What is a Landing Page: Different Types & Why Should You Use Them.
marketing Sep 20, 2017
You might already be familiar with the sales funnel. It’s a way to guide customers through the buying cycle in an efficient and strategic way. Landing pages serve as a magnet for turning leads into prospects and prospects into customers.
Since your business can’t survive if nobody reaches the bottom of the funnel, you’ll want to use every tool in your arsenal to encourage sales. Landing pages offer just one option, but it’s a powerful one.
Why? Because landing pages directly encourage sales.
On the typical website, there are lots of things for visitors to do. They can click on menu links, browse the sidebar, and click on multiple links within the page content. A landing page takes the opposite approach. It maintains a clean design that guides the reader to one very specific action.
Some landing pages are thousands of words long, while others contain very few words.
For instance, some landing pages are extremely short. They contain very little text and a big call to action (CTA). For instance, you could include a big email signup form in the middle of the page and invite visitors to subscribe.
You can also write much longer landing pages that go into more detail and include multiple chances to convert. One of Wistia’s landing pages includes a lengthy F.A.Q. section designed to allay customers’ concerns and answer potential doubts.
All landing pages have several things in common, though, that separate them from other types of web pages. A landing page needs to have a clear and concise CTA and an obvious purpose.
Essentially, it’s a way to clear out the clutter and focus your customers on the bottom of the sales funnel. After all, website traffic doesn’t carry any real value. A purchase does.
Landing pages can serve several different purposes, and we’re going to explore them all today. As you create online courses and make them available for sale, consider using this guide to establish landing pages that can boost conversions.
What Is a Landing Page?
As described above, a landing page exists to encourage customers to take a particular action, such as sign up for your email list, buy one of your courses, or interact with your brand in some other way. Landing pages need clear, well-defined goals so you don’t waste this precious digital real estate.
It’s simple psychology. If you limit distractions and hone the visitor’s focus, you’re more likely to drive conversions. A conversion occurs when a landing-page visitor takes a desired next step, such as buying one of your online courses.
However, landing pages serve other purposes.
For instance, you can use them for A/B testing an offer you make on social media. You could create one post for Facebook and another for Instagram, changing just one element, such as the CTA or the image. You can then track which posts drive the most traffic to your landing page.
You can also reverse the process. Create two landing pages that are identical except for one major element. Divide your email list in half, sending 50 percent to one landing page and the rest to the others. Based on traffic and other metrics, such as bounce rates and conversions, you can figure out which landing page appeals more to your audience.
So what is a landing page? It’s a lead-generation strategy. It’s also a handy tool for generating some data about your audience.
You can create as many landing pages as you want, but each one needs a purpose, and you don’t want to split your audience’s focus. Each landing page should be optimized for the search engines and should feature a simple URL so people can remember it if they want.
In most cases, though, you’ll send people to your landing page via links from strategic places. You can link from social media, a blog post, your homepage, or any other space on the Internet that seems appropriate.
You can also use landing pages as your destination links from advertisements. Whether you’re advertising through search engines, social media, or display advertising, a link to a landing page can usher customers quickly through the sales funnel.
Types of Landing Pages
Understanding the basics of what landing pages are can help you create a decent example, but it also helps to break down the different types of landing pages and how they work. Each type has a different purpose and can appeal to different audiences.
When deciding which type of landing page to use, consider the offer you’re making, the audience segment you’re targeting, and the type of content you want to include. For instance, a lead-generation landing page will look much different from a sales page. With the former, you’re trying to gather personal information about your customers. The latter is intended to sell your product to the customer.
Let’s explore the five main types of landing pages and delve into how they work.
Click-Through Landing Pages
Think of click-through landing pages as a warm-up act for the sales page. It’s a page devoted entirely to a specific offer, such as a discount on your online course or a bundle package for several of your digital products. When a prospect clicks on a link to a click-through landing page, he or she should get an immediate understanding of how your offer will prove valuable.
That’s not as easy as it sounds. If you don’t hook the visitor right away, you’ll lose a sale.
Final, a credit card, does this well. Its landing page for the Final credit card features a quick call to action and social proof via an “As Featured In” section.
As you can see, Final uses a bulleted list to describe benefits the potential customer will receive by applying for the card. If you scroll down farther on the page, you’ll find more information that helps convince the prospect to apply, such as additional features and sections that address potential barriers that customers might see.
Final also adds another CTA and signup form for users who scroll. That way, they don’t have to go back up to the top of the page to convert.
If you’re creating a click-through landing page for your online course, consider taking Final’s approach and including just a few features above the fold. You can go into more depth if the user decides to scroll. Instead of a signup form for a credit card, you can include a large CTA button that leads prospects directly to your sales page.
However, don’t include any other links on the page. You don’t want to take your prospect in a different direction and risk losing the sale. Remove your main navigation and any other clickable areas on the page.
You can also add graphics to engage the visitor. A big hero image can work well if it’s sufficiently abstract to avoid distracting the reader. You could also include photo or video testimonials from happy customers who have shared their stories with you.
Lead-Generation Landing Pages
A lead-generation landing page attempts to capture information from potential customers, such as names, email addresses, and phone numbers. You’ll want to add those prospects to your email list so you can continue to reach out to them about your digital products.
Trulia does this well by offering a free, personalized estimate for their prospects’ homes.
You’ll notice that this landing page doesn’t include any distractions. There’s a blurry hero image, the company’s logo, a single line of text, and a signup form. That’s it. The CTA button states exactly what the prospect will receive in exchange for providing an email address.
This is called a lead magnet (also known as gated content). It’s a free enticement that might convince prospects to hand over contact information when they wouldn’t otherwise do so. Since you’re creating digital products for your customers, a free digital product might work well for your business.
For instance, you could offer a free white paper or video for people who sign up for your email list. They get a link as soon as they confirm their email addresses. Other potential lead magnets include:
- Calculators and other digital tools
- Teaser content from your online course
Just make sure that it’s sufficiently attractive to convince prospects that they should enter their email addresses. Today, people receive more emails than ever before, and they’re tired of receiving junk mail that they don’t really want. You need a compelling lead magnet that overcomes those barriers and incentivizes your prospects to build a relationship with you.
To further overcome obstacles, consider adding a brief paragraph that describes what content your subscribers should expect to receive and how often you’ll contact them. For instance, you could say that you send emails every Monday morning with coupons, discount codes, free content, or whatever you intend to send.
That way, prospects know that you have a consistent schedule and that you aren’t going to bother them with irrelevant content.
A microsite acts as a miniature website within a website. It’s designed to focus visitors’ attention on one key facet of your brand and to drive sales through immersive, content-rich experiences. Most microsites have a single page, and when they’re focused on converting prospects into customers, they’re considering landing pages.
You can use microsites to tell a unique brand story, for instance, through photos, videos, and text. Entrepreneurs might also develop microsites to attract organic search traffic based on a long-tail keyword. However, to make your microsite effective as a landing page, you also need to link to it from your other web properties.
A sales page is a single page on your website devoted to a single product. While it’s not strictly a landing page, it fits the criteria because it’s designed for a single purpose: to convert prospects. You want visitors to immediately ascertain the benefits they can reap from your product and click the “buy” button.
Uninspired sales pages can drive visitors away. You need engaging copy, attractive imagery, and a clear call to action if you want people to buy your online courses and other digital products.
Start with the page design. Since you’re not selling a physical product, you might want to include images of you or of customers that relate to your online course. For instance, if you teach a fitness online course, you could include images of you performing the exercises that you teach in the course material. Alternatively, if you teach food-related online courses, you might include photographs of the delicious recipes you teach your customers how to make.
Next to the images, you need compelling copy that focuses heavily on benefits. Explain exactly what customers will get out of your course using succinct sentences or bullet points and lots of powerful verbs.
Inject as much personality into your sales page descriptions as possible. Think about how you present your online course, then mimic the voice and tone for your landing pages. You want people to instantly connect with your personality and know what to expect when they start reviewing your course materials.
Make the pricing, deliverables, and features as prominent as possible, then add a CTA for prospects to buy your product. A large button with unique text can work well for this purpose because it’s recognizable.
While we’re focusing on landing pages for this article, don’t forget to optimize the checkout process. Make it as quick and easy as possible for your customers to breeze through the sales page to the final step necessary to buy your course.
Long-Form Landing Pages
You’ve probably seen dozens of these, but you might not have recognized them as landing pages. Long-form landing pages are the pages that contain thousands of words of text with identical calls to action sprinkled throughout the content.
These pages usually feature a few images as well as testimonials and other forms of social proof. They’ve mostly fallen out of favor because they’re viewed as too salesy, but sometimes you need more content in your landing pages to convince people to convert.
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve proposed a theory or designed a new way to accomplish a goal or solve a problem. It might be complex or difficult to understand without some explanation, so you can use your landing page to educate potential customers.
To avoid irritating them, use brief paragraphs, lots of bulleted lists, and as few salesy statements as possible. Give your prospects the facts so they can make an informed decision.
Intersperse educational content with images, videos, testimonials, and other types of content to keep your readers’ attention. You might want to structure a long-form sales page as a long F.A.Q. Most people are familiar with the format, so they’ll appreciate your approach.
Landing Pages Vs Homepages
Can a homepage be a landing page? Absolutely. Many businesses use their homepages as landing pages, especially if they only sell a single product or service.However, understand that using your homepage as a landing page can restrict your ability to keep prospects on the page.
You might remember from earlier in this article that landing pages don’t feature any distracting elements. You don’t want navigational menus, hamburger menus, or links other than your CTA. Consequently, a homepage that also serves as a landing page can feel a little restrictive.
This is primarily because visitors who land on your homepage can’t access any other area of your website. They can’t view your blog, for instance, or check out your About page. You might lose a few prospective customers because they’re not quite ready to convert.
You can use the psychology of the landing page on your homepage, though. Add the menu and other elements, such as a sidebar, but make the above-the-fold content all about the conversion. Introduce your product and yourself, then prompt the visitor to take the next desired step.
Farther down the page, you can include other content to entice visitors who aren’t ready to become customers. It’s the best of both worlds. Plus, you can create separate landing pages, as well.
What Are Landing Pages Used For?
As mentioned above, landing pages serve several purposes. First, they drive all different types of conversions, from sales to email signups. They also allow you to track metrics on different marketing and advertising campaigns so you can adjust your design, copy, imagery, and other page elements.
They’re also tied in with your business goals. Let’s say, for instance, that you’ve just launched your first online course. You’re not very well-known in your industry, so you want to improve brand awareness and generate as much website traffic as possible.
A landing page can help you accomplish that goal by converting visitors into email subscribers. From there, you have multiple ways to engage your subscribers and keep them coming back to your website.
Alternatively, perhaps you’re more established in your industry, but you’re not satisfied with your sales numbers. You’ve set a goal to generate X new customers every week, so you decide to launch a few Facebook Ads. From those ads, you drive visitors to a landing page that makes your big pitch for a specific product.
Ads combined with landing pages work in harmony to funnel leads toward your website.
Why Should I Use Landing Pages?
A website can contain lots of different types of pages, but landing pages are powerful because they’re designed for a specific purpose: conversions. More conversions generally lead to more sales — or at least to more prospects who might become customers in the future.
Additionally, landing pages help you collect data about the people who click on your links and find your landing pages. What do they do once they arrive? What percentage of them convert? Do an inordinately high number of them bounce away from the page?
You can then make educated conclusions about the data you see and adjust your landing pages accordingly. You can also make changes to the links that lead to landing pages, whether they’re on ads, blog posts, social media, or somewhere else.
A landing page can also help you build credibility and transparency. Because they’re highly focused and targeted, landing pages generally give the visitor exactly what he or she wants. You don’t waste your prospects’ time with unnecessary fluff. Instead, you jump right into the offer or incentive and invite those prospects to convert.
Landing Page Best Practices
If you want your landing pages to convert customers reliably, you can follow a few best practices that have helped other entrepreneurs achieve success.
Emphasize Your Call to Action
Start by crafting your CTA. This is the primary element on a landing page — it’s the link you want your visitors to click.
Start by making the background or font color different from any other element on the page. An unexpected color automatically signals that the CTA deserves attention. However, you don’t want it to clash. Make sure that the page remains aesthetically pleasing after you change the color.
Make sure that the text you choose proves appealing to your target audience. The right CTA for wealthy retirees will be much different from the right CTA for struggling millennials. Remember to use your own unique personality and voice to give the text more gravitas.
Use a Neutral Background
Busy backgrounds will distract visitors from your CTA as well as any other imagery or text on the page. If all else fails, go with a plain white background. To punch it up a little, you could add a subtle pattern or a contrasting image with a single focal point.
Focus on Benefits Rather Than Features
A benefit is an advantage that your prospects will gain once they convert from your landing page. It’s visceral, personal, and relatable. Features just describe what your product does or what you send to your email subscribers.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to convert prospects into customers for your online course that teaches customers how to get better sleep at night. You could list benefits that your customers can expect to gain after they finish the course. Be as specific as possible.
- Learn 31 tips and strategies for improving sleep quality.
- Enjoy more recuperative sleep.
- Find out how to use your smartphone to get to sleep faster.
If you can incorporate statistics (such as the percentage of your former customers who have achieved success with your course), do so. Numbers can prove extremely motivating for consumers.
Landing pages should feel energetic and urgent. You want visitors to make a split-second decision after landing on your page to convert, so use high-energy words and images to inspire that action.
Direct Attention to the CTA
In addition to emphasizing the CTA itself, you can also help guide visitors’ eyes toward the button or link. For instance, you could use a photograph of a person on the page whose gaze is fixed on the CTA. That can help keep your prospects focused on what you want them to do.
Make Sure the Page Loads Quickly
Slow loading times can quickly impact your conversion rates. Most people won’t wait around for a page to slowly load in their browsers, especially if they’re on mobile devices. Instead, they’ll click away and find something else to look at.
Optimize the Page for SEO
It’s true that most of the traffic a landing page generates comes through direct links. A prospect sees the link on social media or in a blog post, for example, and clicks over to check out your offer. However, that doesn’t mean you should take organic traffic out of the equation.
Optimize your landing pages for specific keywords that relate to your offer. Make sure to fill out the meta tags, such as the title and description, so they render properly in search engines. Additionally, give your images keyword-related names so they turn up in image searches.
What is a landing page? It’s a conversion machine that helps you focus your visitors’ attention and drive conversion faster than you could with other types of content.
No matter your current marketing strategy, you can benefit from creating landing pages. These single pages can help you collect more data, increase brand awareness, and drive more traffic to your website. Use them with social media marketing, email marketing, blogging, and advertising, depending on your specific goals.
Remember that multiple types of landing pages exist. Use microsites, sales pages, long-form landing pages, lead-generation landing pages, and conversion landing pages. If you try out all of your options, you’ll figure out which ones drive the best results.
Now that you’ve gone to the trouble of creating an online course, you don’t want to miss out on sales by not actively promoting it. Landing pages are just another tool in your belt for making your business successful.
Have you created landing pages on Kajabi? Do you have any tips for what works well and what doesn’t?
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