Creating your first landing page is kind of like writing your first report in middle school English class. The first things you need to think about are the what, the why, the who, and the how.
Before we start on how to create a landing page, we need to make sure we all know what it is. This kind of page is different than a normal site page, because it is created for one purpose and one purpose only: to deliver the offer. Whereas your website’s normal pages are there to convey information about your company or product, landing pages are designed to convince people to take the action you want them to. Landing pages may be the destination of your PPC ads, of special promotions, or special pages designed for your email marketing campaign. The what, the who, the why, and the how are very important to determine the look, content, and copy of the landing page.
What are you offering? What do you want visitor’s to do on your landing page? It could be to sign up for your service, download a whitepaper or e-book, or to buy something.
What you are offering is an important part of the page, because it is what gives it focus and purpose.
Why should people want to get your offer? Why is it special, or important? Hashing out these questions help you set your offer apart from the competitions’. It also helps you when creating the copy of the page. You want to show people why they need what you are offering, what benefits it gives them, and make them feel like they are losing out if they do not partake in it.
(if you don’t know why anyone would want your offer, then you need a new, better, offer!)
Who is your landing page targeted towards? What kind of person are you attracting with the offer? This is where your company personas come in. You want to keep your target audience in mind when you are designing the page and writing the copy. By addressing your target audience directly, you are more likely to hit their pain points, worries, and be able to stress benefits that they can relate to.
How will they get the offer? This can be anything from filling out a form to download it, receiving a phone call or email, or any other system you have in place. The last step is to determine the best way for the visitor to get the offer once they purchase or sign up. A common method for downloadable offers is to provide a form where the visitors can self identify their persona and give you some additional information about themselves. Remember, if you are offering something for free, like an e-book, it is ok to ask for some information in return. Visitors are then redirected to a thank you page with a download link to get the offer.
Designing your Landing page
The page should be long enough to cover everything it needs to, but short enough to be direct and to the point. A visitor is not going to trudge through a long page full of content to decide whether they need what you are offering or not. Often, people will decide whether to stay and partake in the offer or not in the first couple of seconds. Therefore it is important to keep your page focused and to have it convey one and only one message: get this offer.
Some tips to accomplish that:
Remove your websites navigation bar. You don’t want to distract visitors and have them go to other parts of your site. You got them to this landing page to do only one thing, to get the offer. The more distractions they have, the less likely they are going to do what you want them to.
One of our clients had a download page for a free trial and they had kept the main site’s navigation bar on the page. Through analysis, we found that 25% of the visitors clicked the download link in the navigation bar instead of on the page, taking them to the site page for downloads. This was a landing page for PPC, and since 25% of the visitors were exiting the page to download the trial, our data on the effectiveness of the PPC campaign were skewed.
Keep it simple. Flowery verbose text with dashes of obtuse and literary words, expressions, and collocations wrapped in complicated grammatical forms does not conversions make. Make your copy direct, to the point, and powerful. If you can’t convey the offer and its benefits in a few lines, you are doing it wrong.
Have a clear Call to Action. The call to action is what the visitors should click on or do to get the offer. Make sure it is very clear so people are not confused about how to get the offer. When people do not know what to expect or do, they are much less likely to convert and much more likely to bounce.
Have a clear design. Pictures say much more in much less time than words, but don’t overdo it. The landing page should be clear and concise. Sections should be easy to discern and the headline, images, and copy should not be too busy or confusing. Remember that you are trying to achieve just one thing and your design and images should support that. Like with the copy, the page shouldn’t be too busy, too pretty, or too awesome. Its a landing page, just one page, and should be short and sweet.
Have a uniform message. the headline, url, page title, and buttons should support one message, the message of your offer and call to action. Keep it uniform. A uniform connection between all these elements will give visitors a clear idea of what your offer is all about.
Our Newsletter Signup Page
If you have signed up for our newsletter, you would have seen our Newsletter Signup Page. It looks like this:
1 - No main menu navigation, clear company title. We don’t want people navigating away from this landing page once they get here.
2- Clear, bulleted copy. Customers get to know what they are signing up for, the benefits, what to expect, all topped with a (we hope) attention grabbing headline.
3 - Here is the form they need to fill out to register for the newsletter. Clearly labeled with just a few fields.
4 - Our CTA button, prominently on display, with text that tells the user exactly what it does. Sometimes using more creative text can be better, sometimes it is not but it is worth testing.
The What - We want people to signup for our newsletter so we can get their contact information and provide them with more useful information.
The Why - It's an adventure! We are trying to take a unique approach to marketing where we plan to be as transparent as possible. What sets us apart is that most companies do not show the effects of their efforts, unless the succeed of course. Visitors will get the opportunity to see the data and results of our efforts whether they fail or not.
The Who - Our landing page is targeted towards business owners or people who are looking towards online marketing in general. Since it is a newsletter, it is pretty open to anyone who is interested in our work and our results. If this was a more concrete offer, it would be much more targeted.
The How - The right side of the landing page clearly states what needs to be done for people who want to sign up. There is no extra fluff or pop-ups that distract or confuse visitors. We tell them exactly what they need to do to partake in the offer.
There are definitely some improvements that can be made to this page, but in the past few months since it has been live, it has received 44 views with 12 submissions for a 27% view to submission rate. Not too shabby!