Chances are that you’ve worked hard to build a great website for your business. You’ve invested in the copy, in the product itself, set up a whole package of social media accounts, and maybe even started a blog to take part in this whole content marketing craze.
But perhaps there’s something missing.
Namely, have you considered launching a set of landing pages that would supercharge your marketing efforts?
If the term “landing pages” causes you to raise an eyebrow, read on. Here’s the science behind them.
What’s a landing page?
Landing page is a relatively new concept, but it’s been gaining some serious popularity over the last five years or so. One of the best definitions of what a landing page is comes from the guys over at Unbounce:
A landing page is a standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective.
Two important elements in that definition:
- Standalone and distinct – this means that the page should not be linked to the rest of your website. So no global navigation, no standard header menu – basically, nothing that would tie the page to the rest of the site.
- Single focused objective – in other words, the landing page should be built around a certain action that you want the visitor to take. Most commonly, it’s to either buy something or subscribe to something (by submitting an email address).
Here’s an example landing page at BeaFreelanceBlogger.com:
As you can see, it’s very basic. It has hardly any design, and focuses on the offer instead. Of course, it’s not the perfect landing page, but it does illustrate the concept of “single focused objective” clearly.
What can you expect from a good landing page?
The thing that’s great about landing pages is that using them is not one of those strange trends on the web that everybody and their dog follows but no one really knows why.
Landing pages are around for one very simple reason … they work.
In fact, it’s reported that 68 percent of B2B businesses use landing pages for one purpose or the other.[MarketingSherpa]
And to give you some more relatable case studies, companies like Buffer and Moz both experienced great results by focusing on building and optimizing their landing pages. Buffer, for example, saw their conversion rates growing by 16 percent after creating a new landing page for their main tool. Moz’s results were even better. A single landing page test gave them a 52 percent increase in sales on their PRO membership.
How many landing pages do you need?
In a word, a lot.
MarketingSherpa actually reports that 48 percent of marketers go as far as building a new landing page for each new marketing campaign they launch.
Moreover, businesses that have 10-15 landing pages generate 55 percent more conversions than businesses with less than 10 landing pages. And those that take it even further and launch more than 40 landing pages see their conversion numbers increasing by even 500 percent.
What this means in plain English is that whenever you’re releasing something new – be it a product, or maybe just a free offer for your avid fans – creating a dedicated landing page for that specific promotion is a smart thing to do. Then, link to those landing pages from your marketing materials, instead of using the homepage or your standard sales page.
How to build landing pages that convert?
So now that we have the why out of the way, let’s focus on the how.
There are five main elements to a good landing page creation process:
- call to action,
Let’s take it from the top:
1. Start with the right headline
Even though BuzzFeed might try to convince you that headlines are all about shock value, this might not entirely be the case for landing pages meant to get your visitors to take certain action.
A much better approach is to focus on the thing that makes your offer different from what’s already out there. A good headline should be able to convey such message in just one simple sentence.
This isn’t an easy thing to do, though, and chances are that you’ll need a lot of trial and error before you stumble upon a headline that sounds truly right.
Keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Aim to craft a single line of text that explains everything.
- Use simple language that everybody can understand (don’t try to sound smart).
- Address the main pain of your audience and offer a solution.
- What’s the main benefit of taking you up on your offer?
- Make it memorable.
And finally, don’t call it a day after writing just one headline. Instead, write 20-25 of them and then pick the one that sounds best.
E.g. headline presentation on a landing page at SugarSync:
2. Make your message clear
Essentially, the headline’s job is to get people to read the rest of the page. However, a great headline won’t be able to make your page a success all on its own. For that, you need to follow it up with the right message.
This is where you need to focus on telling a compelling story.
And I don’t mean this in a Stephen King kind of way. A story on a landing page should be a short message that makes the connection between your business and the visitor.
In other words, it’s something that the visitor can quickly understand and relate to. Something that makes them think, “wow, that’s just like me.”
How to achieve this?
One word, focus.
Focus on the main benefit – on the main reason why the visitor should pay attention – plus how you can solve their problem.
Focus is especially important on your landing pages, since this is where you’re selling your products! We just see so many websites with too much going on, it’s depressing. Make sure you have one thing people should focus on. And this goes for every page, not just landing pages.
An example of clearly focused message at Shopify:
One more note. No matter what you do, don’t try offering more than one thing from your landing page. This is by far one of the main conversion killers out there. In fact, multiple offers can decrease your conversions by as much as 266 percent.
3. Using the right call to action (CTA)
Your CTA is the phrase that tells your visitors what you want them to do exactly. Most commonly, the best place for a CTA is on a button. The button should stand out (design-wise), so the visitor can distinguish it visually from the rest of the page.
A good CTA should:
- be short and to-the-point,
- (again) stand out visually,
- be consistent with the headline and the message,
- tell the visitor exactly what to do, but also what they can expect after taking the action.
Here’s an example CTA by Ramit Sethi:
4. Don’t disregard design
As we said earlier, landing pages are distinct from your main website, which means that, to an extent, they should behave somewhat like standalone creations.
Consider these guidelines:
- Avoid including any form of site navigation on the landing page (no menus).
- If possible, make the call to action the only exit point from the page.
- Don’t distract the visitor with graphics that are not related to the main offer.
- Make the design related to your brand visually (don’t go for a completely different color scheme).
- Use colors for focus, not just to make things pretty.
- Make sure that the landing page works on mobile. This is huge! It’s reported that 65 percent of internet users globally go online via mobile phones.
Note: You are more than welcome to help yourself to some tools that have been tailor-made to easily design landing pages, like this landing page builder by GetResponse (especially helpful if you want to create a landing page for your email newsletter):
5. Test relentlessly
At the end of the day, your success with landing pages will depend more on your ability to test different things than on your ability to create a winner right from the get-go.
Testing, split testing, A/B testing, multivariate testing … the lot. It’s where the game is won or lost. So, experiment. Try different headlines (you do have 20+ of them, right?). Try different messages, different benefits, different colors, different calls to action. Whatever can be tested, test.
For your inspiration
Let’s close this resource with some great landing page examples from around the web to get you inspired and kick-start your landing page creation efforts.
Which of these is your favorite one?