The Ultimate Guide to Creating Effective Landing Pages

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Effective Landing Pages

OK, let’s be honest. While this may be a pretty darn good guide (if I do say so myself), it’s not going to be the last thing anyone ever writes about landing pages. So what’s with the “ultimate guide” stuff?

Well, it’s part of what brought you here—which makes it one component of an effective landing page.

You are, right this very minute, looking at a landing page. Technically, a landing page is any page on your website upon which visitors can arrive, or land. That may not be how we think of landing pages created specifically for marketing or advertising purposes, but it’s true. You clicked a link, you landed on this page, and now the key is to get you to do what this page was created for.

In this case, for now, it’s to read this blog post.

If you’ve gotten this far, our landing page is already doing pretty well! The key is to make sure the content is worth the click it took you to get here, and that it’s worth your time to make it to the end where—spoiler alert!—you’ll find a call to action (CTA).

For the purposes of this post, let’s narrow landing pages down to those connected to content marketing or email marketing campaigns, and meant to generate conversions, bearing in mind those conversions may not necessarily be revenue-generating sales.

So, this being an ultimate guide and all, let’s start at the beginning.

What is a Landing Page?

By its narrower, marketing-focused definition, a landing page is a Web page set apart from your website, created for a specific purpose. It’s not included in your site’s navigation, and—if it’s a good landing page—it doesn’t offer many click-out options, either.

You can create a landing page to encourage visitors to:

  • buy something
  • sign up for something
  • visit a physical location
  • donate money
  • take some other action (pretty much any action you’d like)

Why do I Need Landing Pages?

You’ve spent countless hours creating your website, building your social presence—why do you need special pages with specialized content and specific goals?

Well… because they’re special pages with specialized content and specific goals.

Your website remains, for the most part, static. Probably the one area of your site that changes on a regular basis is your blog. You may be able to publish posts about holiday-specific events or special offers once in a while, but it’s not feasible for a larger site, and definitely not for an e-commerce site.

But here’s the main reason: You need landing pages to increase conversions. When Buffer changed the design of its home page, they saw a 16% increase in landing page conversions.

Now, 16% may not sound like much overall. But when you consider that increase came from simply changing ONE page on their website, it’s pretty darn impressive. What kind of increase do you think you could get by redesigning one page? By using landing pages?

The Two Main Types of Landing Pages

While landing pages can have several purposes, they can be broken out into two broad categories: click-through landing pages and lead generation landing pages.

Click-Through Landing Pages

While you can create landing pages to sell things, the actual sale likely won’t take place on the landing page itself. The visitor will click through the landing page to get to the product page, and that’s where the transaction will occur.

Why is this? Well, first, imagine having to create a landing page for every single item you have for sale on your e-commerce site. Now imagine Amazon having to do that. It’s impractical, to say the least.

Plus, click-through landing pages can be more effective when they’re tied to specific events or dates, such as holidays, particularly because those pages are often a part of email marketing campaigns.

You’re not going to email your list about every single item you have for sale. (If you do, count on your unsubscribe rate skyrocketing.) You likely save the emails for the special occasions, the deals, the really good reasons to show up in your list members’ inboxes.

The next step is to make sure your landing pages support those emails, and encourage your readers to click through to get to the good stuff so you can get the conversion.

Lead Generation Landing Pages

That list you use for your email marketing campaigns—how do you build it in the first place? Through lead generation, or “lead gen” for short.

A lead gen landing page allows you to collect data about your site’s visitors. Names and email addresses are often enough for most marketers’ purposes because you just want to be able to contact that person at a later date, most likely via digital means such as your newsletter or an email campaign.

But people don’t just give that information away freely. Not anymore. Just as the landing page itself has to be worth the click, you need to make it worth the while for someone to provide you with the means of contacting them directly.

Some of the things you can offer in exchange for personal data are:

  • newsletter subscriptions
  • free trials of your service
  • e-books
  • contest or giveaway entries
  • webinars
  • event registrations
  • and more

Before you decide what to offer, you may want to consider what will work best for your audience and why. For example, emails offering e-books have a nearly double click-through rate (CTR) over emails offering webinars:

 

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Effective Landing Pages

The Hubspot article that discusses this phenomenon says:

For one reason or another, the majority of the HubSpot audience seems to prefer text-based content.

I’m not sure this is true. Think about it for a moment.

To attend a webinar, you have to be present. You probably have to at least sign in somewhere, if not download software to your computer in order to see and hear the webinar. Attending a webinar can mean a good 30- to 60-minute chunk out of your day. And how many times have you tried to attend a webinar, only to have it waylaid by technical difficulties?

If you download an e-book, you can read it whenever you want, when your schedule allows. You don’t even have to read it all at once.

I’m willing to bet this increased CTR isn’t about text-based vs. video/audio content at all. It’s about convenience.

Michelle Lowery
Michelle Lowery is a Co-Founder of Passion Fruit Creative Group, a boutique agency offering Web content development, blog management, and editing. She is also Co-Founder of Passion Fruit Website Creation, which is aimed at helping small businesses and entrepreneurs establish their online presences.Michelle has been in the digital marketing industry since 2008, in addition to her more than 20 years' experience as a writer and editor.
Michelle Lowery
Michelle Lowery

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16 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Creating Effective Landing Pages

  1. This is a great guide, thank you Michelle! Like you said above, businesses can create landing pages to encourage visitors to go to a physical locations. Location landing pages are very important on a website. A business with multiple locations needs to have individual landing pages for each location so that Google can properly identify each location and all the information associated with that location. This will also allow customers to easily find the local store information they need when they are searching locally.

    1. You make some excellent points. Brick-and-mortar businesses definitely have a unique set of concerns when it comes not only to landing pages, but digital marketing in general. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Keeping it nice and simple does it for me. Keep text to a minimum and making sure all buttons deliberately clash (Or just use Red)

    Like the hotels.com example though, makes me want to book a holiday!

  3. Hi,

    This is a great explanation on how to make a good landing page. Making good use of pictures and good branding is the way to go, while not making it too flashy. You can overdue it and you can do too little. The hardest part is finding that in between, but I think having it more towards the simple side will work better for anyone. I agree with everything you have mentioned, and I learned a lot. I also agree with the fact that every landing page is different, depending on what it is about. I think more serious things should be short and right to the point, while entertaining thins should be a little longer. The attention retention for both are quite different. Thanks for sharing!

    Regards,
    Lawrence

    1. I’m so glad you found it valuable, Lawrence! You are absolutely right–branding is so important for good landing pages, if done well. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

  4. That’s a well versed in-depth article for landing page optimization Michelle. Answered few of my questions about landing pages with a plus of comparison made on different website with images. Thanks for sharing the knowledge and experience.

  5. Landing page optimization is very important to increase ROI and drive more sales. Webmasters needs to focus on some of the important elements of landing pages such as a catchy headline, CTA optimized page, clear information and good user interface across different devices.

  6. Brilliant post on how to create effective landing pages. I think the general rules is to keep it simple and dont over complicate it. One clear message with one ultimate goal. To sell that one service or product and convert visitors.

    1. Exactly, Robert. With as much content as we’re inundated with every day, and with landing pages having such an important function, it’s essential to maintain their focus. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Wow, this is one of the most straightforward but content rich article about how to create an effective landing page! Thank you Michelle!

  8. Hi “Michelle Lowery”, thanks for the detailed post on landing pages and its different types. However, would it be better if we use a copywrited content in landing page? Any views? Please share

    Also suggest me some links to buy some good landing page templates for real estate nice.

    Thanks