You’re enrolling for a study, have a spiffy new online ad campaign, and are really excited about finding patients that will be a good fit for your study. Maybe this is your first time venturing into the world of online advertising. Maybe not. Either way, there is a strong likelihood that you are making a big mistake. This mistake is costing you precious recruitment dollars, and you are losing potential patients. But what is it?
Well, I hate to tell you this, but your landing page is sabotaging you. You’ve failed to employ some key best practices, and potential patients are hitting the back button in pursuit of something more engaging.
In the world of online media, you have to grab and hold the attention of visitors or they will ditch you and point their browser to that funny Youtube video of a cat riding a Roomba. Let the realization that you are competing with cats on Roombas sink in for a moment. Now I hope you’ll agree that it’s time to step it up a notch.
And that’s exactly what I am here to help you do. We’ll go over 13 ways you can supercharge your landing page. This is by no means an exhaustive list of landing page optimization tips, but it details the most useful tips for recruitment landing pages. To wrap this post up, I’ll show you a generic template for an ideal landing page, which will help you piece everything together.
The 13-Point Checklist for Supercharging Your Landing Pages
Without further ado, here it is:
1. Landing page copy should be consistent with ad copy.
For example, if your ad is seeking volunteers for an Alzheimer’s study, don’t send the patient to a generic landing page that you use to get patients into your database. If the visitor is expecting to find information about an Alzheimer’s study, your page should only contain information related to that Alzheimer’s study.
You want the visitor’s experience to flow seamlessly from one click to the next and your page should be relevant to the topic the user expects. In addition to engaging the visitor, your attention to relevancy will help you get cheaper clicks with search engines like Google.
2. Only address one therapeutic indication at a time.
This point is also related to relevancy, and it is important for all elements of an ad campaign, including landing pages and ad copy. Ideally, you do not want to combine therapeutic indications or do a generic clinical trials ad campaign. For instance, a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient will be far more interested in learning about your new Alzheimer’s trial than about being added to a generic patient database. What proposition would you find more compelling?
Make everything as relevant to visitor interests as possible if you want to catch and hold their attention. Relevance is a key factor in creating effective advertising, which is why Google places such emphasis on it.
3. Use images and video that relate to your copy.
You’ll usually get better results by including at least one image or video in each landing page. That image or video should be relevant to your page. In addition, you can try putting a caption with your image, which is a tactic employed by the famous ad man, David Ogilvy. Many people will read captions before they read body copy. (When you navigated to this post, did you start reading the copy or the caption for the cat picture first?)
Videos can be particularly effective on landing pages. If you don’t want to produce a brief YouTube video about your study, it’s worth asking your CRO/Sponsor. They may already have a video that was produced for the study website, or they may be willing to put one together.
4. Keep it above the fold.
Always keep the most important elements of your landing page above the fold. In other words, do not make your visitors scroll to get key tidbits. Browsersize from Google Labs is a great way to determine what portion of your page most visitors will be able to see without scrolling.
5. Use clear and compelling headlines.
This topic deserves its own post, but I’m gonna throw out some quick tips to get you thinking in the right direction. In terms of headline content, try posing a question visitors can relate to, addressing a visitor’s fear or concern, or highlighting a benefit of study participation.
To help your headline stand out visually, use a different font color and font size than that used in your content, and make sure you allow your headline to “breathe” by surrounding it in adequate white space.
6. Ensure your landing page loads quickly.
If your landing page is slow to load, a lot of people will hit the back button before they ever get to your content. And Google will penalize you as well. A great tool for testing your load time is CA App Synthetic Monitor.
7. Use an easy layout with clear navigation.
Avoid visual clutter and use a layout that allows your visitor to scan page elements with ease. For example, make use of headings, subheadings, bullets, numbering, and white space. The last example, white space, is of particular importance. If employed effectively, white space be used to direct the visitor’s attention where you want it.
As an example, check out this Chipotle ad. Though it is a display ad rather than a landing page, it illustrates the power of white space nicely. This ad was placed on TMZ, which is an extremely cluttered celebrity gossip website. Chipotle wisely used white space on a cluttered site to draw the attention of normally “banner blind” TMZ readers.
8. Keep Your Forms Simple.
Many recruitment campaigns use forms to pre-screen, but this is a practice that should be carefully considered. Keep your forms simple and only ask for information that you need.
Lengthy forms that ask personal medical questions can discourage patients from contacting you. If you want to read more on the topic, this post goes through some key considerations: The Downside of Online Pre-Screening Forms.
9. Have a strong & clear call to action.
When visitors hit your landing page, your goal is to get them to take an action. More specifically, your aim is for visitors to share their contact information so that you can discuss your study with them.
Guide visitors through this process and make it very clear what they should do next by providing a strong call to action. For example, if visitors need to click a button to navigate to your form, make the button prominent and the expected action clear. Put it above the fold. Do not use generic text like “click here.” Instead, use text that clearly states what will happen if the visitor takes the next step. Depending on your landing page, a more appropriate text might be “learn more” or “contact us.”
10. Know your visitor.
When you are writing copy for your landing page, take some time to think about who your typical visitor will be. Consider their motivations, concerns, demographics, etc. An experienced clinical research professional should already have a very good idea of who a typical patient will be.
If you are doing a migraine study, the majority of your visitors will be women. And if you’ve done migraine studies in the past, your patients have likely voiced their motivation for study participation or concerns about participating. Use this knowledge to communicate effectively on your landing page. On a related note, avoid the use of medical jargon.
11. Use Trust Indicators.
Put yourself in the mind of your visitors. When they arrive at your landing page, they don’t know who you are and are looking for an indication that they can trust you. Give them that indication.
Are you a member of a relevant professional organization or have you won an impressive award? Put a badge on your landing page. Does your website have a social media presence? Add those badges to your landing page. Not only can social media badges help establish trust, they can also help you find new friends/followers. As an example, imagine the following scenario.
Someone lands on your page but isn’t really ready to complete your form. Normally, you might lose him forever. But if you have a social media badge for a website that the visitor is active on, he might decide to go ahead and connect with you there. Now at least you’ve gained a friend/follower, and he may turn into a patient once you have some time so develop that relationship via social media.
12. Avoid links.
When visitors are on your landing page, you don’t want them to be overwhelmed by options or tempted to go elsewhere. Once a visitor leaves, he or she may never come back and complete the action you desire.
For this reason, think very carefully about putting links on your landing page. Include only the most important links and limit your links to those pages you control. An example of an acceptable link to include on your landing page would be a badge to your social media profile.
Testing might be considered a more advanced landing page topic, but it is extremely important. I always split test at least two versions of a landing page at a time in order to find the best performer. Once I have enough data to determine a statistically significant winner, I throw out the loser and pit the winner against another landing page competitor. And then it’s time to rinse and repeat.
Not only do you learn a lot about effective landing page design using this method, but you also ensure your landing pages are performing optimally. For more information on split testing, check out this post: An Introduction to Split Testing.
Visualizing the Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page
To illustrate how your landing page should look visually, we’ll take a look at a template for the ideal landing page. Thankfully, Formstack designed a nice infographic that uses many of the landing page recommendations that we just discussed. Click the image below to expand it or visit the original post.
This is what a good landing page looks like. It has a prominent headline, a large image, and a clear call to action. In addition, this landing page utilizes secondary headlines, bullets, and white space for improved scanability. Notice how the layout of this landing page draws your eye from one section to the other, allowing you to easily digest it in chunks.
But This Sounds Like Work!
Yes, it is work, but it’s well worth it. If you properly optimize your landing page, you can double the number of patients who contact you for study information. As you know, the recruitment landscape can be challenging, but this is one significant step you can take in overcoming these challenges.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like my tips for your online forms. What’s your experience with patient recruitment landing pages? Put your thoughts in the comments below.