How to create a great and converting landing page
A landing page is a web page created with a specific goal: to welcome visitors to the site and convert their clicks into leads or direct purchases. It is therefore understood that they are a useful tool in any digital marketing campaign, because they represent a remarkable opportunity to receive traffic and increase the chances of conversion, regardless of the forms and types used. To fully exploit the potential of landing pages, however, we need to integrate them into an effective strategy that can truly maximize conversion rates. Today, let’s take a closer look at what a landing page is, how many types there are, and, most importantly, how to build an effective page that can turn users into customers.
What is a landing page: meaning and definition
Let’s start right from the basics, that is, from the translation of the English expression landing page: literally, the meaning is destination page, but one should not be misled by such a generic formula. In the abstract, any page could be considered a “landing page” for users arriving from other resources, such as Google searches, but landing page characteristics are much more specific and accurate.
Landing pages are, to be precise, web pages created specifically to convert visitors into customers or leads. They are designed to direct users to a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, or requesting information. These pages differ from other pages on a website in that they are focused on a single objective and are optimized to maximize conversion.
It follows that a landing page is not the site’s homepage, product page, pricing page, contact page, or about us, at least from a “formal” point of view, because from a marketing perspective, landing page is a specific page that is designed expressly to achieve a goal, which may be to accumulate email addresses and other personal information of visitors, or to enable the download of a pdf file, registration for a webinar, or a direct purchase of goods or services.
The differences between landing pages and site pages
Let’s open a parenthesis on this last aspect: theoretically, there are many differences between the normal pages of a site (and the home page first and foremost) with landing pages. The latter can be much more specific because they take advantage of a fundamental factor: they are pages visited expressly for a reason, so we know what the intent of the buyer person visiting it is, and our job is to facilitate the transition from ad to conversion action, the transformation of the reader into a customer.
In contrast, a site’s home page and other canonical pages are more “vague,” so to speak, because they intercept a more heterogeneous audience and thus offer less specific content, which also gives the reader more room to navigate.
In a well-done landing page, the user’s possibilities are limited, because (our) interest is directed only to the fulfillment of the CTA and all content guides him or her to this destination; of course, it is necessary to mask this requirement in order to prevent the assumed path from being perceived as too abrupt, unpleasant or even dishonest, and therefore the potential customer from being discouraged from continuing his or her stay on the page.
What a landing page is for
Whatever the purpose of the campaign, it is important that the landing page be built and focused only around it, because only then will we not dissipate its potential and succeed in achieving the desired conversion actions.
To understand the true meaning of landing page, therefore, we need to describe how it works and its goals: a landing page is a page designed specifically to convert, either directly or indirectly. Already this addition allows us to understand the uniqueness of this tool, which thus serves to motivate the user to take a specific action, providing the best answer to his or her needs and initiating a mutually beneficial relationship, with the advantage for the owner of being able to control the actual response obtained.
One of the main characteristics of landing pages is their simplicity; they are usually devoid of distracting elements, such as navigation menus or links to other pages, to focus the user’s attention on the desired action. In addition, they have a clear and appealing design, with persuasive headlines and compelling text that compels the visitor to take the requested action.
Another key aspect of landing pages is the search engine optimization: a good landing page must be easily discoverable by search engines in order to attract more visitors interested in the proposed offer. To achieve this goal, it is important to use relevant and strategic keywords in the title, subtitles and content of the page, as well as optimizing meta tags and images.
Landing pages are useful in brand strategies because they allow you to segment your audience and offer content that is specific and targeted to each segment. In this way, the conversion rate and, consequently, the return on investment (ROI) of marketing campaigns can be increased. In addition, landing pages can be used to test new offers or promotional messages, gathering valuable data on user preferences and behaviors.
How an effective landing page works
Typically, a landing page is detached from the main site and is developed precisely to increase the chances that the visitor will complete the CTA, that is, to maximize conversions.
The user lands on a landing page after clicking on a link (also received via email), ads or a banner ad that briefly anticipate the content of the new page, or after reading/listening to classic promotional spots.
This means that, first and foremost, a landing page is effective when it succeeds in offering users what they expect to find, as people have already expressed an initial interest in the product or service offered, and therefore it is necessary to be able to design simple and appealing pages that are optimized for search engines and can offer targeted and persuasive content.
How landing pages are structured
These special pages can be made in all shapes and sizes, and they can be extremely simple or terribly complex depending on the site and data at hand. Regardless of these extra elements, however, and also of their goals and objectives, all landing pages have features in common that set them apart.
- A headline, a headline that represents the first thing people will see and read, and usually describes exactly what we are offering.
- An offer, the reason for the user to take the action, which is achieved by highlighting what we offer and the benefits that come with it.
- A call-to-action, the element that people will click on to take the action: this is usually just a button, but it can also be a link or a form to fill out.
In fact, most landing pages have a few other elements, such as images and trust indicators, but to be effective just these three factors are enough and, indeed, keeping the page and message as simple as possible allows us to get better results. According to other experts, in particular, landing pages with multiple offers get 266% fewer leads than those with only one offer, so we aim for simplicity.
The benefits of the landing page
Thus, we can say that the landing page is the best strategic tool for directing customers to products and services because it is targeted, simple, optimized for a few specific keywords, and presents a clear call to action, i.e., one (and only one) call-to-action.
Convincing any user to take a single, particular action on a standard web page is very complicated: our attention threshold is increasingly narrow (in 2015 an average of 8.25 seconds was calculated, but it is shrinking more and more as time goes by and technologies evolve) and classic web pages offer too many distractions.
Even if the user reaches us with a purpose in mind, he or she may in fact get lost and distracted by a navigation bar item, a link to another resource, an on-page advertisement, and so on. In contrast, the beauty and strength of landing pages lie in their ability to get straight to the point, limiting the visitor’s options to one choice: accept or decline the offer.
Since there are no navigation bars, sidebars, footers, and by focusing the design and copy on achieving a single outcome, users are guided and pushed toward that goal, achieving precisely a path that has a binary term. That is, the person can either complete the planned action or leave the page, there is no alternative (tertium non datur, to put it in Latin). And when the user completes the action, we have obtained our lead.
Trying to summarize, then, we can identify some of the benefits that landing pages can offer in the context of digital marketing, contributing to the success of brand strategies and business growth:
- Increased conversions. Landing pages are designed to direct users to a specific action, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter. Because of their focused design and lack of distracting elements, landing pages tend to have higher conversion rates than traditional Web pages.
- Audience segmentation. Landing pages allow you to create specific offers and content for each audience segment, improving the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and increasing customer satisfaction. Through segmentation, it is possible to offer personalized and targeted experiences that respond to users’ needs and preferences.
- Customer information gathering. Landing pages are an excellent tool for collecting information about visitors, such as demographic, behavioral, and contact data. This information can be used to improve marketing strategies, develop new products or services, and build closer relationships with customers.
- Testing and optimization. Landing pages make it easy to test different variations of content, design, and offers to determine which elements work best and optimize the performance of marketing campaigns. Through A/B or multivariate testing, you can gather valuable data on user preferences and continuously improve the effectiveness of landing pages.
- Ease of implementation. Landing pages can be created and modified quickly, thanks to user-friendly platforms and design tools. This makes it possible to respond nimbly to market needs, launch new offers or promotions, and adapt marketing strategies in real time.
- Performance monitoring. Landing pages offer the ability to accurately monitor the performance of marketing campaigns through metrics such as conversion rate, cost per acquisition (CPA) or return on investment (ROI). This data can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing strategies and make changes or improvements based on the results obtained.
The types of landing pages
Before we go on to look specifically at how to build a good landing page, it is appropriate to dwell a little more on the theoretical aspects, and in particular to understand what are the main categories of landing pages, which serve to achieve specific goals within digital marketing strategies.
From the point of view of “position” within the site, we can first distinguish between “stand-alone Landing Pages,” “microsites,” and internal landing pages.
The “stand-alone Landing Pages” are the most widely used form and, as the name implies, are essentially pages that “stand” on their own, without links to structured sites: in this typology fall the pages that have Click Through, Lead Capture, infomercial (which take up the styles and traits of classic TV commercials) and viral as their goals.
Alternatively, one can create microsites, a system of multiple small pages that exists as a supplement to the main site, or create a structure of landing pages within the site, with detailed pages for campaign products.
If, on the other hand, we look at campaign objectives, there are essentially two types of landing pages: reference pages (which are used to provide the visitor with important information) and transactional pages, which are more popular and strategic.
What are transactional landing pages: types and characteristics
As the name implies, transactional landing pages these landing pages are meant to prompt the visitor to perform a certain activity, such as filling out a form or, directly, purchasing products, services or content. Going back to the previous definitions, lead generation landing pages fall into this category, which are designed only to capture the user’s data, urging them to sign up for a newsletter, request a quote or activate a discount coupon, and are meant to create an initial contact between the brand and the user with a view to later direct finalization.
Even simpler are click-through landing pages, whose sole purpose is to provide the user with the basic details of an offer, highlighting the benefits and context of using the service or product, pushing them to the threshold of purchase. One form often used to capture attention is Viral Landing Pages, which intrigue with researched content and possibilities for sharing the page, which contains games, funny videos or otherwise often interactive elements that make the user well-disposed toward the brand.
Delving into these aspects, we can then distinguish landing pages based on the specific purpose and design aimed at maximizing effectiveness in achieving the set goals, recognizing:
- Lead generation landing pages
These pages are intended to collect visitors’ contact information, such as name, e-mail address or phone number, to turn them into potential customers (leads). They are often used to offer valuable content in exchange for user information, such as e-books, guides, webinars or discounts. To design an effective lead generation landing page, it is important to:
– Create a catchy and persuasive headline that clearly explains the value of the offer.
– Use a clean, simple design with few distracting elements.
– Include a short, easy-to-fill contact form, asking for only essential information.
– Add testimonials or reviews to increase the credibility of the offer.
- Sales landing pages
Sales landing pages are designed to promote a product or service and encourage users to purchase. They are often used in conjunction with online advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, to drive traffic to the offer. To create an effective sales landing page, it is important to:
– Present the product or service clearly and in detail, highlighting the benefits and advantages to the customer.
– Use high-quality images and videos to show the product or service in action.
– Include a strong and visible call-to-action (CTA) that invites the user to purchase.
– Add trust elements, such as guarantees, return policies or certifications, to reassure the visitor.
- Sign-up landing pages
These pages are intended to encourage users to register for a service, event or newsletter. They are often used to promote webinars, online courses, live events or subscription services. To design an effective registration landing page, it is important to:
– Clearly explain the benefits and features of the service or event, using persuasive headlines and subheadings.
– Provide detailed information about the program, times, speakers, or how to access the service.
– Include a simple, user-friendly registration form with minimum required fields.
– Use a clear and visible CTA that invites the user to complete the registration.
The relationship between landing pages and funnel
To design effective landing pages, as we will see later, it is crucial to focus on the goal of the page, offer persuasive and targeted content, and facilitate the desired action through a simple and intuitive design.
In this sense, it is important to understand the relationship between landing page and conversion funnel, key elements in the process of transforming visitors into customers or leads, and above all to be able to determine precisely who our target user is, what needs he or she has and where in the funnel he or she is located, because only in this way can we succeed in hitting the specific goal of the campaign we are working on.
In fact, as we know, the conversion funnel is the model that describes the path a user takes from the moment he or she learns about a brand or offer until he or she takes a desired action, such as a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. The funnel is usually divided into several stages, which may vary depending on the type of business or user behavior, but generally include: awareness, interest, evaluation, action, and retention.
Landing pages come into play at different stages of the conversion funnel, depending on the specific goals of the marketing campaign. For example, a landing page can be used to attract users’ attention at the awareness stage by offering informative or promotional content that prompts them to learn more about the brand or product. In this case, the goal of the page could be to get the user to sign up for a newsletter or to direct them to a sales page.
In other situations, landing pages can be used in later stages of the funnel, such as interest and evaluation, to provide detailed information about the product or service and convince the user of its usefulness or value. At these stages, the goal of the landing page might be to get the user to fill out a contact form, download an e-book, or request a free consultation.
Finally, landing pages can also be used at the action stage to facilitate a purchase or registration for a service by providing a simple and intuitive process that minimizes user obstacles and uncertainty.
How to design and create a perfect landing page
Leaving these theoretical premises behind, we now enter the more practical part of building a perfect landing page. Guiding us on this path is a document prepared by SharpSpring, the American Marketing Automation platform, and disseminated by Search Engine Land, which is simply titled “Creating Landing Page That Convert” and, in about twenty pages, outlines the process that leads to the creation of a landing page that converts and works.
First, we need to be clear in our minds about who our audience is and what we want to achieve, reasoning that precedes and guides the creation and technical design steps.
Defining the audience
An effective landing page is tailored to the users it seeks to engage-the more personalized this page is, the greater the opportunities for conversion. Therefore, it is crucial to define the target audience we want to reach, so that we understand what language is best to speak and present to this audience, what graphic look and feel to use, what devices will be used to access the page, and what the users’ personal desires are.
For example, SharpSpring’s guide points out, if “your product is aimed at older people, it would be best to use a larger font size, have a prominent call-to-action placed above the fold, and write the content in a style that will be compelling to them.” Such a landing page will inevitably be different (including in appearance) from one designed for millennials, who are likely to land there by browsing with a smartphone and are used to scrolling through a site and discovering any below-the-fold parts as well.
Equally important is to understand what are the real, concrete goals we can achieve based on the nature of our site: as we said, a landing page can increase conversion rates, but what does conversion mean to us? Such pages can serve various purposes, such as:
- Landing clicks from a campaign;
- Increasing subscribers to blogs and newsletters;
- Enrollment of participants in webinars;
- Increasing the sales rate of an upsell;
- Anticipation of a product launch;
- Something completely different.
What a great landing page looks like
Each of these goals results in a completely different landing page, tailored to the specifics of our interest. While we described the basic anatomy earlier, to be great a landing page must also have other (few) elements that help maximize the conversion rate.
Based on the assumption that “there is no such thing as a perfect landing page” and that every work can be improved, there are, however, a few tips that allow us to optimize our chances, but never forget that everything must be included in a higher plan and strategy. A “successful landing page is greater than the sum of its parts,” says Sharpspring.
The 7 core elements for a landing page that converts
So here we come to the practical tips, the 7 elements that can make our page high converting:
- A catchy headline
- A winning offer
- Attention-grabbing images
- A cute video
- Trust indicators
- A clear call-to-action
- A post-conversion page
Writing a compelling headline
As with regular Web pages, headlines are critical because they are the first — and sometimes only — thing visitors will read, so we need to be good at convincing them right away to stay and complete the action. The key is to explain the benefit of what we offer on the page by summarizing it in one sentence.
Therefore, the study advises, don’t talk about features, but about what people can achieve as a result of our proposition, focusing the headline on the user and devoting the same amount of time and attention to writing it as it takes to do the rest of the page. Research shows that 90 percent of people who read a headline will also read the CTA.
Present a valid offer
“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” has become one of the cult phrases from The Godfather (even ranking second overall in the best quotes in film history according to the American Film Institute), and that’s the secret to a great landing page: we can build a technically perfect page, but if the offer is poor, we won’t get results.
If the goal is to get new subscribers to the blog, you will probably have to offer them some free insights, such as a guide on a specific topic. If you intend to get people to sign up for the webinar, you will need to highlight the specifics of the event: what will they learn and how can they leverage that information? The offer is the second thing users read, and so the copy needs to match the tone and style chosen for the title.
Leverage multimedia: attractive images and engaging videos
Some people may not waste time reading content: therefore, if we use related images we can intercept their gazes and succeed in this work of persuasion. However, we should not use old stock photos, because landing images are a kind of second headline and must be powerful, communicating the strength of the product and offer in an immediate way.
Even more functional than images can be videos: if a photo “says more than a thousand words,” a video takes that “figure” to over a million! Studies confirm that videos are an excellent strategy for increasing conversion rates, and even the inclusion of such media assets on a landing page can increase conversions by 86 percent.
Supporting voices and testimonials
Trust indicators can also play a persuasive role: including content (of any kind) from testimonials, user reviews, logos of companies we partner with or certifications we have earned help build trust toward our landing page.
A direct call to action
CTAs are a (the) decisive part of the landing page, and to be effective they should be clear, predominant and assertive. On the web we will typically find dry phrases such as “Sign up here,” “Download now,” “Add to cart,” which might work, but we must always remember to craft a call to action tailored to the audience we have targeted and the offer we are proposing.
A post-conversion page
In many cases, the conversion process ends with the action or, at best, with a thank you page (a thank you page): by doing so, we lose the opportunity to “strike while the iron is hot” and try to get more results from the user we just nabbed. Therefore, it might be useful to create a post-conversion page that can present a new and different offer (a product to sell or a newsletter subscription).
Customize pages with dynamic content
Some tricks can help give us a boost in conversions, and in particular the use of dynamic content can be a good solution. This is content tailored to the user, thanks to previously collected data, which can then make their on-page experience better: for example, welcoming them to the landing by entering their name, adapting the content based on their location, or providing them with purchase suggestions based on the last products they bought.
Tips for testing and optimizing landings
Creating the page does not put an end to our work, and to maximize the chances of conversion there are still steps to be taken by testing and intervening with optimizations on the parts that need to be improved.
Basically, all components of the landing page should go through a testing process, starting with the title and moving on to images, body copy, CTA and button color, page background color, and font size and type chosen for text.
Essentially, there are two possible approaches to this testing phase: A/B testing and multivariate testing.
Also known as split testing, A/B testing involves comparing two versions of the same web page by changing just one detail to find out which one works better. In the case of landing, we can, for example, test a new headline, showing the original variant A to half the audience and variant B (with the new headline) to the other half, analyzing and evaluating conversion rates.
It is history that, in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, candidate (and future president) Barack Obama managed to get $60 million more in donations precisely because of an A/B experiment performed on his landing page.
Instead, the other type of experiment involves a greater combination of variables to see which works best: for example, we might test a new headline, a new image, and a different CTA at the same time. As a result, users will see not just two options, but one of eight to 12 variations determined by the number of variables changed.
There is no absolute best method of testing, because much depends on the type of site and the time we have available: the a/B test provides excellent and certain answers, because it analyzes only one element, does not need a lot of traffic but needs time to complete all the aspects to be varied and verified.
The multivariate test is much faster, but it needs a lot of traffic to have all the variables verified.
How to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of a landing page
To measure the effectiveness of a landing page, one first analyzes its conversion rate, which is precisely the percentage of unique visitors who take the action desired by the advertiser. To achieve a good CR rate, experts recommend taking care of a few parameters, both on a technical and content level, such as making the landing page compatible for all platforms (reducing heavy technologies such as Java or Flash), including a clear and unique call-to-action, using attractive text, and promoting special offers.
Inviting the user to complete the action
It is important to be able to achieve a natural and familiar communication to best intercept the user, taking into account a key factor: generally, the reader skips the first part of the landing page (which only serves to reinforce and confirm the content anticipated in the ad on which he or she clicked) to focus on the area where the CTA is placed, scrolling down. Thus, you need to build a landing page with this in mind as well, so as to stimulate immediate action without challenging or dissuading them from an intent they have already manifested.
The risk of abandonment and bounce rate
Thus, the biggest risk one incurs in creating a landing page is that of disappointing the user’s expectations, and therefore the landing phase, the first moment when he sees the page after the click, is critical to succeeding in completing the conversion. Typically, the user is thought to need 5 seconds to become familiar with the new page: an effective landing page succeeds in getting the user to understand the features of his or her business in this very short amount of time. Otherwise, a dissatisfied user goes back to the previous page and, from an opportunity, actually becomes a cost (both in terms of ad spend and increased bounce rate).