The best landing pages are single-minded and striking in their simplicity.
So, that means they were quick and easy to design, right?
Think again! To (heavily) paraphrase Mark Twain: “I didn’t have time to design you a simple webpage”.
Achieving striking simplicity takes a great deal of work. To pull it off, a brand needs to drill down to the very core of its offer, and know how to implicitly communicate with carefully chosen words and images.
But even the best brand identities can’t exist in isolation; every landing page needs a little extra, to truly engage, persuade and convert its visitors.
Whilst web design and Behavioural Economics may seem worlds apart, there’s a lot we can learn about how to create impactful landing pages, using BE theory.
In particular, there are three Behavioural Economics concepts I consider to be the most relevant for landing page design: choice overload, decision fatigue and social proof.
Let’s explore each of these in more detail…
Choice overload is a real thing — people respond better to fewer options, so keep it simple
Trust me, I get it: when you’ve got a full product offering, you want to show it off as much as possible.
But if you’ve ever sat paralysed in front of a five-page — double sided! — restaurant menu, trying desperately to narrow down what you want to eat… you’ll know that sometimes there is such as thing as too much choice, or choice overload as it’s called in Behavioural Economics.
And let’s be honest: marketing and advertising is one big exercise in choice overload.
Research suggests that we see upwards of 4,000 marketing messages a day, and with a life lived online, a lot of these will be web pop-ups and present in our social media feeds.
The result? We’re getting increasingly good at separating the wheat from the chaff. In fact, only 8% of Internet users say they pay attention to online ads.
So what does this mean for landing page design?
Three words: Keep. It. Simple.
Your website can be an oasis of calm for the overloaded web reader, if you want it to be.
Sure, this’ll be easier for some businesses than others. If you’re a software provider, with one lead product, your single-minded message is much more apparent than if you’re a food retailer, with thousands of SKUs to shift.
But my point remains the same: if you want to convert a visitor into a customer, striking the right balance between visual interest and visual intensity is key.
Take this example from Fever-Tree. Sure, with an ever expanding product line of (in my opinion!) delicious tasting tonics, their landing page focuses on one killer message: “If 3/4 of your drink is mixer, mix with the best”.
If there’s one slogan I wish I’d written… it’s that one.
Then, once you scroll down, a visitor can browse the full product line — it’s there, if you want it. But, by leaving it until after the scroll, it doesn’t risk overloading. By that time, your visitor has already committed to learning more.
You’ve already piqued their interest… now it’s time to reel them in.
Combat decision fatigue by leading with a benefit
So not only does this mean your landing page had better be persuasive, but it also needs to consider the — potentially delicate and overwhelmed — mental state of visitors by the time they reach it.
Behavioural Economics explains the impact of decision fatigue as: “since choosing can be difficult and requires effort like any other activity, long sessions of decision making can lead to poor choices”.
If you’ve ever spent hours online, flicking between websites, trying to choose which bar is best to book for your upcoming birthday party, you know how much harder the decision-making becomes, the more options you consider. One had a VIP space, another a better gin selection. One’s closer to your home, another more convenient for friends to reach.
What do you do? Normally, you wait until you land upon a website that suddenly simplifies your decision-making process. One that causes emotion to rise above practicality.
Now, I’m not saying that practical detail isn’t important. If your business sells big-ticket feature-laden items — like cars — or even commoditised goods where small features make a big difference — like toothpaste — then you want your website to be able to answer every question a potential buyer will have.
But — and this is crucial — there’s a smart (and not so smart) way of drawing readers in.
The smart way: lead with benefits, not features.
You may be tempted to focus on the technical specifications of your product, and sure, there will be some customers interested in this nitty gritty. But to really promote what your product can do, you need to sell the (emotional) sizzle, not the (practical) sausage.
Trello does this really well on its landing page.
With a broad range of different project management tools available online, Trello’s got stiff competition.
So, by leading with a highly motivating benefit — “work more collaboratively and get more done” — it makes a customer’s decision easy. Trello is the tool to use, if you want to tick things off your to do list.
Compare this to Asana, who offer the same types of features, and you see how important a benefit becomes.
I can’t be the only one left a little cold by Asana’s landing page? “You don’t have to…” just doesn’t work for me. I want to know what I can do, if I use your product.
If I was choosing between Trello and Asana, I know which I’d choose.
Reviews and testimonials provide convincing social proof
It’s no secret that reviews are persuasive selling tools.
So, I’m not going to labour the point.
What I will say, though, that in the mission to simplify and streamline your landing page, don’t clear away necessary clutter, like reviews and testimonials.
A peer review acts as an informational influence, helping us make sense of uncertain situations; if we believe that someone like us likes the product, then we trust we’ll like it too. This called social proof, in BE terms.
If you’re just launching into the market, it’s possible that a testimonial will be more impactful than a product image or benefit-led copy.
Wave – who provides financial software to independent businesses – knew this when they designed the below landing page:
Handling finances can be a scary task when you’re running a small business, unless you’re particularly au fait with number crunching.
So not only does a client testimonial increase a visitor’s trust in the product, Wave also totally nailed it with the phrasing: “I do what I love. Wave does the rest”.
It’s a benefit and social proof, all rolled up in one. Bravo, Wave. Bravo.
There’s so much us marketers can learn from Behavioural Economics, but hopefully these three landing page pointers have you reconsidering what you could do, to engage visitors in just a few seconds of exposure.
And if you’d like to talk more about maximising your landing page design, then drop Scribly a line. We’d love to hear from you.