What is a Landing Page?
In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” when they have clicked on a Google AdWords ad, Facebook Ad or similar.
Landing pages are designed with a single focused objective – known as a Call to Action (CTA)
This simplicity is what makes landing pages the best option for increasing the conversion rates of your Google AdWords campaigns.
To fully understand the difference between a landing page, and the other pages on your website, such as your homepage, it’s important to consider the differences between organic search traffic and paid search traffic.
The Difference Between a Homepage and a Landing Page
Consider the following diagram, which shows a homepage and a landing page. The orange areas on each diagram represent links on the page. As you can see, the Homepage (on the left) has 43 links, and the landing page (on the right) has only 1
Homepage (left) vs. Landing Page (right)
Having fewer links on your landing page has been proven to increase conversion rates when it comes to paid advertising, as there are fewer available distractions. Which is why expert marketers doing paid advertising always use a dedicated standalone landing page as the destination of their ad traffic.
Different Types of Landing Page
There are two basic structural types of landing page.
Lead Generation landing pages (sometimes referred to as lead gen or lead capture pages) use a web form as the Call to Action, for the purpose of collecting lead data such as names and email addresses. This is the primary type of landing page used for B2B marketing.
Click-Through landing pages are typically used for e-commerce and have a simple button as the Call to Action.
The diagrams below show the difference between a lead gen landing page and a click-through landing page.
The quest for lead generation is a simple fact of marketing life. Companies require personal data to fill their sales funnels and maintain momentum, and the data that they seek varies from the simple to the extreme.
Informational requirements vary greatly depending on the campaign and the product or service being sold. But more than anything it’s influenced by the need (or greed) of the departments in your company.
Form Threshold Defined
Landing Page form threshold is the minimum agreed upon set of information requirements that still produce an acceptable conversion rate.
The design of a lead-gen form on a landing page always starts in the same place (simplicity), and grows according to the same law of information desire.
The following fictional dialog may sound familiar:
"We need to capture 5,000 new leads to target our latest Christmas 2-for-1 promotion."
"What fields do we need on the landing page?"
"Let’s go with First Name and Email. Keep it simple. All I need is the email for destination, and the first name to personalise the communication."
"Well, we need the phone number for the inside sales team, and I’d love to know who they work for."
"Let’s get their cell number too!"
"You know what, if we can capture what city they are from we can send them specific geo-targeted promotions later on."
"Our tracking doesn’t cover every base right now, so can we ask them how they heard about us?"
And so on…
We’ve all been in those meetings right? And you typically have to defend your stance of minimalist design for the sake of user experience, or you have to put your foot down to get that all important extra field added to benefit your team and your work goals.
And so, we went from this to THIS…
* These fields are totally not required dude…
Which form should you use and why? Neither… yet.
Different people will have different opinions here. The User Experience expert will fight hard for the minimalist form and the sales manager will fight for more information and rightly so. But sometimes those extra form fields are perfectly valid. So how do you decide which one to go with?
It’s all about balance. Your goal here is to balance conversions with the quality/quantity of the information gathered.
Building the perfect lead-gen form in 3 easy steps
If you want to create the best possible lead-gen landing page form, then follow these 3 steps to remove the subjective debate from your decision making and company meetings.
Step 1 – Prioritise the form fields
OK, so now you have 7 fields instead of 2. Vote collectively on how important they are and assign a prioritised order to each “extraneous” field. You will now create 6 variations of your lead gen form: 2 fields, 3 fields, 4 fields, 5 fields, 6 fields and 7 fields, using your priority scale to dictate which field gets added to your primary form to create each extra variation.
Step 2 – Set up an A|B|C|D|E|F split test
So you have 6 forms, magically inserted into your overly complex testing tool (such as Google Website Optimiser) and you’re ready to go. At this point everyone from the original meeting is now sweating bullets, worried that it’ll be their extra form field that makes the conversion rate plummet. Now we get to sit back and watch the numbers to see how the conversion rate changes according to form length.
Step 3 – Analyse the results and choose a winner based on real data
Now comes the fun (or embarrassing) part. You have your manila-folder full of reports and you’re sitting round the boardroom table ready to present. The shortest form comes back with a higher conversion rate as expected, progressing downward to the longest form. One surprise exception is that adding the “how did you hear about us?” had no discernible effect on conversion, so it might be worth adding that into the best performing short form and re-testing.
Now you have to look at the conversion numbers and agree on a threshold of acceptable conversion. Once you have this, you can argue back and forth about how much conversion % you are willing to sacrifice to introduce the most important extra fields.
At the end of this process you will know 2 things:
Happy lead capturing…
Is Leaflet Distribution The Equivalent Of A Website Landing Page?
I was recently watching a video tutorial on landing pages. For those who are not aware of the term, a landing page is the first page on a website where prospective customers are directed by search engines, and its sole purpose in life is to get a response from these prospects.
It underlined the need for a landing page to be able to focus the reader’s attention on the need to respond to what was being asked of them, and that was to do something.
The something or some things could vary.
However, the video made it clear that the landing page can only ask the reader to do one thing.
One page for each call to action, a landing page is actually a sales letter to the reader, and like any good sales letter, it always ends with a call to action.
After the video finished I initially thought to myself, well how great the internet is to bring people all this information. Then it gradually began to dawn on me; haven’t I heard this somewhere else?
Landing Pages are Sales Letters
I had already accepted that a landing page was a sales letter; a sales letter on a screen, but haven’t we been seeing these sales messages on paper for years?
Then it dawned on me a landing page is really a sales leaflet; a sales leaflet on the internet.
Like a landing page, a leaflet has to persuade a prospect to a call to action.
Like a landing page, a leaflet should focus on one call to action.
However, the two mediums follow different paths when it comes to targeting their markets.
Internet marketers rely on SEO and high rankings on the internet pages to drive traffic to their websites.
Leaflet marketers take expert advice on the areas where their leaflets should be distributed to ensure a good response to their calls to action.
Although the two mediums are different, they have more in common than many people think.
And many people who use door drops have websites, and the door drop leaflets drive traffic to their landing pages, a case of the old helping medium the new one.
It would be foolish and blinkered to think that the internet has nothing to teach us. However, I believe those of us who are involved in leaflet distribution can feel confident that our method can stand up against other forms of marketing.
In fact, I believe the internet has something to learn from us.
The sole aim of a landing page and a sales leaflet is to sell, and selling has been around since the beginning of civilisation, and leaflet marketers know how to sell.
Plus, remember, there are more media choices than ever before;
Over 600 television channels, Over 700 million websites, Over 9,000 newspapers and magazines and over 400 radio stations…. BUT Still Only One Letterbox!
The Anatomy of a Landing Page
Marketing landing pages are composed of a group of definable elements. These building blocks represent the foundation of most pages and can be used as a guide when defining and creating your content.
There are 5 must-have core elements on any landing page, which can be broken down further into a more detailed list of building blocks:
Read The 5 Essential Elements of a Winning Landing Page for a more detailed exploration of these elements.
The Benefits of Using Video on Landing Pages
Video should be used on your landing pages whenever possible. It provides a passive engagement medium where visitors can experience your message with very little effort.
A study by eyeviewdigital.com shows that using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%. You can see more examples about it in their case studies.
People have been glued to TV screens since the middle of the 20th century. Video on the web has had a similarly dramatic impact on the way content is consumed, resulting in YouTube becoming the web’s “second search engine”.
Some reasons why video can lift your landing page conversion rates
7 Ways to make your videos more effective
Landing Page Best Practices
The first rule of landing page best practices is this: they are a starting point to help you construct your best first attempt at a landing page. After that, you need to experiment and let the customers decide what they think is the best converting page for the job.
You can use a checklist (tips like those below) or a scorecard to rate your landing page and produce a to-do list of items to fix.
With that caveat out of the way, here are some quick general rules of thumb you can apply to your landing pages:
21 Quick Landing Page Tips
Why Should I Use Landing Pages?
The short answer is because they help increase your conversion rates.
The main reason for this is that targeted promotion or product specific landing pages are focused on a single objective that matches the intent of the ad that your visitors clicked on to reach your page.
If you consider the example of sending traffic to your homepage vs. a standalone landing page, you can understand that your homepage is designed with a more general purpose in mind. It speaks more to your overall brand and corporate values and is typically loaded with links and navigation to other areas of your site.
Every link on your page that doesn’t represent your conversion goal is a distraction that will dilute your message and reduce your conversion rate.
When Should I Use a Landing Page?
You should try to use a landing page for every inbound advertising campaign you operate. You might be selling multiple products or setting up promotional offers for different user segments and your homepage can’t deal with this level of message differentiation. The style and effectiveness of your inbound marketing will also vary according to the source (PPC, email, organic, social media, display banners), so you should try and provide a relevant experience to each input to the funnel.
If you need to communicate discounts or messaging to various classes of customer, for example: people who’ve signed up but never subscribed to your pain subscription model vs. those on your top tier plan, the simplest way is via separate landing pages. They enable you to keep your message private and personalized while not interfering with the general purpose of your homepage.
Not all promos are for all people.
Product advertising usually goes to one of three places: homepage, product detail page, shopping cart page. Of these the product detail is the best as it will provide enough information to make an informed purchasing decision.
However, there is still the option and likelihood that visitors will wander off course via the main navigation. Perhaps they will buy something else, and after all a sale is a sale right? Wrong. If you are trying to run an effective marketing campaign, a big priority should be metrics based accountability.
If you are using a standalone landing page, your sales funnel is greatly simplified: Ad >> Landing Page >> Cart
If your conversion rate isn’t what you want it to be, then you can focus your attention on tightening your message match and test the design and content of your landing page.
If you’re driving traffic through your website, there can be anything from 1-100+ pages in the middle part of the funnel, making it very tough to uncover where the fall out is occurring.