Rick O’Neill discusses the best practices and tools that will help yield more enquiries from your landing page visitors.
Since the launch of the World Wide Web, businesses have sought to drive people to their landing pages in order to sell their wares, from books, to widgets, to vacuum cleaners. In Medical Aesthetics, we have an even tougher job to do with our landing pages, to communicate education, credibility, qualifications, social proof, and of course – the treatments and services we offer, all with a view to giving the patient the confidence to book that first consultation. All of this in an increasingly competitive market, where patients have an almost overwhelming choice when it comes to choosing a clinician.
In this article, I will lay out some of the fundamental principles of a strong landing page, as well methods for testing and optimising them that have worked well for my clients in the Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetics sector over the past 10 years. I hope this serves as a useful guide for you as you work with your agency to improve results from your digital marketing efforts.
What is a ‘Landing Page’?
Let’s start at the beginning. A landing page is a web page specifically designed to convert visitors into leads or customers. Typically, a landing page is created for a specific audience or campaign. It might be the destination for a Facebook ad or the search result for a high-traffic keyword, for example.
Any page on your website can technically be a landing page if people tend to “land” on it from certain searches on Google, but a dedicated landing page typically converts at a higher percentage, has no navigation to the rest of the site, contains one focused offer or topic, and is ideal for paid ads on Google or Facebook, or targeted email campaigns.
Landing Page Best Practice
As with all things in digital marketing, genuine success comes from continual trial and error, but as we enter the world wide web’s 25th year, there are thankfully some research-based best practices for landing page design that have been shown to increase the rate at which they convert a visitor into an enquiry.
I’ll split out these best practices into three distinct types:
- Design, content & layout
- Technical performance
- User experience
Design, Content & Layout
Let’s start with the message. The message of your landing page needs to match the expectations of the visitor. Match the headlines and copy to that of the email campaign or social media advert. This ensures the visitor immediately recognises that this is what they came here for, and will read on. If the message differs from the ad or email they came from, it can feel disjointed and less relevant and lead to them leaving the page prematurely.
Next consider your “call to action” (CTA). This needs to be clear, simple, and designed in a way that contrasts to all other elements to draw the visitors eye to it over all other page content. In fact, over 90% [i]of visitors to landing pages that read the headline, also read the CTA. In addition, think very carefully about the wording of your CTA. For example, research has shown that using the word “submit” on a form can decrease conversion rates by 3%[ii], so get creative with your copy here and consider alternatives like “secure your consultation now”, or “get started” and monitor the results.
Use emotionally-driven “social proof” that connects to the condition you’re treating or the service you’re offering. Social proof can include patient testimonials, case studies, and data, and with 55% of online users [iii]considering customer reviews helpful in their buying decisions, it’s important to utilise this type of content at key points on your landing pages to reassure and educate your potential patients as they consider making an enquiry.
The position of your call to action also matters. But contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean that the CTA should necessarily be placed at the top of your page. In fact, a split test by Content Verve [iv]showed that moving the CTA to the bottom of their landing page contributed to a 304% uplift in conversions. This goes against a lot of the advice you will see online, but the test carried was a compelling one and what it revealed was in fact that visitors that are motivated to take action are typically those that have read more copy and seen more social proof before doing so. So, just as a great consultation will educate your patient to make an informed choice about their treatment, so must your landing page – and that in turn will lead to a greater percentage of your web visitors to convert into an enquiry.
Focus on the conditions you’re treating, the emotional attributes that these evoke, and the benefits of the treatment you’re offering, rather than the technical aspects or the clinical language around the medical device or capital equipment being used. You are talking to a human, with emotions, frustrations, fears and desires on your landing page, just as you do when you consult, so it’s important to reflect this in the copy used to communicate your offer.
Consider the images you use carefully. Landing pages featuring Images of real people are proven to convert at a higher rate[v] than other types of graphics. Furthermore, images without text, and featuring a closer crop of the people shown have also been shown to increase conversion rates[vi].
For the ultimate landing page, you’ll need to consider more than just the content and layout. The technical performance of a landing page can also have a significant impact on it’s performance. Technical performance starts with speed – just a one second delay in load time on a landing page can decrease conversions [vii] by 7%, so ensure that your page has been tested and optimised accordingly to load in the shortest possible time (see later in regard to some of the tools that can help you here).
It may sound obvious, but test, test, and test your forms again. 67% of users [viii]will abandon a form forever if they encounter any complications in submitting it. Sometimes your form may work perfectly in one web browser, but not at all in another. Other times it may work great on a laptop, but fall apart on a mobile. Testing is critical, and you will need to work with your web designer to ensure all forms function on all major browsers and devices.
With the content, layout and technical performance in check, turn your attention to the experience for your visitor. Make their life easier and try to reduce the information you ask for in forms. The average number of form fields is 11, but reducing this to 4 can increase conversion rates by 120%. [ix]As tempting as it may be to try and collect more data in the first contact, it’s more important to get the basics, and you can always follow up for more information at another stage in the onboarding process.
Of course user experience is more than just the forms on the page. Over 55%[x] of all web traffic is now via mobile device, and so your landing pages need to provide a seamless experience on a small screen. In fact, 86%[xi] of the world’s top performing landing pages are mobile optimised.
Once the visitor has taken an action and completed an enquiry form, it’s still important to reassure and engage with them before they leave by including a separate “Thank You” page. Bringing them to a separate thank you page (or a popup) can create new opportunities. It not only lets them know the form has actually been submitted—a step some landing pages forget—it also gives you the opportunity to re-engage them. For instance, you can ask if they want to sign up for your newsletter or visit another part of your website to consume further educational content.
Lastly, if you can service it, Live Chat on a landing page is a great way to give potential patients fast answers to burning questions they may have. In fact, 60%[xii] of consumers will return to a website that offers live chat, according to a study by emarketer.com, and 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offers live chat support. [xiii]
Landing Page Tools
To help with the design and optimisation of your landing pages, there are now a number of impressive tools to make the job easier and more effective. There are tools for building landing pages, and there are tools for testing and optimising them. I would recommend trialling a few to see which serve your needs best, but for page builders consider Unbounce, HubSpot, and InstaPage – all of which offer rapid tools for creating landing pages and deploying them as part of your campaigns.
For testing and optimisation, I would recommend Crazy Egg (which offers heat maps to show where visitors are engaging most on your pages), WordStream (which will grade your pages and offer suggested improvements), and Optimizely (which offers a number of A/B testing tools and optimisation reports).
In summary, landing pages offer you a great opportunity to get results from your social media or email marketing campaigns. But in a competitive market such as medical aesthetics, success will take dedication to creating the very best content, layout, technical performance and user experience you possibly can, to ensure that the highest possible percentage of your visitors turn into enquiries for your practice. Make use of landing page builders and testing tools to make your job easier and create efficiencies in the building of your campaigns.
Good luck with your next social media or email campaign, and I look forward to seeing your landing pages now that you’ve got the ultimate guide to creating them on your desk!
Rick O’Neill, FRSA, is a digital consultant to the medical aesthetics, cosmetic surgery and pharma sectors. With over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing, O’Neill is the founder and owner of the award-winning digital agency ‘Look Touch & Feel’ (known as “LTF”) based at Silverstone Race Circuit, a founding partner of The Aesthetic Entrepreneurs, Digital Consultant to Merz Aesthetics, and investor / advisor to several other digitally-focused businesses.