Ultimate Guide to Creating the Perfect Landing Page

In the online marketing world, if you want more conversions, you need more landing pages. If you don’t know what a landing page is, don’t worry. Usually, most people cannot tell you the difference between a landing page and a homepage nor their use or purpose. However, a landing page is an important tool that every business owner should not be without. Many online marketing experts advise that you should never start a marketing campaign without a dedicated landing page.

This guide was designed to not only help you know more about the importance of landing pages but also provide valuable tips on creating the perfect landing page. You can discover what is at your disposal and boost conversion rates of nearly any campaign. Once you know more about landing pages and how you can use them to help accomplish your marketing goals, you will be able to pick the best type of landing page for your next marketing campaign.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone web page that the visitor arrives on after clicking an ad, promotion, or search results. It can capture a visitor’s information through a template in which they input their contact information into what is known as a “lead form”.

This lead form may ask the visitor to:

  • Register for your webinar
  • Download an E-book
  • Get tips on exclusive offers
  • Sign up for your website, newsletter, and more

Landing pages do not replace a website’s homepage nor are they just another page on your website. Websites and homepages are more of a robust home base where users can find a links to information about your company or accomplished tasks.

Landing pages are more tightly focused on and typically do not have the same elements as a home page. They are important because they increase conversion rates in the most powerful and optimized way possible.

A superior landing page is designed to optimize your marketing efforts through message matching. This usually has one clickable element which is usually a call to action (CTA) button. It is the goal of this button to create a 1:1 ratio and perform AB testing which is an easy way to compare two versions of your landing page to see which one performs better. This provides a heightened attention to conversion optimization and makes landing pages one of the most important marketing tools your business can utilize. They should accompany every promotion and marketing campaign.

5 Essential Elements of a Landing Page

To know which elements go into building an effective landing page, there are five must-have core elements which are broken down into further subcategories to provide a more detailed list of landing page building blocks:

Your Unique Selling Position (USP)
The Hero Shot
The Benefits of Your Offering
Proof
CTA – A single conversion goal

1. Unique Selling Position

The USP is also known as the value proposition and is a high-level term for a collection of statements that you use to explain what you are offering as well is a core description of what the page is about. The types of statements you use are dependent on the length and purpose of your landing page.

The USP is broken down further into 4-page elements. When used collectively, these elements tell the story of your offering throughout the landing page:

The Main Headline

This is the first thing that people will see and read. It is critical that the main headline provides a clear description of what a visitor will get from the page as well as its goal. If the message match is strong enough, the visitor will be convinced that they are in the right place.

Supporting Headline

It is a good idea to keep the headline short and to the point since you can only say so much. You want to keep it brief and easily digestible so that the supporting headline can serve as a direct extension of the headline and follow it in such a way as if it were finishing a sentence. It is also used as an additional persuasive message to support the primary message.

The Reinforcement Statement

It is proven through studies that most people scan pages while they are reading it. This is why titles play a critical role and these include your main headline as well as titles explaining features and benefits. Not only do they stand out to a reader, but they also drive home the purpose of your page in the form of a reinforcement statement.

The reinforcement statement usually sits about halfway down your page. It acts as a mid-experience message that you want to communicate to page visitors. It often highlights additional key benefits of your product or service. When incorporating it into your landing page, a reinforcing statement should work hand-in-hand with your main headline to extend your value proposition.

Closing Argument

When a visitor arrives at the end of your landing page, this is the one final chances you have to communicate the benefits of your offering. Just like the reinforcement statement, the closing argument reinforces your main value proposition. For example, with click through pages, the closing argument is used through a repetition of call to action.

2. The Hero Shot

This is the best graphical image or photograph of your product or service. It is usually an image that is bold and stands out while dominating the page. The hero shot, the main headline, and supporting line should all be together to show exactly what the page is about.

Successful hero shots also incorporate another important element called context of use. This is the idea of showcasing your service or product real-life action. A perfect example showing the benefits of using contexts are the funny infomercials made by Sham Wow or Slap Chop.

Depending on the type of product you are promoting, here are some examples of ways you can use context of use:

EBooks – Prove its value by offering a preview of a portion of the content

Online Service – Screencast or video demo

Physical Product – Video of the product and how to use it

The hero shot should have a bold presence and stand out on the page. It should also make it immediately clear to the visitor to know what the page is about. The product shot should also reinforce your USP and vice versa. The audience will become confused if they don’t work together.

Just like the Slap Chop commercial as a great example, people are more likely to understand your service or product if you can demonstrate its benefits in action. This is more likely to create a “Wow!” effect or “Aha!” moment that triggers people to make a purchasing decision.

3. The Benefits of Your Offering

When all of the other elements on your landing page are incorporated correctly, you should have grabbed the attention of your visitor by this time. This is the point when the benefits of your product or service should be highlighted in plain view using bullet points that will provide easy scanning for the reader.

Benefit statements seek to solve problems and attach directly to the pain that is felt by people who are seeking out the benefits that you are offering. An example would be a benefit statement for a microwave oven that reads, “Heats food in seconds for people on the go.” This is a more effective benefits statement than simply stating “Heats up food”.

Benefit statements explain how you are going to solve your prospect’s problem. It is important to ask yourself, “What do my customers need?” and then write down solutions to those needs in one-sentence phrases.

In addition, you should also extend bullet point descriptions into a more detailed overview of their benefits and purposes. This is a good approach to support your brief benefit statements. You should expand upon the benefits first and then add them feature details below if needed.

The important thing to remember at this point is that the benefits of your offering must be communicated first. Only when this is done, and done correctly, should you start adding features which usually direct towards visitors who require more details in order to make a decision.

You should also include imagery because it helps to show benefits when describing the problem you are solving. It also helps provide a description of the features and what it does. It will also feature how the product or service looks when being used in the form of screenshots or icons.

4. Proof

There is a joke that goes, “What’s a personality trait of a bad marketer?” Answer: “Anti-social.” One of the most powerful persuasive concepts is social proof. This is how social signals are incorporated to show or demonstrate that others have consumed, participated in, bought, or read your product or service offering. Visitors are more likely to convert if they see that others before them have used a product or service and provide proof that they were glad they did.

For example, you may run across a company’s landing page that has a bold headline on the top of the page that reads, “Last week 12,460 companies signed up for ABC Company to manage their projects. We can help you today as well.”

Social proof is used in two ways to either:

Provide a personal testimonial from a customer which includes a link to the customers company to include added believability
Include a headline that points out how popular the site is based on the number of sign-ups in a week
One of the reasons that reviews are so popular is because people love having decisions made for them. The next time you are in a restaurant or electronics store, take a look around to see how many people are checking out reviews on their phone. This shows the importance of leveraging social proof to help make purchasing decisions easier for visitors.

What Are Landing Pages Used For?

The purpose of landing pages fall into two categories:

To attract potential customers to the product you are selling before sending them further down your sales channel
To capture leads that will allow you to market to people in the future
These two needs create two types of landing pages – a click through page and a lead generation page:

Click Through Landing Pages

Also known as jump pages, click through pages are designed to serve as a go-between for a marketing ad and its last destination. The goal of this type of page is to attract interest from visitors for the product or service you are trying to sell. These types of pages are commonly used for e-commerce and provide enough information to educate the buyer, encourage them to be ready to make a purchase, and continue to push them further down the sales funnel to a checkout or shopping cart.

A common example of a click through page is when you visit a website and there are product images or videos paired with a description. As the product benefits are explained, the visitor is persuaded to click the call to action button.

Lead Generation Landing Pages

An email address is the most valuable piece of information you can get from a lead generation landing page. Once you have this important piece of contact information, you now have permission to continue talking and marketing your products and services to them.

After you have been given permission by a lead, you will then try to convert them into a customer. This is done using two of the most powerful one-to-one communication tools as a marketer and combining them together – landing pages and email. A common example of a lead generation landing page is one that is designed to capture user or company data in exchange for something like a free EBook download.

Lead Capture Forms for Landing Pages

People may think there is some magic formula for increasing conversion rates but there is nothing magical about it at all. The key to success is paying extra attention to the landing page form because it is a hotspot for converting visitors into leads for your business.

What is Form Conversion?

Form conversion is when you have real and actionable conversions by meeting and fulfilling two conditions:

Screening out the tire kickers

Overcoming psychological obstacles

Good form conversion gets a lead to have a genuine interest in your product or service as well as your business. The form serves as a tool of negotiation and allows the visitor to have a process that feels comfortable easing into a relationship with your business versus trying to make it happen suddenly.

Here are tips to get the best visitor-to-lead form conversions:

Minimize friction.

When it comes to lead capture forms, there is both perceived and actual friction. Perceived friction is the perception of having to fill out long forms that can make a visitor feel like the task is daunting and/or cause visitors to change their mind. A solution to eliminate perceived friction is to get rid of half the words on your page and then get rid of half of what’s left. This same solution should be applied to your forms by focusing on reducing the number of fields. Actual friction is the time and trouble it took to actually fill out the form and it often causes serious abandonment of your landing page. This would include the type of form that asks too many open-ended questions or has drop-down menus that do not include viable options for the visitor. An example would be a question such as “What industry are you in?” and there is no option for your industry.

Size of the Prize

Getting visitors to complete your form often involves providing an incentive. The goal is to balance the friction with the size of the prize.

Some examples of incentives are…

  • A free trial
  • EBook
  • A physical gift
  • Webinar registration
  • Contest entry
  • Whitepaper
  • Discount coupon or voucher
  • Newsletter registration
  • Consultation for professional service
  • Brochure
  • Notification of a future product launch
  • Alternative Social Currency

There are also alternative methods for getting leads which involve using a service like PayWithATweet.com. These sites allow a visitor to pay for your content with a Facebook or Twitter share.

This is an alternative to asking for an email address by having people share using posts on different social networks. It is also an effective way for you to get a steady stream of traffic even after your initial campaign launch because you will create a feedback loop that will attract other visitors to your page.

This is why it is important to tell visitors exactly what is going to happen when the button is clicked. You should tell visitors what to expect and make them feel that they are not going to have to go through a bunch of steps in the process.

Form Description

Another small detail you should not miss is providing some context to the form. This is includes explaining the way someone should fill it out. You should also include a description on what they are going to get in exchange for their information.

Landing Page Design Principles

When designing landing pages, an important discipline you must know and understand is conversion centered design (CCD). This design method is all about achieving a single business goal regarding the visitor towards completing one specific action. This is done using psychological triggers and persuasive design as devices to elevate the number of conversions.

Since they only present one action for visitor to complete, landing pages are extremely effective. They also focus visitors on a single targeted conversion goal and remove unnecessary distractions. This intense concentration on targeted conversion goals is why landing pages are built upon the concepts of CCD.

7 Landing Page Design Principles

  1. Encapsulation
  2. Color and Contrast
  3. Directional Indicators and Cues
  4. White or Empty Space
  5. Urgency/Scarcity
  6. Test It Out Before You Buy
  7. Social Proof

Encapsulation

Wrap up your CTA because it is precious. The most important element should be locked on your visitors’ eyes.
Create a tunnel vision effect and use it to hijack your visitor’s eyes
Wrap the form in a container
Constrain your points of interest using strong dynamic shapes

Color and Contrast

Contrast always wins. Button color is irrelevant. What is most important is showing that “I’m different.”
Should jump out at you compared to the rest of the background
Make the form container contrast out. The entire landing page should incorporate a single color hue except for the CTA which should come alive or jump off the page

Directional Cues

With your landing page, pointing is not a rude gesture. It is necessary because you have to incorporate ways on your landing page to guide people to points of interaction.

You should continuously ask yourself if there are visual indicators that point to the focal area of your landing pages. These indicators should guide visitors towards your conversion goal while making the purpose of your landing page clearly obvious. This should also happen immediately after the visitor arrives at your page.
Effective types of directional cues include arrows, lines of sight, and pathways

Incorporating arrows is a bold way of getting visitors to ignore everything else and pay attention to your product or service. They have been proven to work extremely well.
Strategically placed and angled arrows also help call attention to the most important page elements. A good strategy is to tie sequence of arrows together the visitor can follow. This method defines a path with a visitor which ends at your CTA.

Humans are programmed to follow the gaze of others out of curiosity. You can take advantage of directional cues by understanding the suggestive power of the eye and how humans are programmed to use it.

Directional cues are primarily used to direct the person to focus on the primary area of conversion and this is done by adding an arrow to the top of the form. The arrow will get the person to read the headline and the contract will lead them down the sales funnel to the CTA.

White Space / Remove clutter

White space helps you emphasize what matters

Use areas with nothing to expose something of value

Let your elements breathe

Produce a calming effect by giving your page elements breathing room. Compared to the rest of your design, this will also allow your CTA stand out

Urgency and Scarcity

Use keywords like “limited time only” or “last chance”. People take action when there are only a few remaining or something will be gone forever.

Try Before You Buy

Offer a quick preview. Give a taste or sample and visitors will come back for more.

Social Proof

Maybe you have heard the common phrase, “I’ll have what he’s having.” As mentioned before, many people like decisions to be made for them. When the reviews look good, people choose products or services that everyone else is using.

Post Conversion Marketing

This is the process of using a confirmation page as a way to continue the conversation with your new lead. For lead gen landing pages, this is the first page visitors see after completing the form. For click through pages, post conversion often happens when visitors are farther down the funnel and usually happens after the transaction has been made.

Post conversion marketing is important because once a visitor has been converted, they are no longer a prospect, but instead a lead. This is a valuable place to interact with visitors because they are considered warmer to a sale because they just completed your pre-planned conversion goal.

They also confirmed their trust in you by giving you their personal information. This means that the visitor is looking at what you have to offer in a positive way and indicates the need for you to capitalize on this trust.

The way you market your leads after the initial conversion is extremely important because this is the action that you will asked them to do next. It removes the need to make a decision and people naturally like to be directed especially when they are in a highly suggestible mood. You should be making that decision for them by incorporating the proper elements on your page.

Landing Page Copywriting

The most important elements to consider when creating a landing page are the words on that are on your page. The first thing people pay attention to when the page loads are the words. They are also the last thing they read for they decide on whether or not they will continue through your sales funnel and complete your conversion goal.

Here are a few tips to improve your conversation rates through better copywriting:

1. Create an Effective Headline

To get your visitors to continue engaging with your message, it is important to craft effective landing page headlines. A rule of thumb, when creating headlines, choose clarity over clever wording. Clarity smoothens the way to conversion whereas clever calls attention to itself at the expense of the message.

2. Use Formulas

Here are 3 effective formulas to help you write better headlines:

Formula 1 – Top 5 Ways to [Do Something Desirable] Without [Doing Something Desirable]

Example: Top 5 Ways to Kill Pests Without Using Harmful Chemicals

Formula 2 – [Do Something Desirable] Like [An Expert] Without [Something Expected and Undesirable]

Example: Learn How to Make Billions Like Warren Buffet Without Going to College

Formula 3 – [Do Something Hard] in [Period of Time] or [Promise]

Example: Lose Weight in One Week or Your Money Back

Writing an Effective Call to Action

The call to action represents a crucial tipping point where your visitor is straddling the fence between becoming a bounce or a conversion. In order for this to happen, your visitor must go through the call to action. When you ask someone to do something online, this is your call to action whether it is:

  • Filling out a form
  • Downloading a PDF or free EBook
  • Clicking through to another page
  • Buying a product

You should always keep in mind that every click potentially means money in the bank. Every business should also consider clicking the CTA as a mission-critical conversion goal.

When creating new button copy, you will have to ask yourself two questions in order to create the most optimized call to action copy:

What is my prospect going to get after clicking this button?
How am I motivating my prospect to click this button?
Ex. Health spa membership call to action as an example

When the prospect clicks the button, he/she will get the opportunity to find a spa and buy their membership.
The prospect’s motivation is to get a local spa membership.
Headline Copy: “Find Spa and Get Membership”

Tell a Story

Badly-written headlines mean you wasted money on ads that provide little to no results. In order for you to reach your conversion goals and be successful, tell a story by using a formula to engage your audience. The benefit of these formulas is that they help you get inspired and more creative.

Using a formula will allow you to write in context because you will be able to relate to the experience and express it in your writing. This falls into an underlying theory known as congruent design. Using this theory, your message should unify with the overall design of your landing page.

The 3 headline approach is a good method to follow:

  • Tell a story
  • Start with the headline
  • Move on to the reinforcement statement
  • Make a closing argument
  • Establish Credibility with Your Statement

It is important to open with the statement that is seductive and credible:

The Only Way To [Do Something Desirable] – Example: “The Only Way to Take a Luxury Cruise to the Caribbean”

This phrase is used to show what makes you different, establish uniqueness, and add credibility to the uniqueness.

A seductive suggestion would be:

“Indulge in 5-Star Luxury Aboard Our Caribbean Cruises”

Highlight a Visitor’s Biggest Benefit

Expand on the experience by demonstrating benefits. For example, if you have a bed a breakfast that serves only gluten-free food, you can use this formula to write a title such as:

“Indulge in Gluten-Free Accommodations at Our B&B”

Always Use a Sense of Urgency When Closing

Always give a subtle urgency that a visitor can only take advantage of your product or service for limited time.

Example: “Escape to the Caribbean in One of Our Luxury Yachts – Limited Spaces Available”

It is important to remember when you change the headlines that it is also necessary to update all your ads on your landing page. You do not want to break the message match after creating such an attractive headline.

Call to Action Buttons

The call to action button is the most critical piece in your landing page is a make or break your campaign. For your landing page, your call to action buttons should have no navigation and they should only serve one purpose only. As a rule of thumb, you should put your call to action button above the fold.

On the other hand, there are times when putting a call to action button above the fold on your page is too overwhelming for the visitor. A solution to this problem is to create mini landing page experience. This should contain all of the critical elements and be placed above the fold on your landing page. The benefits is that it will help in reducing the bounce rates and it can increase understanding of what your page is about.

When designing CTA buttons, they should include the following:

  • Buttons should be clickable
  • The contrast of the buttons should stand out
  • Directional cues should be included that point to the button.

These are designed to trigger a specific body response where they make the visitor think, “Oh, I need to stop and look at this.” The contrast is used effectively to point your eyes to the button. The arrows are used so that you will keep your eyes there and actually take the time to read the button
Supporting information should include a short statement that makes the purpose of the button very clear

  • Copy should describe exactly what is going to happen when the visitor makes a click
  • Always eliminate white space

Re-state a sense of urgency and make sure it is next to the button to encourage the visitor to “act now” or “buy today”.

This follows the psychological principle of scarcity by letting the visitor know they can lose out on something good if they do not act now. This method often creates much better conversions.
Landing Page Optimization and Testing

The landing page optimization process follows 6 steps:

  1. Focus on Defining Your Goals
  2. Determine Your Success Metrics
  3. Create Your First Landing Page
  4. Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page
  5. Gain insight into How Your Page is Performing
  6. A/B test your hypothesis

Landing Page Optimization is the difference between coming up with random ideas and making informed choices. In order to define your goals and success metrics, you must:

  • Define your business objectives
  • Define the goals of your landing page
  • Identify your key performance indicators
  • Define your target metrics

Once you have a complete understanding of these four criteria, you can move on to building your first landing page. After building and designing your landing page, the next step is to get traffic driven to your page using methods of marketing promotion.

If you do not have an email list or social following to contact, the fastest way to get traffic to your page is Google Adwords, LinkedIn ads, or Facebook ads. They are also the most cost-effective ways to market your landing page.

Once you have been getting traffic to your page, you will then need to gather insight into its conversion rate. This involves gathering user feedback, doing inline surveys, having a live chat, as well as obtaining internal company feedback.

You will then create a hypothesis which is basically a statement saying what you are testing and why you think this idea will be a success. You can then perform A/B test experiments to test your hypothesis. Repeating these steps will help you create the best LPO for your landing page.

5 Tips to Recover from Low Landing Page Conversions

Here are 5 useful tips if you are currently experiencing low landing page conversions:

Improve the copy – It should be free of errors, compelling, and written using persuasive wording that creates a psychological and emotional connection with your audience.

Use strong signals – Boost the confidence of your audience and took them over to your conversion using social proof, third-party certifications, and supplier/manufacturer affiliations.

Remove the ability to go elsewhere – Make your visitor think your landing page is the only destination and encourage them to stay by focusing their attention on the main call to action.

Incorporate visual elements – If you are getting a lot of traffic but the conversions are low, use more visual elements improve engagement.

Make your call to action obvious – You have to make your goal 100% clear to visitors on your landing page. If you hide your call to action below the fold or behind other clutter, you will lose many conversions.

Why Every Promotion Needs Its Own Landing Page

There is a joke that goes, “Why did the marketing couple decide to not get married?” Answer: Because they weren’t on the same landing page. Although corny, this joke teaches the advice that all elements should come together if you want a lasting page that meets your goals, drives more traffic, and ultimately turn into conversions that make big profits for you and your business.