Your landing page is premium real estate. One way or the other, you have spent money to get readers there. But if the landing page doesn’t meet their expectations, they will bounce too fast to notice even the most amazing offer. What you say on a landing page and how you make visitors feel matters: this is what will determine whether you’ll see any return on your investment.
This article will teach you all you need to know about landing pages: what they are, what elements they need to contain, and what best practices will make them effective. Read on if you are familiar with the basics, or jump straight to the five tips. What is a landing page?
Landing pages are individual pages within your site with the sole purpose of make visitors take a very specific action, such as:
- sign up for a newsletter
- make a purchase
- view a special promotion
- give your business a review
- leave their contact info in return for a freebie (lead magnet)
The entire landing page exists to achieve this single goal. That’s why it is built differently than the other pages on your website.
The anatomy of a landing page
Landing pages are very simple. They consist of a minimal number of elements, each designed to guide your visitor towards the desired action.
- Header: a clear, concise, attention-grabbing phrase about what exactly the visitor is getting from interacting with the page.
- Description: a short summary of the offer and the benefits.
- Image: a matching illustration that directs attention to the copy itself.
- CTA: the link/button you want your visitor to click.
Note that we didn’t list contact information, link to the home page, message from the founder, or anything else you may feel is essential for a landing page. Keep it simple for maximized results!
Anything else than the four elements above will distract the visitor from the main goal and decrease the effectiveness of your landing page. All the elements have to work together and provide a smooth experience.
5 tips for creating engaging and high-converting landing pages
As we mentioned above, the “how” is just as important as the “what”. Here are the best practices to make your landing page engaging and high-converting.
1) Don’t make it too busy
The design of the landing page can make or break your conversions. Visitors are coming to your site because something caught their attention, not because they are interested in your services. Help them out and guide their eyes with visual cues from the headline to the call-to-action, and make it easy for them to take the action.
Don’t overthink it – just use the four elements outlined above, adapt them to your branding, test and optimize if needed.
When you are asking visitors to enter their data, less is more – don’t make them fill out a long questionnaire. Just get them to submit their email, and you can always send them surveys later, as long as you got their explicit permission to get marketing materials, of course.
2) Close the loop
This is an old advertising technique. The ad (today, possibly, a social media post or a marketing email) opens a loop by beginning to tell a story, ask a question, or sharing the first element of a list that is declared to have three elements…
…then it abruptly stops, leaving behind only a hint of what the reader needs to do to find out the rest. The key is to make people take action by appealing to their curiosity. It usually only takes a click to find out how the story ends. You’ve guessed it, this click takes them to the landing page!
Your landing page needs to “close the loop”, give away the punchline, deliver on the promise of the original ad. If the visitor can’t immediately find what he’s looking for on your landing page, he will not only not buy anything from you, he will be secretly frustrated with you for the rest of his life.
3) Optimize your landing page for search engines
Search engine optimization can help you get more eyes on your landing page. Even though these pages are usually not accessible from the navigation of the main website, it is still a good idea to index them so they have a chance to rank.
If you are running ads to your landing page, make sure to write a headline that includes the same keywords you are targeting with your ads. This match will make it more likely for your ad to show up.
Another tip for landing page SEO: create alt-text for all images on the landing page. Include focus keywords in the image description, and change the name the image files to the landing page headline.
4) Craft a clear CTA
By now you should be familiar with the “rule of one” for landing pages: there is only one goal, and that is for the user to take one specific action. The CTA is the trigger that completes the action, and therefore the most important element on a landing page.
Get creative and make the call-to-action as descriptive as you can. Instead of generic prompts like “Submit” or “Send”, match the CTA to your offer, and let the user know exactly what is going to happen when they click the button. “Become an insider” is a better CTA than “Sign up for newsletter”.
Another reason to be explicit about what the CTA will actually entail is that people are used to one-click shopping, and they might be weary of clicking a button that may charge their credit card. If your landing page is selling a paid product, make sure you add a reassuring extra step (such as “Add to cart”, or “Review your order”).
5) Include some social proof
This is not one of the four essential elements listed above, but it might be worth testing if a longer landing page would work better for your business. Your audience includes different types of decision makers: analytical and impulsive, fast and slow. The content of the page needs to serve every type to convert as many of them as possible.
You should keep the four basic elements above the fold so they are visible without scrolling. But nobody said you can’t add anything you want further down the page! For those who are not ready to take action and are looking for more information, a testimonials section or a Trustpilot rating can make a world of a difference.
The “rule of one” still applies. Pick reviews that talk specifically about the product or service the landing page is for. If it is a new offer, stay with testimonials about the company or its customer care, as it is more generic and doesn’t distract from the current offer.
A landing page is rarely finished. As you get experience (and, hopefully, conversions) from your landing page, you learn more and more about what works for your audience. The audience also shifts, forcing you to adjust your strategy. This requires constantly creating new varieties and test them against the control. Most landing page builders allow for simple A/B tests so you can see which version is more effective.
Building the perfect landing page is a complex and daunting task, but that shouldn’t hold you back. Equipped with the information from this article, you are ready to get started.