Demystifying Landing Pages
:: By Mike Canarelli, Web Talent Marketing ::
Ask three people what a “landing page” is, and you’ll probably get three different answers.
One might say it’s the homepage of a website. Another might describe it as a top navigation item in a website menu. The other person might describe it as the place a visitor ends up after clicking on a link somewhere else.
In fact, all three are correct.
In the classical sense, landing pages are indeed any page where visitors to your site wind up or “land.” This can be a homepage, a main menu page or a contact page. So, while none of the three people surveyed would be technically wrong…from a marketing perspective, none of them is really right.
What is a Landing Page?
Imagine an airport with all of its runways: the constant bustle of air traffic coming in and air traffic going out, with people boarding and unboarding, preparing for the next stage of their journey. These landing strips are the airport’s lifeline—its entire reason for being. The air traffic control tower, the baggage claim and the terminals all may have their place in the great air travel continuum, but without well-marked and well-maintained runways, mass air transit as we know it just wouldn’t be possible.
In many ways, landing pages are the runways of your website. Visitors can only buy your products, learn about your services or engage with your content after they have arrived. Landing pages are what bring them in. If optimized properly, landing pages can deliver top quality leads right to your doorstep.
Landing pages are like one-page websites designed solely for the purpose of bringing in traffic. Once on the page, visitors can be routed wherever you want them to go. You can drive traffic to your site without using landing pages, but if you sell products or services that are typically bought compulsively, a dedicated landing page can help you close the sale immediately. On the other hand, if you offer a service that requires a more methodical, measured approach, landing pages can offer your prospects the valuable information they seek, but only if they provide valuable contact information to you in return.
That’s why “landing pages” are sometimes referred to as “conversion pages.”
Of course, many businesses don’t want to interrupt the flow of their websites with pages that deliver such a “hard sell.” To avoid having their site seen as “tacky” or “pushy,” many business owners opt for a landing page—a specific page that is completely separate from their main site, yet maintains a consistency of brand.
How Should Landing Pages Be Used?
Just as runways serve as launching pads for new experiences, landing pages should be seen as serving the same purpose. Each landing page has a main objective: compel visitors to take the action you want them to.
• Lead Generating Landing Pages
The purpose of a lead generating landing page is to gain information for later marketing. Whether the page is selling or promoting a product or just prompting a user to provide their name and email for more information, the goal is to gather information to make future sales. The information users provide gives the company the ability to promote their products through other digital marketing channels. There are a number of ways a company can use lead generating landing pages, including:
o Webinar registration
o Free trial or product (e.g., e-book or white paper)
o Product launch notification
• Click-Through Landing Pages
A favorite among e-commerce businesses, the click-through landing page is designed to persuade prospective customers to purchase a company’s products or services. This type of landing page leads to another page to finalize the purchase, typically to company’s electronic shopping cart.
An attractive landing page can transform your conversion rate, boosting it by over 40 percent.
What Goes into Developing a Landing Page?
The design of your landing page greatly influences your lead-to-sales conversion. Many passengers get nervous as their plane comes in for a landing—do they really want to make this giant leap, this purchase, to explore an uncertain future? According to Kissmetrics, a delay in page response of a single second can reduce your conversions by 7 percent. A smooth landing makes all the difference. A cool, crisp description of your product or service will help seal the deal, earning the trust of your prospects and turning them into customers.
Keep in mind that when designing the contact form for a landing page, the more information you request of your visitors, the less likely they are to stick around. Not everyone enjoys providing their life history online, especially if they’re unfamiliar with your company.
For example, if you’re offering a free e-book, and it requires a form to be filled out before delivery, the ratio between how much they need the information in that e-book should outweigh the information they’re willing to give you to get it. In other words, if you’re going to ask for more than just a name and email address, your offer should be quite compelling.
By transforming the average landing page experience into something truly special, you give your prospects a window seat that lets them enjoy the ride and lets your business fly to new heights.
Mike Canarelli is the CEO and co-founder of Web Talent Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As the force behind Web Talent, Mike lays the foundation for his clients’ success by applying his experience, expertise, and passion for excellence to every account.