If you have made that all important step of getting your business on the web, you want to make sure that you use all of the available tools out there to maximise visitors and thus sales. You've got your website with its sexy eye-catching design, you've got all of your content loaded up and you've sorted out your social media presence. What else could there be to add?
Well, we're not quite finished yet. This article is going to look at landing pages, which are another element to add to your website and are becoming more and more essential to businesses if they want to market themselves effectively online. They're not too complicated and we're gonna take a quick look at what they are, how they can help your business and how to set up a top-notch landing page for your website.
What is a landing page?
Put simply, a landing page is a page linked to your website that visitors will 'land on' when they click a link from an advertisement or campaign. But a landing page is distinct from your website – in fact, technically it's not part of your website. If someone visits your website by typing the web address into their browser or clicking on a direct link to your website, they won't find the landing page on the site.
The landing page is something that is created separately purely for marketing and lead generation purposes (click here to see our explainer article on lead generation!). It is linked to specific campaigns e.g. social media, email campaigns or search engine optimisation (SEO) campaigns and will only appear as a result of an online ad (on other websites, social media, in targeted emails, etc.) or from a specific SEO search result.
The landing page is designed with a single goal in mind. Usually this will be to sell a product or to capture contact details (generate leads). It's not about just increasing website traffic. This is where landing pages differ from website home pages, which are more about casually inviting visitors to look around and presenting them with multiple options and a variety of web sections and pages.
A good landing page is much more focused on that one objective and will be a very streamlined, visually appealing yet uncluttered page. Effective landing pages will be targeted at specific customer groups, which should help maximise the user conversion rate. They are also useful because marketers can analyse the conversion rates from the clicks, making landing pages a good way of measuring the success of a marketing campaign.
Why is a landing page important to your marketing?
A landing page is important because it enables you to boost your conversion rates. It does this by providing visitors with an incentive and then directing them straight to the correct section of your website. This means you can increase your leads and sales with very little effort.
Rather than just encouraging people to visit your website and browse around, you can link a targeted advertisement or SEO search with a landing page that guides visitors straight to the necessary section and prompts them to do what they came there to do without offering them the opportunity to get distracted.
If you imagine your website as a physical store – visiting the website homepage is the equivalent of visiting the store and browsing around. Having a landing page linked with an online ad is like handing someone a flyer for a specific product or sign-up scheme, then having them guided straight to where they need to be and giving them the tools to complete the transaction when they arrive at the store entrance with flyer in hand.
So for example, if your manufacturing business wants to promote a loyalty card scheme you could run an online campaign and link it to a landing page that takes all visitors through to an online form where they can give contact details and submit with a simple click.
As landing page success rates are easily measurable, they are a good way of refining and improving your marketing techniques as you can compare success rates and see what works best.
Types of landing page
Generally speaking, there are two main types of landing page. They are known as 'click-through' landing pages and 'lead generation' (also known as 'lead capture') landing pages. Which type you use will depend on the purpose of your landing page.
Click through landing pages
'Click-through' landing pages are normally linked to some kind of product, special offer or free trial. They are, as implied in their name, an intermediate page that you need to click through to get to the page where you can purchase the product or sign-up for the special offer or free trial.
The 'click-through' landing page will act as an advertisement to 'warm up' visitors, providing them with the relevant information about the offer usually accompanied with an enticing picture. The idea being that the visitor's eye has been caught by the external ad leading them to the landing page (or perhaps they arrived via a Google search for the product or offer) and this will whet their appetite and encourage them to click through to complete the transaction. Much more effective than just leading people to your website homepage and asking them to navigate their own way through making the purchase!
Some websites opt for having a landing page as a direct sales page where the visitor can get all the info and make the purchase without having to click-through, and some even opt for having an additional first 'click-through' landing page (called a 'splash page') with information about the company or brand in general. But the most common is the single 'click-through' landing page.
Lead generation landing pages
A lead generation or lead capture landing page is essentially on online form that aims to capture key personal data from visitors (name, address, email address, etc.) The purpose of this is to turn them into 'leads' for future sales. Once you have a potential customer's contact details, you are able to connect with them, market your products and services to them and generally keep them informed and aware of your business as often as you choose.
Lead generation landing pages will normally consist of an online form to be completed, alongside a little bit of information on what they are getting in return. This information should marry up with the online advertisement that the visitor clicked in first place. So for example, if the advert is about a loyalty card scheme, then details of the scheme should feature next to the form. Remember, people can be a bit wary of handing over personal details so it always makes sense to explain why you're asking them and emphasise the benefits to them!
Aim to try and keep the form as short as possible, as people will be deterred from completing it if it's too time consuming. Plus they may wonder why on earth you need so much information. Generally a name, email address and address/postcode should be enough. Some websites have lead generation landing pages that just ask for email address (known as 'squeeze pages'). This can act as a useful way of increasing your email marketing list.
Tips for creating a landing page for your business
Here are a few handy tips to consider when planning your landing page.
1. Have a specific aim
Before you get started on your landing page, making sure that you have something specific to link it to that visitors are going to want to buy into. If the end product of your landing page is too vague (e.g. if it takes visitors through to a general sales page with too much choice of product or if it's an online form with no defined purpose attached) then people are likely to lose interest.
Once you've settled on a specific aim, be it a discount coupon or registration for an event or whatever, make sure that the landing page is coordinated and consistent with the online ad that links to it. You don't want one contradicting the other, or the ad not getting across the key message of the landing page.
2. Keep it simple
This isn't an exercise in telling people about everything that's great about your business. Stick to the specific message, be clear and concise. Don't clutter the landing page with too many words. Remember the point of the landing page is to get visitors to complete a specific transaction (sign up, make a purchase) so the aim should be to try and do that with minimum fuss.
From a design point of view, the landing page needs to be treated similar to a flyer. Steer clear of visuals that are too challenging or distracting. It's better to opt for something soft and alluring that complements the message. Keep online forms as minimal as possible. Only ask for what you really need.
3. Avoid navigation elements
Ideally there should be only one button on your landing page – the button known as the call to action (CTA) button that 'clicks through' to the final page or 'submits' the information. You don't want any of the normal navigation options that the general website has. The last thing you want is a visitor clicking on an 'about us' section just as they are about to complete a transaction and then forgetting to go back and complete!
4. Keep the CTA button in a prominent place
Make sure that the CTA button is in view on the landing page. It doesn't matter too much where, as long as it's clearly viewable. The whole of your landing page might fit on the screen, in which case this isn't too much of an issue as long as visitors can easily identify the button, but on longer pages they may have to scroll down to see all of the information. You don't want the CTA button out of view near the bottom of the page when visitors are taken through to your landing page.
This doesn't mean that visitors will have no intention of scrolling down and reading all of the content on a longer landing page. But you want the CTA button yelling out at them when they arrive, reminding them of why they are there.
5. Make use of available tools
If you don't want to pay a web designer to create your landing page, there are tools available to help you create your own page even if you don't have much technical knowledge. One of the simplest to use is Unbounce (www.unbounce.com) which features an easy step-by-step guide that almost anyone can follow. You can choose from a selection of customizable templates and they have both free and paying options. Unbounce also integrates with Google tools such as Website Optimizer and Analytics to help you improve and analyse your performance.
How to create your landing page - landing page templates
Using a landing page creation tool such as Unbounce will enable you to create and publish your own landing page without much fuss, even if you've never so much as visited a landing page before!
Unbounce, and other sites such as Instapage (www.instapage.com), allow you to choose from a range of templates and customise your own design using a step-by-step process. Unbounce even has an online tutorial talking you through the main steps:
Once you've signed up to one of these sites, designed your landing page and integrated it with the website marketing tool, you'll be able to publish the page and monitor its effectiveness using the tracking tool.
If you're stuck for some inspiration or guidance on the construction of your landing pages, here's a handy quick reference guide outlining the Anatomy of a Landing Page.
Hopefully this short explainer article has given you food for thought and enough information to move forward with adding a landing page to your business website if you don't already have one. Landing pages are a great way of keeping your online presence fresh and leading people to active engagement with your website, all for relatively little effort. So get cracking and then sit back and watch your business grow!
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