Designing a landing page requires a lot of different thought processes and there is no single way to approach it. The different between a good landing page and a bad one can be a marketing campaign being profitable or not. And on top of that, a good landing page, with a great user experience is more likely to rank than a poor one.
In this we are going to develop a landing page strategy from the ground up:
What Is A Landing Page?
A landing page is the first page of your site that a visitor sees, and in that context any page on your site can be a landing page. Obviously some pages are landed on by more visitors than others and it makes sense to work on your main landing pages first.
A landing page might be set up especially for a marketing campaign. In which case the traffic can be fairly well targeted. The obvious example is a PPC landing page, but other examples could include:
- A landing page for an email campaign
- A landing page for a social media campaign
You could even have a promotional banner on your site which links to your landing page. In which case the traffic flow would be this:
- Visitors land on any page of your site
- They see the promotional banner and click
- They arrive at your ‘landing page’
Whilst technically this isn’t a landing page (since it’s the second page of their visit) it serves the same purpose for this post.
Who Is Your Landing Page For?
Every landing page should start with this question. Your landing pages should be designed to be a perfect fit for your audience. So start by attempting to understand what your audience is looking for. Depending on who your customers are and how diverse, you should have a different landing page for each customer type – and every landing page should be targeted accordingly.
If you have done that much then you will be getting highly targeted traffic coming to your landing page. That’s the first part of the battle.
What Do Visitors Want?
When designing any landing page, it is your job to figure out what your visitors want, what are the key points that they are looking for? This sort of information may seem obvious to you, but assuming that you know what your customer wants is a bad idea.
Ideally you should try to get feedback from various customer segments:
- Survey your existing customers
- Survey potential customers
- Survey friends & family
You should ask each group things like:
- Why did / would you buy this product?
- What concerns did / would you have?
- What do / would you use it for?
- What are the main benefits?
Tailor these to your business of course, and get as much feedback as you can. You might find out things you didn’t realise before, and at the least you will find out which benefits / concerns matter the most to your audience.
What Is Your Ideal Outcome?
Have a think about what you actually want your visitors to do. It may be to make a purchase, it may be to call you to make an appointment, it may simply be to sign up to your newsletter… If your landing page is a blog post, your ideal outcome might be keep that reader on your site.
Whatever it is, there should be one single action that you most want your users to make. Trying to achieve more than one action is counter-productive, so you need to decide on your own strategy and stick to it. Everything on your landing page should be designed to move the customer towards that action.
Make A Sale
You might be using PPC to send customers directly to a product page – in which case your primary goal is to get them to click the “buy it” button.
Email Sign Ups
If your product requires a more considered buying process, you goal could be to gain a subscriber. In which case you might offer a free e-course.
What Is Your Marketing Message?
Many people forget this part, but it is actually perhaps the most important part of the process. In most cases there are many ways you can approach selling your product or service, and your marketing message is the way to do it. For example:
- Which is the most important benefit for your customers?
- What are their main concerns?
- Are they motivated by fear or desire?
- What promotions do they react best to?
Before you worry about your headlines and copy, you need to figure out how you want to sell whatever you are selling, and which aspects of it are most important to your potential audience. For instance, if you are selling software there are a few ways you could design your message:
- This is the cheapest solution
- This will solve the problem you are having
- Your competitors are already using it
- It will make you more money
- It will stop you from losing more money
- It’s simpler to use than your current software
Designing The Page
We’ll get to actual page elements in a minute or two, but first you need to think about how your website actually looks because like it or not, ugly websites don’t sell. It doesn’t matter what you are selling, people will trust you more if your website looks good. This may not be rational, but is’t a hard-coded human trait, so embrace it.
If you don’t have design skills already, hire a designer off a site such as People Per Hour. The cost can be surprisingly little for a great design, that will make your site sell better. The design doesn’t have to be world changing, in many cases it just needs to not be awful. This post isn’t about design, but here are a few simple ways to make your website look better:
- Choose a colour palette & stick to it
- Less is more, make the design simple
- Use as much white space as you can
- Break up the text with images / graphics
The Page Heading
Consider how visitors are arriving. If you have used a text based Ad, it is usually best to use the heading from that Ad as the heading for your landing page.
A key reason that visitors leave a landing page without reading further is that they don’t find what they were expecting when they arrive. Your main heading is your first opportunity to confirm what the page is about, so make sure that your headings match your visitor’s expectations.
Your heading also needs to convey your marketing message. So ensure that the wording fits with the most important aspect of your marketing message. I’m not going to go into too much detail because Coppy Blogger have already written the seminal peice on writing great headlines, so if you really want to become an awesome copy writer, start with that.
Other Text On The Page
Other points of text on the page can be taken from the advert that led your users to your page. In the case of organic traffic your “advert text” is mostly likely to be the meta description.
- Reuse parts of the advert text
- within sub-headings
- or Bullet points
Your main aim is to keep the content in line with the page headings. Make sure that your content delivers on any promises made by your adverts or page titles.
Oh, and make sure it is all well written, spell checked and in the right tone… But that’s obvious right?
Long Copy Vs Short Copy
This is an age old debate and what we call ‘long’ or ‘short’ depends on the context. In general, you should choose whichever one makes most sense for your audience.
When the answer isn’t obvious, consider running a test. You may be interested to know though that in general long copy tends to perform better in MOST cases (but not all).
Whichever option you choose; it is well thought out and carefully planned copy that always out performs the alternative. So go back to your customer research and turn the ideas you discovered into headings and bullet points, use that to create your copy and you should do ok.
The Call To Action
This is what you want the visitor to do. It is absolutely essential that you make it easy. Make buttons look nice and clickable. Make links obvious. Make email sign up forms as simple as possible by only taking the essential information.
It is often effective to include more “convincer” text around your call to action in order to help the user to convert. Try to think about the user’s thought process and provide text that helps that journey along.
When a user is close to converting, it is often one or two final concerns or doubts that stand in the way, which is why you often see text near to sign up forms and add to basket buttons such as:
- guaranteed results
- we won’t spam you
- money back guarantee
Conversion Rate Optimization
Split testing is absolutely ideal for these sorts of pages because you usually have a definite result that you are looking for and the math is simple. Plus, a slight improvement in conversion rate can take a campaign from loss making to profitable.
If you want to produce the most effective landing page possible, test high-level changes first. In other words, start with your marketing message. Brainstorm which benefits you can sell, and how you can re-package your offering in different ways. For instance, if you were selling software (as above) you might split test 3 page concepts:
- Sell the benefit of the software being simple to use and saving time / money.
- Sell the software on being very powerful and capable of revolutionizing the customer’s business.
- Play to the fear that the customer’s competitors are using it and they are losing out.
Once you have tested big changes like these, you can start testing smaller changes such as changing the wording of headlines and copy and using different images etc.