Designing landing pages that are informative and persuasive is an essential practice for any modern digital marketing strategy. However, marketers often struggle to understand the distinction between the homepage vs. landing pages, or generic web pages vs. landing pages, and the considerations that need to be made when developing each of them.
Landing pages need to be highly customized to drive conversion rates and decrease your customer acquisition cost. Read on to discover why you need landing pages, what types of landing pages are most effective, and how you can optimize your landing pages to increase conversions.
What is a Landing Page?
Though Google and other search providers define a landing page as the first page viewed in a session, the digital marketing definition of a landing page is much more specific. In digital marketing, a landing page is the web page visitors land on immediately after clicking links in email marketing campaigns, search engine results, or social media advertisements.
Landing pages should contain compelling information and a clear call-to-action, or CTA, with explicit next steps. This helps visitors quickly assess whether what you are offering meets their needs.
While this concept seems straightforward enough, when surveyed, B2B marketers identified “crafting landing pages” as one of their top 5 biggest challenges. Choosing the right copy and images to drive conversions requires a fair amount of skill and effort. In fact, the average landing page only converts somewhere between 2 and 5 out of every 100 visitors.
That said, well-designed landing pages have the ability to generate significant traffic and act as the leading paid channel for businesses. High-performing landing pages demonstrate value, an understanding of consumers’ needs, and a clear explanation of how those needs can be met.
Why Do You Need Landing Pages?
If you aren’t using landing pages in your campaigns, you’re missing out on significant opportunities. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Meeting user expectations - Every digital campaign needs a landing page to convert visitors into customers. If visitors click on your advertisements and are directed to pages unrelated to the promotion, they might be confused and less inclined to purchase or convert. Each landing page needs to match the associated campaign messaging in order to meet user expectations.
- Promoting action - Landing pages allow you to emphasize a single action you want visitors to take. Whether you want prospects to download a gated asset, sign up for a newsletter, or purchase items on sale, focusing on one goal per page encourages your visitors to make a decision. This can help land you in the top 10% of landing pages, which convert with an 11.45% rate or higher.
- Boosting site performance - Search engines like Google and Bing can also discern how well your site anticipates visitors’ needs. Vague messaging on your landing pages will drastically change your ad rank, cost-per-click, and position in the ad auction. Your landing pages can help algorithms recognize your landing page’s value and boost your SEO with relevant keywords in headers, URLs, alt text, and content.
- Lead generation - Landing pages are handy for collecting valuable contact information. You can require visitors to enter their names, work emails, and job titles on contact forms in exchange for gated assets like webinars or ebooks. This allows companies with longer sales cycles to send email campaigns later on.
The Types of Landing Pages
Overwhelmed by the thought of creating a landing page for each campaign? Fortunately, there are a few go-to types of landing pages that can be customized for your campaign.
- Hub-style landing pages cater to visitors looking for educational material. This type of page organizes your videos, ebooks, and infographics in a digestible way. These pages help to establish your business as an industry expert or thought leader. Hub-style pages are best for engaging top-of-funnel prospects. You can educate prospects on your brand value, gather contact information, and later, review data from the page to understand what your prospects are interested in.
- Single-offer landing pages are the opposite of hub-style pages in that they only have one asset. While these pages rarely generate as much traffic as hub-style pages, they typically result in more conversions due to their specificity. Single-offer landing pages are most effective later in the customer journey when a consumer is aware of or experiencing an issue that the content directly addresses. Even if these leads do not convert right away, you have contact information and can send them more content related to their pain points.
- Clickthrough landing pages are a more immediate form of a lead-gen landing page often used by eCommerce and SaaS businesses. These pages are a little riskier than hub-style or single-asset pages since they lead prospects straight to a subscription or direct sale. On this landing page type, customers can simply click a CTA button like “Buy Now” to move forward with a transaction.
How to Use Landing Pages in Your Campaigns to Increase Conversions
Creating a diverse array of landing pages can drive more traffic to your site. You should incorporate them into your paid, organic, email, and retargeting campaigns to get the most from your pages. Below are a few examples of how landing pages can benefit each of those campaigns.
Landing Pages for Paid Campaigns
Paid social media ads allow you to be very precise in your audience targets. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram attract people with very different attributes and preferences. Social media platforms aggregate these characteristics so that you can target particular groups — even before they know they would be interested in your products.
Paid social media advertising gives you the flexibility to refine your targeting and retargeting strategies over time, but those features are wasted if your traffic is funneled to irrelevant web pages. Highly targeted ads require highly targeted landing pages to achieve maximum ROI.
Search engines also offer paid advertising based on browsing history, search terms, and demographic data. Similar to social media ads, pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns guide prospects to landing pages as well. Landing pages are especially important for PPC ads because they contribute to Google’s ad Quality Score. Campaigns with poor landing pages will have a lower Quality Score, causing a stark decrease in site traffic.
Start by designing landing pages for PPC campaigns on Google or Bing. AdWord and BingAds landing pages should be hyper-relevant and reinforce the promise of your ad. These pages should simplify the call-to-action to a single next step the visitor should take. In the end, this type of landing page can decrease your cost of acquisition, increase conversions, and lower your cost-per-click costs.
Landing Pages for Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are still one of the most popular and valuable forms of marketing, delivering $44 in ROI for every $1 spent. Email marketers may not have as much detailed data to work with, but email campaigns have tremendous reach. Email lists include both new and existing customers, so landing pages can be tailored to those unique audiences.
If you are looking to generate more ROI, write personalized emails and landing pages. Landing pages for existing customers should take into account products they may have purchased previously. Try suggesting new products that complement the ones they already have.
Landing pages that address prospects should take into account other hub-style or single-asset landing pages they may have seen, and the problems they are looking to solve. Doing so can generate up to six times more transactions.
Landing Pages for Retargeting Campaigns
Sometimes customers cancel their subscriptions or go months without purchasing items from your online store. Retargeting campaigns can get these former customers to resubscribe and/or make other purchases. These retargeting campaigns are high stakes, so they often include discounts and highly persuasive landing pages to convince people to return. This customization pays off — optimizing retargeting campaign landing pages can double or even triple your conversion rate.
One way to begin crafting a retargeting campaign is to research where your customers are hanging out. Are they on Facebook? Are they reading your blog? Try to meet them where they are and create a landing page that encourages engagement. This could mean asking for feedback or sharing what they could gain from joining a loyalty program.
Landing Pages for Organic Campaigns
Search engine optimization is key for organic campaigns. Creating competitive content that lands at the top of search engine results drives organic traffic. To get there, your content needs to be exceptionally valuable to your target audience. Often, your homepage might be what ranks in search. Unfortunately, many homepages are not necessarily laser-focused on conversions.
Research the needs and questions your prospects might have as well as the keywords they use to locate answers. Address these questions in your organic landing pages to rise higher in the search engine results. Make sure to update these landing pages as your customer demographics and product offerings change over time.
Key Elements for Great Landing Pages
Landing pages will differ based on their corresponding campaign, but each must contain key elements to increase conversions and capture lead information.
- Above the fold content. This is your first chance to hook your audience. Personalize your message to stand out from the crowd. Address your target customer by name, add relatable videos or images, and play up concerns that prospects might have based on their role or industry. Although people scroll vertically more than they used to, eye-tracking data shows that they will still look more above the page fold than below it. You need to grab the visitor’s attention and communicate your message with a clear headline, supporting headline, and hero image.
- CTA. Although this will technically be found above the fold, the CTA deserves some individual attention. Your CTA should align with an action you want visitors to take. As much as possible, the CTA should remain consistent throughout the page.
- Benefits. Demonstrate your unique value to your visitors right away with clear, compelling, targeted copy. Some landing pages do this by adding an ROI calculator. This allows prospects to immediately predict how they could use a product to save time or money. Another way to demonstrate benefits is to include a bulleted list of what someone will learn if they download a piece of your content.
- Social proof. Incorporating social proof in the landing page can improve user’s confidence in your offerings. Try inserting a banner of your biggest customer logos to validate your company. Testimonials can also help potential customers answer “what’s in it for me?” Include links to press articles or emphasize how many happy customers your company has recently acquired. Do some A/B testing to identify what social proof generates the most respect and interest from your reader.
- Closing. Reiterate your message and give your visitors another clear pathway forward. Obviously, you want visitors to follow through on your call to action. However, they may not be quite ready to complete that action. Give them an out by suggesting something else that could help them make a decision, like requesting a demo, joining an email list, or downloading a report.
How to Create Your Own Landing Page
There are a few best practices every site should follow when creating landing pages. For ideas, consider researching your competitors. What headlines do they use and what is their writing style? What images do they use? Make a list of how your competitors tackle the best practices below, and adjust your own landing pages to prompt more conversions.
- Attractive headlines - Headlines are perhaps the most important piece of your landing page. In fact, 90% of visitors who read your headline will also read your CTA. Without a captivating headline, visitors will simply click away and never see more of your landing page.
For educational content, use a “how to” headline to signal to the reader that they will learn something by engaging with your content. For sales-related campaigns, use the word “you” to speak directly to the reader, and stress what they will gain from your products or services page. Experiment with a few headlines with an A/B test to see what really appeals to your web visitors.
- Concise copy - It’s probably pretty rare that someone wants to spend time reading a long, boring landing page, and even rarer that anyone has the time. Your landing page content needs to be short and sweet. The moment visitors hit a landing page, you have approximately 8 seconds to convince them to do something before they click away.
Make sure readers can get the gist of what you are offering from a quick skim, with simple words and phrases and breaking up chunks of text into bulleted or numbered lists. Again, A/B tests are a fantastic way to find out what works and what doesn’t.
- Eye-catching images - The best ads sell a feeling. Images are a wonderful way to evoke an emotional response. In fact, the human visual system collects up to 80% of all the sensory data received from the environment. Use this natural tendency to your advantage. Rather than picking a dull stock photo or an unexciting image of your product, think about what your readers want to feel. Select an image that conveys that your product or service can recreate that feeling.
- Pleasing, legible design - Sloppy, over-crowded landing pages are just inviting your prospects to click away. Disorganized landing pages communicate chaos to your reader. Choose clean, simple designs to keep the reader concentrated on your copy and CTA. Also make sure that your landing page complements your ad. If the design and messages are drastically different, the reader will be confused and it can lead to doubt in your brand’s quality and value.
- Testing - Customer preferences are ever-changing, which means your landing pages must evolve too. A/B testing allows you to measure the performance of two landing pages with slight differences (such as headlines or CTAs). The winner of an A/B test can become your new default page. After a few weeks, test this default against another variation, and continue doing this to improve your conversion rates over time.
Another way to go about testing is by adjusting several factors on the same landing page. This style of testing is referred to as “multivariate testing.” In contrast to the A/B test which is very specific, multivariate testing gives marketers a broader idea of what is working. This might help if you are trying two drastically different landing pages to see which version to continue using as a template.
Attract Customers with Killer Landing Pages
Getting visitors to end up on a landing page is one thing, but getting them to respond is quite another. Now that you are equipped with the basics, you can focus on driving conversions and cutting customer acquisition costs. This is not as easy as it sounds — keeping leads interested is both an art and a science. Experimenting with various campaigns, layouts, navigation, and copy takes time and effort.
Luckily, Marketo has already tested hundreds of different landing pages as a trusted advisor to companies like CenturyLink, Charles Schwab, and General Electric. Marketo has nearly a decade of leadership experience in lead management, and specializes in email and consumer marketing. Learn how the experts lure the most valuable customers by downloading Landing Page Optimization ebook today.