Increasing sales is arguably one of the biggest reasons that small businesses launch websites. And what happens after their websites go live? It’s time to start generating traffic, which entails a host of online marketing tactics like PPC and SEO. As online marketing efforts get underway, what’s the best method for capturing information about prospects or sending them further into your sales funnel? Landing pages.
Whether a landing page is designed for lead-capture or persuading visitors to buy what’s in their shopping cart, the main purpose of every landing page is essentially to get visitors to complete a specific task. However, this can be more difficult than it sounds.
There’s an art to creating an effective landing page, which should be part of a larger customer journey. In this post, we’ll review the ins and outs of when to use landing pages, as well as some key considerations and helpful tools for getting started.
What is a landing page?
Anytime a website visitor clicks on a call-to-action and subsequently lands on a new page – that page is a landing page. While there are several types of landing pages, in this article we’re specifically talking about those created for dedicated marketing campaigns. This type of landing page doesn’t live on a website, like introductory or product landing pages. Instead, it’s usually only accessible from a link provided in marketing content, like inside an email promotion or embedded as a button on a blog, etc.
Landing pages are useful in two ways:
- Lead generation. They enable you to capture visitors’ contact information in exchange for something, like a brochure or an ebook, effectively turning them into sales leads.
- Click-through. They can also be used to cultivate potential customers’ interest in whatever you’re trying to sell before you send them further along the customer journey. (Commonly used by ecommerce businesses.)
When do you need one?
The short answer is: whenever you’re running any marketing or promotional campaign. That means, if you’re running ads on Google Adwords (PPC), sending out an email newsletter, announcing the launch of a new product, running a giveaway contest, or even publishing guest blogs on other websites – in almost every case it’s not smart to link to your home page. Generally, your home page doesn’t do the best job of explaining your product or service, at least as it relates to a particular campaign.
With a landing page, you can create a highly targeted message that’s directly connected to where your customers are coming from. In other words, before you launch any marketing campaign or promotion, it’s essential you have a complementary landing page in mind, or to create one specific to your goals. The success of your campaign depends on it. Which type of landing page do you need? It depends on your objective.
If your goal is to collect visitors’ contact or business information, you’ll typically create some special offer and include a lead-capture form. Offers might include:
- Download a publication like a ebook, report, whitepaper, or infographic
- Sign-up for a webinar
- Subscribe to a blog, email newsletter, or RSS
- Listen to a presentation or download a podcast
- Get a demo or free consultation
- Enroll in an online course
- Enjoy a special discount
To send visitors along the customer journey, you’ll generally create a click-through landing page to convince them to:
- Click “buy” in their shopping cart
- Sign-up as a paying subscriber to your service
Tips for creating effective landing pages
Exactly what your landing page looks like and how much information it contains really depends on the goal for your campaign. While the internet is full of discussions about what landing pages should and shouldn’t feature, these are some good general guidelines to follow:
- Prioritize simplicity. Visual clutter will detract from your message and overwhelm visitors, so make good use of white space. Keep key information above the fold.
- Write a clear headline and sub-head. A good landing page always broadcasts an offer. Use your headline to promote it in a few simple words. Use the sub-head to further explain the offer or share its value proposition.
- Focus on a single message. Most visitors won’t spend too much time reading, so make text short and scannable. Ideally, it should be 1-2 short paragraphs of 2-3 sentences only. Here’s your chance to demonstrate that you understand your visitors’ pain points. You can also use this section to articulate your value proposition.
- Simplify with bulleted and numbered lists. What are the benefits of your offer? Provide 3-4 ways your solution answers visitors’ pain points. Alternatively, you should list 3-4 benefits of key product features.
- Match content to PPC ads. Repeat the exact same words and phrases in your PPC ads. This reassures visitors they’ve come to the right place.
- Use a single call to action. It’s good practice to repeat exactly what you want visitors to do when they’re on the page—in the copy, as well as on the call to action button. Hopefully, you’ve kept your landing page short, but if you haven’t make sure to place your button above the fold.
- Keep forms short. Do you want to collect your visitors’ names, where they work, their phone number, and email address? Or will an email address suffice? Really consider how much information you actually need. The more you require, the less likely visitors will oblige.
Online landing page tools
If you don’t have the knowledge to design and code landing pages yourself, these days that’s no problem. There are a bunch of fantastic tools online that make building your own landing pages a snap. They even come with ready-made templates, helpful tips for customizing the designs, and tools for A/B testing.
Other favorite resources include:
Launched in 2009, Unbounce is possibly the internet’s first landing page software. As such, the company has become a leader in the space, providing most of the features that search marketers love, including website pop-ups and sticky bars. There are 150+ templates; functionality is drag-and-drop; and A/B testing is built-in. Plus, Unbounce landing pages can be integrated with email and WordPress sites.
KickOffLabs is a popular choice for businesses doing marketing for product launches, sweepstakes, and giveaways. With a focus on social promotion, KickOffLabs features several built-in tools designed to generate word-of-mouth buzz, referrals, and more. Its landing page editor is easy to use and provides a range of color schemes and templates to choose from. Although some advanced functionality is missing, if you’re looking for a simple tool to publish landing pages quickly, KickOffLabs is an excellent choice.
If your website is in WordPress and you don’t want to hire a designer every time you need a landing page, then Thrive Architect is another great option. A premium landing page plugin for WordPress, Thrive enables you to create and publish your own unique landing pages that are optimized for conversions and easy to edit. It offers more than 250 landing page templates, so you don’t have to worry about design.