Landing Pages: What are they, and how do I use them?
Landing pages are used as part of marketing campaigns to attract a potential customer for a specific purpose. They're the page of a website that you 'land' on after clicking a link.
Purpose of a landing page
There are two main types of landing pages:
- Lead generation pages are generally used to gather customer information so that you can market to them in the future. They usually give you something in return for your information, and are designed to appeal to a specific type of customer
- Example: A salon might use this type of landing page to advertise an offer that gives all people who sign up to the mailing list a 15% off coupon for their next haircut. You can then use MailChimp to send these subscribers more offers.
- Click through pages are used to tailor your website’s look, feel, and content to a specific product or service that might interest your visitors. This is type of landing page will probably be the most useful to you. Click through pages are great to use when launching a new product or service, for SEO purposes, or for social media campaigns where you’re targeting an ad to a specific demographic of users.
- Example: A massage therapist might use this type of landing page to introduce a specific type of massage therapy, for example Shiatsu, so that when people search for “Shiatsu massage therapy” that landing page ranks highly in search engines. This could also be used as the landing page for a social media campaign that targets people likely to want Shiatsu massage therapy.
A home page could be considered a click through landing page that introduces your company and what you do. It would be less targeted than your other landing pages since it needs to appeal to your entire target market, whereas your other landing pages would appeal only to one or two market segments.
Creating landing pages
Like most things in marketing, the first step to making a landing page is research. By now you should have a fairly clear idea of what your target market is. Now it’s time to figure out which market segments you’re designing this landing page for. Which group of people within your larger group of customers are you targeting?
There’s no need to write down a detailed marketing plan for each landing page, but it’s helpful to know who you’re making the page for before you invest your time and money into it.
Now that you know who you’re targeting, it’s time to start designing the basic layout of your landing page. Keep the page as simple as possible. Although we’ll discuss copywriting later on, keep in mind that 1-3 sentences per section is a good length. If there’s further reading to do, link to it.
Have a button at the top of the page above the fold (what you see when you first land on the page) and one towards the end of the page. It’s useful to have different tracking links for each button so that you can see what reader behaviour is like, and alter the page to fit that if necessary. Mobile users, who have to scroll from top to bottom, will also appreciate the two buttons.
A good length for a landing page is about 2 and a half screens’ worth, but if it needs to be longer or shorter to be effective, go for it.
Write compelling copy and cut anything that’s not 100% necessary. 1-3 sentences per section is the optimum length, since people visiting a landing page are not there to read. They’re there to find out as much as they need to know in as little time as possible.
Make sure you use emotive and descriptive words to shape the readers’ perception of your brand and your offer. This will often make it easier to keep your copy short too.
Many people only communicate with their words, when they could really be communicating with their design, graphics, videos, and words. Don’t be one of those people!
- A tip you may find helpful when making copy shorter is to get a few second opinions on how to improve it. Other’s will often see unnecessary repetitions that you won’t have picked up on since you wrote it.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Use your graphics to invoke emotion and communicate your offering to the viewer. Depending on your audience, it’s probably best to use photography instead of illustration. Don’t use stock photography either. Although it may be tempting to spend $5 on a photo instead of making the effort to get one taken, most stock photography will degrade the quality of your website. You may find some images that are acceptable, but if you can’t find one that really resonates with your brand and ideals, don’t cut corners.
Elements of effective landing pages
Now that you know how to make a landing page, let’s run over what elements you should be putting on it.
1. Hero image
As the first thing you see when you visit a landing page, the hero image needs to grab attention and set the theme for the rest of the page.
Try to make it full-width if you can, and it’s ok to put text over it. Just make sure that there is contrast between the text and the photo, and that your words aren’t covering anything important to the image.
If you’re using black text, you can increase the exposure of the image in an online editor like BeFunky. Similarly, if you’re using white text, decrease the exposure so that there’s some contrast.
2. Headline with your unique selling proposition
The hero image has captured your audience’s attention, now give them one sentence to deliver your unique selling point. It should explain what you are selling and what makes you special above your competition. Shaun Thornburgh’s hairboutique.co.uk website has this as the headline:
“Fall in love with your hair again. Creative hairdressers in Exeter.”
Think about the power of that statement! They’re selling an experience that will make you fall in love with your hair again.
Make this a section, and let your customer know what they’re going to get out of booking their next appointment with you.
For example, a spa that’s selling a pamper package might want to list the services included, as well as what each one will do for the customer. The massage will relax you, the facial will rejuvenate your skin, etc.
4. Social proof
In this section, give your viewers proof that others find your service to be exceptional. Two to five reviews is a good number to have. If you can link your review to an online profile, do so, as it will add an extra level of authenticity, reassuring the viewer that you didn’t pen the reviews yourself.
5. Calls to action
Possibly the most important element to have on your landing page is a call to action.
For a lead generation page, this might be a MailChimp form that will gather information for you to be able to continue marketing to your subscribers. It could also be a simple button for your viewers to like your Facebook page, or follow you on Twitter.
For a click through page, this would most likely be a button that would lead to the purchase or booking page. If you’re using Timely to book your appointments, you can use one of the Timely booking buttons to get your page readers to fill your calendar right there and then.
Either way, there should be at least two calls to action on the page. A good way to arrange it would be a button at the top and a button at the bottom of the page, and all of your content in between.
Measuring visits and clicks
To be able to track your page’s effectiveness, calculate a conversion rate, and be able to tweak the settings to increase results, you need to be able to track both visits to the page, and clicks on your calls to action.
There are several free tools that you can use to measure your landing pages efficacy, with Google Analytics being the most commonly used. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to get started with Google Analytics.
Promoting your landing pages
Once you’ve got your landing page set up, you need to get it in front of as many people as possible. We have written several articles to help you get started with promoting your landing page, which you can find in our article on 5 ways to promote your website.