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Beginner’s Guide to Landing Pages

When you’re new to online marketing it feels like you have to learn a whole new language.

All of a sudden people are using words you don’t understand and you have no clue what, where or how this “thing” should fit into your online business.

A landing page is one of those terms.

Many people use it, but what are landing pages exactly? When should you use them? Where do you host them? Do you need them in your business and how can you create one?

If you’re asking yourself these questions, this guide is for you.

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What Exactly Is a Landing Page?

Definition of a Landing Page

A landing page is a page for a precise audience with only one specific conversion goal.

Let’s dissect the second part of that definition : One Specific Conversion Goal

01. Convert or Leave

When you look at a “normal” page on a website, there are a lot of distractions and different call to actions (CTA). The visitor can share on social media, opt-in for a newsletter, check out the blog, go to the about page,...

That’s exactly what people expect when they come to your site: browsing and looking around.

But sometimes you do not want your visitor to browse around or be distracted. You want them to be focused on one thing and one thing only. That’s exactly when a landing page comes in handy.

On a landing page there are no distractions. The visitor has only two choices: convert or leave.

Now you might be thinking what does “convert” mean…

Deciding the conversion goal of your landing page will be the very first thing you do when you start thinking about landing pages.

02. What's a Conversion Goal?

Think about a conversion as an action your visitor has to take.

Most of the time, it will be one of the following:

  • Give you their email address (= sign-up)
  • Buy your product or service (= purchase)
  • Get in touch with you (call you or schedule an appointment)

When you create a landing page, you’re going to first decide what the conversion goal of the page is, and then focus all the attention on getting as many people as possible take this action.

When somebody completes the action (signs-up, purchases, schedules an appointment,...) they “convert”.

03. A Page for a Precise Audience

Have you ever read a sales message and thought: “This is exactly for me and my situation”?

That’s what you want to achieve with your landing pages regardless of the type of conversion goal.

Often your offer can serve many different groups of people, but a landing page should only appeal to one of them.

Imagine you’re giving access to a free video course “How To Stay Fit Without Going To The Gym” as an opt-in offer on your landing page.

That course can help different types of people:

  • The dad who has no time to go to the gym
  • The businessman who’s always staying in hotels
  • The chubby guy who doesn’t want to face the pitiful looks of the fit guys in the gym

You’ll need different angles to convince these different people to sign up for your free video course.

A landing page allows you to do just that: talk to one specific audience and ignore the rest.

Do You Need Landing Pages for Your Business?

If you like success, you need landing pages.

Companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.

Companies with 40+ landing pages get 12x more leads than those with 5 or less.

Source: Hubspot

Because a landing page is built specifically for one conversion goal, it is very good at it.

You will get higher sign-up rates on a lead generation landing page than on a normal web page.

Sales will be higher on a purchase focused landing page than on a general sales page.

This is why every business, including YOURS, needs landing pages.

How Successful Businesses Use Landing Pages

The Email Sign-Up

This conversion goal is probably the most common use of a landing page.

We also call this landing page a lead generation page, a squeeze page or a sign-up page.

These terms are synonyms and define a landing page with an email sign-up as conversion goal.

In this example, AdEspresso (who sells Facebook ads management software) offers a free ebook that is super valuable for their target market: people doing Facebook ads. 

The Purchase

If a landing page can have a purchase as conversion goal, what is the difference of a sales page?

The answer can be found in the definition of a landing page: Only ONE specific conversion goal.

When you create a sales page and the ONLY thing to do on that page is to purchase or leave the page, your sales page is indeed a landing page.

Most sales pages on a website are not 100% focused on the purchase. You’ll have menu items, social media buttons, several different items to choose from, etc. In this case the sales page is not a landing page.

Take a look at the landing page from Hubspot, the only thing you can do on the page is "Get Started" or leave.

Coming Soon

There is one exception on the “conversion” side of the landing page definition.

You can create a landing page with the sole and unique purpose of informing your visitors. In this case we can not really speak about a “conversion” but this is still a super focused page with only one goal.

An example of this type of landing page is a coming soon page.

When your website (or a specific product or service) is not available yet, you can put up a coming soon page.

This page will inform the visitors about what’s to come and when to expect it.

This is exactly what Google did to announce the release of Google Calendar on Android.​

Pro tip: Put a sign-up form on your coming soon page and turn it into a conversion focused page. This will help you to launch as soon as the website, product or service is available! 

Inform Your Audience

Another use case of an informative landing page is when you want to inform your supporters, fans, customers or stakeholders about the progress your company made.

A perfect example of this is the landing page of Pencils of Promise and their annual report. On this landing page, they explain exactly what they did with the money they raised.

When Should You Use a Landing Page?

In the following video you’ll discover the three types of landing pages we believe every online business should have.

We’ve talked about sign-up pages, confirmation pages and sales pages, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We want you to start thinking about landing pages as important real estate online.

Every time you want to speak to a specific audience and have them take action (sign-up, purchase, submit a form, …) you should build a new landing page.

This means that some landing pages will only exist for a short period of time (an event page, a contest, …) and others pages will be there for the long term (a sign-up page, a sales page,...).

A Non-Exhaustive List of When To Use a Landing Page

01. When you drive paid traffic

Sending your paid traffic to a generic web page is throwing away money. The page you send people that click on your ad to, should match the message of the ad and be 100% conversion focused.

02. When you organize an event or webinar

Create a landing page with all the necessary information about the event or webinar and only have one possible action on this page; reserve your seat.

03. When you give away a free ebook/video course/guide/etc.

Having a dedicated page for your opt-in offers, allows you to send traffic to this page immediately from all over the web (social media, guest blogs, ads,...) and get high sign-up rates.

04. Before launching a new product or service

Even before the offer is available, you can create a dedicated landing page to give more information and get pre-sales or start a waiting list of people who want to be informed when the new offer arrives.

05. To segment different buyer personas

Even before the offer is available, you can create a dedicated landing page to give more information and get pre-sales or start a waiting list of people who want to be informed when the new offer arrives.

06. To segment visitors with different engagement levels

Imagine somebody who just attended an hour long webinar and is ready to buy your product or service and somebody who just read a 140 character tweet about your offer. These people will need different (quantity of) information before converting. Create dedicated landing pages to send people from different engagement levels to.

Where Should You Create Your Landing Pages?

Sorry to disappoint, but there is no “one fit all” answer to this question.

01. Your Own Domain

In general we advise you to put your landing pages on your own website.

This means that your landing page URL will look something like this:

www.yourdomainname.com/name-of-landing-page

The main advantage of this method is that you own your landing pages, they are on your “property”; your own domain.

But in some cases, it might be a good idea to do things differently.

02. A New Domain

If you come out with a new product or service and this will be a big stand alone brand, you can purchase a new domain name and put a landing page on this new domain.

In this case, the URL of your landing page will be:

www.nameofyournewproduct.com

You could do this temporarily (before building out a website and making the main URL a homepage instead of a landing page) or you could keep the main page on this website a landing page.

03. A Hosted Solution

If you do not have your own website on your own hosting, you can use a hosted solution for your landing pages.

In this case the URL of your landing page will be:

www.myproduct.nameofthehosting.com

This solution has the advantage of being easy and quick to set up, but don’t forget that you’re building your business on rented property.

Most of the hosted landing page solution have monthly fees and the moment you stop paying, you’ll lose your landing pages.

How to Build Landing Pages in Record Time

Landing pages can be a huge asset for your business, and you shouldn’t shy away from creating a bunch of them. To make that process easy and quick, you’re going to need a powerful tool.

Author: Hanne Vervaeck

Hanne knows exactly what companies have ever retargeted her (she keeps an updated file). And when she’s not busy discussing high-level funnel design over cocktails with the equally geeky, you’ll find her discovering a place for the first time

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