sense for you.

Okay—let’s test them pages.

Run a Google Speed Test

Difficulty: Easy / Estimated Time: 5 Minutes

There are a bunch of great tools for testing your page speed, but why not start with the big dog itself? Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an awesome way to do a quick performance check-up with at-a-glance recommendations. (Ryan Engley, Unbounce’s VP of Product Marketing, explains how to interpret and act on your PageSpeed Insights results in this must-read blog post.) Then there’s Lighthouse, a newer tool from Google that provides a comprehensive analysis of your how your page presents to end users.

You’ll also want to run your page through Google’s Test My Site tool, which will check your speed from a mobile perspective.

Google PageSpeed Insights - Results

Clicking on individual results in PageSpeed Insights will reveal your problematic page elements.

Running a Google speed test should only take a couple of minutes, and the results will help you identify some of the top opportunities to boost your landing page load times.

Try the Unbounce Landing Page Analyzer

Difficulty: Easy / Estimated Time: 5 Minutes

Running a speed test with Google should be your top priority, but PageSpeed Insights doesn’t give results tailored to landing pages. For that, you’ll want to run your page through the Unbounce Landing Page Analyzer, which not only provides feedback on page performance but includes a bunch of advice on creating more effective campaigns and kicking your conversions into overdrive.

Unbounce Landing Page Analyzer - Results

Unbounce’s Landing Page Analyzer provides feedback on page speed, but also actionable advice on things like SEO, message match, and mobile-friendliness.
Building Pages in Unbounce? Then you’ll definitely want to give our Landing Page Analyzer a shot. Get best-practice recommendations for conversion optimization and see how your landing pages stack up against others in your industry.

Increase Landing Page Speed - Easy Fixes

Improve Your Landing Page Speed: Easy Fixes

With your results from both Google and Unbounce, you’ll be well-equipped to move onto the actual work of making your page perform better. It’s time to pick up that hammer.

These fixes should be simple enough for anyone to tackle, regardless of their technical expertise.

Reduce Your Page Content

Difficulty: Easy / Estimated Time: 15 Minutes

We’ve marked this as an easy opportunity to increase your page speed, but it probably won’t feel like that when you start thinking about which elements on your page you can junk. Marketers love big hero shots, beautiful supporting imagery, and fun, animated explainer videos. But how much of that content is actually helping you drive conversions?

Visual content accounts for a huge portion of the size of an average web page—images account for over 20% of web page weight, as pointed out by Kinsta—and each element creates an HTTP request. That’s when your visitor’s browser pings your web server to request the files that make up the elements of your page. Too many calls can be a serious drag on your load time, so one of the simplest ways to improve your page speed is cutting down the number of elements you include.

Look at each piece of content on your page critically, then ask yourself: “Does this spark joy?” “Does this increase conversions?” If you don’t think there are pieces you can toss, try running an A/B test with a slimmed-down version of the page. The results might surprise you.

Bottom line: stick to the fundamentals of good landing page design and try to keep the number of elements (and thus HTTP requests) to a minimum.

Building Pages in Unbounce? We recommend that you keep things pretty lean, but we’d never remove content from your landing page. (Must resist… desire… to do best practices…) This is one optimization that you’ll have to tackle on your own.

Optimize Your Images

Difficulty: Easy / Estimated Time: 30 Minutes

Once you’ve trimmed some elements from your page, you’ll want to optimize the content that made the cut. Poor image optimization is the most common reason for slow page loads, especially for mobile visitors. Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest issues to fix.

These are some quick tips for shrinking your images and improving your page speed. The goal here should be getting images at least under 800kb, but the smaller we can make them, the better.

Resize your images

It’s easy to chuck a larger image onto your page and rely on your content management system (CMS) to compress it to the appropriate size, but it’ll still be loading at least some of those extra pixels on the back end, and your visitors are going to feel it in the load. When you add an image, make sure it’s the same dimensions that your page will be rendering it.*

*This doesn’t necessarily apply to Unbounce’s retina image support—read up on that here.

Choose the right file type

Most people don’t think too much about the format of the image they’re uploading, but it can have a dramatic effect on page performance. The file types you’re probably most familiar with are JPEG and PNG—and, yes, there are differences.

JPEG is a ‘lossy’ format, which means it’ll lose some data during compression. That typically gives you a smaller file, but it can come at the expense of visual fidelity. Generally, images with significant color variation (say, photographs) perform better as JPEGs, and any dip in quality can usually go undetected.

PNG is ‘lossless,’ so the image’s appearance won’t change when resized, but it tends to make for larger files if there’s significant color variation. PNG is ideal for simple images with defined shapes, like those with text. Saving PNGs in 8-bit (rather than 24-bit, which has a broader color palette) can help shave off some extra bites.

Here are some optimization tips for JPEG and PNG (and GIF, that villain) from Google itself.

Use compression tools

Before your weigh-in, it’s good to run images through a final round of compression. There are plenty of image compression tools on WordPress, as well as some free, standalone ones like TinyPNG. These shrinky gizmos offer a simple way to cut down your image sizes without braving the cursed labyrinth that is Adobe’s export settings. (Hey, I’m a words guy.)

Your takeaways here are:

  1. Ensure your image dimensions match how they’ll actually be displayed
  2. Use JPEG when a slight dip in visual fidelity isn’t the end of the world (like photography), but PNG when it is (images with text and sharp lines)
  3. Compress images to keep the file size as tiny as possible

If you want to take a deeper dive into image optimization, we recommend that you check out this post from Search Engine Land, which goes into detail on making images smaller while keeping them beautiful.

Building Pages in Unbounce? We’ve got you covered. Unbounce’s Auto Image Optimizer shrinks your images as soon as they’re uploaded so you can focus on making the best landing page possible.

Host Your Videos Elsewhere

Difficulty: Easy / Estimated Time: 30 Minutes

Why carry something yourself when you can make someone else carry it for you? That’s my motto for landing pages and life, and it’s why I’m no longer welcome on Unbounce’s company hiking trips.

Hosting videos on your own domain can be great for SEO purposes, but that’s not usually our goal with landing pages. We want everything to load in a flash and give our visitors the best chance to convert. Depending on your hosting solution, though, your videos might be slowing down your page speed, suffering from playback issues, and taking up an uncomfortable amount of server space.

Done properly, transferring videos to a third-party platform can shed some extra load time and help your pages render faster. Consider moving video content to Wistia, YouTube, or Vimeo, then using a light embed technique so that your videos only load heavier playback elements when your visitors actually click on them.

Building Pages in Unbounce? As a disclaimer: Using light embed codes with Unbounce (or any custom code, for that matter) will require some technical knowledge to implement and could, in rare cases, cause issues. Check out this Unbounce community post for more information.

Audit Your Hosting Solution

Difficulty: Easy / Estimated Time: 30 Minutes

Loading speed isn’t just determined by what’s on your landing page. Your web host also has a major influence in how quickly your page rolls out to potential customers.

There are three common models for web hosting:

  • Shared hosting
    Generally the most affordable solution, shared hosting is when your website is hosted alongside other sites on a single web server. Everyone draws from common resources (like storage space and processing power), which means—you guessed it—you need to share.
  • Virtual private server (VPS) hosting
    This is essentially a mix of both shared and dedicated hosting. With VPS, your website still shares server space with others, but you’ll have dedicated resources that no one else can dip into. The result is more power and flexibility, but it tends to come with a higher price tag.
  • Dedicated hosting
    For those who’ve had a traumatic roommate experience (who hasn’t?), dedicated hosting means your website has the server all to itself. More resources, no sharing. That’s great if you’re heavy on digital content and get a ton of traffic, but dedicated hosting is also the most expensive option and requires the technical know-how to set up and maintain your server.

Low-volume websites can generally get by with the cost-effective shared solution, but once your traffic starts to rise, you might not be getting enough juice from your web host to deliver content quickly—and that’s when load times start to suffer. (Give this post from Search Engine Journal a read for a more comprehensive explanation.)

It’s also important to note that the whereabouts of your web server can have a significant impact on your page speed. If you’re not using a content delivery network (CDN; more on this below), you’ll want to make sure that traffic from foreign countries isn’t encountering too much latency.

Think your hosting solution might be impacting your page speed? Run your site through a server speed test like this one from Bitcatcha, and use WebPageTest or Pingdom to see how your quickly your landing page loads in other countries. Depending on the results, you might decide it’s time to upgrade your hosting plan (or change web hosts altogether).

Building Pages in Unbounce? You don’t have to worry about this one—Unbounce’s global hosting solution boasts 99.95% uptime and ensures that your landing pages always have the necessary resources to load super fast.

Implement a CDN

Difficulty: Easy / Estimated Time: 30 Minutes

When your landing page gets a visitor, their web browser pings your server to get the content necessary to build out the page. Simple, right? Everyone downloads your website information from the same place, regardless of their location around the world. Well, that’s usually fine if the visitor is in or close to the country that your web server is located, but when they’re halfway around the globe, chances are they’re going to encounter some latency.

To avoid that, you should look into deploying a CDN, which caches your website across a network of data centers and proxy servers all over the planet. Say your own server is in the United States and someone from Lithuania is trying to visit your landing page. Instead of downloading your content from across the Atlantic, that visitor can pull a cached version from a server nearby.

Setting your website up with a CDN is pretty straightforward and—depending on your traffic—generally affordable. Here’s a list of some popular CDN providers from Mashable.

Building Pages in Unbounce? We’ve got five global data centers supporting the Unbounce CDN, which means your landing pages will load in a flash regardless of where they’re being accessed from.

Increase Landing Page Speed - Intermediate Fixes

Improve Your Landing Page Speed: Intermediate Fixes

These next speed fixes are a little trickier, but they should be manageable for marketers with a little technical know-how. Still, a mistake here could mean actual damage to your landing page.

Our recommendation? Do some research, make a backup, and—if you can—consult briefly with a developer on your team. It never hurts to have an experienced colleague to turn to if you get in over your head.

Building Pages in Unbounce? We talk a lot about WordPress through this next section. If you’re using our plugin to publish Unbounce landing pages to a WordPress domain, some of these recommended speed fixes can actually cause technical issues. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for clarification if you’re ever unsure.

Minify HTML, CSS, and JS

Difficulty: Intermediate / Estimated Time: 15 Minutes

All those lines of HTML, CSS, and JS code that make up your landing page? They’re packed with spaces, line breaks, and other bits of formatting that make it more legible and easier for us to interpret, but each makes your load time just an eensy bit slower—and the web browsers your visitors are using to render your page don’t particularly need them.

With minification, the goal is to cut out all of that extra junk and condense your code so that browsers can read it faster. Here’s an example snippet of Javascript code from Wikipedia:

var array = [];
for (var i = 0; i < 20; i++) {
array[i] = i;
}

After minifying, that code would look something like this:

for(var a=[i=0];++i<20;a[i]=i);

There are plenty of free online tools that will do this for your landing page, like Minify Code, as well as a bunch of WordPress plugins. Be sure to check out this post from Elegant Themes, which is an awesome resource that dives into the many options at your disposal.

Building Pages in Unbounce? Do we minify? We practically invented minifying. (Editor’s note: We did not.) Unbounce compresses all of your code automatically, making your landing page as slim as can be. No coding your pages from scratch and no minifying that code in the background? We’re making this too easy for you.

Enable Browser Caching

Difficulty: Intermediate / Estimated Time: 15 Minutes

The goal with any landing page should be getting prospects to convert the first time they visit, but the reality is that not everyone will. Sometimes, visitors will need some time to think about it: they’ll bounce, do more research, check out some competitors, then come back to your original offer. Browser caching ensures that when they return, your page will load even faster—and that’ll make them more likely to convert.

Not sure if you’ve already got caching enabled? Before you start, run a quick caching check using a tool like this one from GiftOfSpeed.

If your site is built on WordPress, enabling caching is as easy as adding a plugin.* (WordPress is almost too easy, huh?) Check out this list of caching plugins, most of which include quick instructions for getting set up.

*If you’re publishing Unbounce pages to a WordPress domain, these caching recommendations could create big problems. Check with us first.

For those not on WordPress, enabling browser caching on your own is pretty simple if you’re willing to get your hands dirty. For example, on Apache web servers, it comes down to inserting a little bit of code into the .htaccess file on your web host or server:
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
</IfModule>

This article from Varvy provides a great how-to, as does this one from WinningWP (which discusses enabling browser caching from a WordPress perspective but is applicable more broadly).

If all of this makes you nervous, there’s likely a simpler method for you to set up browser caching. Most web hosts will enable caching for you if you ask. Depending on your hosting solution, it might be as easy as making a phone call. (Although, now that I think about it, that might be more daunting for some of us.)

Building Pages in Unbounce? Seven-day browser caching is enabled on all Unbounce-built landing pages, so this is a speed fix you can comfortably skip. Maybe use this free time to treat yourself to some self-care? You’ve earned it.

Set Up GZIP Compression

Difficulty: Intermediate / Estimated Time: 15 Minutes

When a visitor reaches your landing page, their browser pings your web server to request the files that make up the page and the server transmits them back. Naturally, that process moves faster if the information being sent is compressed to be as small as possible. Here’s where GZIP compression comes in.

(You’ll want to check to see if GZIP compression is already enabled before you get started.)

As with browser caching, the difficulty of setting up GZIP compression is going to be determined by how your website was built. If you use WordPress, you’re in luck: many WordPress plugins will enable GZIP compression for you almost automatically. If you don’t use WordPress, well, we’re headed back into your server.

This article from GTmetrix provides a quick overview of the importance of GZIP compression and how to enable it. With Apache web servers, you’ll need to add this chunk of code to your .htaccess file.
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
# Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent
</IfModule>

And again, if this is beyond your comfort zone, your web host will probably help you set up GZIP compression if you ask nicely.

Building Pages in Unbounce? You don’t have to ask us nicely, because we’ve already done it. All Unbounce landing pages are automatically compressed during data transfer. (But be nice to us anyway, alright?)

Kill Needless Scripts and Plugins

Difficulty: Intermediate / Estimated Time: 30 Minutes

WordPress is wonderful in its simplicity. As we’ve seen throughout this article, page speed fixes that might require a front-end developer on a static website can often be achieved by simply installing a WordPress plugin. Want to enable browser caching? Boom, W3 Total Cache.* Need to minify your scripts? Pow, Autoptomize.* Developer, shmeveloper.

But because it’s so easy to add functionality through plugins, WordPress websites have a habit of collecting a lot of them—along with all the of the bits and bites of code that make them work. Those add up.

Take a look at the scripts and plugins you’ve added to your website and decide whether they’re essential to your visitor experience. If they’re not, junking them could help cut some extra seconds off of your load time. (And guess what? There’s a plugin for that.) You can also disable plugins one at a time, then retest your page speed to determine which ones are problematic.

*If you’re publishing Unbounce pages to a WordPress domain, these plugins in particular might start a fire.

Building Pages in Unbounce? This is more of WordPress fix, but it also applies to Unbounce customers that have inserted a bunch of custom scripts onto their landing pages. Learn how the Unbounce Script Manager helps you keep things tidy.

Convert Images to Sprites

Difficulty: Intermediate / Estimated Time: 30 Minutes

If your landing page includes a series of similar-sized images (say, for a client logo bar), you can shorten your load time by combining them into an image sprite, then use CSS to display specific chunks of that sprite at a time. This post from WebFX provides a great step-by-step guide for creating CSS sprites.

Joining smaller images into a larger file might seem counterintuitive, but again, the idea here is to reduce the number of HTTP requests on your page and ultimately make it faster. Each individual image requires its own call—combining images into a single CSS sprite means your page only needs to make one.

Building Pages in Unbounce? We don’t build CSS sprites for you, but you can certainly use them on your Unbounce-built landing pages. Check out our documentation on custom JS and CSS with Unbounce.

Increase Landing Page Speed - Hard Fixes

Improve Your Landing Page Speed: Hard Fixes

We’re into the scary stuff now.

These are fixes you should absolutely not attempt unless you know what you’re doing or you’ve consulted extensively with a front-end developer. (We even had one of the Unbounce devs fact-check this article, and we’ve never felt smaller.) Proceed with caution.

Remove Render-Blocking JS and CSS

Difficulty: Hard / Estimated Time: 45 Minutes

Those CSS and JS scripts that make your landing page beautiful and enable cool, dynamic functionality? They could be one of the major reasons that your page is loading so slowly. (Bad news for my flashing, neon visitor counter.)

When a web browser runs into CSS or JS in the head of your document, it’ll wait to download and process that content before continuing to render your page’s HTML. That might sound like a good thing from a user experience perspective—after all, we want people to see our landing page as it was intended—but it actually means that visitors can be left waiting on a blank screen while everything loads in the background.

To avoid this, we need to implement techniques for preventing render-blocking CSS and JS on our landing page. (Refer back to your Google PageSpeed Insights results to check if any scripts are slowing down your page load.)

Google PageSpeed Insights - Render-Blocking

Reduce render-blocking CSS

There are a couple of ways that we can neutralize render-blocking CSS. One option is to defer all CSS until after the HTML has loaded. That’ll certainly improve page speed, but it will also present non-styled content when the visitor first reaches our page. Not ideal.

The other, more preferable option is to defer most style rules until the HTML has been rendered, but inline the CSS necessary to correctly display content above the fold within the HTML. That way, visitors will see the properly-styled content as soon as they hit the page while the rest will load out of view. Pretty sneaky. This is a great tutorial using a real-life example from codeburst.io.

Another page speed opportunity for you here is combining your CSS files. By moving your style rules from several files to just one (or maybe two, tops), you can reduce the number of times that visitors need to ping your web server and improve your landing page load time. Here’s a good resource from GiftOfSpeed on combining and compressing you CSS scripts.

Eliminate render-blocking JS

Like CSS, JS scripts can prevent your landing page from rendering as quickly as you might like. We can avoid that by deploying the defer and async attributes. The former tells the browser to wait until your HTML is rendered before it begins pulling in JS scripts, while the latter asks that JS be downloaded simultaneously without interrupting the HTML download.

An important note is that not all JS scripts are equal: some are critical to the rendering of your page and need to be addressed right out of the gate, so they’ll have to stay at the top. Dareboost does a good job of explaining how to distinguish between critical and non-critical JS, as well as how to implement deferred and asynchronous loading.

Building Pages in Unbounce? Unbounce optimizes for most Google PageSpeed Insights recommendations, including the removal of render-blocking elements. That means you can skip this one.

Start Hand-Coding with AMP

Difficulty: Very Hard / Estimated Time: ∞ Hours

Alright, “∞ hours” is an overstatement, but implementing AMP is no small task. Developed by Google, the AMP project is an entirely new framework with which to build your web pages. The goal? Dramatically improve page speed, especially for mobile users.

AMP is made up of three core components: AMP HTML, AMP JS, and AMP Cache. That means you’ll need to learn new markup, as well as understand the framework well enough to get your landing pages validated and make sure they actually work.

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of building with AMP here, but the AMP website has a bunch of resources (including tutorials) to help you get started.

Building Pages in Unbounce? No hand-coding AMP pages for you—Unbounce makes it easy to drag and drop together AMP experiences. Choose one of our AMP-optimized templates, load your content, get validated, and start publishing lightning-fast landing pages right away.

Improving your landing page speed can sound intimidating, but even small tweaks will make a big difference for your load times. Tackle the easy stuff first, then move onto more challenging fixes as you get comfortable. And above all, keep testing: seeing your improved speed results after each undertaking will give you the confidence and motivation to move forward.

Or, you know, just build with Unbounce. We automatically handle most of the speed fixes listed (or at least makes them super easy), which saves a ton of time. That means you can focus on what matters: getting more conversions and improving ROI.

Want to get faster? Here’s some more awesome Unbounce content that speaks to the importance of page speed and provides actionable strategies for how to address it:

  1. What page speed means for your conversion and bounce rates: 7 Page Speed Stats Every Marketer Should Know
  2. Why AMP is so important (and how to start using it): Get Near-Instant Mobile Loads with AMP Landing Pages
  3. How page speed became one of the biggest opportunities for marketers: 2019 Is the Year of Page Speed

Original Article