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Landing Pages

What is a Landing Page & Why is it Important?

| 14 Minutes to Read
Paper airplane, with Landing Page written on it.
Summary: Learn all about what a landing page is, why it's so important for your business, and get access to all our content on landing page optimization.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated with additional content about different types of landing pages.

As you dive into the world of digital marketing, SEO, and paid search advertising, you’ll likely encounter a whole new vocabulary and set of concepts. If you haven’t already, you're bound to have questions about how landing pages fit into your digital marketing strategy. Developing a landing page sounds like a simple task, and it can be, but we want to stress that landing pages are vitally important to lead conversion.

 

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is any web page that a consumer can land on, but in the marketing realm, it’s usually a standalone page, distinct from your homepage or any other page, that serves a single and focused purpose. A landing page is a follow-up to any promises that you’ve made in your content. Essentially, it’s the next step toward a visitor becoming a customer. Your landing page lets you make a trade, some sort of special offer, piece of information, or a deal, in return for providing contact information.

Landing pages can be click-through, leading to another page such as your e-commerce site, or lead generation based. Lead generation landing pages typically offer items like an eBook, free trial, contest entry or webinar registration in return for the submission of contact information. A good landing page will do its job by convincing a potential customer that it’s worth it to provide personal details in return in exchange for whatever you have to offer. Landing pages can be found through a general search or via your company website, increasing the likelihood that a potential customer will end up there.

There’s no need to have just one landing page or even just one landing page at a time. In fact, experts in the marketing world probably suggest that you maintain multiple landing pages, targeted toward segmented customer populations.

How Effective are Landing Pages?

A survey on the effectiveness of landing pages highlighted interesting statistics. 68.2% of landing pages contained more than five call-to-action links, even though it resulted in only 10.5% conversions. On the other hand, landing pages with only one call to action resulted in 13.5% conversions.

The value of social proof on landing pages was confirmed by the fact that conversion rates for landing pages with satisfied customer reviews, photographs, and social media posts are 12.5% compared to 11.4% for pages without social proof. Desktop-only versions of landing pages had a 10.7% conversion rate, while mobile responsive landing pages had an 11.7% rate.

When Do You Need a Landing Page?

There are instances where a landing page is the most effective choice to drive sales or capture leads. It might be when you use PPC advertising, a lead magnet, focus attention, to attract different types of customers, or for easier testing.

PPC advertising. A landing page dedicated to a specific advertisement appears higher in search results because Google judges the quality of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising partly on its relevance to the linked page. A dedicated landing page with PPC advertising can be used to feature a new product whose exclusivity creates momentum for sales. It can draw customers looking for a specific price. 

And although an event promotion should be featured on your brand’s website, where it will be found by existing customers, using a dedicated landing page will draw customers interested only in that event.

Lead magnet. A lead magnet is any type of helpful content gated by a form, where a user must fill out the form to get the content. Even when they only provide their name and email, they become a lead. Design a landing page specifically for the lead magnet focussing on content, the form, and keywords. Content offers (lead magnets) include a webinar where a panel of experts answers consumer questions, an Ebook, a free sample, or a limited-service offering. Create a guide or checklist that helps consumers complete a task.

Focus attention. A landing page focuses visitors’ attention on the content. They can either complete the call to action or return to search results.

Attract different types of customers. Custom landing pages can be created to appeal to different types of customers. The content, page style, advertising, and offer it contains will determine its impact on the targeted customer group. Landing pages can be focused on drawing customers from a specific location, demographic, or those looking at price and quality.

Easier testing. A landing page is one page with one focus, making it easier to test. With the right tools, the page can be tested often to make it compelling and user-friendly. Aspects to be tested include copy, voice, media, or keywords. Personalizing content with information about leads generally leads to higher conversion rates.

Why Landing Pages Convert More Traffic

Landing pages convert more traffic because they are focused on one goal or call to action by providing information about a specific offer or item. It has limited navigation, and the simplicity keeps a visitor focused on the goal rather than being distracted by multiple links taking them away from the page. A dedicated landing page is also a destination for traffic and when a high-quality advertisement promotes a single offer, it is more likely that visitors become customers. 

Different Types of Landing Pages

As a general rule, using landing pages enables you to complete a post-click sequence with a dedicated page that shows the visitor they have landed in the right place. Busy homepages or product pages have the potential to muddy the waters, whereas landing pages make it very clear what outcome will result from the visitor’s click-through. By making a landing page, you refine and improve your visitor interaction and thus increase the chances of conversion. You also ensure that you get more from your PPC spend - you’ve already paid for this click, and a landing page helps you make it worth your while. You can increase the possibility of conversions even further by ensuring that you use the right kind of landing page. Let’s take a look at the landing page varieties and what they are used for.

Landing Page vs. Website Homepage

First of all, some people may wonder why they should bother with landing pages when the primary objective is to drive visitors to their homepage? The answer is that, while getting traffic on your home page is undoubtedly a good thing, it is less likely to result in a conversion than a landing page. Home pages contain a lot of information and invite users to navigate to a variety of different locations. If a visitor reaches your homepage with one specific goal in mind, they might be turned off if they have to look through several additional services and product options first. The homepage’s main objective is to direct users to other pages where they will find the information they want. Landing pages eliminate the intermediary step by being the page the user wants - and stating as much in no uncertain terms.

Your homepage is general, where a landing page is focused and specific. While the homepage draws visitors further into your website by presenting all the options your business has to offer, a landing page offers one simple and clear call to action.

Lead Generation Landing Page

A lead-generation or lead-capture landing page is primarily intended to collect leads by means of a data capture form. These pages are very versatile but are most often used in the middle of the sales funnel, at the point where customers are evaluating your offerings and are on the cusp of moving towards the intent to either convert or walk away. It presents both a request and a reward simultaneously. The reward is the specific offer you are promoting in order to capture leads, and the request is the information you ask for in your form. The request and the reward should be well balanced. Whatever you are promoting must be worth the customer offering you their details and adding them to your mailing list.

Click-Through Landing Page

In contrast to the lead-generation page, which relies on a form, a click-through page is, by definition, one that does not require a form at all. It is a simple middleman between your advert and the page to which you ultimately wish to direct your customers. It is often used to link an ad to a shopping cart for example. It requires only a simple and short explanation of what the visitor has found by clicking through and a bold and unmistakable call to action with a link to the final destination.

Squeeze Page

Like a lead-generation page, a squeeze page is used to collect data. Unlike a lead-generation page, however, it is generally employed near the top of the sales funnel and its only goal is to gather email addresses to add potential leads to a general mailing list. They are short, basic landing pages with bold headlines and minimal content. A clear call to action leaves the reader in no doubt as to what to expect from the click-through. In addition to the short form, there should also be both a link to take the reader to the next step and an exit option if the visitor does not wish to proceed.

Sales Page

A sales page is often the most difficult to design. With this page, you are no longer simply prospecting for leads. It is one that you would use right at the bottom of the funnel, and it has to convince people to buy, which is an entirely different proposition to a basic request and reward combination. The creation of the page, from the copy to the design, requires a touch of delicacy and a complete understanding of your customers’ needs and their position in the sales journey. You could either sell too hard at this point and turn your client away, or you could undersell and lose the sale anyway. This is where good old-fashioned salesmanship must be incorporated into your design and communication tactics.

The length of the page depends very much on your product and how much you need to say to explain its value to your customers. Regardless of the length, there needs to be a detailed pitch that clearly demonstrates this value, with the aim of getting them to click that button and make the purchase.

Infomercial

You may think infomercials are a relic of the 1990s late-night television advertising, but many businesses incorporate their sales techniques very successfully into their digital strategies, particularly in the form of specialized landing pages. Infomercial landing pages contrast sharply with squeeze or lead-generation pages in that, whereas these two varieties are characterized by their brevity, infomercials tell your readers a long, elaborate story, using copy that recalls the emotive and excitable mannerisms of those late-night sales masters. The aim is to keep readers scrolling and get them to commit to a purchase.

Splash Page

Splash pages can be used at any point in your sales funnel and they are possibly the most basic type of landing page. They typically have very little copy, one or two bold images, and very simple communication, usually an announcement or a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ request. They may ask your reader to verify their age or choose their language preference before proceeding to your website. They are not intended to collect data or generate leads and serve only to provide very basic information to your visitors before they enter your website.

Viral Landing Pages

Viral landing pages are intended primarily to build brand awareness. While they will usually contain links to a company website or other web page, these are usually presented subtly and unobtrusively. The main keys here are the content, which should be informative and/or fun enough to engage a reader and hopefully get them to share the page, together with the ability to share the page via social media. The content could be written copy or could involve videos, images, or even games.

Microsites

A microsite is, as the name suggests, a dedicated, miniature website. It is created for a specific campaign or with one targeted sales goal in mind. It is more than a single page, but it is still described as a kind of landing page since it is set aside for one specific aspect of sales and promotional efforts. Microsites are driven by online ads or work alongside TV ad campaigns.

Why Use Landing Pages?

You’ve done a great job building your brand and creating a website that represents it. Now you have to make sure that all of that hard work translates into sales. If you are looking for an effective lead conversion tool, landing pages are definitely the way to go.

A landing page is a great way to drive traffic, improve your SEO and build your brand. It can also form part of an effective PPC strategy. Approximately 68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to generate leads for future conversion. Fortunately for you, 44% of these clicks are directed toward home pages, which, as we’ll discuss, is not a good strategy. Landing pages lead customers to a specific product, service, or offer and encourage them to take action. This is your opportunity to create conversions and build your customer base.

If landing pages are so important, why isn’t every business using them? Well, there is a misconception that they are hard to create and maintain. Fortunately, that simply isn’t true. Building an effective landing page is less about flashiness and more about getting the consumer what they’re after.

What Makes a Good Landing Page?

First off, your home page should not be your landing page. You need to send prospective customers to a page that will let them take advantage of whatever special offer you’ve promised them. Since they are tied to something specific, your landing pages have a better chance of capturing attention for a longer period of time. Good landing pages do several things:

1. They zero in on the offer, not the company. Your future customers are clicking for a reason, and duping them by not giving them what you’ve promised is not going to form a good first impression. Now is not the time to give a detailed history of your company. This isn’t to say that the landing page should not be tied to your company brand. Just the opposite. They should serve a separate function, yet should still be an extension of your brand.

2. They are focused and free of distractions. The content on your landing page should have the end goal of getting the user what they want while completing the registration process.

3. The forms are not intimidating. Lengthy forms can be daunting to visitors and may encourage them to move on, rather than take advantage of whatever opportunity you are offering. If you simply can’t shorten your form, break it into steps, and let the user see exactly where they are in the process. For example, listing their name and address may be step one of four.

4. They speak to a specific audience. Segmenting your customer base helps you to target specific consumers through customized campaigns. If you have a base that’s drawn to a particular offer, such as an eBook or discount, your landing page can serve as a built-in segmentation device, allowing you to nurture these leads effectively going forward.

5. They collect specific information about your prospective customers. Speaking of specific audiences, even if you draw the right crowd, they can’t be converted if you don’t collect the right information. The collection of demographic data should include more than simply a name and email address. It should also give you some idea of why a person clicked and what their long-term connection to your company might be.

6. They provide your special offers with a home. Unless they are tied to landing pages, your online special offers will do nothing to benefit your business. Creating landing pages provides a place for your offers to reside.

7. They provide a thank you. Your landing page should always be followed up with a thank you. This is not only polite but assures the consumer that they have completed the registration process.

8. They allow users access to other marketing channels. A customer likes what you’ve just offered. Now you can provide links to other offers, your social media profiles or an email list sign up.

There is no doubt about it, we are certainly living in a digitally connected world. Moving boldly forward with a digital marketing campaign can easily be one of the best investments that you make for your business. As you build your digital marketing toolbox, including landing pages is a smart move, and both you and your customers will reap the benefits.

Landing Pages Best Practices

A landing page that grabs the customer’s attention, making a strong first impression, generally includes several landing page best practices refined over time. There are some differences between best practices for desktop and mobile, but in general, landing pages that contain certain elements result in higher conversion rates. We discuss a number of these landing page best practices.

  • Keep the headlines, the main message, and call-to-action above the fold
    Above the fold is historically a newspaper concept where the most important headlines and news were placed in the top half of the first page of the newspaper. In digital marketing terms, this is the part of the screen visible to the viewer without scrolling down.
    When a user enters the landing page, there is a good chance they will scan the full screen but not scroll down to read further. Keep the headlines, the main message, and the call-to-action (CTA) above the fold for a better chance of a conversion. For SEO purposes, the headline must be clear, concise, and include the main keyword.
  • Use only one call-to-action (CTA)
    Every landing page should be optimized for a single goal. It could be a special offer, free trial, contest entry, webinar registration, or download an eBook. Too many CTA’s or links to other pages distracts the viewer from the main goal, so place a single CTA button above the fold.
  • Repeat the call-to-action (CTA) where relevant
    When a desktop or mobile user must scroll down to read the landing page copy, they don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to scroll up again to access the CTA. To retain the potential customer, place an exact version of the CTA on the lower section of the page.
  • CTA button design
    The call to action (CTA) button design must entice the viewer to take action. It should be a contrasting color to the landing page background and of appropriate size. When a CTA is repeated on the landing page, it must be an exact replica of the CTA above the fold.
  • Design for mobile
    Research indicates that 56.89% of global internet traffic takes place on a mobile phone, so designing landing pages for mobile use is essential. There are still many reasons to design for desktops as the older demographic and many B2B businesses use computers to do business. Your analytics data should be the guide on the device preferences of your audience.
  • Traffic source optimization
    Design the landing page for the sources you draw traffic from. SEO-optimized pages have a lower conversion rate than short, copy-orientated landing pages. Keep landing pages with paid traffic sources short and direct with clear messages and actions.
  • Provide social proof
    Fear of missing out is a powerful persuasion tool. Use testimonials and reviews from other users to boost landing page conversions. When users learn other customers and businesses value your product, it builds brand trust and credibility. 

If you would like to learn more about the importance of landing pages or want to get in touch with an expert who can improve your landing page and SEO strategy, we'd love to chat with you right now!

Here's a rundown of all WSI's content on landing pages:

Landing Page for Lead Generation: 9 Essential Components
5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Landing Page Conversions
3 Future Proof Landing Page Tips for 2018 and Beyond
Optimizing Your Landing Page for Lead Generation: Some Essential Components
The Anatomy of a Landing Page that Converts

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