Back to Basics: What is a Landing Page?

Avatar
By Jillian Frager

In the marketing world, there are several campaign channels you can employ to engage with customers, increase conversions, and drive sales. While you’re probably already on top of it, when it comes to SEO, Google AdWords, email, and social, you may be unaware of an obvious place where you can further optimize—the landing page. 

Today, as we get back to the basics, we’ll answer the questions, What is a landing page? Why does it matter? And how can you optimize it for conversions? 

So, keep reading to discover more about a crucial aspect of your sales funnel that you may be overlooking in your content marketing strategy.  

Back to Basics: What is a Landing Page?

Now, your first thought about the landing page definition might be the original nomenclature, which was used interchangeably with the term “homepage.” In the early days of websites, a landing was simply another webpage that hosted information; however, today, they’ve evolved to have a much deeper and marketing-driven meaning. In fact, homepages are considered by many to be the worst type of landing page possible, if you could even call them that. 

Landing pages are web pages intended to encourage the visitors to perform some sort of action, whether that be signing up for an email, providing contact information, or moving further down the sales funnel. It’s characterized by being narrowly focused with a single, clear, and direct call to action, typically in the form of a button or signup form.

Its sole purpose is to convert site visitors into leads. According to Forbes:

A large part of our inbound marketing strategy for one of our clients is to utilize strategic landing pages and other lead-generation tactics as a way to drive business growth. For each downloadable content offer, such as an infographic or fact sheet relevant to the client’s target audience, it’s important to develop attention-grabbing landing pages and CTAs based on where the prospective customers are at in the buyer’s journey. 

This is why homepages don’t generally work well as landing pages. They’re so cluttered with calls to action, distractions, and other information that they’re incredibly ineffective at convincing a prospective customer to do anything. As a result, you do yourself a disservice if even a significant minority of your clicks are being directed to the home page rather than a special landing page. 

Good Landing Pages

You wouldn’t be the only company making this mistake. Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook states that 44% of clicks for B2B companies get wasted on the homepage. 

That said, good landing page examples include:

  • Welcome home page – A page that greets new guests, particularly those who came via socials such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or TikTok. A solid welcome home page will include:
    • A brief overview of the company
    • The challenge you solve or the value you provide
    • Call to action that tells them exactly what you want
  • Blog post page – Although this may be filed as a technicality, each individual blog post you make for your blog is in and of itself a landing page. It’s your opportunity to:
    • Establish industry authority
    • Tell your story
    • Educate your audience
    • Drive SEO
    • Sell your product

Each one of those “arrows” is aimed at the same target—attracting potential customers. Most every blog will end with a specific CTA and will also have other lead generation tools such as internal links and places to subscribe to the blog.

  • Opt-In page Email marketing can be an effective tool for sales conversions since it helps you accrue a list of targeted, high quality leads. By giving them the option to opt-in, the prospective customer demonstrates that they’re at least mildly receptive to hear future pitches. 

Typically, opt-in pages will have rewards or prizes that are bartered in exchange for their contact information. Examples of this include:

    • Gift card
    • Coupons
    • Or temporary subscriptions
  • PPC campaign page – With pay per click ad campaigns, the advertiser gets charged a fee every time their displayed ad gets clicked on. PPC landing pages are standalone web pages that are meant for paid campaigns such as Bing or AdWords. 

Ways to Utilize Landing Pages to Nurture Your Customer Relationship

Landing pages act as an incredible marketing tool primarily due to their flexibility, which allows them to be used for several different marketing purposes. Per Forbes:

[landing pages] serve several important functions that websites alone cannot. For instance, landing pages allow entrepreneurs to create multi-step campaigns. An email might attract a customer’s attention, but if that email simply links to the company’s homepage, it won’t generate many sales. By designing landing pages that follow the context of earlier communications, leaders can create personalized journeys that make customers feel more valued.

As we’ve briefly touched upon, there are a host of ways you can use a landing page to generate business leads. Some of the most common include:

  • eBooks and Whitepapers – If your company has written eBooks or Whitepapers, you can use blogs as an opportunity to briefly touch upon key points made within. They operate as teasers, giving the audience enough information to read all the way through the post, but leaving them wanting to know more. With the right call to action and landing page, you can offer readers the opportunity to download the eBook in exchange for their personal information. 
  • Email Newsletter Subscription – While blogs are critically important for search engine optimization purposes alone, as a landing page, they are also an incredibly effective means of lead conversion. Simply put, if readers like what you have to say, they’ll be more willing to subscribe to your newsletter. This not only gives you contact information but also helps you build an engaged audience. 
  • App Download – In a day and age when mobile dominates, it’s more critical than ever for a website to have a fully functional app in order to establish yet another avenue for lead capture. A landing page that encourages users to download the app or allows them to directly download it is an easy way to increase your downloads. 
  • Product Trial – A free demo of the product is one of the best ways to convince users that the full thing is worth it. In the real world, think about Costco samples; for barely any cost, they are able to offer their sales pitch on a product that the customer might not otherwise try. The same goes here. So long as the customer is willing to give you their basic information, they will be granted limited or temporary access. 

MarketMuse Webinar

How Can You Optimize Landing Pages?

As you go about utilizing landing pages, there are some SEO practices you should keep in mind in order for them to be as effective as possible. Optimizing features you should include are:

  • Cleaner is typically better – Minimalism may be a trend in web design, but studies show that customers are more receptive and react more positively to websites that are clear and concise. A landing page that is too busy may distract or lose the impact that you’d otherwise have with a minimal call to action. According to Kevin Urruita of Voy Media, the principles underlying a clean landing page will generally include:
    • One clear call to action
    • Copy that is concise
    • Have pointed images or videos to create an emotional response
    • Pinpointing page visitor’s pain points
    • Minimizing page navigation
    • Eliminating distractions and clutter
    • Using white space
    • Adding social proof
    • Optimizing for mobile
  • Design for your target audience – Everything visual on each landing page should be geared towards a very specific buyer persona. As such, elements of the landing page design that you need to keep in mind are:
    • Type of headline
    • Colors you utilize
    • Length of copy
    • Fonts
    • Media you use

Even the size of your call to action button may matter to a specific user profile. And, the most effective landing pages are the ones that directly speak to the visitor’s sensibilities. 

  • Clearly state your unique selling proposition – Every visitor that comes to your site will naturally be asking who, what, and why. 
    • Who are you?
    • What are you selling?
    • Why do they need it?

Your job is to briefly tell the customer why your good or service is better than the competition and explain how buying it will benefit them; it’s your opportunity to sell them your value proposition by explaining what makes you unique. 

  • Mobile matters – Amazingly, there are still websites out there that are not geared for mobile. That is insane in a day and age where people are more likely to be browsing on their phones than they are on their computers—particularly for social media. The truth is that if you aren’t optimized for mobile, you don’t stand a chance to drive web traffic. 

Getting Back to the Basics of Landing Pages

Landing pages that are optimized provide a huge opportunity to immediately improve your marketing ROI. Thanks to their clear call to action, they are an effective marketing tool that can help you build customer profiles, interact with your audience, and drive sales. And while we’ve briefly touched upon some of the strategies you can employ to further optimize, we encourage you to check out our previous post that dives into the best practices for landing pages

Content Marketing Assessment

Sources

Forbes. Six Ways To Optimize Your Landing Page for Conversions. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/07/20/six-ways-to-optimize-your-landing-page-for-conversions/#6cf2556a37c3

Marketing Sherpa. Landing Page Handbook. https://content.marketingsherpa.com/heap/exs/LPHExcerpt_9418.pdf

Forbes. Everything Business Leaders Should Know About Landing Page Builders. https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2018/10/25/everything-business-leaders-should-know-about-landing-page-builders/#7662b77370da

Forbes. Why Cleaner Landing Pages Aren’t Always Better. https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/09/10/why-cleaner-landing-pages-arent-always-better/#6692e1592794