Every business needs to know how to convert leads into clients and customers. This is why landing pages are so important. We’ll give you everything you need to know about how they work and how to have success with them in building your business.
What Is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a page on a website that’s designed and intended to convert your visitors into leads.
Therefore, it diverges from other pages on your site in that it:
1) It has a form that captures your visitor’s info (email, name, etc.) in exchange for something they want (e.g., white paper, exclusive offer, discount).
2) Converting visitors into leads is the entire purpose.
Some homepages also act as a landing page, but aren’t officially a landing page because they serve other purposes as well. It has navigation components. A landing page doesn’t.
So a landing page is exclusively dedicated to the the visitor -> lead process.
How Do Landing Pages Work?
A landing page works through the following process:
1) A visitor sees a call to action (CTA) and is put on a landing page with a form.
2) The visitor fills out a form with his or her info. This officially converts them from a visitor to a lead.
3) The info that was filled out is then stored in a leads database.
4) You can then market to the lead or contact along with others in the database based on the information you have about them.
Many marketing automation tools (e.g., Marketo, HubSpot) enable you to see how the visitor converted into a lead, what actions they took, and other interactions on your site.
Based on these insights, you can understand what you need to do to nurture the lead in a more targeted manner and know what marketing actions are most relevant.
A lead that is nurtured is more like to become what’s called a MQL (marketing qualified lead) and move through your marketing funnel more efficiently. This will help improve ROI and improve overall sales and marketing efforts.
No matter whether you’re a visitor on a landing page or a marketer trying to get visitors to convert, it’s simply a process where you’re exchanging valuable info for other valuable info.
The site is providing content or an offer that has the potential to be valuable to the lead while the visitor contemplates whether the info is worth giving up their email or other info.
It should be a win-win scenario for both sides.
How the Conversion Process Works
The landing page may be the main component of your conversion process, but it’s not all you need.
There are other assets that work together for a successful purchase.
Calls to Action (CTAs)
A CTA is a text or an image that encourages your visitors to complete a specific action.
CTAs tell the visitor on the landing page where they should click to access the offer.
CTAs can also be placed elsewhere on your website (outside the landing page) where the content is relevant to your offer. For example, you can include internal links to landing pages just as you do other content and URLs on your site.
The more the CTA is relevant to the landing page and other pages it’s being promoted on, and the more visibility it has on your site (e.g., including it on higher-traffic pages), the more likely that a visitor will convert on it.
The landing page houses the form that a visitor fills out to access the content, discount, or offer.
The landing page’s only purpose is to market to the visitor – i.e., show the benefits of a given offer and encourage visitors to convert into leads.
After submission, a visitor should be redirected to a “thank you” page or something that confirms that their information was received and how to access to the offer (often through email).
Thank You Page
Most tools enable a message that doesn’t necessarily need a redirect to a new URL to say thank you (or let them know the offer is coming or how to access it), it’s generally a good idea to give your new lead a dedicated thank you page.
A thank you page often includes a “download now” or other type of access button that new leads will be able to click or tap to get what was offered on a landing page.
Thank you pages are a great way to provide the offer. But beyond that, thank you pages are a chance to continue the conversion process and work on moving the lead through the marketing funnel.
In this case you can provide secondary offers through another form of via other CTAs on the thank you page to give your new lead changes to explore further.
These can be webinars, other content, case studies, white papers, consultation offers, and so on.
What You Need to Know Before Creating a Landing Page
Before creating your landing page, you need to have all your research in order to know exactly what you need to do.
Therefore, make sure you have all the following down before working on the landing page itself.
Your target customer(s)
Some often illustrate your target customer(s) through what’s called the buyer persona.
Who are your ideal customers?
It can be based on what your customers want (e.g., via NPS surveys) or market research.
This can give you clear insight into how your customers behave and how they think and what kind of content, offers, services, and products are most valuable for them.
A landing page should target one buyer persona.
If you have more than one buyer persona, you should create additional landing pages.
This is because each landing page will not likely resonate with multiple personas, so it will decrease the odds of conversion.
When one persona is targeted, your marketing efforts will be more focused and increase your odds of conversion.
Therefore, it’s better to niche down on each landing page rather than attempt to appeal to the masses.
The offer is what you’re offering to visitors that is different from the products or services your company sells.
This could be an exclusive piece of content, a white paper, case study, how-to or comparison guide, webinar, e-book, or anything that’s easy to access and is informative about whatever it is that your company does.
You should identify pain points of your target customer and understand where they are on the buyer’s journey.
The Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is the process that potential buyers go through leading up to a purchase decision.
There are basically three stages of the buyer’s journey:
- awareness stage
- consideration stage
- decision stage (intent stage)
Different types of content are necessary for each stage of this journey to help move visitors and leads from one stage to another.
In the awareness stage, a visitor has shown signs that they could have a potential problem or opportunity but aren’t quite sure what they need.
A person in the awareness stage is doing research to understand their problem and help in determining what is causing them.
Content forms for the awareness stage can include e-books, white papers, and guides.
Some call this the top-of-the-funnel (TOTF or TOF).
Example of the awareness stage
A guy is short and feels that this could negatively impact him as it pertains to relationships and potentially other aspects of his life.
He is aware of this potential problem and considering what to do about it.
A prospect in the consideration stage is now aware of their problem or opportunity and has defined it.
Now they’re at a stage where they want to understand how they can go about solving it.
Types of content at this stage include comparison guides, webinars, and videos.
Some call this the middle-of-the-funnel (MOTF or MOF).
Example of the consideration stage
In the consideration stage, the short man is now willing to take steps to increase his height.
He is considering what the range of height-increasing products available to him are.
Decision Stage (or Intent Stage)
In the decision stage or intent stage, the individual knows their solution strategy and approach.
They are now doing comparisons of various products and looking to narrow down what companies/products are a good fit before making their final choice.
At this stage of the buyer’s journey, providing them with demos, case studies, and information about certain products would be a good decision.
Some call this the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOTF or BOF).
Example of the decision stage or intent stage
In the decision stage or intent stage, the prospect is now looking at what type of insoles or special types of shoes he can wear to make himself taller.
He may also consider different clothing styles (such as more slim-fitting shirts) and they can help increase the illusion of greater height.
How to Build a Great Landing Page
Now that you’ve done all the background research, it’s time to design the landing page.
There are best practices that should be followed to increase your odds of conversion on the landing page. Many marketers specialize in increasing landing page conversion odds.
Landing Page Best Practices
Here are a list of landing page best practices:
The Importance of a Great Headline
As the saying goes for normal articles, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline while only 2 out of 10 will read the whole thing.
If you can’t capture their attention immediately with the headline you’ll lose them for the rest of the copy.
It needs to be compelling enough to get them to read on.
Show the Value of Your Offer
You have to show your visitors how valuable your offer is and do it efficiently.
Use the blink test rule. If you can’t convey what your offer is and why it’s valuable before your customer has time to blink (so maybe around 5-6 seconds), there’s a good chance they’ll drop off if they can’t find the value before they “blink.”
Use Bullet Points
People like info that’s organized and easy to digest.
Landing pages aren’t good for keeping people around. People don’t like being sold to and many look kind of spammy and/or aggressive. Naturally, we tend to be repelled by the idea of departing with our money. So it has to be well-organized, straight to the point, and inviting.
Bullet points are a great way to get there.
As are shorter paragraphs. Nobody wants to read a wall of text like you’re back in English lit class.
Have a short summary of the offer. Then underneath, write out a few bullet points (3-5 is best) to show what the visitor can expect when they download or receive the material.
Bullet points keep a reader engaged while showing them a preview of what they can expect.
This will help encourage them to convert.
Build the Landing Page Form
Be mindful of what info you need from your leads.
The greater the number of fields, generally the higher the churn, so only ask for what’s necessary.
The deeper in a buyer’s journey they are, the greater the amount of info you need makes sense.
You don’t need a lot of info if they aren’t your customer yet.
If it’s for awareness purposes, something like name and email address will generally suffice.
But the further down the funnel they go, the more a larger number of fields might make sense.
Once they’re at the decision stage / intent stage or bottom-of-the-funnel, that’s when getting more information is helpful in order to close the sale.
No Need for Site Navigation
Site navigation isn’t necessary on a landing page. You want to remove any opportunity for your visitor to go somewhere else.
Without site navigation your visitor can focus just on the content of the page rather than being distracted by other links they can click on, which could ultimately cause you to lose them permanently.
Images are great. A background photo could make sense for certain types of landing pages that is relevant and not distracting.
If they’re engaging and relevant, including a few on your landing page could make it more appealing and cause more people to stay.
Add Testimonials (if applicable)
People want to see feedback on what they’re buying before making a purchase. Amazon is well-known for this.
It adds social proof and is persuasive when done well.
Just make sure it’s directly relevant to what you’re promoting. The same goes for adding any awards or honors on the page.
Also make sure they are genuine. People can sniff out fake testimonials easily and can cause a business to lose credibility.
It’s good to remove site navigation from a landing page, but social sharing icons can be highly beneficial.
This allows visitors to share it to their social followers and networks.
Just be sure that clicking on a social icon opens in a new window or tab. It shouldn’t redirect away from the landing page itself, but act as a separate promotional avenue.
Be Crystal Clear With Instructions and Next Steps
While a landing page has a form that implies what visitors should do, it’s important to directly tell them to fill out the form.
This can be something like: “To access the white paper, please fill out the form below.”
It’s a simple way to give clear instructions to your visitor on how to access and next steps, and is more likely to make them convert.
Below are some tips that can matter a lot when it comes to your landing page:
Don’t let simple errors mess up the process of conversion.
Even if you’re making honest mistakes, such as affect vs. effect, it can make a difference as to whether your visitor views you as credible or not.
If it’s their first exposure to your brand, or one of them, it makes a difference.
Make sure to double-check and triple-check everything.
If you’re not great with details or editing, having an extra set of eyes can help.
Keep Your Copy Above the Fold
Generally, it’s best to keep your copy above the fold to keep people’s attention.
It’s not a strict rule, but it’s generally a good idea to keep everything concise and above the fold.
Leave below the fold items to things like FAQ and tying up loose ends.
We have more on above the fold and below the fold items in the section at the bottom of this article.
Test Your Landing Page
Test the full process to make sure it works.
Once you have a CTA linking to your landing page and a thank you page that the landing page redirects to, make sure that it all makes sense and is actually functional.
There’s nothing worse than promising an offer and seeing that it glitches. That’s highly annoying to your leads (and soon-to-be former leads).
As a user, does the entire journey make sense.
Try it out for yourself by adding in your own email. Confirm that your info fills into your lead database and you’re able to market to the lead as intended.
How to Promote Your Landing Page
Once you’ve built it and everything is good to go, now you need to promote it.
Make sure that people can view your landing page so you can start turning visitors into leads.
CTAs, the call-to-action, is a great way to promote your landing page content. Do this from relevant blog posts, from your homepage, on Twitter and social media, and anywhere else it makes sense.
The CTA needs to work with the content and the landing page. The more cohesive, the better, as more people are likely to convert.
High-traffic pages and articles on your site that are relevant to the offer can be a good way to promote it.
Emailing your existing lead base is a great way to promote your landing page.
Sending the landing page to a portion of your lead base makes the most sense rather than all at once.
The more targeted the list, the better, as it increases the odds of conversion.
And you don’t need to create a lot of new content for email. Much of the content from the landing page content can be repurposed into emails.
Social media can be a great place to get the word out about your business and content.
Also think about which networks are best for your purposes.
Think about where your resources are best allocated based on your buyer personas.
Are they big Facebook users? If not, other social networks could probably make more sense.
Looking at your Results
Once your landing page is built and traffic is going to the page, it’s time to monitor.
Check the results frequently and make sure everything is going according to plan.
Checking each hour is probably overkill. Even each day might not be necessary depending on the duration of your campaign.
Look for trends over time rather than looking at each small sliver of time where there can be noise and you don’t get much in the way of actionalbe data.
Keep these things top of mind when analyzing your landing page:
1) Is your offer continuing to perform well each month? Is it gaining? Staying the same? Dropping off?
If it’s dropping off, ask yourself whether it’s saturated or something else is going on.
2) If you’re using more than one landing page, compare them and see if you can find anything different as to whether they’re performing better or worse.
3) If one landing page is clearly performing better, try allocating more resources toward that and away from others. Or if you know which elements are causing that landing page to perform better, integrate it into others.
Test one variable at a time
When you make changes to your landing page, test one variable at a time.
If you’re making changes to your copy, form fields, images, and so on all at once, and the results noticeably change, you won’t know what led to the change.
By changing one variable at a time, you can observe how that affects performance and make the appropriate adjustments in light of that.
You can also then apply those changes to future landing pages you create.
Short Step-by-Step Guide for Writing A Landing Page
If you’re looking for something shorter, here’s a brief step-by-step guide to writing a landing page.
This probably isn’t the most sophisticated or the best, but it’s quick and easy.
If these characteristics appeal to you, let’s proceed.
Above the fold
In this section, even a caveman should be able to understand immediately what you’re offering. Here’s what to include:
1) Explain the value you provide (title)
Here are three easy ways to create a title:
- Explain what you do
- Say why you’re the solution for them
2) Explain how you’ll create it (subtitle)
Get specific, introduce the product, and explain how it works.
3) Let the user visualize it (images and videos)
Show your product in action.
The goal is making the prospect imagine the results they would get.
4) Make it believable (social proof)
This adds instant credibility to what you said in the title and subtitle.
5) Make taking the next step easy (CTA)
You have three ways to make them act:
- Call to value: emphasize the value rather than the action. “Show me how I can get more sales.”
- Objection handling: “Start the free trial – No cc required.”
- Pair email capture with CTA to get their info before they complete the action.
Below the fold
The above-the-fold section helps you get their attention. Here is where you get the sale. This is what to include:
6) Make the value concrete (features and objections)
Here you must concretize the value you provided in the above-the-fold section and handle prospects’ objections.
7) Inspire action (social proof)
Now social proof is used to inspire action. What works here are testimonials showing the transformation they had using your product.
8) Tie up loose ends (FAQ)
Here you include all the features and objections that don’t fit previously.
9) Repeat your call to action (2nd CTA)
This CTA can be more articulated and even take up a whole section. Combine social proof, value, and results.
10) Make yourself memorable (Founder’s note)
Leave the customer with a story that makes it easy for them to identify with you and the brand.