Google uses it to determine your ranking, your visitors use it to determine if they want to explore your site further, and for many site builders, the landing page is an afterthought that gets tacked on at the very end. While there are a lot of consultants out there sharing landing page best practices, the truth is, the best landing page is the one that WORKS for you.
Tips, blueprints and landing page best practices can help you shortcut the process, but ultimately you’ll have to build and test your own pages to see what works in your niche, with your audience to get the best results. So, we’ll share some principles that ring true. Study your leading competition to find out what’s working for them and combine that with solid marketing guidelines to lay a good foundation.
What is a landing page, and what can it do for you?
Technically, a landing page is the first thing your audience sees when they visit your site for the first time – they’ve searched for something in Google and you’ve optimized your content so well that it shows up. Then they land on that page.
Unbounce defines a landing page as the following:
“In the purest sense, a landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on. However, when discussing landing pages within the realm of marketing and advertising, it’s more common to refer to a landing page as being a standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective.
This means that your landing page should have no global navigation to tie it to your primary website. The main reason for this is to limit the options available to your visitors, helping to guide them toward your intended conversion goal.”
Landing Pages are typically smaller than a full webpage and ask you to engage on a deeper level, or take advantage of an offer. Two frequent options are a signup page for an email list or newsletter, and free downloads, such as a report, or eBook.
Most visitors are there for specific content, and landing pages can be seen as an interruption unless they connect with the bigger message of your site. A well designed landing page can earn you email subscribers, new paying customers, or even donations. Starting with a plan in mind is the surest way to success.
There are two basic purposes behind landing pages. They are designed to either funnel traffic to a specific page on your site, where you want them to respond immediately to a specific offer, or to generate leads by collecting contact information, such as add their email address to your email list. Some websites have multiple landing pages all in operation at the same time, feeding in from different campaigns and each serving one specific purpose.
Start with laser focused intention
A landing page should be simple, something that a visitor can take in at a glance. You should have one clear Call to Action in mind when you create your page, a single move you want your visitor to make, and only one. Whether that is signing up for an email list, buying a product, donating to a cause, or ordering a service, you should have it clearly in mind.
- Don’t be tempted to add more than one thing and keep it simple. Give your audience the chance to deepen your relationship with a single clear choice.
- Unify all of your content and imaging around this one idea and make it as clear as you can. Visual cues, such as arrows, underlining, and bold text can help direct the eye.
- Make sure your landing page furthers the conversation your visitor was invited to in the first place, rather than being an interruption.
Create an experience
Grab your visitor’s attention and take them on a journey. The logical conclusion of their journey should be following through on your call to action.
- Start with a direct headline that relates to the link your visitor followed.
- Offer a clear value proposition. Answer “why” with clear value propositions that answer them directly.
- Visually engage the visitor, video has been shown to increase conversion rates by 80%.
- Tell a story that ends a clear solution to a pressing problem, or question.
- Create a point of contact by collecting information such as an email address, and get permission to carry the conversation further.
- Convey trust and security by adding partner branding and using language that establishes your expertise.
- Use a soft call to action, by offering a free trial, or introductory product or service, rather than using words like “buy now” that new visitors may not be ready for.
Make your Call To Action visible
A landing page is a limited time opportunity. To get your visitors to respond to your Call to Action, make it visible and easy to respond to. By leaving visible cues to the action you want them to take, you can ensure the best conversion rates for your landing page. From your headline to your action links, make it as easy as possible to follow the path to the desired outcome.
- State your call to action early and repeat it throughout your page. By placing it in a link in multiple places you make it easier to see and follow.
- Use larger, bold, or coloured fonts for for CTA instructions, such as “Purchase product now”
- Use arrows to direct the eye to the CTA response on your landing page. This works especially well if you are working with longer text, with your CTA at the bottom of the page. Have the arrows point down.
- Use brightly coloured button and links for the CTA. Take away any possibility of confusion about how to get your offer.
Test your landing page
After following best practices for landing pages, studying the competition and tweaking your design to perfection, only one step remains, testing the results. The easiest way to perfect your page is with A/B testing – pitting two pages against each other to see which one gets the best results.
Remember the landing page has one job, to deliver your desired CTA. If you have traffic, but no response, it’s time to tweak again. The most successful landing pages are the result of testing and tweaking until it works.
- Set up your landing pages with a service such as Unbounce, Instapages, or Leadpages or create your own landing page style if you’re able.
- Each landing page will have it’s own URL.
- Either set up identical campaigns, or use a tool like Google Optimize that allows the pages to be rotated so that every other visitor sees a different page.
- Track the results to determine which page produces the best results.
It is best to test first with two very different pages. Some offers are best served by visual pages, while others may do better with longer form text. Once you’ve determined the best style, set up two more pages with more subtle differences. Continue testing until you’ve reached the desired conversion rate, or feel that you have maximized the offers potential.
Know your conversion rate
Landing page best practices are designed to optimize your conversion rate. Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your landing page that take the desired action. If 10 out of 100 visitors signup, or download your offer, that is a 10% conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the more successful the landing page. It’s easy to get attached to one page over another based on personal preference, but conversion rate is the only measurement that truly matters.