Which of the following things have you done in the past month?
- Bought something online
- Downloaded a PDF online
- Registered for an event online
- Subscribed to a newsletter online
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably at least done A, and chances are you’ve fallen into the other three categories some time within the last six months or so.
Bonus question: Which of the those activities required you to interact with a landing page?
Answer: It was a trick question. The correct answer is E, all of the above.
A landing page is a page where you present your site’s visitors with a single action that you want them to take, such as buying a product, or downloading an ebook, or registering for a webinar, or subscribing to your newsletter.
And that’s not all – landing pages could also be a place to watch a video, sign up to volunteer, create a profile, or any other highly desirable action for your company.
What’s the Difference Between a Landing Page and Another Page?
The primary difference between a landing page and any other page on a website is the number of links. Usually, a landing page only has one link – the desired action you want visitors to take. The link for this action is known in marketing-speak as a Call to Action, or CTA, that drives your visitors to take your desired action. Best practice for a landing page is that it only has one CTA.
Now go to any other website and look at its homepage, About page, Services page or anything else. Those pages feature a number of internal links throughout the body, as well as a navigation menu at the top of the page and a footer with multiple other links. That’s typical and perfectly acceptable for non-landing pages.
But a landing page should have one action – no more, no less.
Imagine you run a vacuum website and you write an advertising campaign on Facebook to promote one of your most popular vacuums. When someone clicks your ad, do you want them to see your homepage, where they can take any number of actions that may or may not result in a sale? Or would you prefer that they arrive on a page with one single, solitary action: to buy your vacuum?
Sure, those other actions are also desirable. If you’re paying to drive people to this page, why wouldn’t you ask them to also subscribe to your blog and follow you on Twitter?
But that’s never the reality. People are not going to arrive on your landing page, subscribe to your blog, follow you on Twitter, and then buy your product. You have to think about what the most valuable action is that they could take. Would you rather spend the advertising dollars on more subscribers or actual sales?
Don’t get me wrong, spending money to increase your subscribers is a valid effort. But if that’s your goal, then you need to create a landing page with one action: subscribe to your blog.
This all comes back to setting a strategy for each campaign and sticking to it. If the goal isn’t clear for a campaign before you kick it off, then go back to the drawing board. Don’t just move forward because you feel like you should produce something. Move forward with a goal in mind that you build every piece of your campaign around.
What Are the Elements of a Landing Page?
For this example, let’s think about a product landing page where you would sell something.
1. Only One CTA
You’re probably thinking, “Well, Amazon doesn’t follow any of these rules and look at how successful they are.” You’re right, Amazon sells gangbusters all the time.
But there’s a difference between Amazon and a small business that has a couple products. Amazon is basically the digital version of Wal-Mart. They sell everything and they always want to interest you in everything else they have, that’s why their product pages feature multiple CTAS, urging you to check out other items that people have purchased, or to add your item to their list, or to go look in other sections of their site.
But notice what happens once you hit “Proceed to Checkout,” which is your way of telling them that you’re done shopping and are ready to give them your money. On the next page, everything else disappears. There’s no more navigation menu, no more footers, no more suggested items – every aspect of the checkout pages is designed to push you toward completing your purchase.
You should take the same approach with your landing pages.
2. Explanation of Why Visitors Should Take Said Action
Once someone is on your landing page, that doesn’t mean they’re definitely going to take your desired action. In fact, most won’t. The best conversion rates across all industries don’t even leave the single percents.
That’s why your landing page needs compelling copy that tells visitors exactly why they should buy your product or download your ebook. Use bullet points to highlight the most important parts of your message. Include testimonials that talk about how customers’ lives changed after they took your desired action.
3. One Clear, Compelling Image
Compelling copy is a vital asset, but you’ve probably heard that a picture is worth a certain number of words (I forget the conversion rate). The right image can help your prospects envision themselves on the other side of this landing page, after they’ve bought your product or downloaded your ebook.
Add the best picture of your product, or – better yet – include an image of people like your ideal prospects using your product. If you were going to buy a Frisbee, which picture would make you more likely to buy: a single Frisbee, or a picture of a group of people your age playing Ultimate Frisbee on a beautiful day?
We’re only scratching the surface with the basics here. Landing page optimization is a high value activity that’s often a source of increasing conversions (whether b2c sales or b2b leads). Top performing landing pages are converting at upwards of 11% (sometimes 20%+).
So next time you’re creating a landing page to sell your products, keep these essential pieces in mind and you’ll find that your conversions will increase.