Navigation Menus on Landing Pages: Still Not a Good Idea

By Justin Seibert| 2 Min Read | October 26, 2011

It’s funny what surprises you what objections you get with clients and prospective clients, especially after you’ve been doing it for awhile (I’ve been in search engine marketing 10 years and founded this agency more than 5 years ago).

One question/objection I get surprisingly often is in regards to doing stand alone landing pages for paid search programs.  And in terms of actual page element objections, #1 is probably our wanting to not use site navigation for these landing pages.  You can still add in a link or two to the home page or other parts of the site, but these should be minimized and under no circumstances – if lead gen is your goal – should you use your site’s regular navigation menu bar.

Reduce Friction, Increase Incentive

There are some pretty cool formulae out there for conversion rate optimization (we still like Marketing Experiments’), but the short version is that to get someone to convert on your page – i.e. complete an action you want her or him to take – you have two competing forces to deal with: Friction and Incentive.

If your incentive is high enough, the amount of friction almost doesn’t matter.  If a page is giving away a free pound of gold – and the visitors believe your word is bond – you’ll get people giving you their social security numbers and mailing in their children.

If the friction is unbelievably low – meaning it’s really, really easy for people to perform your desired action – then you don’t need nearly as great an incentive.  This is where navigation menus come in.  They make it easier for people to click around your site and then go away without ever converting.

Which is why it’s nice to see this WhichTestWon experiment showing an example where the landing page without the nav menu got 98% more downloads.  That’s almost double to you and me.

Ultimately, the objections I hear are good ones from clients as they need to understand reasons behind suggestions.  Having data like this WhichTestWon experiment should make overcoming them even easier in the future.

Bottom line for you readers: don’t take my word for it; listen to WhichTestWon and ditch the menu navigation on your landing pages. Also, check out our landing page optimization tips guide for some powerful tips on increasing conversions.

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