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How To Build A Landing Page
That Converts Well
When you are ready to build a website for your business, you will hear something to the effect of, “It is time to come in for a landing.”
One of the things you will learn when building a business web site is the term “landing page.” In many ways, it could be the most important page of your website, with the possible exception of your home page.
The landing page is essentially the first part of a “sales funnel” that helps you gather in your prospects. And if you are in the kind of business where you need sales leads and need to know who the potential customers are, a landing page will be an effective tool for you, provided you do it right.
While a home page could do that, a landing page is really where the rubber meets the road, so it’s vital to get the home page and your landing page right in order to get good prospects that will increase your conversion rate.
If you are new to this marketing thing, you are probably sitting there thinking, “Wow! That’s great! I know that I have to do my home page and my landing page right. But … um, what is a landing page, anyway?”
Landing Pages and Their Contents
The simple way to describe a landing page is a web page on your site where an Internet user can land when clicking on some external link.
But the simple definition is not entirely accurate, because that would mean that a home page can be a landing page. The truth is, a home page is not a landing page, if you are looking at a strict marketing definition. Although you would like most people to “land” on your home page, there is a specific reason why home and landing pages are different.
It comes down to the form and whether it is the main purpose of the page or not.
By form, we’re talking about the boxes where you encourage visitors to enter contact information (e-mail address, name, ZIP code, etc.). While a home page can certainly have such a form on it, what prevents it from being a landing page is that the form is usually one part of the home page, which has several images and informational boxes on it.
A landing page exists only for the form and not much else, except maybe a description of your product or service that might encourage visitors to fill out the form.
Here is one example of a good landing page: https://www.civic.com
What makes this a good example is that it does have a prominent “Sign Up” button “above the fold” (the “fold” being the area of the page where the user would have to start scrolling) which leads to the form, but it’s also graphically pleasing with simple text that quickly explains what the product is that is being sold.
Here is another good example, this one with the form on the page: http://www.chrisducker.com/
As you can see here, the form is right there above the fold, but it’s small, only requesting a name and e-mail address. The rest of the page is similar to the other example; short text items and graphics to drive home the value-add to the visitor for joining the site by filling out the form.
It does not matter how much information you request on your form; as long as there is a way to capture the important information that will feed that visitor into your sales funnel.
Building a Rockstar Landing Page
If you are not very design-inclined, don’t panic. Now that you have an idea of what makes a good landing page, there are some handy landing page builders out there so even a novice website designer can put together an effective landing page that will convert.
Here we can go through the steps in helping you, but you can also reference any number of landing page builders for more detailed help. Here we can provide you with some initial guidance to put this together yourself.
1. Keep it simple
The model landing pages featured earlier did not show much text or too many graphics or other elements that were irrelevant to the goal of the page, which is to get visitor buy-in to fill out a form. Don’t go crazy and try to put so much information on the page; remember the main goal is the form, so keep the information relevant to motivating visitors to access that form.
Here is a simple, above-the-fold call to fill out a form to get a demonstration:
You will notice the red ellipse that shows how simple it really has to be. A big headline that explains the value, along with a big button that leads the visitor who might be interested in a demonstration to give pertinent contact information, is about all that is needed here. The rest of the page supplements the headline, which will be explained as we go.
2. Understand your target
Who are you trying to reach? Are you reaching prospects, customers, or regulars? While many landing pages are designed to reach the masses, not all of them will appreciate your service or product, so you have to know what you sell and understand who would be the most likely to get engaged with your brand.
Do you have prospects already in your database from something before, and you haven’t been able to get them engaged yet? Maybe this is the opportunity to do that.
Here is an example of a company that knows what it sells, and knows it’s market will not be Joe Consumer but accepts and embraces it:
As you can see, this company sells point-of-sale (POS) software, which is not for everyday conumers for for retail businesses. It doesn’t hide its target audience. And it also is redundant in offering its “Try It Free” button twice above the fold, which maks it easier to find.
3. Once you know the target, give them the reason
While some landing pages are very effective with great headlines and text, to get someone to actually fill out the form, there is often needing to be a “what do I get in return for providing you my personal information?”
Everyone’s privacy has a price and a value, even after there have been some major hacks I the news that resulted in the release of millions of names, e-mails and credit or debit card numbers. People get jittery, so they rarely will give you information for nothing in return.
When you know the people you are trying to reach with your landing page, give them a reward for filling out the form – a reward that someone in that target market would appreciate (free e-book, free consultation, free instructional DVD, etc.). Here are two very popular words that draw traffic:
Free. Trial. For some pages, those two words can be a gold mine of sales leads. Especially the word “free” in front of pretty much anything. Take advantage of it by putting it in a subheadline under your main headline, if not on the button itself.
4. Understand SEO
If you are a small business, you almost have to rely on Google and Bing search results to get you r site visible to people. And this means keywords. Make sure you understand what keywords or keyword phrases will get you on the first page of search results, and incorporate those keywords or phrases a couple times in your landing page when possible.
Using your local community name helps, along with general keywords similar to when someone looks in a phone book for a business; they are looking for the topic or industry, not for the specific business.
If we refer back to the Civic landing page from earlier, you can notice the words “identity,” “identity theft” both appearing a couple of times on the page. This is one way to get Civic on the first page of search – when people look up the topic of “identity theft” or “identity theft insurance.”
5. Quality images
Yes, you are already paying a decent amount to a web-design company to put together you entire web site, but one of the great drawing points for a landing page is the graphics or photography. A high-quality photo lends a sense of trust to the page, puts forth a good impression of your brand, and is just appealing to look at when exploring the page.
When you created your budget for the website, have a separate budget to hire a professional photographer to create your imagery all over the site, but especially the landing page. Resist the urge to use house photos of your building or employees; get creative and professional and don’t’ skimp on this part.
Here is an example of simple, yet dramatic imagery and how it can draw interest:
6. Don’t overdo the form
Once you get the visitors clicking through to your form, you have them right where you want them. But just like fishing, don’t keep the fish on the hook very long or it will escape. Reel that catch in quickly!
While it’s nice to get as much information as you can from customers, at the landing-page stage you are getting prospects, so you don’t have to know very much about them, so keep the form simple and quick. A first and last name, e-mail address, maybe a phone number.
It really doesn’t need to be much more than that. Once you get the fish in the boat, so to speak, you can “clean” it for more information as it goes through your sales funnel.
You can see here that this form is very short and is directly on the landing page: http://www.chrisducker.com/
Name and e-mail address. That’s it. Now, this may have additional form fields on the page after the visitor clicks on the green button, but still … The point is to get some information as quickly as possible and get the visitor into the site by another page or two. This very short form achieves that.
7. Everyone is mobile
It is one thing to have a great landing page for desktops nad laptops, but like you, many people in yoru target market have smartphones and tablets – and many of them probably use them to browse the Internet as much or more than their laptops or desktops.
This means that you have to consider making your landing page mobile-friendly. On smaller screens, the fewer words and easier-to-find form or button will be imperative.
You might consider working from that smaller template to place your elements in the right places, then build your desktop landing page around the mobile canvas.
The idea here is simplicity and fast loading. The longer your landing page takes to load, the more potential customers you will lose. We would hate to see you lose prospects because you neglect the mobile browsers.
Here is an example of a good mobile-friendly landing page, since it mention specific mobile devices by name:
Very clean, simple to read, very prominent call-to-action button. Perfext for mobile devices, though can easily be expanded for desktops.
8. One more thing: Details matter
The last step is important, but it has very little to do with the makeup of your landing page. You need to make sure that you have a good set of meta tags and a SEO-friendly title of your landing page so the search engines will easily locate it. What visitors see on the outside is important, but these little internal details go by the wayside, you could lose a lot of potential traffic.
Keep this in mind when you get into your landing page builder. Before you click on that “Publish” button, ensure that every pertinent field is filled out – especially meta descriptions and the SEO title. You would hate to see all your effort go for naught.
Take This and Go Forth!
Now that you have a general idea about the elements that go into a dynamic and high-converting landing page, you can now get started on your own.
But you don’t have to go from scratch.
There are several great templates available at free landing page-builder sites like LeadPages, InstaPage, ClickFunnels and others.
At any of these sites, you can be led step by step through the template to make sure everything is in place like it should and you will able to review everything and even test the links and the form to make sure they work as expected before you publish.
Here is an instructional video from InstaPage that can help:
A landing page is vitally important in any business where sales are important, and having a place in which to catch those prospects can’t be taken lightly or understated.
However, as you can see, the layout of a landing page does not have to be complex or busy; it’ all about getting people to use the form to get more information, and for you to gather the contacts you need to keep your sales funnel full and running over.