Building Effective Landing Pages

Think about all the work that goes into driving traffic to your website. From social media engagement to blogging and email, a huge part of your marketing campaign involves generating website traffic. But if you just send traffic to your home page, you’re basically throwing your leads away.

A much more effective way to increase your return on investment is to direct this traffic to a targeted landing page. Doing so can improve your marketing ROI tremendously . . . and I’m going to show you how.

The Basics of Landing Pages

Landing pages are Web pages used to capture information about your visitors through a lead form. The best way to use lead pages is to set up a unique page for each offer you create. For example, traffic from an email promoting an upcoming webinar should have its own landing page. Landing pages can be created to allow visitors to download your content offers, such as e-books and whitepapers, as well as to sign up for free trials of your products.

Landing pages are useful because they let you target your audience, present them with a relevant offer, and convert more of your website visitors into leads. Let’s say you tweet about a free trial offer for your product on Twitter. Instead of sending your followers to your home page, without being clear about what to do next, your followers can be sent directly to a landing page that includes specific steps for taking action on your offer. Landing pages make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to complete your form and convert from visitors to leads.

Building a Landing Page, Step by Step

1. The Headline: Create a headline that is short and clear—to make it effective despite short attention spans. Readers should be able to understand your offer in less than five seconds!

A good headline tells the reader what the offer is, along with any additional information you can fit in. For example, “Free Whitepaper:  How to Use Social Media to Generate Leads” tells readers exactly what they’ll get and that it’s free. Keep headline text consistent with the offer text (in your email promoting the offer, for example) to avoid confusion once the visitor arrives at your landing page.

2. Page Content: Use the body of your landing page to provide more information about your offer and why visitors should sign up for it or download it. For quick and easy understanding, clearly state the benefits of receiving your offer in a bulleted or numbered list with three or four items. An image can also provide more details about—and increase the interest in—your offer.

3. Meta Description: Use the meta description (the text snippet that describes your Web page) to help both people and search engines understand your offer. Include targeted keywords to further emphasize what your offer is all about.

4. Share Buttons: Spread your offer to more people by including share buttons on your landing page. If your visitors decide to download your offer, why not encourage them to share it with their friends on social networks?

5. Hidden Navigation: Now that you’ve gotten people to your landing page, you’ll want to keep them there long enough to fill out your form. To keep visitors from being distracted and navigating away from your landing page, remove all navigation and links to the rest of your site. When visitors reach your landing page, make sure the only action available is to fill out your form and receive your offer.

6. The Form: The form is the main focus on your landing page and should be formatted in a way that increases conversion rates. Make sure that viewers can see the form immediately—don’t make them scroll down to see the form.

Deciding how long your form should be involves a trade-off. More people are willing to fill out a shorter form, while a longer one, which requests more information, will provide you with higher quality leads. You’ll have to find a balance between the two.

To determine what information to ask for, stick with the goal of collecting enough information to contact and qualify the lead. To qualify the lead, include questions that help you determine how strong the lead is. For example, ask a question to gauge their interest in your product, such as, “What is your biggest concern with home security?” if you sell alarm systems.

Speaking of security, be sure to link to your privacy policy when you ask for a visitor’s email address to make them feel better about providing it.

Finally, be sure the button visitors click to receive your offer has a strong call to action. Use words like “Download Your E-Book Now” or “Reserve Your Seat at the Webinar.”

7. Thank You Page: Once they have taken action on your offer, sending visitors to a thank you page is a great way to show appreciation and to suggest next steps. Bring back your website’s navigation and encourage them to check out other parts of your website. Calls to action such as “Find us on Facebook” or “Read our latest blog post” can help direct visitors to more information. You can also email them to thank them and suggest further steps.

8. Review: Now that your landing page is set up, it’s important to review it. Ask yourself, “Would I fill out this form?” Be critical, and make any necessary changes. Don’t forget to fill it out to test that it works!

9. A/B Testing: After your page is live and running, you can do A/B testing to increase your conversion rates. Test two different versions (A and B) of your landing page, and measure which performs better. Optimize your landing page by making any necessary adjustments.

Now that you know the basics of creating effective landing pages, you should start noticing the ones you come across yourself. Pay attention to what is working and what isn’t, and incorporate your findings into your own landing pages. Have you seen any additional elements being used effectively on landing pages? Please let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of creative design agency Arrae.

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