Landing pages are critical to the success of search marketing and advertising
campaigns. To ensure that the destination where consumers end up post-click presents
the best opportunity for conversion, let's review three current landing page
When you want to analyze what works best in landing page design, start with
the most competitive terms. The keyword in focus for this review (and, of course,
the landing pages that result) was "Tax Preparation" - the logic for that choice
was the expected upcoming search volume for that keyword (see chart below).
landing pages were reviewed for the similarities/differences that the design
concepts had in common. The sites used for this review (listed below) are in no
particular order and were pulled from Google and Bing results.
There are three key trends that revealed themselves by comparing the
landing pages - the presence of cost information, the presence of varying levels
of trust signals and the presence of supporting navigation.
You might end up
applying some of the techniques you see below on your own site, but before
settling on one remember that testing is the only sure-fire way to ensure that
the right elements are available to convert your specific audience of consumers
Google Trends Graph for "Tax Preparation" Keyword over the past year:
Editors Note: While we did encounter a few affiliate
marketing landing pages in the paid returns (we're looking at you, H&R Block
affiliates), the guidance in this article relates primarily to those businesses
ultimately responsible for the quality of a landing page design.
Trend One: Prominence of Cost-Related Information
While many might try to dissuade decision makers from including cost-related
details (pricing, setup costs, registration fees, etc.), there have been studies
showing that displaying this information is an effective strategy. Should
the industry in which you are promoting products and services be price-sensitive,
where consumers frequently look for bargains (more common for lower-priced
products/services - e.g. useful in the tax preparation example but not so much
for those selling grand pianos), the presence of cost-related information is
common. Of our sample group, only one of the six (H&R Block) did not use the
actual word "free" or refer to the cost in some manner within their primary
headline. To determine if displaying cost-related information is a feasible
strategy, as well as the prominence of that information, you must consider
engaging in A/B or multivariate testing.
Trend Two: Presence of Level 1, 2 and 3 Trust Signals
When it comes to something as important as the sensitivity of personal and
financial information, you can be sure that consumers are seeking out indicators
of trust. How that trust is currently being conveyed, at least based on the
sites we reviewed, is quite interesting today. While the inclusion of icons from
more prominent services like Verisign or Truste (level 1 trust signals) are
common among larger enterprises, there is an opportunity for both extending the
number and type of trust signals. For example, three of the six landing
pages reviewed had social icons (level two) on their landing pages, as social graph depth and activity are now a good indicator of how much an
enterprise is trusted by its community. Level three trust signals including
displaying guarantees and providing proof statements (for example, "over one
million served") or even more visible customer support elements are common among
the landing page designs we encountered.
Trend Three: Presence of Supporting Navigation
While not unique to this finance/banking niche, another important trend is a
shift from the minimalist approach of quickly funneling the user towards a
particular path. We noted back in the summer of 2009 that providing users with a
limited number of possible paths was a common trend among those sites in the
ringtone niche that we reviewed. While in a very different industry, the "tax
preparation" category is equally competitive, providing a good point of
comparison. Should you be faced with a decision to produce a stripped down
minimalist landing page or one which provides many different paths towards the
information users need, know that the presence of supporting navigation on
landing pages is common.
In the end, the key takeaway might just be that there is a small shift occurring in landing page design. Previously, it was common to opt for a more abbreviated, "less is more" approach. Now, it seems that landing page designers and search marketers are moving back towards providing a more complete, traditional experience.
What trends in landing page design have you seen recently? Share with other WM readers by commenting below.
The landing pages reviewed for this article are below and include
TurboTax, H&R Block, Past Year Tax, Tax Act, Liberty Tax and Tax Brain.