How To Create Landing Pages That Deliver

cute-18716A landing page is often a confusing term where not everyone is sure what it even means. It is a specific page designed for a targeted purpose when a visitor first visits a web site, often following a promotion.

For instance, if a site owner buys a Google AdWords advert for the purpose of driving traffic to sign up to their email newsletter for more information about their products, then the ad should direct visitors to the landing page for the email opt-in and not directly to the home page.

A landing page should be designed with a goal in mind whether that is to build an email list of visitors, promote a product or showcase a new service launch. In this way, new visitors are carefully funnelled through to the focused area that the site owner wishes to use to get their desired outcome, i.e. email newsletter opt-in landing pages have higher sign-up rates that when visitors just arrive at the home page.

What make a great landing page? Here are some tips we put together to give you some good ideas. Here at Off The Peg Design we are able to help you with your landing page and can design it for you. These tips can act as a guide to better understand just how landing pages work and what to do to get the most mileage out of them. We hope they help you too.

Thoughts Before Building A Landing Page
Ask yourself these questions before you get started…

1. Starting with the goal in mind, what is the purpose of the landing page? Where do you expect visitors to arrive from? A text or banner advertisement? A guest post on a related blog about your product or service? A solo ad on someone else’s newsletter? Or do you want to collect form information like visitor details for a future mailing? Knowing what your goal(s) are is critical before getting started.

2. Who are the competition? How are they succeeding with their web site and landing page? Is there a way I can emulate their success with a similar strategy? See what your direct competitors are doing online to gather email subscribers, promote via pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and product promotion to gain and retain customers.

3. Who are my target market? Create a persona for your target audience and determine who they are? How old are they? What do they aspire to? What are they looking for? What are their pain points and how can you offer a product or service to make their life easier in some way or solve a problem that they’re having? Understanding the needs of your customer is key to providing something that they actually require.

4. Consider how a visitor will be arriving to the landing page? Will they be coming from social media sites where the visitor is interested in reading and conversing with others? Or will they be arriving from a business-focused site where you have a banner advertisement in which case they’ll appreciate a brief and focused offer that is respectful of their limited time availability? Research indicates that having a collection of different landing pages presenting varied offers to different audiences can get a higher response rate, email sign-up rate or product conversion.

Creating Landing Pages That Deliver Results For Your Businesses
Great landing pages are about stripping out what’s not needed in order to focus the attention of the visitor. This often means pulling out the standard navigation in order to try to guide visitors down the page to obtain the outcome you’re looking for (email sign-up, product purchase after presenting video testimonials, etc.)

Landing pages can be sales-focused, very long and detailed with several calls-to-action along the way until the final BUY NOW button at the bottom. Alternatively, they can maintain visitor focus by increasing the amount of white space, selective use of attractive fonts and sparing use of colour to keep visitors from becoming overwhelmed, confused and leaving the page without taking the desired action.

Think: Quality
Deliver quality information rather than boring fluff. Value the time of the visitor and their limited attention span. Review what your goal(s) were for this particular landing page and consider the essential information that’s needed to be presented. Consider what you would like to see if you visited this type of web site looking for similar product information or to learn something new. Doubtless some of the visitors will think in a similar manner to you and this can be a sensible guide.

Create value and trust with the information given otherwise visitors will not stay on the landing page and carry out the action that ideally you’d like them to do at the end of it. The cheap sales hustle or overly slick presentation is often not the right way to go, especially in markets outside of the United States.

Limiting The Exits
Much like how in a casino you will find it difficult to impossible to find a clock telling the time as the owners want you to lose track of time while you’re there, a good landing page will not include major navigation all over the site. The links contained in a landing page should be relevant to the offer being made or call-to-action.

Visitors still need to how they can get to the home page and perhaps other essential areas of the site, but ensure the main focus of the design and content is about the offer, not ways to leave quickly.

Improving Conversions
Make it as easy as possible for visitors to convert. If an email sign-up form is needed, jazz it up to make it look more appealing and ask as little initial information from the person signing up. For every additional piece of information requested, the opt-in rate drops off sharply. For form submissions requesting event information to be mailed out, scale the form back to the bare minimum needed and create an attractive-looking form to entice visitors to complete it.

A/B Split Testing
It is a good idea to run some split testing on a landing page to test two or more different designs or layout variances to see which has more success. It’s possible to tweak the wording on an opt-in newsletter form, change graphic design to appeal more to the age range of frequent visitors, adjust the written copy and much more to obtain higher response rates on visitors to the landing page.

Design Counts
For landing pages, the design should be eye-catching in an appealing way. The site should also be laid out in a simple manner that visitors can grasp visually right away. The use of Google Web Fonts for a wide array of interesting headline lettering in different styles, good use of graphics and images, plus a gentle visual guiding of the visitor once on the landing page is ideal to get the most out of their limited attention. Don’t waste their attention as it is fleeting at best.

Make Calls-To-Action Ultra Clear
It is not time for subtle or to show the typical “British reserve” when it comes to directing the visitor who has arrived on a landing page. Images need to be attention-grabbing. Make it clear what you wish the visitor to do and what is in it for them when they do it. Encouraging the visitor to get started is better than a more formal approach that leads to a pricing page.

Being more direct than one might do on a home page is acceptable for a landing page. It has been shown that visitors to landing pages want to be quickly directed to what they should see, be clear about what they’re being asked to do and supplied enough information for them to make an informed decision. Landing page copy is not there to be hesitant and overly polite. It needs to toe the line of being promotional while still staying factual and not be misleading.

Get Personal
If it’s appropriate for the visitor and they’re more likely shopping for themselves rather than a business then it can be a good idea to be more personal. Referring to “you” rather than “our customers” can come across as more honest than other approaches.

Focused on the needs of the customer and not on the business/brand or the owner. People care about their own lives far more than they care about the welfare of others. We’re essentially inner-focused much more than we each like to admit. Be aware of that and ensure the copy is personal where that is appropriate.

Offer Matching
Ensure that your offer is the best one in the market. That doesn’t mean you have to be the cheapest, but ensure that it is a value-packed offer. Add value with extras that you know visitors will find appealing rather than throwaway items that have no value.

Be Careful About Bonus Items With Lofty Prices
Be aware that many landing pages for products will have promotional give-aways suggesting quite ludicrous theoretical values for bonus items that have either never sold for such lofty sums or never been sold ever before at any price.

Customers are intelligent. They don’t believe the suggested monetary value of bonus items thrown in and will lose trust in the people or business behind the offer if approached this way.

Easy To Understand Offer In 5 Seconds or Less
When a visitor sees your landing page for the first time, how long does it take them to grasp what the offer or goal of the page is? If it’s an opt-in page, is that clear when they first arrive? Don’t have visitors hunting around the landing page to discover its purpose; you’ll only lose conversions that way.

If the offer is not clear on the first page of “above the fold” content then redesign the landing page to make sure it’s clear without requiring the visitor to scroll down to the 2nd page of content. A landing page is not like a home page; only the most ardent visitors have the patience to look further down if the message is not clear already.

Match Advertising Copy With Landing Page Copy
When placing an advert in Facebook, Twitter or AdWords, make sure that the same copy style is adopted in the landing page as well. This will feel immediately more familiar to the visitor rather than seeming like two disconnected parts of the whole.

Maintain the context too. If the followed hyper-link has come from a page about jukebox machines, don’t have a landing page all about pinball machines. It might seem connected to you (they’re both machines for venues) but for the visitor who was expecting something to do with jukebox machines it will very frustrating.

The closer the referring site’s content copy or ad copy is to the landing page subject matter, the better. If the offer is linked to the referring site promoting your product, consider adjusting the copy and design of your landing page to be a more similar appearance and style to the referring site. We’re not talking about copying the design or using the same WordPress theme, but it doesn’t hurt to use similar wording and not dissimilar design aesthetics to make visitors from that site feel more at home.

Don’t Forget To Share
Make sure you don’t forget prominent sharing buttons for social media accounts so that visitors can share the landing page with friends they think might be interested. Ensure it’s as easy as possible for them to help you spread the word. Show the number of likes and shares as a form of social proof to visitors that other people have approved of the offer already.

Final Word
Creating landing pages is all about being intelligent with what is and is not included. Honesty coupled with smart promotion can be extremely successful. If you receive email or social media feedback of information that wasn’t presented clearly (or at all) on a landing page, then don’t be hesitant to add this detail as future visitors may find it useful and convert better. It’s all about conversions after all.

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