Landing pages are essentially pages built to convert. They’re designed to be the first page a visitor sees in order to show them the information you want them to see, usually after clicking on an email or a pay-per-click ad.
Built to prompt action
“A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result”
Instead of sending a visitor to a standard page on your website (where they might struggle to find the information they need straight away), a landing page is used to present them the right information immediately and encourage them to perform a certain action (e.g. subscribe to a newsletter, download something or click-through to buy).
Although landing pages have traditionally been used primarily for pay-per-click and email campaigns, they are being increasingly used for other digital marketing efforts too, including social media campaigns and affiliate links.
Define your goals
As with any other element of marketing, a good landing page starts with a set of clearly defined goals and expectations.
By knowing up front what you want to achieve and how you’re going to measure the results, the page can then be built and designed around those specific metrics.
According to Seth Godin, a landing page (in fact, every page) can only cause one of five actions:
- Get a visitor to click (to go to another page – on your site or someone else’s)
- Get a visitor to buy
- Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc). This also includes registration
- Get a visitor to tell a friend (for example using social sharing)
- Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback
According to Seth, if you’re going to invest the time, money and energy in a landing page then it makes sense to optimise that page to accomplish just one (and perhaps two, but no more) of the actions above.
10 key ingredients of a successful landing page
I’ve seen many good blog posts, articles and infographics that effectively illustrate what a good landing page should look like and how they should be structured.
Whilst most of the advice on how to create good landing pages go into varying degrees of detail, what is consistent amongst many of them are the following 10 characteristics:
1. Clear and concise headlines
Create a clear, bold heading that stands out and gets to the point.
Visitors arriving on a landing page usually have a specific goal or intention in mind. A clear headline should be relevant, engaging and encourage the reader to scan down the page for more information.
2. Compelling copy
The copy should complement the headline and be just as engaging.
Good copy is clear, concise and persuasive and should support your call to action (CTA).
3. Strong call to action
You must have a strong call to action that is tied to your goal and supported by your headline, copy and supporting images and/or video.
Ask yourself: “What is the single most important action I want the visitor to perform as a result of reading this page?”.
It is essential that your visitor knows exactly what to do next in order to fulfil that action.
4. Good spelling and grammar
If you’re going to ask for a visitor’s contact or billing information then you have to gain their trust.
Poor grammar and spelling mistakes is not professional and will not help you convince a prospect to put their faith in you.
5. Call to action buttons should stand out
The call to action button should describe exactly what you’re going to get (‘register for free’ or ‘sign-up now’).
They should be big, bright (orange and yellow work well) and positioned in a prominent place on the page.
Take advantage of testimonials and recommendations as well as other trust indicators like third-party security certifications.
A genuine endorsement from an advocate of your product or service reduces the risk in a prospect’s mind and can be the difference between a visitor converting or not.
7. Go easy on the links
Although links to other internal pages or to external sites are OK on a regular web page, a landing page isn’t a regular web page.
Too many links can distract the visitor from converting so it’s therefore important to keep them to a minimum.
8. Include images and video to augment the copy
Great photos and video can be used to back-up testimonials or showcase the product in more detail to encourage the prospect to find out more and convert.
As with the headlines and copy, photos and video shouldn’t be too fancy or long-winded and must get to the point.
9. Stay above the fold
The space on the page the visitor can see without having to scroll down is ‘above the fold’.
It’s important to make things easy for the visitor so your call to action must be above the fold to give them every opportunity to click through and convert (although there’s nothing wrong with placing another call to action below the fold).
What works for one website might not work for another. It’s therefore important to always be testing.
Testing is essential for ensuring a landing page is doing its job correctly. Run A/B tests, change copy, videos, images and call to actions to see what works best for your visitors.
Keep it simple!
One of the overarching characteristics of a good landing page is simplicity. Simplicity in design, copy and structure.
A good landing page isn’t about extravagant design and poetic language. It’s about short, sharp, punchy headlines, copy and imagery that support your call to action. Anything else might distract the visitor from performing the action you want them to.
Remember: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication!