Landing Pages 101: What is a Landing Page and How Do You Create One?

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Landing pages…it seems like everyone (including your ex-brother-in-law’s cousin’s son) is talking about them, but what exactly do they do for you? And how do you go about making a snazzy landing page that generates sales?

What is a landing page?

To begin with, a landing page is a special type of web page that fulfills one designated function- to get the viewer to complete an action. That action may include buying a product or service (i.e., sales page), providing contact information (e.g., email address), watching a webinar or listening to a podcast, or even going to the regular web pages and reading their content.

Some very specialized landing pages are generated to help a site better rank for certain keywords; these SEO landing pages often link to pillar articles or tutorials. There are also thank you landing pages; these pages simply thank the viewer for taking the requested action.

Landing pages are typically not displayed on their own but pop-up as a result of the viewer clicking on an ad or opening an email and clicking on the embedded link.

Why are landing pages so important?

Landing pages, unlike general display ads or content pieces, exist to get the viewer to take action. This is achieved by tuning into the viewer’s pain points or needs, listing the features- but more importantly the benefits- of what is being offered, and explaining why the product/service being offered is perfect for that pain point or need.

In online marketing, visitors are bombarded on an hourly basis with sales tactics and gimmicks as well as an ever-expanding universe of content. Thus, it’s very difficult to focus the attention of potential customers on something a “simple” as signing up for an email newsletter or asking for a product demonstration. Likewise, Internet users are growing by the minute and surfing the Web more frequently. It’s increasingly difficult to target those few visitors who just might be your perfect customers, email subscribers, etc.

Fortunately, the landing page page fulfills both functions by 1) getting your visitors to focus on fulfilling one specific task, and 2) targeting only those visitors who actually express some level of interest in your product/service/website/etc.

What does a landing page look like?

The typical landing page layout is as follows: 1. What is the problem/pain point? 2. Here is the solution (i.e., your product/service). 3. Why is it perfect for the customer? 4. How does the customer’s life change after she uses the solution? 5. What does the customer have to do to get the solution? In a graphical sense, a generic landing page looks like the following:

landing page

Heading: This is where the product name may be mentioned, but oftentimes the heading is dedicated to highlighting an issue or challenge in the form of a question. For example, a possible pain point headline could be the following: “Are you tired of forgetting where you placed your keys?”

Sub heading: This is where the product/service being offered is noted and how it can act as a solution to the customer’s problem. For example, “Whistle Key(tm) means never again having to wonder where you left your keys.”

Benefits: Product benefits, not features, are the highlights of a landing page. For example, a product feature may be that it has a lot of memory. The benefit for the user is a high speed connection.

Squeeze: Not all landing pages include a squeeze, but typical squeezes mention that the offer is available for a limited time only, or they include an incentive with the product/service order.

Call-to-action (CTA): The call-to-action or CTA is the business end of the landing page. It may be a button or some other image that is hyperlinked. The CTA asks the visitor to “Click here to learn more,” for example, or “Buy Now,” or to take some other immediate action.

More details: This may include a customer testimonial, a video or podcast, or some other information like offer terms and conditions.

Landing pages are everywhere!

If you think that landing pages are far and few between, perhaps you haven’t checked your email account lately. Here is just a random sampling of landing pages and their respective CTAs:

fisher price landing page Yankee Landing Page

In these two examples shown above, both CTAs are marked as buttons with the text “Shop Now.” Yankee Candle even has an extra CTA at the bottom of its page with the text “Buy E-gift cards.” Both of the landing pages are also quite elaborate and graphics-heavy; such a design is often the most suitable when trying to sell inexpensive consumer goods. discountmags Landing Page

In the case of DiscountMags, the landing page is very (and almost too) simple. Very little is presented to the reader aside from the headline, squeeze and CTA. Benefits and additional details are noted in the top right corner. This is a highly unusual format for simple consumer goods; however, the uncluttered page may actually convert quite well due to its focus on message alone. writer landing page

On this landing page, viewers are encouraged to register for a conference, which costs a minimum of $299 (not cheap!). In order to better describe the product as well as the benefits it offers, this landing page is very text-heavy and uses few graphics or splashy ad tactics. Because a viewer is more likely to think about making a purchase that runs several hundred dollars, the above landing page does its utmost to describe the product and why it should be purchased.

How do you know a landing page is working?

Arguably, the best reason to create and use landing pages is because visitor activity on these pages can be easily measured. This helps determine if the given landing pages are being successful and achieving decent conversion (e.g., sales) rates. Analysis programs are often tied into software platforms that help marketers create landing pages; for example, marketing automation platforms typically include software that helps marketers generate landing pages, test the pages (e.g., A/B tests), and track their performance over time.

Even if you don’t subscribe to any marketing automation platform, you can still track the performance of your landing pages through Google Analytics. Just sign up for an account and obtain your tracking code. Then, add that tracking code to every landing page you generate and wish to track. If your landing pages are built using WordPress, you can add your tracking code via the main theme settings.

There is also a handy plugin called Google Analytics for WordPress, which will take your tracking code and populate it on all your web pages, including your landing pages.

The landing page is your bottom line

In summary, if you wish to increase your sales, grow your email list, etc., landing pages are a must. With landing pages, you can craft one specific message and deliver it to your target audience. You can also analyze if your message is being received well. Finally, you can use the information you gather from your landing pages to design ever better and higher converting landing pages. All this means higher profits and an improved bottom line for you.

2 Comments

  1. Halina Zakowicz says:

    Thanks Bill! Stay tuned for a follow-up post later this week on how to actually install landing pages on your website/blog.

    Reply
  2. More great stuff, Halina. Another article I truly enjoyed reading. 🙂

    Reply

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