Everybody loves a good science project. Right?
Remember back in the day? Mixing chemicals, building volcanoes, blowing up the science lab, helium, ethanol, Bunsen burners, pipettes, centrifuges… oh yeah. Good times.
We experiment a lot in the marketing world, too, although I’d wager what we do isn’t quite as combustible (arguable, I know). We spend a lot of time A/B testing campaigns, tweaking the message, and chasing algorithms until we break through. Every day we throw down with search engines in a never-ending relay between UX, SEO, design, and content creation, looking for that magic combination that tells us we nailed it.
Of course, we’ll be the first to admit that success looks different for every company, every campaign. But hands down, the one metric that does not lie is conversion: the ability to convert a page visitor to a paying customer. When it happens, it’s like all the molecules align, and something brand-new rises from the proverbial slab. It’s aliiiiive!
Ah, conversion. It’s the one tangible thing we can take away from any initiative and be able to say, “Yes, Igor, that worked. Now let’s do it again!”
But therein lies the problem: marketing gives us a basic framework to start from, but it is not an exact science. What works for one company doesn’t always work for another, and that’s why we’re constantly trying new approaches, searching for that magic formula that turns our clients into (insert desired lifeform here) or at least gets them closer to where they want to be.
In the effort to convert, your greatest ally is the landing page. So today, we’re going to talk about landing pages—what they are, where they live, and how to make one that delivers the goods and doesn’t eat your children in the process.
What is a Landing Page? And Why Do I Need One?
A landing page is any web page that visitors land on. It provides information to support a campaign, which might be to sell a product or service or generate leads. You can connect landing pages to anything—emails, social advertising, search engine ads, links from a blog post, a video, tweets, IG posts, and so on.
Though a landing page is also a web page, it is designed to achieve a specific goal. What that goal might be is up to you, but it is generally connected to a marketing campaign of some description. The purpose of a landing page is to increase conversion rates and lower the cost of acquiring a lead or a sale.
By comparison, a web page is more generalized and gives your site visitors many options in terms of how they wish to proceed. Whereas the home page on your website opens the door for various actions, the landing page is specific to the campaign, leveraging a single, concise CTA and no website navigation.
This singular focus is why landing pages are so good at converting and why you need one if you’re launching any kind of campaign. Or two, or more. Ostensibly, you could—and should—have a landing page for every iteration of your ad. For example, you’ll have one from Facebook, one coming from Google, and one from your tweets. This strategy allows you to target different users and different personas, which casts the net much wider than you would using a single approach.
And we’ll be the first to admit there are no strict rules as to what works and what doesn’t. Different industries, customers, demographics, the type of product you’re selling, and your campaign goals all contribute to how you approach your landing page design.
The Anatomy of a Landing Page
Your landing page is one big hook. It’s not subtle. It’s an over-the-top pop star compared to the rest of your EMO site, the lead singer vs. the bass player. Landing pages that work (i.e., convert) have a few things in common:
1. A standout value proposition. Your value prop is what sets you apart from others in your niche. What makes you so special? Don’t be shy. People need to know what makes you better or different because chances are, you are not unique.
State your value prop clearly:
- In your headline, right at the top of the page.
- A supporting headline, directly below the main headline.
- A reinforcing statement, usually positioned mid-page.
- A closing statement at the bottom of the page. If they read that far down the page, it’s another chance to hook them. Remind them why they’re there and wrap up with another strong CTA.
2. An attractive hero image or video. Strong visuals are an excellent way to appeal to your audience. It’s the first thing people will see when they land on your page, so it should elicit an emotional response and compel the user to read on, and ultimately, take action.
3. Benefits and features. Features and benefits go hand in hand, although there are differences. A feature is something your product or service includes, while the benefit is the positive takeaway from it. For example, your umbrellas keep the rain from messing up your hairdo (feature), but the benefit is that you’ll look awesome in all kinds of weather.
4. Social proof (testimonials, reviews, etc.). People trust the opinions of other consumers/users1 far more than they trust the brand. Of course, you have the power to change all that once they’ve converted, but influence always helps. Direct quotes, case studies, video testimonials, top-scoring reviews from Yelp, IG influencer promotion—if you’ve got it, use it.
5. A single, unified call-to-action. Conversion goals are what landing pages are all about. You’ll include your CTA prominently in different spots on the page, but it should all point to the same result—buy the product, fill out the form, download the white paper, start a trial, and so on. Be clear about what you want. Ambiguity has no place on a landing page. Try out a few different ways of compelling the CTA, as one statement might work better than another. Landing pages are always good candidates for A/B testing.
And that concludes our landing page lab for today. If you’re looking for more fantastic landing page design ideas or need some support setting up a campaign, schedule a call today.