In this article, we’ll teach you what a landing page is, what it isn’t, what you should have on it, and what you should avoid.
Landing pages are a critical part of any online business advertising campaign. They can easily be the best sales tool in your arsenal, but knowing how to write content for them and what not to do isn’t always clear.
The purpose of a landing page is to provide potential customers something in exchange for either their information or for them to make a purchase. Maybe you want their email address in exchange for a high-value coupon code, or you want sign-ups for a webinar you’re hosting in 30 days.
Because the purpose of your page is to turn visitors into leads and then leads into customers, you don’t want anything on it that will distract from that goal. Everything on that page should push your visitors toward it.
There are a few differences between a landing page and a homepage. First, you can only have one homepage that appears on your domain’s primary URL, such as www.[yourwebsite].com.
Your homepage serves as an introduction to your overall business, its services, its products, team members, etc. This is essentially your business’s “main directory” where customers can find what they’re looking for about your company. The target audience is anyone in the general public who wants to know who you are and what you do, not necessarily someone who wants to do business with you immediately.
Content is written to elicit a specific action. How you write a blog post differs from a homepage, service page, product page, and landing page. Each has specific rules and formats to achieve the desired outcome.
To put it simply, people who are visiting your landing page are at a different phase of the buying cycle than those who normally visit your homepage. Because you can only have one homepage, it must focus on getting the interest of people who have never heard of you before.
Landing pages are intended for people you want to turn into customers. You can have multiple landing pages that serve very different purposes in terms of audience. In general, they’re usually designed to do one of the following:
We’ll focus a lot on what a landing page should have in this article, but first, let’s quickly go over what it shouldn’t have.
If your goal on your landing page is to drive visitors to sign up or make a purchase, then you want to distract them from that process as little as possible.
Here’s a short list of what your landing page shouldn’t do.
External links are usually a distraction, and you should keep them to a minimum on your landing page. Some purists will even tell you that your landing page should have no outgoing links on it at all.
If you feel that you should include external links for some reason, such as a source for the statistics or metrics that you’ve cited or for social proof, be careful. You need to consider how likely your visitor will be pulled away from your landing page completely by that external link.
External links should open in a new tab if you use them. This should be coded into all external links on your entire site or blog, while internal links should not open in a new tab.
Maybe you want to link to your Facebook reviews and recommendations, but remember that they could get distracted by Facebook messages or notifications from friends, family, work, etc. If you want to include social proof, you can always do this with screenshots of the testimonials or comments, and if your visitor feels like validating them on your Facebook page, they can do that later.
You generally don’t want to ask your visitors for any more information than you require for lead generation forms or sales. The exception to this is when you want to create a sense of familiarity with your visitor. If you have ordered pet food online from a small vendor, many will ask for your pet’s name before allowing you to do anything else.
Here’s Sundays For Dogs with an example below:
Various specialty dog food websites will ask for your pet’s name, sex, age, etc. They not only use this information to sell to you later, but it’s often necessary for them to recommend the right food for your pet. In this case, this isn’t too much information.
Asking irrelevant questions or information that is too sensitive, such as a driver’s license or social security number, would be. Be careful what you’re asking for, as some visitors will be turned off completely by what they see as an invasion of privacy.
When you’re building a landing page, you’re likely targeting it to a specific demographic. This means that much of the content you used elsewhere on your website or in other ad copy may not work as well as the content is written specifically for your landing page.
Using the dog food example above, you would write a landing page differently for a busy professional with two dogs waiting on them when they get home from work than a retired senior who has only one that they’re home with all day long.
Copy should always be specific to the audience targeted.
Even though Fifty Shades of Gray was a box office phenomenon, people still don’t like to be told to submit.
Sidebars and footers are loaded with distractions, so a landing page should typically be full width in the browser.
After your visitor submits their information or makes their purchase, you should always be sure to thank them for their time. If they’ve made a purchase, you can make your gratitude tangible by providing them with a coupon code for their next purchase.
Remember that your visitors likely have hectic lives just like you, and thank them accordingly for spending their time on you.
Fake testimonials are a credibility killer. You may think that you can get away with it, but long term, you probably won’t. The moment someone discovers that you’ve written fake reviews for your product or service and had them distributed, it will spread like wildfire.
There are currently about 8 to 13 types of landing pages on the web, depending on who you ask. Still, you’ll generally find that landing pages are designed to get someone to give you information such as their email or convince someone to make a purchase.
Here are a few types of landing pages:
Any type of page can be turned into a landing page simply by making a strong attempt to steer a visitor to take a particular wanted action. This is why we now see “unsubscribe” and “thank you” pages trying to push products and services, often with deep discounts available to those who end up on them.
How much content should be on your landing page depends on what type of landing page you’re writing.
Long-form sales landing pages can have several thousand words, while pages designed purely to collect emails may have less than 100.
Don’t pay attention to anyone that says there is a minimum word count for any type of landing page because there isn’t one. You can always split test later and find out where your real minimum is for that particular page.
If your goal is to get someone to join your mailing list, you may want to keep the copy short, sweet, and to the point.
Suppose your goal is to get a visitor to buy an expensive product. In that case, they may take a lot of convincing and need detailed information on the features and benefits of making that purchase, customer testimonials, clear examples of how the product or service is used, videos, etc.
How long your landing page should be is different from how many words are on it, especially since a large portion of online traffic is from mobile devices. If your landing page is so long and full of rich content like video and images that it takes forever to load on a smartphone or a tablet, then it’s too long.
Be mindful when you’re creating your pages of how long it takes the page to become interactive for the visitor. If it’s just a plain white screen for too long, your prospective customers will bounce.
Depending on what you want your landing page to accomplish and who you’re targeting, your landing page may be concise and straightforward, or it may be very long and full of rich content. But regardless, your page should have the following:
In short, a unique selling proposition makes what you’re offering better than your competition. It could be your outstanding warranty, customer service, how your products are manufactured, or where, but it has to be something that sets you apart.
Ask yourself what your target audience for this page wants.
What’s important to them? How is your product or service going to solve their issue? Why should they choose you over others? Don’t be vague, be specific.
Remember that your customer doesn’t want to buy your product in particular; they just want to solve their problem with it.
Your hero shot is a visual representation of what you’re offering your visitors. This could be an image or a video that displays how people use your product or service. It should be a dominant feature near the top of your landing page.
Hero shots should also be one of three things:
This is dependent on who you’re trying to sell to and whether you’re selling a product or a service.
Customer testimonials are like gold. They’re a big part of what gives your product or service credibility, and it builds confidence in your visitors that purchasing with you is a good idea. Consider them similar to references you would list on a job application; they serve the same basic function.
There should be no bad customer testimonials on your landing page unless it shows that you were capable of turning their negative experience into a positive one.
If your product or service has unique testimonials or testimonials from well-known people, you should feature these on your landing page.
The benefits of your product are quite different from the features, but they are related to each other. A feature is an aspect of your product or something it’s designed to do. The effects of this feature may be good or bad, depending on who is using it.
For example, a video game controller may state that one of its features is that it is large. This may be a helpful thing to adults with large hands, but for children, this is a negative.
Your headline is another big part of what catches your visitor’s attention. If your introduction headline doesn’t do its job, you may as well forget the rest of the page. This is the last thing you want to shortcut because it’s the first thing the visitor will read.
The headline is to get them to read the first sentence.
The first sentence is to get them to read the second sentence.
Your headline starts the trail that should ultimately lead to your “add to cart” or your “subscribe” button.
Your landing page copy should be easily read and your meaning made clear each step of the way.
According to the Center For Plain Language, the average American reads close to a 7th or 8th-grade level. This doesn’t mean that you have to write exactly at that level, but you shouldn’t load your landing page up with five-dollar words. If it’s not a word a high schooler would likely use, you probably shouldn’t be using it unless your target demographic is college educated or better.
Many readers do not easily understand complicated copy with a high-end vocabulary, which will cost you sales. Keep it simple.
When writing your landing page, you need to make every word count, particularly if your intended audience is on mobile devices. This means that you shouldn’t be making vague, drawn-out claims about what your offer can do for them. You need to be specific, and people love numbers.
It’s easy to say that a product will make a user’s life easier or that service can “streamline your business.” Still, you can make the most effective use of your copy by including specific examples with hard data.
For example, instead of saying this:
“If you want more leads for your business, you need to have a blog!”
“Did you know that businesses who blog bring in 67% more leads than those that don’t?” - AgentDrive
Be specific, and if you have a source link for your number, include it. The less vague you are and the more provable metrics you use, the more credibility your business has in the eyes of your audience.
Remember what we said earlier about your headline being the beginning of the trail? Your call to action is the end of it. Everything you have done on your landing page should be designed to lead visitors to your call to action and have them convinced by that point that it’s an action they need to take.
If you want sales, sign-ups, and leads, you have to ask for them directly. If you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get it, and if you’re paying for advertising to go to this page (and you probably are), it may not be profitable.
Let’s be clear: nobody gets their copy right the first time. You may get a decent conversion rate right out the gate if you’ve been writing copy for a long time for a particular audience, but you can almost always improve it by split testing.
Once it’s published, split testing your page’s copy and layout is one of the most effective things you can do for your page’s conversion rate. Whether your goal on your page is sales, email sign-ups, or appointments, split testing can help you get everything dialed in. The last thing you want to do after spending so much time creating your landing page is make changes based on gut feelings, whims, or guesses instead of hard data.
Your landing pages can be your website’s bread and butter if you put the thought, time, and effort into them. Combined with a solid product, great customer service, and efficient ad campaigns, landing pages can easily bring your business its largest source of revenue.
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