Landing pages are useful tools in a search marketer’s arsenal. Designed as separate yet related webpages, landing pages simplify core concepts and make it easier for your target audience to convert. However, it’s not enough to simply build a landing page and hope for the best. In order to be successful, you need to spend time refining and perfecting your landing pages to optimize them for conversions. Plus, if you create landing pages properly, you can even enjoy increased SEO benefits.
Why Landing Pages Are Important
If you don’t have a landing page as part of your inbound marketing strategy, you aren’t immediately going to fail. However, if you use pay-per-click (PPC) ads, affiliate links, or multiple different channels to drive traffic to your website, a landing page (or series of landing pages) can help you filter your traffic and increase the likelihood of user engagement.
Consider the following benefits of landing pages:
Audience segregation. With landing pages, you can easily filter your audiences. First, you can separate portions of your audience based on their origins; for example, a potential customer who finds out about you on social media probably won’t have the same interests as one who finds you through a PPC ad. Using unique landing pages helps you cater your message to very specific sections of your audience. Plus, using an entry landing page can help you separate truly interested parties from passersby, since landing pages encourage immediate conversion.
Increased propensity for conversion. Landing pages are short, simple, and drive people to an obvious final destination: conversion. If your landing page is designed with conversion in mind, you’ll see a much higher rate of conversion than with your traditional main website. For most businesses, more conversions mean more revenue.
Easy A/B testing. Hosting separate landing pages also makes it easier to perform A/B tests. With two similar yet distinct profiles, you can measure the impact of each of your designs, or the influence of each of your marketing channels, and eventually determine which selection of factors work best to convert your audience.
Objective data. Finally, landing pages give you more objective data about your audience. Your key metrics will be visitors, bounce rates, and total conversions. With those data, you’ll easily be able to measure your campaign success and your bottom-line ROI.
Now that you understand why landing pages are beneficial, you can get to work building one for your website. Below, we’ll explore how to do it properly.
Step One: Claim a Custom URL
Once you decide to build a landing page or series of pages, you’ll first have to decide on a custom URL. You can host a landing page on your root domain, in order to get a domain authority boost, with a custom tail end to the URL such as /special-offer or /facebook-promotion. In your URL, be as descriptive as possible, but avoid the temptation to stuff it full of keywords. Doing so may increase your chances of getting penalized.
If you’re running multiple inbound campaigns, it’s a good idea to have multiple custom URLs, each named according to its source. That way, you’ll be able to easily distinguish between your different sources of leads and objectively measure which strategies are paying off the most. Just be sure to install your Google Analytics script on each of the landing pages, and set up custom goals so you can easily monitor and report on the overall progress.
A landing page should carry the same branding weight as any other facet of your digital presence. This is especially true if your users can use your landing page to eventually get to your main website. When a user clicks a link to a landing page from a branded message platform (such as a social media profile), he/she expects to see something with a consistent look and feel—any major discrepancy could be jarring, and could increase the risk of your user bouncing.
Make sure each of your landing pages focuses on delivering the core message and feel of your brand, before you worry about anything else. That includes the color scheme, the fonts, the layout, and the content of the messaging as well. As you proceed through the next steps of your landing pages’ construction, keep consistent branding as one of your top priorities.
Step Three: Simplify the Design
That being said, the actual design of your landing page needs to be simple. The simpler it is, the more effective it will be. You have your entire website and social media presence to play around, share volumes of information, and brag about your capabilities. Your landing page shouldn’t be a platform for any of that.
Instead, your landing page should be as minimalistic as possible. Keep your lines of copy concise and to a minimum. Don’t have too many clickables or too many distracting images. Instead, maintain a streamlined design that draws users to one final goal: conversion. Usually, that conversion comes as a type of form that a user fills out with personal information. If that is the case, keep your form as minimalistic as possible; the fewer fields that need to be filled out, the more likely it is that a user will complete the form. First name, last name, and email are staples. Personally, I prefer only collecting first names and email addresses.
Step Four: Write Compelling Copy
Your copy needs to be concise and minimalistic as well, but you need to spend time perfecting it for the most significant possible impact. Tailor your message for each landing page, to specifically target the unique audience visiting it. You can also write content the same way you’d write onsite content for SEO; be detailed and write as if answering a question, but don’t keyword stuff your content. You also need to avoid copying and pasting the same message repeatedly; it’s fine to use a standard template from which to build all your individual landing pages, but vary your message.
You can also use different lines of copy as an A/B test to determine which kind of messaging is best for your niche audience.
Step Five: Plan for a Payoff
Once your landing page is set and ready for takeoff, it’s time to plan for the payoff—both for you and for your customer. What is your visitor’s motivation for filling out the form? Will they get some kind of highly valuable content? Access to new products? A promotional discount? Recall the four elements of any action – one of them is “incentive.” As such, you may have to update your wording or design to clearly convey a strong incentive.
Similarly, what’s in it for you? What are you going to do with all this information once you’ve successfully converted a customer? Are you going to subscribe them to your email newsletter? Follow-up individually? Before you publish your landing page, you need to know the answers to these questions and have a firm game plan for their execution.
Landing pages aren’t built in concrete. You should expect to update them regularly as you continually refine and optimize them. As you gain more information about your marketing, invest in new marketing channels, or introduce more values to your customers, keep your landing pages updated in order to capture the largest possible audience.