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Create a powerful landing pageA well thought out landing page can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when it comes to converting leads to sales online. However, many businesses fail to use landing pages effectively, if at all.

What is a landing page?

Wikipedia defines a landing page as ‘a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link’.

A landing page can be a sales page, an email opt-in page for your newsletter or free ebook download, a video landing page, or a content page that you have designed to rank well on Google.

Having a dedicated landing page, let’s you capture visitor information and measure the success of your marketing campaigns. For example, if you’re running a Facebook ad or a Google AdWords campaign, it should lead to a dedicated landing page, so you can measure the return on your investment (ROI) and how many leads turn into sales, sign-ups, enquiries, etc.

The last thing you should do is send campaign traffic to your website’s home page. People will lose focus, get distracted or simply exit your site.

So, what are the characteristics of a successful landing page?

1.     Pack a punch with your headline

As I mentioned in my recent blog about harnessing the power of your headlines, you only have one chance to grab a reader’s attention and your headline is that chance. Ideally, the headline on your landing page should use the same words or concept as the ad that sent the person to your page, so people can see they’re in the right place straight away.

If you’re not sure which headline works best, split testing is a great solution.

2.     Get rid of distractions

A landing page should be distraction free. Instead of creating a standard web page, which includes your top navigation menus, widgets, etc., a landing page should feature nothing but the core message, the call to action and clear signposting about what the reader needs to do next, e.g. sign up to download your free ebook. By removing your other navigation buttons, you take away the potential for confusion (and for leaving the page without having carried out the desired action).

3.     Focus

It’s not just your landing page design that should be distraction free. In order to create content that converts, you need to hone in on a single goal or sales message for your landing page. Yes, you may have loads of products, services or information to share, your blog may be a riveting read, but your landing page isn’t the place to communicate this.

If you want people to sign up to a new coaching programme, for example, then your landing page should focus solely on this goal. What do visitors need to do next? That’s what you need to communicate.

4.    Keep it simple

In breaking away from your standard web page template, it can be tempting to throw in lots of fonts, colours and design features in an attempt to grab attention. In fact, the opposite can happen. You may turn people off, simply because they don’t know where to look. Successful landing pages often feature very clean and simple design. They make it easy to sign up or ‘buy now’ even when the visitor is skim reading the page.

5.     Remember beginnings and bullet points

A good tip is to include your main points near the beginning of each paragraph – people read beginnings and ends before middles, especially if they’re skim reading. If there are specific benefits to which you want to bring the reader’s attention, use bullet points so that they’re easier to pick out from the rest of the copy.

6.     Use you and your, not we and our

I know I made this point last week but it’s worth repeating – lose the me, me, me from your copy, especially on a landing page. Because you only have moments to grab the reader’s attention, you need to focus on them. They have clicked on the page for a reason – for the promise of something that’s going to make their life better or easier in some way – and your landing page is the place to deliver on that promise.

7.     Put the important stuff above the fold

While long copy is fine on a landing page (as long as every word has a reason to be there), it’s a good idea to keep the main points above the page fold – this is the point at which people have to scroll down to read more. A significant proportion of people only read what they can see above the fold.

8.     Only ask for what you need

These days we’re all time poor. Visitors to your landing page don’t want to waste precious time filling out their life story before they can access the free ebook you promised them. What do you really need? Perhaps a name and email address is enough for now. Once you’ve captured a person’s details, you can find other ways to communicate with them in the future. Your landing page is not the place to carry out a survey.

9.     Have a strong call to action

No landing page is complete without a clear call to action, and it’s a good idea to repeat the same call to action several times in the copy and/or using graphic buttons that tell the reader what they need to do next. Before you even start writing a landing page, you have to know what your call to action is. What do you want the page to achieve? This underpins everything.

10. Test everything

As mentioned under point 1, split testing is a great idea for landing pages. Use two slightly different headlines, different graphic buttons, even different design features or colours, and see which has the highest conversion rate.

 

Successful landing pages take practice. Why not take notes the next time you’re on a landing page? What makes you stay and read more? What design or copy features draw your eye? How does the landing page ask you to take action?

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Emma Heasman

Emma Heasman has been an in-house and freelance copywriter for the past 13 years and launched The Freelance Copywriter in 2003. Ever passionate about copywriting, she now works with small businesses to help them write copy that speaks to their ideal customers. Connect with Emma on Google+

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