Landing pages are important elements in digital advertising campaigns that convert because they have a very specific goal: to generate leads. You may have a great ad with high click-through-rates, but if you have an unappealing landing page, or, worse yet, no landing page at all, your targets will likely not convert, leading to failed conversion goals and low ROIs.
You can use landing pages for any purpose – to collect emails, to register guests for an event or to sell something, but each ad campaign that you create should have its own dedicated landing page, designed to drive conversions specific to the goal of the campaign. As every campaign goal is different and may have a different target audience as well, landing page design is not an exact science. Even within your own site, some types of landing pages may work well for some campaigns, while they won’t work well for others.
Before we get too deep into the elements of landing pages that convert, let’s take a look at what landing pages are and how they’re different to your website.
How is a landing page different from my website and why do i need one?
Landing pages are stand-alone web pages designed for one purpose. They have a singular, clear message and one call-to-action. When a consumer clicks on an ad or a web search result that’s been optimized for specific search terms they should ‘land’ on a page that’s customized to match those search terms. This customized design and content should be built in such a way that it maximizes your chance of converting that consumer, whatever your desired action may be.
Landing pages are different from your website because they are not part of your normal navigation and are designed to receive only campaign traffic. The point of a landing page is to silence the noise of anything other than what’s to do with your current desired action and lead. While your homepage or other pages in your site may have lots of information and multiple calls-to-action, a landing page will have a very specific message, usually only one CTA and may not even have navigation as your website does. This helps drive conversions because it focuses the attention of the user, has a clear message and compels your target to complete the action you want them to do.
Well-designed landing pages are lead magnets and will be the single most helpful element in your campaign. They will drive you to reach your campaign goals and most of the time, you will need a new one for each specific campaign that you do. According to Hubspot, 48% of marketers design a new landing page for every new campaign they build.
Before You Design Your Landing Page
Before jumping in to create a landing page for your next digital marketing campaign, it’s important to identify your goals, messaging and call-to-action. These components will dictate how you design your landing page and what elements you include.
As each landing page has a different purpose, make sure that you are clear about what you are trying to achieve with this one. What is the goal of your ad campaign? The goal of your ad campaign and your landing page are the same, and your landing page should move your targets smoothly down your conversion funnel from your ad.
Develop Consistent and Clear Messaging
Ask yourself how this landing page can direct people to your desired action seamlessly from your ad. This is your messaging and content. You should include answers to any questions targets may have after viewing your ad.
Generally, short copy works best for actions that require little commitment, whereas longer copy works better for actions that require more commitment and trust. Think about what way this message would best be served to your audience. If you’re trying to get them to participate in a drug trial, it may be necessary to include a lot of information, so perhaps a video would work best. If you’re simply trying to get them to sign up to receive updates from your brand, then quick and direct copy will probably suffice.
You know the goals and desired actions of your ad campaign and your landing page. How would your call-to-action best be displayed? Do you need to have a sign-up form or will it be a single button? Knowing how your CTA will be presented will be helpful when designing your landing page and knowing what elements to include.
The 9 Elements that Make Landing Pages Convert
In general, landing pages that convert have nine important elements. These are just guidelines, as every rule can and sometimes needs to be broken to fit your particular needs. However, it’s important to consider each of these as you work your way through designing your landing page.
- Clear and Concise Headlines that Match Ad Copy: Your landing page is a continuation of the ad that prompted the click-through, so your landing page headline should be the same or very similar to the headline that got your viewer there in the first place. Using a headline that is too different may confuse your target and prompt them to click away before they’ve gotten to your CTA. Of course, be direct and clear. Don’t sacrifice clarity for creativity.
- Subheadlines that Continue Headline: The goal of the subheadline is simply to move your target further down the funnel from your headline. Ensure that your subheadline continues the headline’s thought by clarifying it or making it more enticing. For a headline like, “New Headache Medication Sample Available Now,” a good subheadline might be, “Saw 99% success rate in clinical trials.”
- Error-free Copy: As with all copy in your campaign, your text should be 100 percent error-free. The fastest way to spark doubt is to have noticeable errors in your text. Be professional with your editing and ensure that every draft is looked through carefully – twice.
- Testimonials that Inspire Trust: People do business with those they trust. Having patient testimonials or “trusted by” or “reviewed by” credentials will go a long way to building digital trust, as face-to-face interaction isn’t an option here. According to The Conversion Code, eyeglass company AC Lens saw a 41 percent increase in conversions when they started using VeriSign.
- Obvious and Creative Calls-to-Action: Your call-to-action should be clear, concise and compelling. Make it as easy as possible fo your target to complete the action. Playing around with color and CTA wording by A/B testing can help you achieve the highest conversion rates. Adfire Health does this continuously throughout campaigns to ensure that the most appealing CTAs are being used.
- Clearly Clickable Buttons: Your action button should be near or under your CTA or the CTA itself should be the button. In whichever case, make sure that your action button is clear and that it stands out from the rest of the copy. The words on your button should closely resemble or repeat your CTA. According to Kissmetrics, “the button should be big, bright, and above where a user would have to scroll to it.”
- No Links: The goal of your landing page is simply to produce conversions, so any links that will take a user away from the action goal are probably unnecessary and will reduce your chances of converting. Having your normal website navigation is not necessary on your landing pages. Instead, you could have a small link to your normal site, or skip it altogether. Remember, the fewer options your target has, the more likely they are to do what you want them to do.
- Enticing and Quality Images: Your images should reflect the mood of your CTA and be similar or the same as any advertisement images. One ‘hero’ image is probably enough unless you are creating some sort of storyboard or using graphics to enhance your copy. Whatever photo or graphic you use, use it purposefully and ensure that it adds to your proposition, rather than distracting from it.
- Stay Above the Fold: This means that your user can take in all of the information on your landing page without scrolling. For certain types of landing pages that require high forms of commitment to convert, it’s possible that longer landing pages will convert better. However, if the desired action doesn’t require a high level of commitment or trust, a short and easily viewable landing page will most likely work best.
Benefits of Effective Landing Pages
Landing pages have clear benefits over linking ads to website homepages or other webpages. These benefits lead to increased ROI, higher conversion rates and better campaign management.
Personalize Users’ Experiences
Since your landing pages live separately from your website, you can be incredibly precise with how you design them. You can tailor them to match the ad, email or keywords that precede them so that the consumer has a seamless experience targeted to them.
Build Trust Immediately
It takes only 50 milliseconds for online viewers to make a judgment about something they see online and our minds process visuals 60,000 times faster than words. Use your well-designed landing page to build trust immediately with potential consumers and funnel that trust immediately into action.
Move Targets Through the Funnel Efficiently
Instead of waiting and hoping for a target to stumble upon your CTA somewhere on your website, put it directly in front of them. If your landing page is well designed, it makes the whole process easier and less time consuming for your targets.
Track Campaigns Easily
As landing pages only have one goal, it makes it easy to isolate the effectiveness of particular ads, products and keywords. These insights can help you optimize current or future campaigns and increase your ROI.
Landing Pages Seal the Deal
Your landing page is the extension of your ad and the place where you can collect the most conversions. Think of this as the place you can “seal the deal” of your ad campaigns. Nothing else is necessary here except content that prompts the desired action.
If you’re not hitting your campaign goals, look to see if your landing pages follow these creative best practices and try A/B testing to improve them. Ensure that when you’re doing A/B testing for your ads or landing pages, you consider your landing pages as extensions of your ads and keep them in line with each other. This will help the entire funnel work more smoothly.