Landing pages are an effective (or perhaps even essential) way to get the most from your marketing, publicity and advertising campaigns. Getting them right isn’t complicated when you follow a few simple guidelines.
- by Peter Labrow
Almost all marketing tries to drive people towards a specific outcome: perhaps to enquire, perhaps to buy, perhaps to download something, perhaps to sign up to a mailing list. A landing page provides perhaps the best way of achieving such goals.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is a website page with a specific purpose. Typically, you won’t expect people to find this on their own – it will be the next step from an advertisement, a mail-out, an Adwords campaign, and so on. The campaign drives the traffic to the landing page; the landing page provides a clear next step, often around a single action.
Why use a landing page?
Marketing and advertising often drive people towards a next step, perhaps to find out more about a product or service. The temptation is to use a website page which already exists: a product page, contact page or even your home page. While both understandable and expedient, this is almost always the least effective way to exploit the interest generated by a campaign. A campaign landing page provides a far more focused means of delivering more information, and converting visitors to enquiries. Landing pages increase conversions, they generate more meaningful analytics and insights, they improve customer engagement and they’re efficient.
Make sure that it’s the next step
A landing page needs to, creatively, be part of the campaign. It should feel like the item from which the visitor comes – a continuation of the same message. If you think about the campaign as ‘promise’ and the landing page as ‘deliver’ you can’t go far wrong. To get people to the landing page, you may well need to offer them something. This may be ‘more information’ but is that enough? Is it too vague? A better incentive might be a free 10-step guide, something that isn’t an enquiry in itself but creates a bridge towards one.
Decide on the job to be done
When you’re deciding what a landing page should do, don’t just think about it from your perspective. If your goal is to get the customer to register interest, you may have to offer them an incentive (perhaps a free download) to do so. If your goal is an enquiry, then a time-limited offer might help. If your goal is a sale, then a discount may work wonders. You’re unlikely to get without giving. Think about your desired outcome and then build around that.
Keep it brief and focused
Keep the copy short and sharp. Keep the language direct. An effective landing page shouldn’t need more than a few paragraphs of text; use headings and bullets to make the text easy for people to take in without having to read it all. It’s likely that the campaign piece directing people to the landing page was brief, so it can be a challenge maintaining that brevity. Remember that a landing page is fulfilling a call to action, it’s not there to provide every last detail about a product or service.
Get the message across
Given that a landing page is most effective when succinct, text alone may not be enough to get your message across. Consider using other media: a video can deliver a lot of information in 30–60 seconds, far more than people would typically sit and read. An infographic can provide key facts at a glance. More detailed information could be supplied as a PDF.
Limit actions, links and calls to action
Landing pages should be focused around the smallest number of tasks: preferably one, but certainly not more than a few. The more possibilities you offer, the less effective the landing page becomes. Avoid multiple goals – ‘we want them to enquire, or, if not, register, or if not…’ and so on. Direct people clearly towards the smallest number of actions and incentivise each appropriately. Ensure that the call to action is clear and strong.
Decide if you want search engines to index it
There are good reasons to limit search engine indexing for landing pages. Perhaps you’re running a campaign into a specific sector, or even to specific customers – and it’s not for general consumption. It could be that you don’t want your campaign pages competing with your own product or service pages in search engine results. After all, they are there as a next step from a previous campaign piece; they have a specific task to perform and aren’t as likely to suit the casual visitor. Also, campaigns tend to be short-lived. If you decide to inhibit search engine indexing on the page, it’s simple. Use this tag in pages you don’t want indexing:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" />
There are other ways to restrict indexing: ask your webmaster. If you decide against indexing, then try to avoid linking to the page from sources other than the campaign.
When should you use a landing page?
If you’re running any form of campaign, then you should always at least consider using a landing page. Setting one up should require little additional effort if it’s done when creating the campaign. They provide a clear next step for customers while directing them towards your preferred goal. In doing so, they are far, far more effective at generating enquiries or conversions than using a general, standard website page.