The Value of Landing Pages
Landing pages are the cornerstone of any brand’s marketing campaign. You work so hard to get your target audience to your website and the landing page is what they are going to initially interact with. If your brand wants to make a good first impression on the visitor, the landing page is what greets them at the entrance.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is any page on a website on which the visitor “lands” when they arrive on the site. It’s the destination of an ad, an email, or a hyperlink click. It’s the page someone finds if they do a Google search and click-through to your website. Most commonly, for anyone that types in your website ULR, your homepage is the landing page. In this article, we’re going to focus more on landing pages that are specific to a marketing program or campaign, as opposed to pages that just happen to be landing pages (like a homepage), among the other purposes they serve.
Why are landing pages important?
People have naturally short attention spans and the common belief is that they are getting shorter. We’re also facing more competition for someone’s attention due to the technology age’s constant barrage of things trying to get your attention. That gives you a very short window, sometimes referred to as The 5 Second Rule, to convert your visitor’s attention to interest and engagement.
With a strong landing page, the likelihood that you’ll successfully engaging your visitor is much higher. Given how hard you work to get visitors to your website, you’d hate to see those efforts go to waste because your landing page fails to resonate with the visitor, and therefore fails to deliver a strong brand impression.
When to use a landing page?
For the best ROI on your marketing campaigns, we recommend using a landing page any time you’re promoting your brand on digital channels and linking visitors back to your website. The most common applications include, but are not limited to:
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing (organic and promoted-posts)
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Paid Advertisement placements
- Press Releases
- Referral links from 3rd party websites
- On-site call-to-action (CTA) links or pop-up offers
How to Build a Strong Landing Page
For a landing page to be successful, make sure it’s relevant-for and specifically-addresses-the-needs-of your visitor. One-size-fits-all approaches generally aren’t as successful as creating a customized landing page for your campaign. Attention to detail is key.
We recommend a repeatable process to ensure your landing page is utilizing as many best-practices as possible. Follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be on the path to creating a strong landing page that your customers and prospects will love:
1. Research and Planning
Defining and understanding your target audience
The most important thing to understand about a landing page is this: don’t make it about how amazing you brand, and your offer are. Successful landing pages resonate with the reader because they focus on needs of the target audience and aim to help them solve their challenges.
If you know who your audience is and if you understand their needs, creating a landing page that appeals to them will be far less challenging. Consider the following tactics to learn about your audience:
- Review buyer-personas for your audience if your brand or other players in the industry has developed them.
- Talk to subject-matter-experts, or people in customer service who regularly interact with your audience.
- Find out where your audience hangs-out online and learn from the conversations taking place. Consider looking at; social media groups, forums, comments in related blog posts or similar places where conversations are happening.
Defining your campaign goals
Do you know what represents campaign success? What action would you like the visitor to take?
How your landing page elements come together should largely depend on the answers to those questions. You should be aligned with stakeholders on what the goals are for the campaign and landing page. Every element on the landing page should be working the visitor toward taking that action and completing the goals.
Make sure you can measure success
You’ve defined what your goal is, now make sure you’re able to track it properly. If you don’t have the required analytics in place, consider putting it in place or perhaps redefine your goal to be something you can track. The combination of tools like Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics can help you measure success.
Know the entry points
Visitors expect a landing page to reinforce the message they saw, and clicked on, to get there. To ensure the landing page and traffic source share a consistent message, it’s important to step back and view the campaign holistically. Review the marketing communication channels that are expected to drive traffic to the landing page and make sure they are working together to deliver a seamless experience, most importantly headlines and calls-to-action.
Competitive research can make the learning curve much shorter. Search around for any competitors or other companies in your industry that are promoting similar offers. Analyze their landing pages to give you some ideas for yours. But don’t copy someone else’s landing page. Learn from the best elements and make yours better!
Get inspired by some “Best landing page examples”
Looking for some additional creative inspiration? There are dozens of quality landing-page-list blog posts out there. Here is one that we like, but feel free to do some Google searching for more of them.
2. Brainstorm Your Key Landing Page Elements
Every landing page is different, but there are a number of elements that the majority of landing pages should have. The following is a list of those recommended elements, not necessarily in order of importance:
Headlines are your most powerful landing page element for first impressions. Be sure to write a clear main headline that resonates with your audience. Optionally, sub headers can help complete the thought if you can’t get your point across in just the main header. This is how you convince your visitor that they are in the right place and should spend at least a few more seconds on the page. Be careful not to get too cute or clever with your headlines or they may miss the mark.
An offer and value statement
Supporting your headline, you must quickly get to the point of your landing page, a value-added offer. Make sure your offer is tied to a clear and strong value proposition. Use specific facts, data and/or evidence to support and validate your value statement. Demonstrate in some way that; ‘in exchange for X, you’ll get Y’. This is how you capture the interest and attention of the visitor and convince them to take action.
The best way to get someone to take an action is to simply ask them. Follow your value statement by asking the visitor to take the next step to further explore your offer. A strong CTA is one that reinforces the headline and value proposition. For longer landing pages, consider repeating your CTA as the visitor scroll down the page.
Use striking imagery to make your page stand out and look professional. Avoid generic Google images and stock images.
Remove the navigation menu from your landing pages. The options in your menu distract visitors from the main purpose of the page.
Use visual way-finding elements to help guide your visitors along this journey. Try using something like an arrow or an image with a person looking or pointing-toward the CTA or other pertinent information.
Gain credibility and the confidence of your visitor and reduce decision making friction by showcasing trust elements. Common trust elements include:
- Security badges
- Social proof
Lead Generation Forms
If lead generation is the goal, you’ll need a form to capture your visitor’s information and follow up with them. Here are tips on how to present your form:
- Keep it as short as possible – don’t add unnecessary fields. Conversion rates typically drop with each field after the fourth.
- Design the form to look small and compact, regardless of how many fields are required.
- Add a form header that clearly articulates what they get by completing the form.
- Don’t “submit” to generic button labels – use a button label that actively describes what will happen when clicked. Examples include: “Contact Me”, “Get My eBook”, “Sign Me Up”.
- A short privacy message at the bottom to ensure the visitor that you’ll keep their personal information private and won’t sell or share it.
Confirmation or Thank You page
If the visitor takes your intended action, like a form fill, redirect them to a confirmation/thank-you page. This serves two purposes. It confirms that they have successfully completed the action. It also gives them something else to do and gives you an opportunity to engage them further.
Make sure you visitor a way to get in touch if they are ready to. A phone number is the most important, but a CTA to a contact us page or form is also highly recommended. Consider leaving email addresses off as they can lead to spamming.
3. Creating Your Landing Page
Prepare a clear value proposition
Few things are more powerful in marketing than a strong and clear value statement. Every landing page is asking the visitor for something, whether it be their time and attention, their information (think form fill) and/or their money. In return, you need to offer the visitor value in exchange for those things. Your landing page offer should be built around a clear and concise value statement.
Create a rough outline
Based on your value proposition, outline the rest of the story your landing page needs to tell and elements it needs to include (from the list above). Your outline could includes rough drafts of your main headlines, sub headlines, value prop, CTAs, additional information, etc.
Create a wireframe
Turn your narrative into a visual layout and helps your designer understand what story are designing-to. This can be sketch on paper or simple shapes and structures in a PowerPoint or Keynote file. Don’t get too carried away with details here, that will happen during the design phase.
Then add your rough copy elements from the outline and see how they flow with the visual structure. Share this with a designer to get some feedback on how things will look on the final design.
Write your landing page copy
With an outline and wireframe in place, copywriting becomes a little easier. Now you know where you need to write copy and roughly how much of it. Here are some landing page copywriting tips:
- Get to the point quickly and offer additional information afterward. Present your main value statement and CTA offer early on the page or you risk losing the visitors attention. If additional information and context is needed, you can add that in a section after your main offer.
- Consistency between your marketing communications channels and your landing page copy is essential. In particular you want to make sure your landing page headline and CTA is synergistic with the headline and CTA of your ad, email, social post, etc., that is driving visitors to your page.
- Use the voice of the customer. Show that you understand them and their needs. Make the page about them and how your offer helps them and not about how amazing you are.
- Keep it simple. We cannot stress this enough. There is a time and place for clever and witty writing, but landing pages are not that. Write clearly, directly and in plain English (or whatever language you’re marketing in).
Designing your page
The design process is much easier when an outline, wireframe and (almost) final copy already exist. Page design should consider some important things:
- Mobile-first design is key for landing pages. Compared to typical web pages, landing pages get a higher percent of traffic from mobile. Make sure the mobile experience is a great one.
- Keep the design clean and use plenty of “white space”. Cluttered landing pages can be confusing and difficult to engage with.
- Design the page with the copy in-hand to make sure the design helps support the narrative.
4. Before you publish
Optimize for SEO
Make sure you include related keywords in your landing page and optimize elements such as; title tag, meta description, images alt-tags, header tags, and body copy. Add a link to your landing page from somewhere on your main site so that search engine crawlers can find it and index it. A well written and well optimized page becomes an SEO landing page as well.
Review your landing page thoroughly. Try it in different browsers and on different devices. Test all elements that a visitor may interact with. Proofread all your copy and make sure a few sets of eyeballs are part of the review. Also make sure your tracking is working.
Peer and stakeholder review
By now, you’ve got a finished landing page. You’re very proud of it and cannot wait to publish and send traffic to it. However, there might be some flaws that you aren’t able to see since you are so close to it. Pull in some colleagues to help you validate your page. Use the previously mentioned ‘The 5 Second Rule’ to determine of your page can get the point across and grab the readers interest in five seconds or less. If the reviewers are confused about your value statement and offer, it would be wise to go back to the drawing board.
Publish and promote your landing page
You’ve pushed your page live and can start running your campaign and driving traffic. Turn your promotions on and what the traffic roll in!
Congrats, you’ve made it to the finish line! Right? No? There’s more??
Analyze the Data, Test, and Optimize
Not so fast, there is one last landing page best practice that we recommend. Let’s keep in mind, a lot of work went into creating this page, but it’s still just a really-well-informed educated-guess that it will work. You don’t determine if your landing page is successful, your audience does. No matter how great your landing page is, there is always room for improvement. That is where testing and optimization comes in. Keep an eye on your data and goal tracking. Identify some hypotheses for what to change and test to get better results. Build a “B” page with that change and send 50% of your traffic to that page and see which one “wins” the test. Keep iterating and watch your results get better and better.