Creating the Perfect Landing Page

Creating the perfect landing page

Too many marketers put all their efforts into creating aesthetically beautiful landing pages, and prioritize copywriting (where the conversion happens) as an afterthought.  This is a mistake, as it isn’t enough to simply get visitors to your site – you’ve also got to give them a compelling reason to stick around and engage with your business.

But don’t let me be the one to convince you of the importance of properly-designed landing pages.  Instead, consider the following statistics from Jessica Maher, writing for Hubspot Blog:

“Surprisingly, studies show that the average conversion rate for a website is between 1% and 3%, which means it’s only converting a teeny tiny portion of site traffic.  A landing page is a crucial must-have for any website because it provides a targeted platform for converting higher percentages of visitors into leads. In fact, landing pages have a 5-15% conversion rate on average. Yet they are often overshadowed by a homepage or other product pages.”

To create the perfect landing page, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Where did my visitor come from? Social media visitors should have different landing pages than PPC visitors, and so on.  Also take into consideration the text you use to refer visitors from these sources to your site, as it’s important to meet visitors’ expectations when they land on your pages.
  • What types of visitors do I receive from this traffic source? Do you know anything about their demographics based on where they came from?  Do these visitors have some familiarity with your brand based on the originating source, or will your landing page be their first exposure to you and your business?  Understanding more about who your visitors are and what they know about you will help you decide what pieces of content to include?
  • What do I want these visitors to do? Whether you want the visitors who arrive on your landing pages to opt-in to your email list, download a free report, buy a product or take some other action, it’s important to understand what one thing you expect your visitors to do.  Structure your landing page around this one action and eliminate distractions that will pull your readers away from achieving this goal.

Once you have a general idea of who your visitors are and what type of landing page environment will be best for them, it’s time to build your page!

The first thing you’ll want to consider is what specific information to include on your page.  A landing page isn’t the place to tell your visitors about everything you’ve ever done with your business or to introduce them to your top content, social networking site profiles and other resources.  Instead, a landing page should be composed of one single call to action and very little else.  According to Patrick Cox, writing for tympanus.net:

“Only have one, very clear call to action. Don’t muddle up your page with too many things that will distract the user from the main purpose of the landing page. Distraction is a huge factor when designing a landing page, and all too often we like to make our landing pages so beautiful that the call to action gets lost.”

So what does this mean from a practical standpoint?  Basically, your call to action should feature the following five elements only:

1 – One headline, either touting the benefit of your landing page’s objective (for example, “Download this free white paper now and discover how to save money on your next industry purchase”) or demonstrating how pain will be avoided by following the landing page’s advice (as in, “Don’t miss out on valuable advice – click now to download your free report!”).

This landing page example from the Rhapsody website uses an effective headline to clearly and concisely explain what the services is all about and why visitors should sign up:

2 – A brief description that expands on the benefits of your product or service and gives readers additional information on why following through is so important.

For example, this AT&T U-Verse landing page provides a few quick and easy-to-process bullet points that let readers know what makes the service special:

3 – Supporting images or video files that visually demonstrate the benefits of your landing page’s offering and subconsciously structures the page towards conversions.  One particularly powerful technique is to use images of faces whose lines of sight are pointed at your conversion form or opt-in button, as readers’ attention naturally follows these images’ eyes.

As an example, this Camera+ app landing page shows how powerful images can be used to convey a point without excess words:

4 – Testimonials, security badges or other graphics that provide proof and support for the claims made in your call to action.

The Crazy Egg web analytics program provides a great example of this element by displaying the logos of several “big name” clients on its home page for prospective customers to see right away.

5 – An opt-in form, download button or other “clickable” feature that allows users to follow through on your request.

This landing page example shows a fillable form featured prominently, making it obvious what specific action the reader is supposed to take next:

All of these elements are a vital part of your landing page’s call to action, but did you catch which items are missing from the list?  Your site’s navigation structure, external links, social networking “Share” buttons and other items that draw visitors’ attention away from the main goal on your landing page should be left out in order to maximize conversions.

This comparison chart from the Hubspot blog article referenced earlier highlights the differences between your home page and an ideal landing page well:

As you begin drafting your landing page according to these criteria, it’s also important to integrate good copywriting and sales practices into your text and graphics choices.  Consider the following recommendations on how to ensure that the content of your landing page is as compelling as its structure:

  • A powerful headline is a must.  Remember that you have a limited amount of time to capture your visitors’ attention, so your headline must be intriguing enough to encourage them to explore your landing page further.  Use split tests to find the most effective headline possible for your landing page.
  • “Free” always sells.  So if you’re offering something for free on your landing page, be sure to make that cleat and prominent.  Other lists of powerful words to integrate into your copy can be found by searching Google for “powerful sales words”.
  • Use correct spelling and grammar.  Think of your landing page as your first impression to a visitor.  If you stumbled onto a site that was chock full of language errors, would you trust the company enough to follow through on its call to action?  Take the time to proofread your landing pages for errors before releasing them to the world.

If it sounds like a lot of work to set up these specific landing pages for every type of visitor that comes across your site, that’s because it is.  However, when used correctly, landing pages can be tremendously powerful in boosting your conversions and – consequently – your profits.  So give landing pages a try – chances are you’ll find them to be an incredibly powerful tool for growing your business.

Image: historynotes

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