Attention spans online have never been shorter. In fact, only 4 percent of website page views lasted more than 10 seconds, according to the Static Brain Research Institute. So when a potential customer lands on your tour website, you need to make sure you're grabbing them and not letting go until they buy.
The first place they'll arrive is on a landing page, so that's where you need to be most captivating. Landing page optimization is something of a dark art—and some people are paid big bucks to make sure landing pages on the world's biggest websites are converting as many visitors as possible. But you can easily optimize your landing pages without earning a masters degree in digital marketing. Here are five tips to keep in mind when building your tour landing pages to grab visitors' fleeting attention.
What action do you want visitors to take?
This is the simplest of questions to ask about your landing page, but still one that's frequently overlooked. A landing page might be asking visitors to do too many different things. “Follow us on Twitter!" “Subscribe to Our Newsletter!" "Book Now!"
All of this only serves to confuse visitors. If they land on a page about a river cruise, they want to find out more about your cruise, and to possibly book it. So make it easy for them—focus on the action you want the visitor to take, and ditch everything else. Email subscribers and Twitter followers are nice, but you make money when somebody clicks the “Book Now" button.
Are you speaking their language?
The text of calls to action on websites are frequently agonized over—what words, and in what order, will make people click?
A good rule of thumb to get you started is the WYLTIWLT test. Make sure you're anticipating what your customer wants, not asking them to do something. WYLTIWLT means “Would You Like To" / “I Would Like To", the idea being your buttons should reflect what the visitor is trying to do, not what you're asking them to do.
For instance, imagine your site has a page where visitors can search for trips. Your button for the page might say “Trip search." But a more effective call to action might be “Search for trips." Your visitor is thinking “I would like to search for trips," so your call to action is literally finishing their sentence.
How are your visitors viewing your site?
It's no good designing a beautiful landing page for desktop if the majority of your users are on smartphones.
In a perfect world, you'll have a responsive site that looks great on all screen sizes. But at the very least you should be looking at which screen sizes are most popular in your website analytics and making sure your site works well on as many as possible. Run your website through Google's mobile-friendliness tester to see how it fares on smaller devices, and think about revising your buttons and links to be easier to hit with large fingers on tiny screens.
Benefits, not features
Humans are emotional beings, and we always respond better to feelings and emotions than bland feature lists. It's the reason Apple ads focus on people having a great time using iPhones, rather than talking about screen resolutions and gigahertz.
Are you showing the benefits people will get from your tours and activities, or just listing features? Show them how they'll get to experience a once-in-a-lifetime tour of an unspoiled paradise, or get an insider's view of their favorite breweries. Full-width images and immersive videos are a great way to get your message across, and many big companies have found that making their landing pages more image-heavy increases conversions significantly—by around 40% in some cases.
The first click is the first step
You've got people clicking on your call to action. But your job isn't done yet—that first click is just the beginning. Make sure your customer's journey from first click to final confirmation is as easy as possible.
All good website analytics packages will let you identify dropoff rates for each page in your purchasing process—see which pages are performing badly and get to optimizing them. Smooth out any bumps and you'll soon have new customers flying through your checkout.