Creating landing pages is the cornerstone of any inbound marketing strategy.
As an online marketer, you need a way to convince the people who came to your website to do something.
This is where landing pages come in.
You can think of them as special agents who have only one mission in mind: to convert website visitors into leads or customers.
If a landing page fails to convert visitors, all the effort you’ve put into bringing potential customers to your website will go to waste.
Want to make sure that nobody can resist your landing pages? Give your landing pages a fighting chance and see how to make the most of every visit you get.
Landing page definition
A landing page is designed to guide the user to take a specific action. This can be making purchase, signing up for a trial, filling out a contact form, getting content in exchange for email.
This is the page where you land the lead or a customer. Not every page that does that is a landing page though.
What makes landing special in this area is their structure. They don’t have any distractions and funnel the users to perform a specific action.
For example, it’s not unusual to get rid of the website menu on your landing pages. This way visitors don’t leave your landing page before taking a specific action.
As a result, you draw the users’ attention to the provided value proposition and make them convert.
How to create a landing page: choosing a goal
Landing pages are vey goal oriented. You need to have a clear goal when preparing your landing page. There are several types of goals you can go for as an online marketer:
- Warming up a visitor – Not all landing pages need to generate revenue or leads immediately. You can also use them to provide more value-oriented message to your customers. This will help you to ‘warm up’ visitors and make them ready for conversion.
- Getting a lead – You can get the contact information of potential customers by offering something of value. This will be usually a piece of written or live content like:
- Ebook guides that discuss topics related to your business,
- Reports and white papers showing the trends in your industry,
- Webinars where you show how to use your product to solve a specific problem your customers may face,
- Live demos of your product,
- Tutorial videos with step-by-step instructions,
- Newsletters with the latest articles from your blog.
When you get a lead, you can start warming it up by offering more content. This will allow you to convert the lead into a customer later on.
- Starting a trial of your product – Businesses offering online services use landing pages to get potential customers to sign up for a trial of their service. This is a great way to get a potential customer to start using your product and learn of its benefits first-hand.
- Making a sale – Finally, you have the landing pages that aim to sell your products or services. For example, you can prepare a landing page for a limited-time offer like a seasonal sale.
All these goals have something in common: you won’t get them for free. If you want the user to take a specific action, you need to offer something in return.
How to create a landing page: offering value
You can convince website visitors to take a specific action on a landing by offering value.
As I’ve already mentioned, this can be a piece of content when you want to grab someone’s contact details. In case of a trial or a purchase, this can be a limited-time offer or a discount.
No matter what your incentive is, you need to have a clear value proposition.
The message showing what is there to gain needs to be front and center. A visitor should be able to see what they can get with one glance. This can be done in a few ways:
- Choosing an eye-catching graphic – This is probably the very first element that your visitors will notice. We are drawn to beautiful graphics. They are a perfect way to grab someone’s attention. Capitalize on that and prepare a graphic that will, for example, show the cover of the ebook you offer on the landing page.
- Crafting a clear headline – Once you have someone’s attention, it’s time to show what you have to offer. It makes sense to include your value proposition in the headline. For example, if you’re offering a 20 percent discount on gardening equipment, there’s no point in holding that information back. Mention it right in the headline so that users will know what they can get on the page.
- Providing a unique selling proposition – Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is what sets you from other similar offers. You want to show why somebody should choose your product or service over other the competition. This can be communicated in the headline, the subheading or simply in the landing page copy.
- Clear landing page copy – You want your landing page copy to answer questions instead of rising new ones. Your message needs to be clear, concise and to the point. Anticipate what questions your customer might have and answer them in your copy.
- A list of benefits – You can make your landing page easier to scan by providing a list of key benefits you have to offer.
How to create a landing page: providing social proof
What is the best thing you can do when you already laid your offer down in front of a user? Show them that others have already done it.
Once you have clearly stated what is there to gain, you can show that others are already benefiting from it by providing social proof.
Social proof is an assumption that if somebody took a certain action and it worked out for them, it will also work out for us. In the case of landing pages, you can show a testimonial from a satisfied customer as that final push leading to conversion.
For example, let’s say you’re offering a special deal on a set of dancing lessons. Providing a testimonial from a customer who says that they went from awkwardly stomping on the dance floor to being an incarnation of Frank Sinatra would help you get a lot of new students.
It’s even better if you can show the results your customers have. A quick video showing how a customer is doing with your product would be even more convincing than a written testimonial.
How to create a landing page: crafting a call to action
So far we’ve stated what goal we want to pursue with the landing page and how we can convince website visitors on the page. What we are still missing is the call to action that will allow them to sign up, make a purchase or leave us their contact details.
A call to action is the component a website visitor will use to take the specific action you want them to take. This can be a button, a link or a graphic that clearly states what you want the visitors to do.
For example, you can have a “Sign up free” button at the end of a landing page for a trial of an online service.
There are a couple thing you can do to make your call to action buttons or links irresistible:
- Use actionable language – You need to use strong verbs that will make your website visitors spring into action.
- Offer clear message – The visitor needs to understand what will happen when they click the call to action. This is especially important if it’s a Buy now button or something that leads to a transaction page.
- Create a sense of urgency – You can make the call to action more powerful by adding a limit. For example, you can hint at a negative effect of not following the call to action. For example, missing a chance at a limited time offer.
- Promise a reward – If the stick doesn’t work, you might want to try the carrot. In the case of call to actions, you may offer some free bonus that the lead will receive when they decide to go for the call to action. For example, a free complimentary product.
- Make it hard to miss – Your call to actions need to be easily recognizable on your page. There can be no mistake as to what a user needs to do to proceed on a website. Make sure your call to action is contrasting with the rest of the page.
How to create a landing page: measuring effectiveness
Once you’ve created a landing page, it’s time to see how well it will perform for your lead generation strategies. You want to know how many of the leads that go to the page perform the intended action and convert.
You can measure that kind of data in Google Analytics by checking how many clicks a particular call to action got. Compare it to the number of visitors going to a landing page where the call to action is present and you will see what is the rate of conversion on that page.
The higher the conversion rate, the better a landing page is.
You can check how effective particular solutions are by doing A/B tests of your landing page. For example, you have two different headlines. You can offer two version of the same landing page to visitors. 50 percent will get the landing page with headline A and 50 percent will get the landing page with headline B.
After a few weeks of testing, you can check which version works better and funnel 100 percent of the traffic to that page.
Sometimes, the version that you didn’t like will have amazing results when compared to your favorite version. When it comes to conversion, it’s much better to go for the version that produces results than for the one that just looks good.
We faced a similar problem when building a landing page for our Customer Service Report 2015. We wanted to offer an additional step where we would ask for customers information to use it for email marketing later on. In exchange, we would offer a customized version of the report.
We had two options. We could either add a form at the top of the report or use popup form that would show up after the reader scrolled a bit down the page.
What you need to understand is that we simply hate popups. We never used them and we always thought they are too intrusive.
However, we decided to give it a go and I’m glad we did because it turned out to be an amazing way to capture leads. A simple popup brought over 450 high quality leads.
If we weren’t open to testing, we would probably loose all those leads.
Optimizing your landing page creation process
Getting users through the conversion funnel using landing pages is as important as getting them on your page in the first place.
Without properly optimized landing pages, you will lose a lot of the traffic you get through SEO and various marketing campaigns.
Here’s a summary of what you need to do to optimize your landing pages for conversion:
- Pick a goal – Set a clear goal you want to achieve with a landing page and stick to it. Whether it is getting someone’s contact details or making a sale, make sure the page tries to reach one particular goal.
- Setting a clear value proposition – No matter what you want achieve, you need to give something first. Provide incentive on your landing pages and show users why they should go for your offer.
- Create irresistible call to action – Don’t make users think and set a clear action they need to take. The less they need to guess what you want them to do, the more conversions you will see.
- Test, review and repeat – It’s hard to get everything right the first time you’re launching a landing page. If you can’t decide between two call to actions or landing page graphics test them. Pick the version that produces better results and then try testing other things.
Would you add anything to this list? How do you optimize the landing pages for your website? Feel free to share in the comments!