Landing pages and how they’re useful

Landing pages are useful and indeed they are one way businesses and marketers can leverage their online marketing efforts for maximum impact.

You may be familiar with landing pages or you may have no clue what they are.

Either way, in this article, we’ll examine what a landing page is, what it is used for and how it can help you increase your conversions.

Let’s dig in.

What is a landing page and what is it used for?

A landing page is the single stand-alone webpage that users land on when they click on organic search engine results, or paid ads; the ads could be anything from social media ads to Google ads.

Landing pages are used for lead generation and to get users to perform a desired action.

To do the above, they usually contain copy that is a logical extension of the linked ad or search engine result and are usually designed in a non-obtrusive, non-distracting way to ensure that their CTAs are as clear as possible.

You may find this type of webpage referred to as lead capture page, static page, or destination page; they all really mean the same thing.

How landing pages are different from other types of webpages.

There are different types of webpages, so then, how are landing pages any different from those?

The answer is really simple.

Landing pages are defined by their singularity of purpose.

They usually have one distinct CTA (call-to-action), which could either be to subscribe to an email newsletter or to register for a webinar.

Unlike other webpages that have a million and one other links, landing pages, although they may contain numerous links, contain links that essentially do the same thing.

You may be wondering, why put the same link in different places on the same page? 

We’ll get to that in another article on landing page design.

But for now, let’s examine the usefulness of landing pages.

Why are landing pages important?

Well, they are important because their performance can be tracked, measured, and then improved, or in digital marketing lingo, they can be optimized.

By using analytics software like Google Analytics, you can track metrics like conversions, pages per session, bounce rates, average time per page, etc to evaluate the performance of your landing pages so that they can be optimized for better performance.

Another reason landing pages are important is that they can help you make the most of your online marketing efforts.

When you’re setting up your home page, and all the other pages on your website, you’re doing so with the aim of establishing your brand voice and trying to create something that will leave a lasting first impression.

Because your goal isn’t to make sales or generate new leads for your business, directing paid traffic to these other webpages will give users mixed messages as the webpage will be ‘overused’.

Whereas, when you create dedicated landing pages for your marketing campaigns, you can funnel all that targeted traffic to your masterfully created landing page designed to encourage users to take a specific action, whether that be signing up to your email list or getting people to register for your webinar.

This tailored content approach is why landing pages (when set up properly) are so successful at dramatically increasing conversions.

There’s also one more reason you should seriously consider using landing pages.

Consider this.

The other pages on your website, including your home page all link to other pages on your website. 

As such, users can end up being distracted by the multitude of links they are presented with.

Landing pages address this issue as they are sparse and lean usually containing only one CTA.

Or two at most.

Let’s proceed to examine the major types of landing pages and how they can benefit your business.

The types of landing pages

As we’ve established, landing pages serve two purposes: to generate leads and to encourage users to take a desired action.

It therefore follows that there are two major types of landing pages:

  • Lead generation landing pages
  • Click-through landing pages

Both landing pages are relevant to your business in different ways.

Lead generation landing pages are relevant to marketing efforts which involve getting leads into the top of your marketing funnel.

On the other hand, click through landing pages are used to get users (already in the funnel) to carry out a particular action 

There are variations of both types of landing pages, and we’ll explore those in a bit.

But before that, I’m sure you’re wondering when you should even use landing pages in the first place and not some other pages on your website.

So, when should you use landing pages?

You should use landing pages when you start a marketing campaign or run an ad, whether it be a FB ad or Google ad.

 Other scenarios where you should consider using landing pages include:

Segmented promotional offers

Customers are always at different stages in your funnel, and as such, your efforts should be different for each customer.

Landing pages are an effective way to achieve personalized messaging.

For instance, you may have users who have signed up to your email list, bought some of your lower priced products, but haven’t purchased your premium products.

If you offer a promotional offer to incentivize them to purchase your premium products, you should only direct them to a landing page that is tailored for them.

If you showed your premium products discount to users who already use them, your marketing suddenly appears redundant and clumsy.

Not all promos are for all people in your funnel, and the only way to show the right promo to the right people is to use landing pages.

Multiple products

This is another situation where landing pages come in handy.

Most businesses have more than one product, or more than one tier of the product or service that they sell.

And so, the messaging for each product would have to be different.

When advertising products, the customer usually goes through the following:

Homepage, product detail page, and, finally, shopping cart page

However, if you used a standalone landing page, the process could be much simpler.

It would go thus: ad, landing page, and shopping cart page.

This simplified process would make sure that leads from your ad won’t purchase products other than the one you’re trying to drive sales for.

Traffic segmentation and optimization 

You can also use landing pages to segment your traffic.

Your traffic sources (PPC, organic search, email, social media, display banners, etc.) are all different and as such, every lead that lands on your website has a different level of knowledge about your brand.

Since your goal is to deliver personalized marketing, your brand’s message and your pitch about your products and services should be tailored to each segment of users who are just becoming familiar with your brand’s voice and message.

People visiting your website from a 140-character tweet and a 3-paragraph long email are different and your message to them, whatever you choose it to be, should be different too.

And one way for you to do this is to use landing pages.

Anatomy of a landing page

Landing pages typically have the following features:

  • Headline and sub-headlines
  • Concise and compelling copy
  • Engaging media, including visuals
  • Social proof
  • A clear CTA (call to action)
  •  Contact information 

Let’s examine the individual elements and see how they all fit into the larger picture of your marketing strategy.

Headlines and sub-headlines

This is where it all starts.

To increase your conversion rate, your landing page should have a good headline that is a match and a logical extension of your ad or search engine result.

David Ogilvy is quoted as saying “five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy”, and that when “you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent eighty cents out of your dollar”

Your headline is so important that you cannot afford to craft a poor one.

If your headline doesn’t work, there’s no way readers will stick around for your exciting offer(s).

The headline is a chance for you to pull your readers into your copy, and convince and inspire them to take whatever action you desire.

The art of writing headlines is broad enough to be treated in another blog post entirely, but, in summary, your headlines should aim to:

  • Be simple clear and direct
  • Arouse curiosity
  • Pose a solution to a problem
  • Speak to the reader on an emotional level.

Of course, there are more things that are involved in headline writing, but these should get you started.

Concise and compelling copy

Should you craft an interesting headline that hooks your readers, the next logical step would be to actually write the copy for the landing page.

You will invariably start your copy with a first sentence, and as Joe Sugarman would say, the purpose of the first sentence is to get people to read the second sentence; and the purpose of the second sentence is to get people to read the third….

With your copy, you should aim to focus on the benefits of your product, not only its features.

I know.

You’re eager to tell your audience how awesome your product is and the amazing features your product has.

But in order to sell, you need to shift your perspective to the customer’s.

How does your product help them? How does it make life easier for them?

These are the questions your customers are really asking. If you can effectively answer those questions and then address all the objections they may have about your product, then you will succeed in connecting with the customer on an emotional level.

This connection is why the customer will end up buying from you.

Engaging media

You have to make your landing page visually appealing.

If for no other reason than your competitors hire graphics designers to design jaw-dropping landing pages.

That’s on a lighter note, as not every one has the budget to hire designers from 99 designs.

But at the very least your landing page should look coherent and somewhat visually appealing.

A wall of text can be disheartening. You should aim to break it up with graphics that tell your story and at the same time fit with your message.

There are also other media that you can use on your landing page to ensure that it is engaging enough to keep their attention.

You can use audio clips, and even videos to keep your prospects hooked.

Social proof

There are very few things that give your brand credibility as social proof.

Social proof takes the form of user testimonials, brand mentions, awards, etc.

In short, anything that suggests that your brand is awesome

You can add user testimonials and awards you’ve gotten in the past to prove to your audience that your brand is credible and trustworthy.

One clear and distinct CTA.

You have designed your landing page with gusto, written attention-grabbing headlines and written slinky copy; all that is left is now the real meat, the point when your users convert and do the very thing you’ve been wanting them to do for so long.

Your CTA is what gets them to finally convert.

To increase your conversions, it is imperative that you include not more than one CTA on your landing page.

Otherwise, you’ll defeat the purpose of the landing page in the first place.

Users can easily be distracted if you include more than one.

It is also important that your CTA button should stand out from the rest of the content on the landing page so that users can recognize the button and click it.

You may have heard that you should use bright colors like yellow, red or orange to make sure that your CTA will stand out.

However, using yellow, or red for that matter, isn’t the point.

The goal is to make sure that your CTA button will stand out from the rest of your copy, and any number of colors can do this depending on the color scheme of your website.

If your website is mainly white, using a black CTA button is as effective as using a red button, as they both perform the same function; to make the CTA button stand out.

Contact Information

If you’ve come this far and your leads are still hanging around, there is still something left you can do to close with a bang.

Your contact information.

This isn’t always necessary, but if you’re in the B2B space and your product is complex or pricey, customers may need to hop on a call with you or your customer care representatives.

It may even be that they need your products, but have specific needs that don’t fit into any of the packages or plans you’re offering.

In this case too, coming on a call with you is necessary.

So, include your contact info.

You never know who may need it.

Below, we’ll explore some examples of landing pages that work, and why they work.

Snartblogger

Simply put, this is smart landing page design.

They were running a promotion for a discount on their content marketing course.

You would register for a webinar which would deliver some value, and in exchange, they would offer a 50% discount on the course.

The landing page was so efficient, there was nowhere else to go except to register for the webinar.

This type of landing page is what is known as a squeeze page.

The only button was a link to register for the webinar. In this situation, it was either users registered for the webinar, or they didn’t.

Very straightforward.

They also included social proof in the footer of the page. The footer contains the names of big-name blogs that had featured their work.

Inclusion of social proof and a laser-focused CTA make this landing page a win. 

Freelance clients

This landing page was different from the one above.

This landing page included a headline, a lead capture form, longer copy and media like audio clips.

They also included social proof and showed a preview of the interviews with the experts as a kind of teaser.

The real product they wanted to sell was the ‘upgrade’ which cost $17 as opposed to the $1 product that the landing page was offering.  

Hubspot 404-error page

You may be wondering why an error page is included on this list.

Hold on for a bit.

Although this type of page doesn’t contain long -form copy or a singular CTA, you can redirect traffic from broken or removed links to other pages on your website.

This landing page does contain a headline crafted to defuse the tension of them having to land on a page that has been removed or changed.

Landing pages are indeed a versatile tool in the arsenal of the marketer or the business owner.

There are so many elements that a landing page consists of. You only have to know how to design a landing page so that it does what you need it to do, nothing less.

And I enthusiastically agree with Ogilvy too; “when you create your headline, you’ve spent eighty cents of your dollar”

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