For many businesses, ready-made landing pages are the way to go. You don’t have the time, expertise, or team to lear how to build landing pages without help, and with tiered pricing, you can afford to keep paying for a landing page service as your traffic and sales increase.
But there are two glaring problems with ready-made landing page services:
- Your ability to customize is limited.
- You have to keep paying every month for the same landing page… forever.
Landing page services are following the software-as-a-service model, and the SaaS model typically makes sense because you replacing massive upfront expenditures with a much smaller monthly cost. You are eliminating the risk that your massive software investment will be obsolete in a few years, and you are gaining valuable functionality before you could afford to purchase a full system.
But with landing pages, this model doesn’t really make sense unless you need a bunch of landing pages, and you think you’ll probably scrap them all in a year and get new ones.
How much does a landing page cost?
Landing pages don’t really cost that much to hire out (cough, fiverr), and it’s a one-time cost. The main expenditure is the copywriting, which ready-made landing services don’t even handle for you.
How to Create a Landing Page from Scratch
If you’re so inclined, there are plenty of great reasons to create your own landing pages from scratch.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Start With Landing Page Design
If you look at any landing page service, you’ll notice that while there are hundreds of pages to choose from, they are all simply derivatives of a few basic templates. The 3 most important are included below.
The Lead Generation Page: A home page or landing page designed to generate warm leads.
The Optin Page: A page used to offer a lead magnet to customers, often in exchange for their email address.
The Webinar Signup Page: A page used to promote and take signups for an upcoming webinar.
These are the pages where the action takes place, and consequently, they are the moneymakers — the pages you are willing to invest in.
There are a 1,001 variations of these pages, but at the end of the day, every landing page consists of three thing:
- a value proposition
- a CTA
- some form of visual media
That’s pretty much it.
The companies selling you these templates have the data to constantly analyze each on-page element, but you are never (okay, hardly ever) going to find a successful landing page without a value proposition or CTA. And a text-only page would just be really, really boring.
To design your landing page, you can either grab someone else’s landing page and copy it, with a few branding changes, or you can make up your own design around the 3 elements mentioned above.
Thinking about it like that, why wouldn’t you consider making your own? It’s not rocket science, after all. And with some smart A/B testing, you’ll be able to create a design that works well and gets good results.
You have two options for creating the page:
- Code it yourself (if you can).
- Hire someone to code the page for you.
2. Write the Copy
The copy is the most difficult part of any landing page. You need to grab your readers’ attention. You need to cut through the endless noise they’re experiencing online and create a connection. And you need to build on that connection enough to elicit action (or at least keep them on the page).
As I mentioned before, your page needs a value proposition and CTA. For more on crafting a unique value proposition, click here.
If you’d like to keep it standard, your value proposition will consist of a headline and a description, perhaps including a numbered list breaking down your offer’s benefits.
The point isn’t the format. It’s the value communicated. Think more in terms of benefits than function. Customers don’t really care what you do. They care about what you can do for them.
Square’s old homepage is one of my favorite examples.
Are you a small business owner looking for a solution to accepting credit cards? Well, if you want to start accepting cards today, you’ll probably like square.
Worried about the cost? No digging. It’s right there: 2.75% per swipe. There’s even a picture showing exactly how it works.
If your in Square’s target market, everything you need to know is right there.
And that’s how your copy should be. If you can’t describe it all in the hero shot, tell your readers enough to make them scroll down. Then tell them enough to keep them scrolling.
Want to learn more about copy? Click here for a list of headlines that convert well.
3. Give Visitors Options, But Limit Those Options
Not every visitor to your site is created equal . Different visitors will be at different points on the buying cycle.
If a visitor finds you in the Awareness, Research, or Comparison stages, you want to give them the ability to learn more. You want to make it easy for them to research all you have to offer.
This can be accomplished by hyperlinking listed features to additional info pages.
For example, if I was telling you about my legal services:
- Experienced consultation
- Personalized service
- Effective representation
I’d want to hyperlink #1 to my attorneys’ bio pages, #2 to my testimonials, and #3 to descriptions of past wins.
I’ve seen too many landing pages where they only clickthrough option is the CTA. When that happens, I just leave, because I’m not ready to purchase. I immediately forget about the website.
At the same time, your landing page is supposed to be the entrance to a funnel, not the door to a department store browsing experience. Each available option should be an intentional cog that attracts customers in the research phase and moves them forward in your funnel.
If someone appears on your real estate landing page looking to find a house, you want to take them straight into a call.
If, on the other hand, they are in research mode, make it intuitive for them to click through to a more research-geared page, where you can offer them a lead magnet tailored to people in research mode. This way, you are giving them an option other than “buy now,” while still moving them forward through your sales funnel.
Conclusion – Start Building Landing Pages
Ready-made landing page services have a permanent place in today’s eCommerce market, but they aren’t for everyone. If you want avoid paying monthly fees for a simple template, use these guidelines to create your own page “from scratch.”
Find a design that works and then customize it for your brand. Write great copy and then give visitors a handful of limited options, each moving them forward in your funnel.
While landing pages are important, they really don’t have to be complicated. And that’s good news for those of us who aren’t ready for a SaaS solution for landing pages.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to landing pages?
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Jacob McMillen.