Why use landing pages? It’s nothing new to read that brick-and-mortar retail is dead, and websites are the future. We all know that by now, but maybe you didn’t know that your website isn’t cutting it either with the standard that has been set. In fact, you’re probably losing a fair amount of business that could be gained if you’re not using landing pages to complement that website.
We’ve said it time and time again: our attention spans are shorter than that of a goldfish.
No, seriously. As discussed in an article published by Time, a recent Microsoft study on human attention spans has concluded that we typically only focus on a singular subject for a mere 8-seconds. Goldfish, on the other hand, weigh in at a confident 9 seconds.
With that said, let me ask you a question...
Since you made your way to this blog post and began reading, has anything else vied for your attention? You intended on reading this the whole way through in one go, but that text just came in that you should probably respond to first. Oh, and your smartwatch just buzzed reminding you to breath (what?). Oh, and that desktop notification from your calendar just reminded you of that call you have in 10 minutes. Oh and…The list goes on.
It happens to virtually all of us and can sometimes leave us feeling like chickens running around with our heads cut off. Before we know it, that thing we originally wanted to pay attention to is lost amongst the endless open browser tabs or it was on one of those apps that you closed on your smartphone as you tried to save your battery life after receiving the ‘Low Power Mode’ notification.
So, what does this have to do with marketing and landing pages?
Well, somehow businesses need to break into that 8-second window to tell you who they are, what they have to offer, and how you can obtain whatever it is that they’re offering. Basically, as a marketer, you have to figure out how to cram the majority of your conversion funnel into a tiny window of opportunity. Talk about a tough hurdle to overcome.
Thankfully, there are tried and true methods by which that hurdle becomes much less daunting. That’s where landing pages come in.
What is a landing page?
A landing page, by definition, is the first web page someone gets sent to when they’ve clicked a link elsewhere (e.g. email or an ad). It’s the page that they first ‘land’ on.
A good landing page focuses on a single subject and provides a singular action for the user to perform. Using conversion rate optimization design techniques, a landing page can very quickly sell a user on your product or offer and usher them into completing their conversion by filling out a form or clicking a button.
And that’s the kicker; landing pages are about getting ‘action’, not just traffic. Because any page can receive traffic for 8 seconds, but not all pages can make you money in 8 seconds. Take a look at this list of money-makers, money-losers, and everything in between.
Let’s compare these two pages. The one on the left is the client’s homepage while the page on the right is a unique landing page.
The homepage serves the purpose of telling the whole brand story. It’s the entire collection of information on who they are and what they do. In total, there are over 30 unique links all leading to different pages with different parts of the story. It does it’s main job well, but it fails at funneling traffic into specific areas to accomplish specific goals. There are potential distractions everywhere and your user will burn time choosing where to click and what to read.
With only 8 seconds to spare and one goal in mind, this landing page gets straight to the point and leaves very little opportunity for the visitor to get distracted and deviate from the task at hand. It’s much more likely that the user will follow through with your desired action on this page.
Here’s another example of the clear differences between a complicated, busy page and a simple straight-forward page.
This comparison of the client’s homepage to our landing page for them shows what it looks like to boil down a swath of information and only displaying what you need to get visitors to perform a certain action. Clearly, the landing page is much more simplified, streamlined, and less distracting as it asks potential customers to request a price quote for their preferred motorsports vehicle.
To sum it up, when it comes to landing pages, simpler is better.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Ok, so if I shouldn’t put all of my company’s information on my landing page, how do I know what information I should show?” Great question. With a constrained experience like this, choosing the right content is paramount. Keep reading and we’ll briefly go over what choosing the right content looks like for you. If you’d like a deep-dive into landing page content, check out our post on CRO Copywriting.
Key Components of a Good Landing Page
Before I dive into more of why you should use landing pages, I want to provide a briefing on what goes into a good landing page. There are a handful of key components that landing pages such as these can utilize to boost their potential for reaching their respective goals:
1) Clear branding to ensure that the product or offer stands out among competitors and is memorable.
Take this Student Loan Refinance page as an example of branding being well-represented. Their logo mark is clearly shown in the upper left corner and the entire page maintains the brand color scheme. The header of this page is even utilizing a photo that represents the client to further push recognition and association with the school.
A Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
2) A UVP (Unique Value Proposition) that tells the visitor what they can expect to gain from this product or offer.
This page for a financial tech company is a great example of a page that tells you what their product offers right away. It’s a debit card intended for use by kids that their parents can still manage.
A clear action
3) A clear action, so there’s no question as to how the visitor can proceed and receive what’s being offered. We dive deeper into this with our Call to Action article.
This SaaS client landing page leaves no room to question what should be done next. The empty form field says “Type Your Email” and the button says “Get Free Guide”.
4) Validation of the UVP by featuring quotes from happy customers or ratings from services like Yelp or Facebook. This is often called “social proof” and you can read more about it here.
One example of this can be found on this client landing page, which features two quotes from satisfied business owners and 5-star ratings from three major companies.
5) A concise list of stats or features that provide some context around the offer or product.
This landing page lists the steps involved when using their service and also the benefits that a customer can expect to receive from them.
While these components have been proven successful many times over, there’s no one recipe for a landing page that guarantees success (check out this collection of various tests and their results).
Sometimes listing quotes from customers is more effective than showing off the Yelp score. Sometimes showing a video about the product performs better than a written explanation. Every audience is unique and it may take a few tries to nail down what content is best for your landing page.
Luckily for you, trying different landing page designs is fairly easy to do. Next, I’ll tell you how surprisingly simple and quick creating and editing landing pages can be, which I think is a core benefit of using landing pages.
Creating a Landing Page Is a Breeze
So, just another reason why you should consider landing pages: they’re easy to create. While landing pages are a type of website, that doesn’t mean they’re as difficult to create as most websites. You might be counting yourself out of the landing page game, because you aren’t a web developer or coding guru, but fret not. A lot of very smart people have gone ahead of you and created powerful tools designed to help the non-developers like you and I build effective landing pages like the best of them.
There are many easy-to-use and fully-capable building tools out there and we’re working right now on a full review of pros and cons of these tools, their differences, and which one might be best for you.
So, now if you’ve created a landing page for a campaign, how do you know that it’s performing as well as it possibly could? What you want to do is optimize your page for conversions. To do this, you’ll need to pit landing page against landing page in an A/B test.
Testing With Landing Pages to Get More Conversions is Easy
Still, another reason to consider using landing pages: testing them to get more results can be quite easy, and sometimes it doesn’t even warrant a big, time consuming change to get the results you seek.
In order to know that you’re meeting your page’s full potential, you’ll need to try out variations of the same page. With each new offer on your page comes a new audience that you’re speaking to. These audiences don’t all respond to the same things, so you’ll need to eliminate what content and which landing page designs grab their attention and sell them on your offer.
As I mentioned earlier, landing pages are very easy to build, so too are A/B tests of those pages. In a matter of minutes, you can test a new headline, new imagery, or entirely new sections of content.
Check out this detailed guide to landing page testing if you want to learn more about how to develop a strategy around A/B testing. It’s important to know what your goals are, what to test, and what parameters to set for your testing.
One question you might find that you ask yourself is whether or not you should feature a video on your page. A very easy A/B test to answer this question would be one page that only features imagery or GIFs placed up against another page that uses a video instead. You might be shocked to learn that conversion rates on landing pages increase by up to 80% when they feature a video.
You could A/B test this further by comparing videos of two different lengths to see if visitors are activated more effectively by one over another. There are virtually endless amounts of tests you could run on your landing pages, but some turn out much more significant results than others.
Check out this example of a simple test for mortgage company where the benefits list was moved into the header area instead of further down the page and below the fold.
Most landing page builders make this as easy as possible by allowing you to create test variants and control what percentage of traffic each variant receives. But now, let’s talk about what landing pages can do for you when you nail your optimization and the conversions start flowing.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All—Leads, That Is
This might s eem like a no-brainer, but when your campaign does well, you’re going to receive a flood of new leads, and each of those leads need to be kept safe somewhere for you to make use of. Thankfully, most landing page builders have systems in place to do this. They have lead generation lists that compile and organize the information you gather from your landing page forms.
Take a look at this example of a lead list from Unbounce and how you can find this list on your own Unbounce pages:
Another way that these lists prove very helpful is when you have a multi-step landing page. A multi-step landing page is when you have two or more landing pages, with a step of the form on each, in succession that break up what would be a long conversion process into smaller bite-sized portions.
This is sometimes known as the “Breadcrumb Technique”. This technique is used to encourage your visitor to complete all of the form fields by starting with the less revealing or personally-identifying questions first and gradually warming them up to be willing to provide their name and contact information, which is the most important stuff.
You might be wondering why I specifically mention forms that are broken up by having a separate step on different pages instead of just a single multi-step form on a single page. That’s because many landing page builders only allow for one form per page, and often times these builders see breaking a form up into multiple steps as creating more than one form in total. So, the hack to get around that is making a page for each step of the form. To put it concisely, a 2-step form = 2 landing page.
While it’s predominantly a benefit to break up landing page experiences that seem long, it presents a new risk that visitors will drop off during page transitions. Instead of simply continuing on to the next page, they lose focus and decide to bail out of the process altogether.
There are any number of reasons for this, but you can start to identify causes of drop-off by singling out which page in the process has the lowest conversion. This is possible because each page within a landing page builder has its own lead list. So, when one lead list is suddenly more sparse than the ones preceding it, you know that you’ve identified the problematic page.
Allowing Room for Failure
You’ve probably heard it said before that it’s important to “fail fast and fail often.” While failing isn’t usually a cool thing to do, we know that it’s the best method to identifying what works and what doesn’t. This is often championed by those who consider themselves entrepreneurs when they’re breaking into a market with a new business venture. Landing pages make for excellent proving grounds for new business ventures in all sorts of different stages.
You might have only come up with a general idea and loose business model, so now you need to evaluate the level of interest you’ll attract in your market. Landing pages allow you to quickly and efficiently set up a smoke test page where visitors enter their email to ‘learn more’ or ‘sign up for updates’. It’s low threat and very low-commitment for everyone involved.
Say, however, you have your budding business up and running, but you have new ideas for expansion. You can piggyback off of your current traffic and send visitors to a simple landing page to evaluate interest. Not only do you get a feel for whether or not your audience is interested in what you’re offering, but you just collected yourself a fresh batch of emails, phone numbers, and legal names.
So, if there’s any doubt in why you should use landing pages at this point, I’m just going to refer back to my mention of the goldfish and…
Any comments? I’d love to hear your feedback on why you think people should or shouldn’t use landing pages, and what successes you have seen by using them.