If you’ve been around the world of online marketing for any length of time, undoubtedly you’ve heard the term “landing page” bounce around quite a bit.  This can be a little confusing, since technically a landing page just to refers to whatever page on a site that you ‘land’ on after clicking a link.  It could be your home page, a blog post, your contact page, or whatever.  Since anyone could link to any page on your site, anything could be a landing page, but we’re typically talking about something a little more specific.

So What do we mean when we say Landing Pages?

Typically, when we use the term landing page, we are referring to a goal oriented page which is linked to from a marketing campaign.  These pages typically differ from other pages in that they usually do not have the header and footer on them that would be universal to your website.  The idea is that they’ve landed here, and we want them to perform a certain action.  If we remove all of the links that we find in the header and footer, we decrease the chance of them navigating to a different page on our site and getting distracted.  Squirrel!

Think of the landing page like an IKEA store.  Unlike most stores, IKEA is laid out with an entrance, and an exit, and a defined path through the store.  Visitors are guided by the store layout from one end to the other.  So if you went in there to buy a bookcase, you still have to go by the kitchenware.  In the same way, the landing page takes the reader through a sales pitch and then presents them with a goal at the end, such as a purchase, a free trial, or an email opt-in.

Why Use a landing page?

Besides the aforementioned IKEA effect, landing pages give us one tremendous advantage: trackability.  Visit your Facebook feed, and take a look at the ads that you see there.  The ads are very simple and require you to click on them to get more than very basic information.  Most of the time when you click on a Facebook ad, you will be taken to a landing page.  The person running the ad campaign can track how many people clicked on that ad and landed on that page.  They can tell how many of those completed the goal (converted) on the landing page.  With this information, they can then attempt to optimise their advertising, by tweaking things, and seeing how they affect the overall conversion rate.  The advertiser can hone in on the optimal combination of headlines, body copy, images, layout, etc, in order to maximise the outcomes of the ad campaign.

When should I use a landing page?

You should use a landing page any time you create an ad with a measurable goal in mind.  It’s highly recommended to use a specific landing page for each ad campaign you run.  You can custom tailor the page for that campaign, and you will be able to collect valuable analytics data from each page to gauge the success of each individual ad/advertising channel.

What Makes a Good Landing Page

The temptation when creating a landing page is to start out with a big logo, or your company name.  While you do want your landing pages to be branded, the visitor came to the page not because of who you are, but because of what you can do for them.  A good landing page is based on a value proposition and a solution.

Hitting your visitor with a big splash of “Bob’s Widgets:  We make great widgets for a great price!”, won’t work, because there is neither a clear goal (we’re not selling a particular product or service, but our whole widget catalogue) or a value proposition.  It’s a hard-sell, and your visitor will be clicking that back button in no time.

Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to make sure that your landing page is sending the right message:

  1. Does the landing page have a clear goal?  Are we selling a particular product/service, are we getting an email address?  Are we getting them to sign up for an account?
  2. Does the landing page address a problem, need, or want that the target audience has?  This should be up front.  The headline is the best place for such a value proposition
  3. Does the content in the page clearly show how completing the goal will help them solve their problem, or get the thing they want/need?

If you can do these three things, you’re well on your way.  I will say that you’ll need to make sure that the value proposition that you are making on your landing page should be the same as the one in your ad.  If someone clicks on a Facebook ad that offers them one thing, only to land on a page that is offering something completely different, they will just bounce.

We’ll look a little more at various ad channels in a future post.

Conclusion

A landing page is a great tool in the arsenal of the online marketer.  Since the page is usually tied to a paid ad campaign, it is really in your interest to make sure that you’re doing a good job of making them clear and compelling.  Using things like A/B testing is a great idea, so you can continually refine your pages and find what works well, and what doesn’t.  Hopefully, you can take and apply the few things that I have written here and improve the overall effectiveness of your online advertising.

Finally, thanks to the people at IKEA.  I love this new lamp, and never would have seen it if I didn’t have to walk through the labyrinth that is your store 🙂

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