What we will cover
- So, what is a landing page again?
- How to create a landing page: a summary
- A quick bit on design
- Hooking the reader
- Are you saying too much (or not enough)?
- How many words should a landing page have?
- Are you talking to your target audience?
- Building the trust
- Making it easy (and closing the deal)
- Have you added a clear call to action (CTA)?
- Be prepared for those that are not ready to buy
- Optimising for SEO
- It’s all in the numbers
So, what is a landing page again?
We went into the nuts and bolts of landing pages in an earlier article, How to write landing page copy that actually converts. To summarise, a landing page is the first page a potential buyer arrives at when they visit your website.
The misconception is that this is normally the home page but those with an understanding of digital marketing will know that if you are looking at keywords and creating content, or advertising for adwords then the idea is that you create unique, ultra-focused landing pages to highlight the specific needs of the searcher.
a landing page for every service offering will rank better on search engines and be a better place to drive ad traffic
Once you have some landing pages up and running, you will need to keep on top of them to make sure they are performing as expected (i.e. driving conversions for the relevant product or service). It is a good idea to carry out periodic landing page analyses so you can act quickly if any pages stop working for you.
How do you carry out a landing page analysis? One method is to go through each landing page and ask yourself if it needs the AIDA framework.
- Attention. Does your landing page grab the reader with a powerful headline or image?
- Interest. Visitor attention is a precious resource so you mustn’t waste it. Aim to move quickly from the headline into cementing a deeper connection. Asking questions which relate to the reader’s pain points is often effective.
- Desire. By presenting your product or service as the answer to the reader’s problems, you create desire.
- Action. Close the deal! (More on that later)
How to create a landing page: a summary
While landing pages come in different shapes and sizes, the most effective ones have a few elements in common. We will talk you through those elements in detail below, but in a nutshell they are:
- An attention-grabbing headline
- Concise wording broken up by powerful sub-headings
- Images and/or videos
- Trust marks and social proof
- A lead capture form
A quick bit about landing page design
Make sure it’s responsive
With the majority of web browsing occurring on mobile devices it’s essential that your landing page is responsive. This doesn’t mean you have to have two separate landings pages for desktop and mobile, just that your landing page is designed to shrink dynamically when viewed on smaller screens.
If your landing page isn’t responsive then people viewing your page on a mobile device will be having a bad time, and with mobile overtaking desktop internet usage, an unresponsive landing page will kill your conversion rate.
Learn to love blank space
When it comes to design, blank space is a good thing if used correctly, so resist the temptation to fill every part of your landing page with content. Too much information will confuse the reader and make them lose focus on what their mission is – clicking the big button.
Assume your visitors are lazy
Everything on your landing page should be tailored to convert visitors into customers in as little time as possible. This means making everything easy for them and assuming that all your visitors are lazy. Minimise the information you need from them for a successful conversion and add radio buttons to reduce the amount of typing required. Add visual signposts like arrows or line of sight cues that direct visitors to exactly where they need to go.
Buttons and forms above the fold
Another way you can make life easier for your future conversions is to put buttons and forms above the fold, eliminating the need for them to scroll down the page and hunt for what they need to do next.
Make sure your brand is consistent
When people click through to your site, whether from an advert or an email campaign, it’s important that whatever they’re clicking looks like it belongs to the site they’re going to be landing on. It helps to remind them where they’ve come from, where they’re going, and what they’ve come to do.
Create hero images
Create strong images to sprinkle throughout your website design that will show off your product or picture your businesses doing what they do best. Avoid using stock imagery and if necessary, hire a professional photographer to shoot eye-catching images.
Don’t distract your visitors with navigation
When you’ve taken all the trouble to attract visitors to a particular landing page, it’s important that you do everything in your power to get them to stay there. This includes not including any navigation that will distract them and encourage them to wander off.
Find a template that works and stick to it
Once your landing page has been setup, tested, and refined, you can reuse it as a template for the next one. If you have a landing page that works there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when creating another one, just add new copy, new pictures, and a new call to action.
Hooking the reader
As we said earlier, the more landing pages you have on your website the better. In fact, we recommend you create one for every single service you offer because that will help you to focus your writing.
The first step in how to create a landing page is to come up with a powerful headline related to the service you are offering. Whether your visitor has arrived on your landing page via an online ad, a blog post or simply through browsing your website, you need them to want to read on.
One of the most effective strategies is to ask your potential customer a question relating to their major pain points. These can be phrased positively (Looking for a pair of shoes that are affordable yet fit any foot size comfortably?) or negatively (Struggling to find shoes that fit without breaking the bank?)
An example of a keyword-optimised subheading, and a prominent user focussed statement to back up why they have landed here
Ideally, your headline should contain the keyword or phrase you are trying to make the page rank for, or something that your target audience are typing into search engines.
If you’re adding the landing page to your website yourself, always make sure that the heading is formatted using the H1 tag, as this will tell Google that those search terms are super relevant to your landing page.
The quick checkout
You should place a prominent button linked to your contact form at the bottom of the page (or failing that contact us page) somewhere at the top of your landing page (see the above example).
There are a few reasons for this, it will capture those visitors who really don’t have the patience or attention span to read, it immediately tells them the action you want them to take and for those that have read it before and are coming back you can funnel them straight to the call to action.
Are you saying too much (or not enough)?
When it comes to the text on your landing pages, you have a delicate balancing act to master. In your eagerness to sell your wares, it is easy to write too much and end up rambling. On the other hand, if potential customers are left with unanswered questions then they won’t feel confident enough to click the ‘buy now’ or ‘get a quote’ button.
When analysing your landing page, ask yourself whether you have provided enough info and overcome the most likely obstacles that might prevent someone taking action. It is also a good idea to check out your competitors’ landing pages. Are they leaving questions unanswered? That could be an opportunity for you to fill the void.
Next, use the concept of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) to replace or take out any words that are overly complex and jargony or that take the reader away from the core message.
How many words should a landing page have?
There is debate about this. According to some studies, the fewer words that are on the page, the higher the conversion rate. While that may be the case, it is also true that you need to have at least 300 words on a page for Google to rank it properly.
We would also bet that a well crafted 1,500 word landing page would outperform a boring 400 word block of sales patter (just look at the length of some of the landing pages written by well-known digital marketing gurus).
More important than the length of the landing page is how well structured it is. A good strategy is to break text into chunks based on your major selling points, heading each chunk with a relevant headline (another good place for that keyphrase).
Unique Selling Points (USP’s)
When describing your service you can break up blocks of text using lists, images, icons, videos, quotes and information boxes. This is a really good opportunity for a block of content that isn’t service-related but perhaps unique to your organisation. A row of content on a different background colour can split walls of text and o a long way to demonstrating expertise or value.
Showing your values is another way to differentiate yourself from the competition, be sure to reflect this in your imagery, language and offering. For example, if you are environmentally conscious then say so, just be sure to back it up in your actions – for example, Vu offer discounted rates for those demonstrating they are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Values are an important part of choosing to spend more on 100% renewable energy web hosting – highlighted in our testimonial, content and imagery.
Benefits over features
Where possible list out the benefits of your offering rather than just features. In simple terms just be customer centric in how you communicate what your offering. For example:
Feature: You get a WordPress website.
Benefit: Get the most popular Content Management System on the planet.
Benefits are often easiest consumed in a tick list
Images and videos
Pictures will always be more engaging to the average viewer than plain text, so be sure to include at least one image on each of your landing pages, preferably more. Studies have shown that lifestyle images with smiling faces lead to more conversions as do pictures which subtly indicate the action you want the reader to take (a person looking towards the ‘contact us’ button, for example).
Placing an ‘explainer video’ at the top of your landing page is another great way to engage with people with limited time or appetite for reading. If you want to know how to create a landing page video, make sure you check out our Video Production section.
Add personality to your website with video explainers from your team
Are you talking to your target audience?
The best landing pages are created to connect with a specific audience. That audience segment may vary each time depending on the types of products or services you offer.
For example, if you provide a service to both domestic and commercial customers, the tone and language of your landing pages should be very different in each case. If you are unsure how to talk to a target buyer for any product or service, you will benefit from creating a marketing persona, something we cover with you in our workshops.
Casting your net too wide with your landing pages will reduce their impact. That’s why the home page makes such a poor choice of landing page for many businesses.
Building the trust
A flaw in many landing pages is the failure to make use of trust marks and customer reviews. Including the logos of professional bodies you are accredited by, or big clients you have worked with, will add kudos to your business.
Interspersing your text with positive quotes from your customers will add a persuasive element of social proof to your offering. If you can, choose quotes that relate directly to the service in question.
Placing a quote strategically beside your contact form is a powerful aid to conversion, as this is point that a user takes action and often the deciding factors before we buy or take action are “who else has done this?” – hence the value of case study content in the sales process.
Making it easy (and closing the deal)
Accessing services can be so frustrating these days that the thought of a simple onboarding process can be very attractive. Presenting your customers with three numbered steps to follow can encourage them to take action. It can also highlight that they may be in the buying process just by accessing this information.
A three step process can highlight how little resistance there is for positive change
Landing pages must present the reader with an idiot-proof way to provide their contact details or make a purchase. To use a football analogy (surely not?!), you could be the most effective team in the world at getting the ball into the box, but if you don’t have someone who can knock it into the net, you’re going to struggle to win matches.
A contact form or phone number is a familiar tool that everyone understands. Be careful not to include too many fields (if you are asking for every reader’s inside leg measurement, you’re not going to get many new leads). And be sure to use a tracking phone number if you asking people to reach for the phones.
Alternatively, you could provide a prominent call-to-action button to direct the visitor to a sales page. Bear in mind though that the more steps a reader has to take, the more likely they are to bail out early, especially if you’re asking for money.
Have you added a clear call to action (CTA)?
It is amazing how many landing pages we come across which do a great job of selling the benefits of a product or service and then fail to ask anything of the visitor.
Sales professionals master the art of ‘closing the deal’ and your landing pages, as your virtual sales agents, must do the same.
Selling a product? Tell the visitor to ‘buy now!’ Hosting a seminar? Remind them to ‘book your place!’ Adding people to your newsletter mailing list? Make sure ‘sign up’ or ‘subscribe’ is somewhere on or near the contact form.
You can be direct and assertive or softly persuasive but before your visitor reaches the end of the landing page, you must have asked them to do something!
If your landing page visitor has to scroll to see all of the content on the page, consider adding multiple CTAs. Remember that mobile devices have smaller screens so users often have to scroll.
Be prepared for those that are not ready to buy
90% of yes is still no, especially when it comes to parting with money. Examine your offer, at a basic human level, we only spend money for something aspirational, or something that takes a pain away.
Be prepared for those that like you but still aren’t in a position to buy. Is your offering buy or leave? Or would you like to gather an email address and continue the conversation? If you offer value through your emails, i.e. tips or how-to’s then you can follow up a contact form with, come join our mailing list to get x benefit.
If the answer is no to the commitment to get in touch today, we can see if they want to stay in touch in the future
Of course, you can incorporate an opt-in link on your contact form to your newsletter mailing list. Collecting email addresses through a simple form is often a better long-term strategy than trying to funnel anonymous visitors to a sales page too early.
Optimising your landing page for SEO
If you didnt start with SEO, then once you’ve created your page you will want to ensure that it is optimised for the right keywords. Use this article to find them or speak to your trusted agency. Here’s a little further guidance on the other elements of your landing page you may not have considered…
Use long-tail keywords
If your landing page is part of a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy, then the ads will be doing the work for the highly competed terms, which means you can optimise it for long-tail keywords – three to four word phrases related to what you’re selling.
These longer keywords will be easier to rank for if your website is not as established as the top dogs and increase the chance that the searcher will find what they’re looking for at your site, being top for something is better than not being top for anything, they are also cheaper than the primary keywords that most people usually go for.
Fine Tune Your Title Tag
Make sure you create a title tag that’s relevant to your page, telling your visitor (and Google) exactly what your page in less than 65 characters. The title tag is the first port of call for any bots visiting your page and will help them to understand your page and rank it better in Google’s search results.
Keep your meta description simple
With the meta description tag you have a chance further elaborate on what your page is all about, and cram in some more of the keywords that the search bots love. Effective descriptions should be around 155 characters long, 160 max.
Utilise your url
If your url is an ugly jumble of unreadable characters then it’s time to create one that’s more user and search engine-friendly. Neat urls are easier to remember if people who see your link don’t want to click it immediately, and can also be keyword optimised to have a positive effect on search results.
Optimise your headline
Firstly your main headline should snugly wrapped up in a <h1> tag (and it should be the only headline that’s wrapped in a <h1> tag on that page). Secondly it should be an enticing headline which would ideally include one of your main keywords, though not look like it’s had a keyword shoe-horned into it.
Don’t forget the alt tags
So you’ve sorted out your images, which is great for users, but if you’re not using alt tags then the bots crawling your site won’t know what the pictures are of or how to index them. Although it’s only a matter of time before they can see, bots are currently blind and need some help to know what images are of. Give a bot a helping hand and add some alt tags to your images.
It’s all in the numbers
We live in an era of Big Data and this is great news for businesses with landing pages. By making use of tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you can see exactly how many people are interacting with your landing pages and what proportion are taking the action you want them to. Some software will even show you how far down the page people are scrolling and where on the page they are clicking.
By tracking the important numbers (e.g. impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, position on search engine pages, etc.) you can ensure you understand not only how to create effective landing pages but how they are performing and pick up early on any problems.
This data is your acid test. You can kid yourself that you have created the perfect landing page but the numbers don’t lie. If your conversions of actual enquiries are disappointing, you need to double down on your efforts to find out why.
We always say, no one leaves a website and tells you why you didn’t win their business, so engage with a trial and error process – know this though, it really does work and you know your customers better than anyone else.
If you have more questions on how to create a landing page, please have a look through our website design services or drop us a line.
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