How to Use This Periodic Table of Landing Page Elements
We’ve divided our periodic table into eight different sections: basic types of content that should be included (and, in a few cases, possibly not included) on your high-converting landing pages. Then, we divided each section into elements to help you optimize the key components of your page. Of course, not every landing page will have room for every element—your page will look different depending on whether the goal is subscribing to your email list or enrolling in your paid course, for instance. We’ll give you some best practices, but I’d also recommend you use split testing to find the best mix of elements for your pages. Wondering how it all fits together? At the end of the post, I’ve also developed a few landing page formulas to help you visualize how these elements combine. When everything fits together, the result will be more leads and sales for your business. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Headline Elements
- Offer Elements
- Call-to-Action Elements
- Opt-in Form Elements
- Social Proof Elements
- Visual Elements
- Extra Conversion Elements
- Distraction Elements to (Usually) Avoid
Feel free to skip to the sections that interest you most or just browse through and see what catches your eye. [cta-box]
1. Headline Elements: Be Bold and Attract Attention
A good headline must inspire curiosity, speak to a pain point, or highlight a goal. Here are some elements to consider adding to the most prominent piece of copy on your page.
Let’s be clear. Your landing page isn't about your business. It’s all about the audience that arrives to your page seeking something that will benefit them. So, ask yourself: what unique value does your landing page offer your audience? If they take advantage of it, how will their lives improve? Answer those questions, then see if you can make that answer crystal clear in your headline. “I've seen too many businesses miss the mark on this one,” Aero Content founder Cheryl Slaton told me when I reached out to a handful of other pro marketers for their thoughts on the most important landing page elements. She recommends that when you express your value proposition,
“Use words that create a sense of emotion in your prospect right away. For example, ‘Reclaim Your Investment’ is better than saying ‘Sell Your Home,’ and ‘You Dream It, We Design It’ is far better than ‘Expert Web Design Services.’ Don't focus on what YOU do in your headline—make a value proposition that explains what your buyers will GET from the equation.”
On the page below, the value of attending this webinar is instantly clear: you’ll sell more books.
Say you’re sitting at your favorite coffee shop, about to bite into a muffin, when two strangers approach your table. “That looks delicious. I’ll give you $10,000 for that muffin,” says Person A. “Wait!” says Person B. “Listen to this: if you give me that muffin, I’ll give you … some money.” Now, Person B’s offer might be more valuable. But if all you know is what they’ve just told you, which offer are you going to take? Numbers make benefits vivid in visitors’ mind. Whether you’re offering 5 tips, a $5 lifehack, or a way to save 5 hours a week, find a way to quantify the value of your offer and watch your conversion rates rise.
Specific success outcome
Numbers are great, but nothing beats a proven result. If you (or a customer or client) have achieved something remarkable with the product or system you’re offering, work those results into the headline. Here’s an excellent example from Taylor Manning:
“Wait, what?!” That reaction can be good or bad. But it’ll definitely keep people reading. If your offer supports it, try making a claim that goes against the grain, upsets expectations, or promises something most people wouldn’t think is possible. (Then, of course, you’ll need to make sure you deliver on that promise.) This doesn’t work for every brand, but if it does for yours, try one of these counterintuitive formulas to get the gears turning:
- “How I Traveled the World for a Year … and Earned More Than I Was Spending (with No Day Job)”
- “The System That Builds Muscle by Cutting Back on Gym Time”
- “Why Your ‘Safe’ Investment Strategy Is Putting Your Savings in Danger”
Avoid cramming every single detail in the headline. Use your subheading to give the visitor more details about what to expect from your landing page offer. In fact, you can often use your headline and subheading to offer two different kinds of value. In this example, the main headline calls out a pain point, while the subheading promises a specific outcome through a quantifiable offer.
2. Offer Elements: Make Your Audience an Offer They Can't Refuse
Your offer itself is hugely important to the success of your landing page, but you can tip the scales by presenting it with the right kind of content. Which of these offer elements could work for what you’re selling or giving away?
Brevity and precision are key when explaining your offer for the first time. If it’s short but vague or detailed but lengthy, you’re likely to lose visitors right away. In the hero section of your page, hit the significant points of your offer to prompt people to continue reading. Discuss the problem your offer solves, the benefits, and the outcome. Personal-branding consultant Dorie Clark strikes a nice balance with her initial short description on this webinar page:
This kind of offer element works well when you’re the face of your brand. Whether you’re selling real estate or coaching sessions, people enjoy relating to other human experiences. Tell your personal story about the problem you’re solving. For instance, if you’re selling acne remedies, explain your journey with overcoming facial blemishes as a teen.
A 2016 survey from Wyzowl found that 72% of businesses using video said it had improved their conversion rates. That means there’s a good chance adding a video to your landing page could help more people understand and opt in for your offer. Would one of these video formats work for your landing page?
- A quick video demonstrating your product in action
- A first-person video explaining who you are and why you created your offer
- A testimonial video from happy former customers
Landing pages selling big-ticket items need more than a few lines of copy. They may need a story. If you have a powerful personal story behind your business, try writing a sales letter that inspires people to move forward in the process. In the example below, relationship coach Jodi Pirlot shows potential clients she’s been there by including a sales letter after she gets her audience’s attention with some bold assumptions:
Remember the quantification element we mentioned up in the headlines section? That principle can work for your offer, too. If your headline promised five strategies or 10 must-have tools, follow up by teasing what you offered in the body of your page. This landing page from SOS Marketing uses a short numbered list to add three extra value points to the core offer:
“How It Works” Section
If you’re selling a product, most consumers will ask: “So how does it work?” Show how easy it is to work with you by breaking the process into smaller steps. Here’s an example from Zach & Nat's Top Secret Amazon Group:
Comparing your offer to your competitors or other viable options can be an effective technique to earn your conversion. Comparison charts must spell out exactly why your product is superior to other products on the market, but you don’t have to limit your “competitors” to other companies. Is there a potential DIY approach your prospects could take to solve their problem, or an entirely different category of solution? Show how the benefits stack up against the monetary and time costs. If you don’t have enough material to fill a chart, a simple comparison section can serve the same purpose. Here’s how Emma Walton Hamilton makes the value of her landing page offer stand out:
Formatting your offer is just as important as the offer itself. Benefit bullets are a simple way to catch the attention of people who tend to scan over information. Your bullets should focus on what the person will gain from signing up for your email list or buying your services. Below is an example from the Power Stuttering Center.
In a meta-study reported on in Faculty Focus , online instruction specialist Dr. Abreena Tompkins gave a brain-based reason that odd-numbered lists of bullets work so well to engage readers:
“The brain can process no more than nine items in a sequence, and it actually does this much more efficiently with three or five. Odd numbers work better than even numbers … The brain responds to white space because the brain processes things in groups.”
Your audience is searching for someone to solve their challenges. By framing your offer with their pain points, you show visitors that you understand their issues. Karen Dimmick is the coauthor of 47 Mind Hacks for Writers and a practicing hypnotist, and she has an interesting take on why pain points are so important:
“Some people are solely convinced by the potential of moving towards their goal, while others are solely convinced by the potential to move away from their pain … Since you have no way to find out whether your visitor moves towards their goals, away from their pain, or both, you need to include copy that will take them through both possibilities. If you skip putting pain points in your landing page copy, you’ll fail to fully motivate all the people with a degree of ‘away from’ programming in their mental motivation process, which is most people.”
Does your product or service help customers avoid a hassle, fix a problem, or conquer a bad habit? Make sure your offer copy touches on struggles like these.
Urgency is one of the most powerful elements you can add to your offer. A landing page with a deadline politely pushes visitors to make a decision, rather than putting it off till another day. Add copy explaining why visitors should sign up or purchase now, rather than later. If your offer doesn’t have a natural deadline, you can still add urgency. Check out this guide to creating a 48-hour promotion from thin air, written by Leadpages Campaign Strategy Director Kat Von Rohr.
3. Call-to-Action Elements: Create a CTA Worth Clicking
Your call to action (or CTA) probably won’t be the first element on your landing page, but it’s where everything else on the page comes together. It might even be the most important element, according to a survey we ran last year:
And if it doesn’t work, nothing else on the page will. Here are the key elements you need to pay attention to.
Your call-to-action copy has one goal: to get visitors to say, “Yes, I want that.” By the time they reach the place where they can opt in, sign up, or purchase, they should understand why your offer will benefit them or what problem you will solve. But go ahead and remind them briefly anyway. We’ve seen good results with call-to-action copy that:
- Speaks in the visitor’s voice: Think “Send me the workbook” or “Create my account.”
- Mentions what they’ll receive: Whether it’s a buyer’s guide, an ebook, or a free course, work what you’re offering into your CTA copy.
- Reinforces the benefit: Or, if your offer itself doesn’t shine in your CTA area, think one step beyond what you’re delivering. “Get insight into your customer data” might work in the CTA area for a software product, or “Learn the secrets to restaurant-quality meals” could seal the deal for a recipe collection.
- Uses the word “free:” If your offer’s free, go ahead and say it on your button.
If you’re not sure which approach is best and you have a longer page, feel free to try different wording in different places. Just make sure it’s always clear what visitors will be getting.
After you decide what your button will say, think about how it looks. A good CTA button design:
- Contrasts with what’s around it: While your button should fit with your branding, it definitely shouldn’t blend in. Use a color that stands out dramatically from the page background.
- Looks clickable: No need to reinvent the wheel—your button should look very obviously like a button. For extra credit, use buttons that change color or style when you hover over them. (Interactive buttons like these are built into Leadpages templates.)
- Works with touch screens and desktops: Make sure your button is big enough that mobile visitors will have an easy time opting in, too.
Position your call to action in strategic spots on your page so people can opt in whenever they’re ready. Focus on high-visibility areas, like underneath a video or at the end of a page section. Here’s our webinar landing page at Leadpages:
4. Opt-in Form Elements: Nudge Visitors to Convert
Your call to action has inspired your landing-page visitor to opt in … but they haven’t finished the process yet. The type of form you use can either keep them moving forward or make them give up, so it’s worth considering your form elements carefully This section is most applicable to opt-in pages, but read on even if you’re working on a sales page. You can also adapt these principles to your checkout forms for lower abandonment rates.
At Leadpages, we use 2-step opt-in forms called Leadboxes. They pop up only when you click the button, like this:
That’s because when we started testing this style of form to replace embedded, one-step opt-in forms, we routinely saw conversion-rate lifts of around 30%. Why? Our theory is this: when visitors arrive at a page and see a prominent form, it’s immediately clear that the page wants something from them. That may hinder their ability to engage with the page content, and they may click away sooner. Forms that display only upon clicking put the visitor in control. They’re the ones who say “yes” when they click the button, and it feels natural to continue saying yes by completing the opt-in process. They’ve already demonstrated interest and intent, so they’re likelier to follow through.
That said, it can make sense to use an embedded form if you know your page visitors already understand your offer. For instance, you might be presenting your call to action in an email to your list, or having visitors click through from a banner on your homepage. In those cases, you may want to streamline your opt-in process by embedding a form on a simple landing page.
The CTA-button tips above apply here, too—you just might want to keep things shorter and simpler. Avoid process-focused copy (such as “Submit” or “Click Here”) and try:
- Action verbs such as join, start, build, or grab
- Urgent language such as now, here, or ASAP
- Possessive pronouns such as your (in third person) or my (in first person)
Take a look at the example below from Nonprofit Copywriter. Visitors know they will get a free guide after they click, plain and simple.
A visual gives visitors a sneak peek of what they will receive when submitting your opt-in form. From what we’ve observed in our customers’ split tests, Leadboxes with images beat Leadboxes without, and the more on-brand, polished, and realistic your form image is, the better your conversion rate will be. Try one of these form image types to get more people to opt in:
- A picture of your product, even if it’s virtual. Try creating and adding a cover for your ebook, a small screenshot of your PDF, or a still from your video series.
- An illustration such as a generic book or download image (if you don’t have a custom image)
- A fun photo of yourself looking at or pointing to the opt-in button
- Your logo (if your brand is important to what you’re offering)
In a fast-paced world, people want to know how long it will take to complete certain tasks. If your opt-in process feels like a time waster, visitors will abandon your page. Calm their anxiety by adding a progress bar that shows how little they have left to do to receive your free gift or purchase your product. Like this one:
Wondering how to get one of these? Animated progress bars come standard with Leadpages. But if you don’t have a membership, check out this post to download a free set of progress bars you can use anywhere.
Only collect as much information as you need from your audience. You can scare people away by asking for too many details, like their phone numbers and addresses. Include form fields that visitors will feel comfortable filling out and that you genuinely need. Often, all your business needs at first is an email address.
- Privacy info to reassure visitors that you won’t share or sell their information
- Value reinforcement such as “100% free” or “P.S. There’s no obligation to do anything but read and enjoy this gift.”
- Fun “fine print” such as “Warning: This guide may inspire you to quit your day job immediately” (if it works for your brand)
5. Social Proof Elements: Show Off Your Accolades
People spend more time researching higher-commitment offers, and one of the areas they’ll want to investigate is your track record. These elements give firsthand proof of how liked or respected your business is.
Landing page visitors are often interested in learning how your existing customers feel about your products and brand. It offers an inside perspective on why they should work with your business. If you don’t have testimonials, go get some—but don’t be tempted to make them up. The best testimonials include elements like names, high-resolution images, and other relevant information such as profession, company, or location.The best testimonials include elements like names, high-resolution images, and other relevant information such as profession, company, or location. Without these features, your testimonials are less likely to be credible. Here’s an appropriately detailed testimonial on a sales page from fitness coach Eric Bach:
A case study is a more intensive way to demonstrate the impact your business had on previous customers, and it can give a big boost to your sales landing page. You can keep a landing page case study brief—maybe even as brief as three short paragraphs showcasing:
- The customer’s challenge
- How your product or service provided value
- The impact it had on the customer
Here’s an example from Brett Harris, found on his landing page for a coaching program aimed at Christian high schoolers:
We trust people with years of experience. And if your landing page visitors don’t know you very well yet, it’s helpful to get someone they do know to chime in. Incorporate expert endorsements into your landing page by stating the expert’s credentials and using the expert’s words to explain why he or she recommends your product. It’s helpful to select an expert your audience already respects.
Social proof centers around building trust with your audience. But it takes time to build relationships. To speed up the process, you can associate your business with other companies that your visitors trust. So add company logos of your previous clients or affix reputable badges, like the Better Business Bureau, to your landing page. Below, Leadpages customer Kevin Kruse displays several publications that have mentioned him:
6. Visual Elements: Tackle Monotony With Compelling Images
Design is a significant contributor to conversion rates. Rosemary Brisco, managing partner at design agency ToTheWeb, recently told me about an A/B test they ran for a client. “Using the same content and offer against a fresh new design with cleaner visuals and more vivid colors, we were able to increase conversion rates by 35% resulting in a 20% reduction in ad spend,” she said. “The landing page re-design alone produced remarkable results.” (Check out ToTheWeb’s quick case study for a before-and after view.) Why not try these visual elements to see if you can achieve the same kind of gains?
Not every landing page needs a hero section, but it’s really helpful for grabbing focus on longer pages. Think of your hero section as a capsule version of your landing page as a whole. It fills the first frame and typically includes your headline, a CTA button, and an attention-grabbing hero image. The hero image on this page from GrapeCity might not mean much to non-techies, but it gives the intended audience an intriguing glimpse of what it’s like to use their software.
Pro tip: if you’re using Leadpages, you can make sure your hero section has the desired impact by setting the minimum section height to “Full.” This way, it’ll fill the entire screen no matter what device or window size visitors are using.
Your background image can give more context about your offer or simply focus attention on your most important landing page elements. If your image has strong lines, make sure they point toward your headline and call to action, rather than leading the eye away or making text hard to read. Use a semi-transparent color overlay to tone down busy images. This landing page from QDM Painters & Decorators uses a background image of a freshly painted room to show off the modern, clean work they do. Notice how the angles of the room converge on the call-to-action button.
Logo & Branding
Digital Marketer founder Ryan Deiss has noted that while marketers used to often see better results when they left logos off their landing pages, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Over time, web users have become less trusting of online content, so if an audience doesn’t know you yet, add your logo to your landing page to show that a reputable company is behind your offer. Place your brand logo at the top of the landing page in a visible area. You also may want to design the page based on the color palette of the logo. That way the entire landing page reinforces your overall branding.
Not every image on your landing page has to dominate the design. On longer pages, consider adding additional images to build context around your offer and keep the eye moving down the page. On the landing page below, Member Tracker uses supporting images to quietly tell the story of the kind of successful martial arts studio that might use its platform:
Dividing your landing page into sections helps keep your content organized. It gives visitors a visual structure to follow and makes them feel they can skip around to the sections that matter most to them. Unless you’re using a narrative-heavy offer style such as a sales letter, you want to allow people to consume your content in the way that makes the most sense for them. Don’t feel obligated to place an actual line to divvy up sections. Instead, changing the background color of each section is a more natural way to tell the visitor they’re moving to a different part of the page. If you’re using Leadpages, you’ll find that most of our templates have these kinds of content containers built right in.
We mentioned videos up above. But sometimes you don’t really need to tell a story with your imagery; you just need to show a processor add some motion. In that case, consider turning a sequence of images or a short video clip into an animated GIF for your landing page. GIFCreator is a useful free online tool if you’re working from images, while GIF Brewery works well with video (if you’re using a Mac). This is especially useful if you’re trying to demonstrate how easy your software platform is to use, as soccer-training app Effective does here:
Who are the people behind the scenes? Introducing them can help turn a sales transaction into a real-life experience. When applicable, try posting photos of the folks behind the offer to build a human connection with your audience. (This works especially well if you’re offering a webinar, course, live event, book, or another kind of offer where the creator really matters.) And don’t limit yourself to the usual formal headshot; experiment with casual or silly photos, too, depending on your brand.
Speaking of experimenting, custom photos can really make your landing page stand out from the crowd. Customized photos say that your company takes pride in doing things differently. One option is to repurpose photos into a fun landing page graphic. In the image below, Win, Rock & Rule has transformed a few pictures from past events into an old-school photo strip for one of their event pages.
Or, if you have access to a photographer, you can do what Nikki Elledge Brown did below. This communications consultant actually built props and staged a photo shoot to create this fun photo of herself for her opt-in page:
When you’re in a rush, stock photos still work for conveying your brand’s message. A relevant, high-quality stock photo is typically better than no image at all. Look for photos that sync with your brand’s style, and avoid using the most popular stock photos. (Hint: use a Google reverse image search to see just how often a photo’s been used already.) Here are a few websites to grab some free stock photos:
Visually surprise your visitors with unique illustrations. These designs may include flow charts, sketches, or maps. When introducing a “special process” or your “secret formula,” illustrations help people understand how they can master the process to earn similar results. If you’re light on other visuals, you can even include a partial screenshot of your lead magnet itself. It’s simple, but it works beautifully on opt-in pages like this one from Growth River:
An icon with a short description gives your audience a quick visual introduction to an important aspect your offer. If you have several moving parts to explain, icons are useful for guiding visitors to the most relevant content. In this example, real estate agent Tim Mangold uses appealing icons to make his services stand out:
It’s true that the most effective landing pages are often the simplest ones. But if you’re looking for that extra conversion-rate percentage or traffic boost, it’s worth seeing if any of these little extra elements have a place on your page.
Creating a sense of urgency is an effective method to influence your visitors to opt into your offer. Countdown timers give people the exact time the offer will expire, and actually seeing the time tick away induces them to make a decision before it's too late. In this example, marketer Julian Mitchell uses a countdown timer to promote his next master class:
Social Share Buttons
“Thirty-nine percent of heavy social users believe that finding out about products and services is an important reason for using a social network,” the 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report found. Which means that you have a good opportunity to get your landing page extra visibility through social media. Encourage visitors to promote your offer on social networks by placing share buttons on your landing page. This is especially useful for offers with lots of crowd appeal, such as contests and live events. Social-share buttons are also ideal on thank-you pages. Jenn Baxter uses them to inspire people to share her lead magnet with their friends on this page:
Opt-in forms are still effective, but if no one’s biting, it might be time to try a new way to get leads. Consider interactive content types such as:
- Calculator tools
- Automated assessment tools
- Interactive calendars that let visitors book their own consultations
… and more. If you use Leadpages, just drag an HTML widget onto your landing page and drop in the code for your widget.
It’s likely that your audience will have questions about your offer, and they will want their questions answered ASAP. Instead of telling them to email you, set up a comments widget directly on your landing page. This widget gives everyone viewing the page an opportunity to read the question and your answer. Plus, you may even get people praising your offer in the comments section. Check out this example from Beachpreneurs:
For complex offers, it’s helpful to answer people’s questions up front. So post a FAQ section that will address visitors doubts, objections, and insecurities. It may take a little research to build a quality FAQ section, but it’s well worth the time and effort to convince visitors sign up for your offer. For best results, add it to the bottom of your page. That way it doesn’t distract eager customers, but it doesn’t require more hesitant visitors to click away to get their questions answered. That’s what Coach, Speak & Serve does on this event landing page FAQ:
8. Distraction Elements: What to (Usually) Avoid
There are few absolutes in landing page design, but some elements seem to cut conversions more often than not. The following things aren't always off limits, but they deserve extra scrutiny.
The goal of a landing page is to persuade visitors to take action. And with multiple calls to action on your navigation bar, you’ll lure people away from your main purpose by giving the visitors something else to click. Subconsciously, you’re telling them, “The thing you’re looking for might be somewhere else on this site.” You have several options for handling navigation effectively on your landing page.
- Drop the navigation bar to maintain your audience’s attention. If you’re not working with platform or brand standards that require a navigation bar, go ahead and try it.
- Use an “upside down” approach and place your navigation links at the bottom of your landing page.
- Use internal navigation only by adding anchor links to your navigation bar. This is ideal for mini-sites and for pages used on any platforms that prefer navigation options, such as Google AdWords.
- Use a low-key navigation menu. Finally, if you absolutely have to have a traditional navigation menu, simply make sure it’s not the focus of the page. A bold hero section can draw attention to the right place.
Form Field Overload
Avoid asking for too much information from your visitors. It takes time to fill out five or six form fields for a simple opt-in offer, and that’s time your prospect has to rethink how much they really want it. Plus, it just seems a little stalkerish to require lots of details before the customer relationship even begins. This landing page follows a lot of best practices, but then loses its way when it comes to the opt-in form. It’s requesting not only your first and last name, but your entire mailing address and phone number. That data clearly isn’t necessary to send over a free PDF, and visitors will likely wonder what kind of telemarketing calls and junk-mail offers they’re signing up for in the process.
As humans, we sometimes suffer from analysis paralysis when faced with too many options. We get stuck on which one to choose and end up choosing nothing. Don’t paralyze your landing page visitors. Pick a primary call to action and reinforce it throughout your landing page. This might require reconceptualizing your landing pages. Don’t think of your pages as covering a certain topic (such as your credentials or your product line). Think of them as driving toward a certain CTA (such as booking a consultation or signing up for a demo). That will help you eliminate extraneous links and content.
Chunks of text are a big no-no on landing pages. Without any white space, you will deter visitors from reading the rest of your page. They will process the long paragraphs as “too much to read” or “this will take a lot of time.” We touched on this principle when we were talking about bullet points above. But you don’t have to use bullets to avoid this pitfall. Just think in short paragraphs and short sentences, and use any of the visual elements above to add variety to copy that has to be longer (such as a sales letter).
High-Converting Landing Page Formulas
What do you do with all these landing page elements? You combine them. That’s what we’ve done in our landing page templates at Leadpages, after all. Here are just a few formulas for three of our highest-converting landing page templates to get your creative juices flowing …
Webinar Registration Page Formula
Webinars are a smart way to generate leads for your business. Use this formula to start building your page: Logo + Quantification headline element + Fine print CTA element + Deadline + Countdown timer + Numbered list offer element = Simple Webinar Registration Page
Contest Page Formula
Contests are a hugely effective way to build your list, and the template below is one of the highest-converting we have at Leadpages. It’s built with the following elements: Countdown timer + Short description + Custom photo + “How it works” section + Social share buttons = Enter-to-Win Contest Page
Free Opt-in Page Formula
When your offer is simple, your landing page should be, too. Here’s all you need for a basic opt-in page: Value proposition headline element + Subheading + Illustration + Short description = Free Ebook Opt-in Page
What’s Your Formula for a High-Converting Landing Page?
We’ve covered a ton of ground in this post. For a handy reference (or simply a decoration for your cubicle wall), you can also download our full-color PDF version of this periodic table. Grab a free copy below: [cta-box] By using the right combinations of the landing page elements above, you can persuade your audience to take action ASAP. This post includes a lot of important landing page elements, but it’s not exhaustive. What go-to page elements did we miss that perform well in your marketing? Tell me in the comments.