What is a landing page and why are they important?

What is a landing page? A landing page is simply any page on your website that a visitor is sent to directly –usually through an advertising campaign, sponsored post or a newsletter– and that has a specific call to action.

Landing pages are increasingly popular because of their potential to convert traffic into sales, sign-ups, downloads or whatever your chosen call to action (CTA) is. We’ll discuss CTAs a little later. They are very important.

Landing pages live or die by their conversion rate. That is the number of people that visit the page compared with the number that visit and take action –or convert. These rates can vary significantly between industries. It’s important when checking the stats that you compare them against your industry. For example, in the linked page above it indicates the ecommerce industry has an average landing page conversion rate of 1.84% whilst finance is up at 5%.

Either way, designing a well thought out landing page will help you increase conversions. We’ll come on to the key elements of an effective landing page in a second, but first: what about your homepage –isn’t that effectively a landing page?

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HOMEPAGE AND A LANDING PAGE?

A homepage is all about signposting a user to the various services you provide that will be beneficial to them. Or to put it another way, your homepage will usually display several options that aim to meet the needs of your target audience or audiences.

A landing page on the other hand is much more specific. It should have one focus only, and that should be undeniably clear on the page. It could be to encourage a visitor to sign up to your mailing list, to download an ebook or to buy a product. Whatever the required outcome, it has to be clear and specific. So let’s look at some elements of effective landing pages. Most landing pages have five key elements.

  1. USP - a unique selling point. What’s so special about your product?
  2. Image - high quality image consistent with other related promotional material
  3. Benefits - how is this going to change their life?
  4. Social Proof - if she’s got it, I want it
  5. CTA - your one and only call to action

If you want more detail on each of these areas, take a look at this wonderful post from Unbounce.com on the anatomy of the landing page.

I want to talk generally about some of the key elements that are synonymous with effective landing pages.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

I’ve mentioned a few times already about the importance of simplicity, being clear and specific. You see the problem is that as humans we get distracted andoverwhelmed by too many choices. The more choices there are, the more this can lead to fear of choosing the wrong option.

If we present one clear option –just doing the obvious maths, there’s more chance of that option being taken. Focus on ONE goal. What is the ONE action you want a user to take? Having one clear call to action is critical for a successful landing page.

KNOW WHO IT’S AIMED AT

Following on from being clear and simple is knowing your customer. How much do you know about them? What interests them specifically about your offer? What pain are you alleviating for them? What are their stumbling blocks?

When it comes to benefits, they should see clearly how their life will improve by taking up your offer. Show how things will be different.

Apple are masters at this. Let’s be honest, we don’t need another laptop or phone, but all their landing pages clearly display the benefits and show visuals of ‘how life could be’. It plays on the fact most of us want our lives to be better.

SHOW THE BENEFITS

When writing benefits, be honest and transparent. Be real. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Visitors will see through this very quickly and it can damage your reputation.

As well as the positives, many people emphasise what life could be like if visitors don’t take up the offer. What exactly will they be losing out on?

I WANT WHAT SHE’S HAVING

We love to stay up to date, to know the latest thing going on –even if we don’t really need to. You just need a cursory glance at your Facebook stats to prove that.

This is where social proof can help. What have others said about your offer? Use real testimonials. Don’t make them up! As mentioned before, people can see through this and it doesn’t make you look good.

Using Twitter cards of users endorsing your offer can really help here. Displaying praise in your customers own words, along with their photo, will show proof that your offer has helped someone else and is worth taking up. It increases confidence in your brand.

GOOD DESIGN SELLS

SQUARESPACE LANDING PAGEDesign is crucial. The quality of your design will have a direct impact on conversions. We’ve mentioned this stat before in previous posts but it’s worth mentioning again. “For every £1 businesses invest in design, they can expect over £20 in increased revenues.”

Your landing page has to look professional, strong and compelling whilst be consistent with your brand. It should lead the visitor through the page towards the call to action button. It shouldn’t look just like any other form page you may see on a website.

It should go without saying these days, but it must work on mobile too. With more and more of us viewing websites on smartphones, you are cutting off a large audience if your page is not viewable on multiple devices.

The imagery and photography you use are important here too. It must be high quality and in keeping with the brand and overall page look. The quality of the images will have a direct impact on visitors’ opinion of the quality of your product.

You may choose to use photos of people, members of your target audience. I don’t think this is an imperative, but it can help depending on the product or service on offer. It’s better here to use real people rather than stock imagery. We naturally connect more with them if they are similar to us.

Think about whether a chart or graph may help to explain a product better –but be careful not to add anything that complicates the page. Remember, keep it simple.

BE CONSISTENT

Once again, this is something that comes up again and again and needs reiterating. Imagine clicking on an image and line of text that connects with you in a Google Advert or email newsletter. The landing page you’re taken to looks completely different. An unrelated image is used and none of the text in the advert is visible on the page. Have you come to the right place? You’ll probably think ‘no’ unless you do more work to find out. A big disconnect.

Consistency is key within your brand. Your ads must relate to your landing page to help the user have confidence they’ve come to the right place and you are trustworthy.

CONCLUSION

Landing pages can be a powerful way to increase sales, sign ups, downloads and specific actions you want a visitor to make. They can be effective if you keep them simple and focused on one action, have strong imagery that matches your brand, clearly outline your unique selling proposition, display the key benefits to the customer, and say how others have benefited from your offer.

What do you think? Have landing pages worked for you? What’s your story?

 

Amazon Homepage

 

Manpack Landing Page

 

Apple Watch Landing Page

 

Basecamp Landing Page

 

Squarespace Landing Page

 

Netflix Landing Page