No two ways about it, the mobile channel has exploded. A recent study declared that, “[m]obile messaging is the most used means of consumer communication ever created — surpassing email traffic by 5x and postal traffic by 300x in 2011” (Source: “Mobile Messaging in North America; A Fresh Look at Current Options for Marketers,” Mobile Marketing Association, 2012).
This assertion is not really surprising, given that a May 2011 Pew Research Center study showed that 83% of Americans own a mobile phone and 35% of American adults own a smartphone. This equates to approximately 109 million American adults checking their email, participating in social networks, and going online — all from a smartphone. That one statistic alone is hard to ignore, and today’s businesses and those who help them market their products and services are responding. The Pew study further maintains that 48% of organizations have a mobile version of their website, 13% integrate mobile with email, and 21% believe that integrating mobile with email is effective.
Even with all of these mobile marketing messages flying around — emails, SMS, MMS, and push notifications — one thing is abundantly clear: success is not measured by the extent of the activity or the activity itself, but by results. And results (in the form of conversions) in mobile marketing come from a clear and direct path.
Enter The Landing Page
Otherwise known as the first page a visitor sees after clicking a link, the main purpose of a landing page is to gain permission for continued marketing interactions. Seth Godin succinctly summarizes the five actions that a landing page may cause a visitor to take.
1. Clicking to another page.
2. Making a purchase, signing up for an event, requesting a piece of content, etc.
3. Permitting the marketer to follow up via an appropriate medium.
4. Sharing (i.e., telling a friend).
5. Learning something more (a bit tougher to measure success in).
The most successful landing pages are those with one clear purpose that stay focused on that purpose. But what happens if you try and combine multiple actions? You risk showing a confusing page that can hurt your conversion rate. The one exception is the fifth action, as it is the easiest action to combine with another.
The last thing you want is for your visitor to feel lost or confused upon arriving at your page. When designing a landing page, everything needs to tie in with the source of your visitors, both in terms of content and visual appearance. This is vital whether visitors arrive at your page as a result of an email message, another page on a website optimized for mobile, search results, SMS, MMS, push notifications, or any other source.
Making The Transition To Mobile
Those a little late to the party that is mobile marketing often wonder if they even need a mobile landing page. As with most of life’s questions, it depends. But some clear indications that it would be sensible to invest in mobile and develop an appropriate landing page include the following scenarios:
- If a considerable amount of your web traffic comes via mobile (whether from search, PPC, or direct), and you see this same traffic filling out forms, etc., on your website.
- If you are using various forms of mobile marketing (e.g., SMS, MMS, and/or push notifications) yourself.
- If email marketing is a core part of your communications mix, and you notice that your emails are being opened using a mobile device.
On the other hand, if your target audience falls into a category where few are likely to be using a mobile device, investing in mobile at this time may not be necessary. It would be more sensible to monitor mobile traffic and demographics and re-assess at a later time.
Determining The Best Approach
Creating mobile landing pages may differ in functionality, but the actual mental approach is really no different than creating a standard landing page. Ultimately, it’s about resisting the temptation to jump straight to design. While it may be fun to brainstorm about the creation of the page, always step back and think about the following three aspects first.
1. Audience — Who is receiving my message? You need to understand the target audience, and from that infer the most likely type of mobile device to prepare for. Ask yourself — what are my target audience’s demographics, and how does they compare to smartphone user demographics?
2. Offer — Where is the audience in considering what I offer for purchase? This is important when identifying and focusing the page on one specific action. Ask yourself — with limited space on a landing page, what will be the most appealing offer and clearest path to attaining it?
3. Creation — How am I connecting with my audience? What is the look, feel, and functionality of the page? Ask yourself — have I created a page which looks like my brand, but simplified? Is the page easy to navigate? Have I optimized for the on-the-go viewer?
When creating for mobile, certain design elements may change, but the process of answering these fundamental questions should always stay the same. Before designing, always think about the who, where, and how.
Down To The Nitty Gritty
The actual creation of a landing page breaks into four areas.
1. Design — When designing for mobile, remember that screen sizes change. For example, the resolution of the iPhone 4 is 320×480 pixels, whereas the Droid RAZR is 540×960 pixels. Understanding your target audience, and the device they are most likely to use, will help you when designing, developing, and testing your landing page. But until you know which smartphones the majority of your audience is using, it’s beneficial to create a reference design that is middle-of-the-road in terms of size, and program with the freedom to adapt into a smaller or larger screen size.
Some additional tips regarding landing page design:
- Size your call-to-action button at about 44 pixels or 0.3 inches, and use the thumb test (i.e., is the button easily clickable with your thumb?).
- Limit the amount of information asked for in your form fields. After five fields, each two additional fields can decrease conversion rates by up to 20%.
- Keep in mind that the optimal mobile headline length is 16–24 characters, and the optimal line length for mobile is less than 50 characters per line.
- Stick to a one column format. When designed as a fluid-width single column, the landing page will expand and contract naturally (eliminating any pesky pinching and squinting which could annoy your visitor). A MarketingSherpa study found that changing to a one column format on a standard landing page increased sales by 40%.
2. Copy — Concentrate on the following three areas regarding landing page copy:
- Headline — The best headlines are brief and address pain points, dramatic differentiators, value-adds, and intense curiosities.
- Copy — Explain the offer and its benefits to the viewer. Keep copy simple, with precise wording. Avoid jargon and over-used words.
- Call to action — Put both an action and benefit in the call to action. For example, if you are planning an event, “Register Me” reminds the visitor what they are doing (registering) and the benefit (attending the event).
3. Personalization — Marketing Sherpa defines personalization as, “[a] targeting method in which a web page or email message appears to have been created only for a single recipient. Personalization techniques include adding the recipient’s name in the subject line or message body, or an offer reflecting purchasing, link clicking, or transaction history.”
Since landing page content can be dynamic, personalization techniques create a better experience for your visitor. Use the information you have — whether it be location, keywords which drove them to your page, clicking from an email, or receiving a direct mail piece with a QR code — to create a personalized and relevant experience by addressing your visitor personally or making recommendations on products they may be interested in.
4. Testing — Testing your landing page to optimize conversions is a must. With any landing page, there are six key areas to keep in mind for testing (in order of importance)
- Page design — How does the information flow?
- Headline — What is the first thing your visitor sees?
- Call to action — What are you asking the visitor to do?
- Offer — What is the catalytic element that interested your visitor in the first place?
- Form fields — What information are you asking for in exchange for your offer? Have you shortened what you would normally ask for, and eliminated any unnecessary typing by having dropdown options?
- Images — If your design allows for images, do they clearly tie to other elements of the page, such as visualizing the offer?
With a mobile landing page, your space is limited. Testing will help you find what works to create the easiest experience for the visitor, and what converts the best for you.
What is the ultimate takeaway? When creating mobile landing pages, remember that viewers are on the go, and want things to be fast. Tailor your page to be fast-loading, and easy to fill out, and you’ll be well on the way to success in crafting landing pages that will convert well in the mobile environment.
**Editor’s Note: Although this article first appeared in our magazine in 2012, the advice and tips provided are still extremely relevant — perhaps even more so given the incredible growth in mobile over the last year. Therefore, we are releasing it from our premium archive so that all can benefit from it.
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