On your website, landing pages are where the action happens—at least, that’s the goal. Good landing pages can make your website a converting machine. If it’s designed well, users will know exactly what you want them to do within five seconds—and they’ll be more likely to do it.
But let’s start at the beginning before we get too in the weeds about conversion, so we know we’re all on the same page.
What are landing pages?
Simply put, they’re the pages on your website that ask your visitors to take a specific action. A landing page is the first page people see after they click on your banner ad, pay-per-click (PPC) ad, email, social media post or other link. It can be a specific page on your website or a separate page created exclusively for search engines. Its main purpose is to get visitors to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, completing a registration or subscribing to your mailing list.
Here are five typical purposes for a landing page:
- Get a visitor to click to another page on your website (or someone else’s).
- Get a customer to make a purchase or donation.
- Get a prospect to give permission for you to follow up by email, phone, etc.
- Get a follower or fan to share or tell a friend.
- Get an interested party to learn something.
Why landing pages?
They increase your conversion rates. Landing pages promote a single objective that matches the intent of the ad (or email or social post) that your visitors clicked on. A lot of brands and businesses drop people off on their website’s homepage instead of a specific landing page—but that’s like the difference between driving someone to a general neighborhood (and making them find the right address) and Ubering them right to someone’s front door. It’s a lot easier on your rider (er, online visitor) to get them right where you want them rather than asking them to navigate around themselves.
Your homepage is designed with a more general purpose in mind. It speaks to your overall brand and values and typically features links and navigation to other areas of your site. Landing pages narrow your visitor’s focus and encourage a specific action.
To create landing pages that get you the results you want, include these five important elements:
1. A clear and engaging headline.
This should tell the user what the page is about in a concise but compelling way. It’s also a good idea to complement the text that brought the user to that particular page so there’s a seamless flow and familiarity.
When someone clicks on an ad, an email or any other link to get to your landing page, it’s best if the message and language in both places match. (Close is good, exact is best.) This way, they won’t pack up and go home before they even look around. Consistency is key to creating a good user experience. You want to build a seamless flow from point A to point B.
2. A brief but descriptive subhead explaining the page’s purpose.
Here’s where you can give visitors details about why they’re there and what you want them to do. It’s not necessary to write paragraphs; people won’t read it all. But you do want to be engaging and provide clarity and direction.
People don’t typically read word for word on the web; they like to scan. Use bullet points to drive your main message home with easy-to-read, clear language. If you feel like long copy is necessary, make it obvious that people can and should scroll down—and encourage them to do so. But for best results, use text that quickly describes the action that you want your visitor to take on that page.
3. A clear call to action with a prominent button.
Your goal for this page is conversion—you want visitors to click that button. Make your call-to-action specific (Buy Now or Sign Up rather than just Submit) and design the button so it can’t be missed (big, colorful, surrounded by plenty of white space). Be specific about what you want your visitors to do, keep the text short and choose active words.
4. Compelling images that help tell your story and tug at heartstrings.
Don’t leave the heavy lifting to the text; images and videos that evoke emotion and draw a user into the page speak louder than words, so choose wisely. Remember to marry the image with the text—together they should clearly tell your story and explain the course of action you want someone to take.
Nonprofits: As nice as your mission statement is, it’s typically not going to be the thing that gets a prospective donor over the finish line. This old adage remains true: A picture is worth a thousand words. And on your landing page, it may well be worth a new donor.
5. Influential testimonials.
Nothing speaks louder than comments and reviews from satisfied customers or happy donors. Third-party credibility can help boost conversions. Integrate quotes from social media, testimonials and data into your landing page (e.g., “2K people have already downloaded this eBook.”) to make your business or organization even more trustworthy.
One last thing to mention: Eliminate all top navigation from your landing pages. This keeps your user on the page and the focus on the call to action. Your single goal on any particular landing page is to get them to click on that button. You can provide options for navigating to other pages later.
On the flipside, let’s look at five ways to make a landing page crash:
1. Too many calls to action.
If you give people too many things to focus on, they won’t focus on anything. Understand how users navigate a page and make your design lead their eyes through the relevant info and to your one single CTA. A landing page is one place where offering too many options will work against you.
2. Too many words.
If you have too much text, you may turn users away—especially mobile users. Keep your message interesting, but short and sweet. This may mean drafting your text, then cutting some words and then cutting even more. Only say what you need to say. Then stop.
3. Too long of a form.
With online forms, your rule of thumb should be to ask for the least amount of information possible in order to accomplish your goal. Studies have shown that as fields on forms increase, conversion rates decrease.
4. No images or video.
Compelling images and videos affect people emotionally, plus they can tell a story that words alone can’t. While you do want to use clear and concise copy, you also want your page to look great at a glance and draw people in. A text-only landing page will fall flat.
5. Unclear objective.
The number one mistake on landing pages is an unclear call to action. This can include too many calls to action because without a singular focus, it’s unclear what you want people to do. Keep your objective obvious and the CTA button prominent and clickable.
Make your landing pages work for you.
Landing pages are the gateway to your website. All the different touch points you have with your audience, whether it’s through email marketing, social media, direct mail pieces or other marketing tools, should get people right where you want them and motivate them to engage, whether it’s to make a purchase, register for an event or sign up for emails.
Need assistance in creating pages that get the job done? You’ve “landed” in the right spot—let’s connect here where you can drop some details about how we can help.