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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landing Page Design Agency
Your ecommerce store needs landing pages, and maybe you’ve tried building some yourself with few results to show, worked with an agency in the past that didn’t work out, or maybe you’re just getting started with landing pages and want to give the task to an agency to execute on your behalf.
Questions to ask that could spell the difference between a successful landing page program, and one that completely flops.
Curious what those questions are? Let’s go through each of them:
1. What’s the agency’s core speciality?
This is one of the most important questions to ask. A landing page serves to convert prospects into actual customers. It’s not just a pretty web page, or any other page on your website.
Since they have very specific goals and are used as part of a performance marketing strategy, and since you’ll likely be sending thousands of visitors to that page through paid ads, you need your landing page to be built and optimized for this purpose.
With this taken into consideration, one of the biggest mistakes you could make would be to hire an agency that’s not specialized in landing pages. For example, a web design agency may be able to design a beautiful landing page, but without in-depth knowledge of conversion optimization, conversion copywriting, and performance marketing, all you’ll have is a pretty
page and its success will be left to luck.
While it could be tempting (and possibly cheaper) to ask your existing design or Shopify agency to build a landing page, consider working with agencies that have a proven track record for landing pages and optimization, such as a conversion optimization agency.
2. For which industries does the agency build the most landing pages?
Even though landing pages have been around for a while now, and most marketers know what they are, if you’re looking for content about landing pages, such as strategies, recommended layouts, and so on, you’ll quickly realize that most of the content that’s available out there is about lead gen landing pages for software companies and service companies.
There aren't a lot of ecommerce landing page examples out there, or much content about ecommerce landing pages as a whole. While our data shows landing pages can often outperform a homepage, product page, or collection page, there are a lot of misconceptions and a lack of education around how to best use landing pages in ecommerce, resulting in few companies using them properly.
This is why it’s important to ensure that the agency you choose to work with isn’t just specialized in landing pages, but also in ecommerce. Landing pages for SaaS and service companies are entirely different in structure, purpose, type of customer it targets, and strategy, than ecommerce landing pages.
On the other hand, a lot of marketers and agencies build landing pages for online courses, or come straight from the direct-response marketing world. While those landing pages may work for their respective industries, if you’re a modern, direct-to-consumer brand, the last thing you want is a landing page that looks like it came from the internet marketing world in the glory days of affiliate marketing.
You need a beautiful, clean landing page that matches your brand and that your customers can relate to, and the best way to make sure the agency you choose to work with can achieve that is by working with one that’s done work for design-focused ecommerce brands similar to yours.
3. What type of research gets done prior to the design of the landing page?
We’ll say it again: a high-converting landing page is not just a beautiful landing page. It’s a page that’s built based on strategy and data.
When interviewing potential agencies to build your landing pages, quiz them about their process. If they mention they design based on your requirements and customer avatars… that’s likely not enough.
A great landing page is built on data every-step of the way. For example, here at SplitBase we follow the Testing Trifecta process.
Before we start designing and testing a landing page (top circle in the chart), we first conduct Analytics and Human conversion research, which at the end of the day is the foundation, and is what supports the landing page.
In simple terms, we start by analyzing the brand’s existing analytics. We want to understand, amongst many other things:
Which paths are people taking that leads to a conversion? Which pages are they landing on first, visiting second, and which actions are they taking that lead to a higher conversion rate?
Which traffic sources have the biggest opportunity for increased conversions? Which ones convert well, which ones don’t, and why?
Where are people getting stuck on the website? Where are they dropping off and leaving without buying?
How are the highest-converting people getting to the website? What are they looking for? What do they buy?
Once we start getting answers to the above, we’ll have enough data to determine which landing pages are the most necessary, which products or offers should be featured, what should be avoided, and so much more.
This in-depth analysis of the company’s analytics helps us create the entire landing page strategy.
The next step in our conversion research process is the Human analysis, which is just a simpler word for qualitative analysis. Now that the greater picture has been clarified, and strategy is mostly decided, we need to know what makes people buy, and what questions they typically have about the products and about the brand that could stop them from buying. We need to discover who those best customers are.
Since analytics can only show you numbers, but your customers are humans and buying is a mixture of logic and emotions, we need to get this data through means such as open-ended surveys, polls, and customer interviews.
This part of the conversion research process is critical as it points out how to write copy for the landing page, which words to use, and which points to address to maximize conversions. Without it you’re just guessing what needs to be on the landing page.
To sum it up, when choosing a partner for your landing pages, ask them about their process and look for agencies that follow a similar data-driven approach.
4. What are the deliverables, and where is the landing page going to “live”?
This is something that needs to be clear with your landing page agency before the project even starts, as when it comes to landing pages, the deliverables could be many things:
A design file, which would be your responsibility to get coded and up and running so you can start sending traffic to it.
A fully coded landing page that you simply have to upload to your server.
Each of the options above have their own pros and cons, and can come at entirely different price points too.
Web design and development agencies might prefer to sell you on option 1 and option 2, as you’ll have to go back to them any time you need to update the landing page, but true conversion optimization and landing page agencies should be able to offer you option 3, which is to build the landing page in a dedicated landing page software.
We recently wrote an article comparing the different options and landing page platforms and found that in most cases, unless you have a development team available at arms reach, you’re better off building your landing pages in a tool like Unbounce or Instapage.
It will cost much less compared to getting it coded, and will also be easier and cheaper to maintain as you won’t have to ask developers for any small change you need to make.
What you need really depends on how many landing pages you need, the size of your company, and your available resources, and the agency you choose to work with should be able to walk you through the pros and cons of each option.
Another very important point to ask is whether your landing page would be fully custom-designed, or based on a template. If you have a small budget, using templates might be your only option, but for any company with a strong brand, templates are a no-go and you’ll want to opt for something custom.
A custom design is the only way to ensure your landing page is unique, and truly built according to the conversion research data, following your strategy. And at the end of the day, you also want to make sure your agency doesn’t charge you custom design prices for a template than your competitors could end up using too.
5. Is there an optimization process post-design? What’s the process like?
It’s unlikely that the first landing page you build will be a homerun. Landing pages, just like ads, need to be consistently tested and tweaked. As you test, you will learn more about how people interact with it. It’s critical that you retain those learnings to continuously improve it.
When SplitBase’s founder, Raphael Paulin-Daigle, asked on Twitter why there aren't more ecommerce brands using landing pages, a former Unbounce employee responded that some marketers are simply not persistent enough. They think their first landing page will be a hit, and when they see it not performing, they abandon before they ever get the chance to succeed.
Most people suck at designing and building a beautiful LP that convert. To many think they just put up an LP, throw in some paid traffic and it's going to win. Getting to a winner takes work that many.... founders and marketers... don't want to do.
This is why it’s so important not to put all of your eggs in the same basket. When working with a partner for your landers, at the very least, they should be willing to design a few different versions for you to start with, and never should you trust an agency guaranteeing results with one single landing page. Marketers are marketers, not magicians. No one can guarantee success.
For example, some of the landing pages we’ve built for a client increased their conversions by 55%. It’s massive, and represents a significant increase in revenue. But don’t be fooled, while it would be easy to think that was achieved from the get go, the top performing landing page was on it’s 5th version. The first version, on the other hand, failed.
For ecommerce brands that want to scale fast and that are doing at least $1M/year, having an optimization process in place post-design is the way to go.
Once the first version of your landing page is live, your agency should be monitoring user behaviors and performance through mouse tracking, click maps, scroll maps, and analytics. They should be using polls to get clarity on what could be missing from the page. The conversion research process we explained earlier? This should be done on an ongoing basis once your landing page is running in order to learn what needs to be tested and changed to improve performance.
Your agency should be able to create an A/B testing roadmap, and create new variants on a monthly basis to ensure you can get the most out of your investment, and maximize conversions.
They should be testing different layouts, images, copy, and most importantly - offers. They should be able to articulate a strategy and a prioritized list of tests to run to increase average order value, in addition to the conversion rate.
Conversion optimization, and in this case, landing page optimization, is not about designing one landing page and achieving mind-blowing performance right away. It’s about continuously learning and testing to get gradual improvements. Those who are persistent are those who reap the biggest reward, and this is something your agency partner should understand and even tell you before you ask.
Landing pages can do wonders for ecommerce brands, but expecting just “any” landing page to succeed is unrealistic. To increase your chances of success, working with the right landing page agency is critical.
Performance agencies, such as conversion optimization agencies, are often the best partners.
No landing page should ever be created before having a solid strategy in place first. How they’re going to be used, the copy that’s going to be used, which offer they promote, how they’re personalized for different customer types… should all be crystal clear before talking about design, and that’s something all good landing page agencies should know.
The best landing pages are data-driven. They’re built using customer insights, and optimized continuously through more research and A/B testing, and the agency you chose should have a clear and defined process to do this.
If you’re an ecommerce brand doing over $1M in yearly revenue and need help with your landing pages, request your free proposal to learn how we can help you create data-driven, high-converting landing pages for your brand.
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