I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not all landing pages are created equal. And they surely aren’t all created the same.
So it’s vital to your digital marketing success that you’re able to distinguish between the different types of landing pages at your disposal.
Let’s get started on covering all these different landing pages, what makes them so unique, and how to optimize each one for ultimate success!
For Starters, What’s A Landing Page?
Let’s start with some basics.
It’s very common that people mix up landing pages and web pages. While they both can have the same domain, landing pages are not meant for general usage and can look much different.
A landing page is a single web page that’s built to isolate the visitor into performing the desired action the creator of the landing page has designated.
You may have heard an alternative name for a landing page like capture page, splash page, and squeeze page amongst others. Know that all these terms are referring to the same thing.
One of the most noticeable differences between landing pages and web pages is functionality. A landing page is designed to be a very simple, light-weight version of a web page that has one special goal action. This goal will most likely be the primary goal of the marketing campaign overall.
What does this ultimately mean? A landing page usually won’t have areas to navigate to or links to click on that lead users away from the landing page. Disparate actions on the page are kept to a minimum (ideally only one goal action), highlighting the call to action (CTA).
Let’s give an example….Below is the Tree Pros web page.
You’ll notice there are multiple opportunities to navigate and engage with the page.
And here is the Tree Pros landing page.
The only clickable options are the 2 ‘Free Quote” buttons and the 1 call button.
Now, I know what you’re thinking….“How will a simpler version of a web page, with less information help my business obtain more leads and increase conversion rates?”
It’s a valid question to ask, especially because most people have the impression that more options and information will lead to better results.
We’ll get into landing page best practices a little later. Let’s finish listing out some more differences between landing pages and web pages first.
Something that your business’s web page developer will appreciate is the fact that landing pages are fairly simple to change without any major coding or developer work.
It’s completely possible that a single person can launch a page without the help of a designer or developer and if there is any assistance needed, it can be quite minimal.
The last point is the most significant and impactful when it comes to the differences between landing pages and web pages. Simply stated, landing pages are much easier to split test, also called A/B testing.
Why is this so important, you may ask?
A/B testing involves comparing two variations of a landing page, an “A” and a “B” variant to see which one performs better. The simplicity of landing pages makes testing simple and the performance tracking of each variant easy to determine.
It’s clear that variation “A” would be the winning variant.
You should make it a habit to test only one change at a time so when the testing period ends, you can determine with high confidence the variable that lead to a higher conversion rate.
Let’s get into what best practices to look out for when creating and testing your landing page.
What Makes A Strong Landing Page
A strong landing page is one that converts…right? Yeah that’s true. But what design tactics and conversion rate optimizations (CRO) are necessary to make such a kick-ass high performing landing page?
Remember the question we posed earlier about how a simpler page with less info can, in fact, perform better than a page with more information and more options?
It’s actually quite straightforward:
Fewer choices help people decide faster, and with less effort.
Let’s give this example in terms that most Californians know of. Most people have heard of the extremely popular and oh so delicious In-N-Out Burger.
If you take a look at the In-N-Out Burger menu:
Options are minimal, but that’s how we like it!
And compare it to the Fuddruckers menu:
Geez, that’s a lot to look at.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is how much more Fuddruckers has in comparison to In-N-Out. With more to look at and more options available, coming to a decision seems much harder than it should be. After all, you’re there because you’re hungry for a burger.
We call this phenomenon “analysis paralysis.” And the same goes for landing pages.
You have around 8 seconds to catch the attention of a visitor on a landing page.
Showing the necessary information relevant to the visitor from the keyword that they searched to arrive on your site ensures that the viewer is seeing something that he/she finds valuable.
Using a web page won’t only distract the visitor, but they’ll quickly lose interest if they have too much to read or have to navigate to multiple pages to find the information they’re looking for.
Visitors are looking for one value proposition in each page they visit, so why not make sure the page you present them with only allows for easy decision making?
Landing Page Best Practices
Let’s discuss some best practices that you’ll want to make sure you cover when designing and optimizing your business’s landing page.
Your CTA is what you want the visitor to do, making it the most important part of your landing page. They have the biggest impact on your conversion rates. If the CTA closely matches what the visitor is looking to get, you’re increasing the possibility of a conversion.
Some common CTA’s include:
– Request Quote
– Free Trial
– Free Consultation
– Buy Now
The headline and subhead are the next most important aspects of your landing page. If you can present text that showcases your unique value proposition (if, in fact, it is unique) and shows an understanding what it is your visitors value, your page will be more likely to convert.
Headlines are a powerful part of your landing page experience, and are more than worth taking the time to craft carefully.
Picking an appropriate hero image for your company’s landing page can also help with showcasing your product/service. Including a physical photo or illustration can be the best way to show how your product/service works.
The benefits and features section will answer the questions “What will this do for me?” and “Why is this company better than other companies?”
This is where you get to persuade visitors into deciding that your business is the best option for them.
Be sure to include the benefits and features section in short, easy to read sections.
The last point we’ll discuss is the social proof section. Here is your chance to “wow” your visitors.
Presenting testimonials, press mentions, security seals, awards, case studies, and other company logos can help in showing your expertise and legitimacy in the industry you’re in.
Differences Between Lead Gen, eCommerce, & SaaS
Now, as I mentioned in the beginning of the post, landing pages devoted to lead generation, eCommerce, and SaaS each have different goals.
For lead generation, the goal is… generating leads. (Self-explanatory is an understatement here.) For eCommerce pages, it’s usually a purchase, and SaaS CTAs usually push for a consultation or a free trial.
Developing pages to support each of these goals requires the best practices discussed above, and a thoughtful approach to a prospective customer’s motivations.
Lead Gen Landing Pages
A user who converts on a lead generation landing page provides contact information, usually in exchange for useful data in return — an eBook, white paper, etc.
The right visitor, one who is interested in your offer, will only engage with your content if you provide a logical path to follow.
In a previous post, we outlined a way to do this well:
- Start with an explanation
- Provide benefits
- Follow with testimonials
- End with a strong CTA
While an eCommerce purchase or SaaS transaction may seem more significant than getting a user to share their name and email for a PDF, it’s important not to underestimate the value people place on their personal information.
“My data! My precioussss data!”
Keep in mind that if you take your visitors’ information and don’t provide useful content, any trust you’ve started building will evaporate immediately.
eCommerce Landing Pages
eCommerce landing pages apply the simple functionality and conversion focus mentioned above to selling your products. Keep an eye on that plural “S” there.
We’ve mentioned before that eCommerce landing pages can take a buyer through the sales funnel much more quickly than other categories, even if they haven’t considered your product before. Instead of a process that takes hours or days, an eCommerce shopper might convert in a manner of minutes.
Think of it as less of a funnel and more of a waterslide.
To make the process seamless for your future customers, it’s important to get the details right. In their analysis of multiple eCommerce landing pages, Unbounce recommends making the user’s end goal blindingly obvious and double-checking your copy for small errors.
Removing any obstacles or issues that might ‘bump’ a new website visitor can lead to more efficient conversions.
Regardless of the finer nuances of what type of eCommerce campaign you’re running, remember to prioritize the quality of your product images and descriptions.
As opposed to ordinary landing pages where too much information can scare users away, eCommerce landing pages rely on accurate product details to give potential customers a sense of security in regards to the quality of the product they’re buying.
SaaS Landing Pages
The top sections of a SaaS landing page typically include an introductory header, social proof, and an explanation of the problem your service solves.
Hacker Noon says that by establishing these three benchmarks early, your SaaS landing page shows buyers that you understand what they need and that yours is a credible solution.
Similarly, in an analysis of more than 100 B2B SaaS landing pages, Chart Mogul found that top-level navigation links should be limited to no more than four or five. Fewer links also creates more real estate for a CTA in the top navigation, which can follow the user down the screen in a sticky menu.
Note that there are only two links at the top of our offer page, which keeps the eye focused on the big CTA in the middle.
Finally, reducing options for your potential subscribers includes eliminating the need to scroll before taking action.
Smart Insights recommends putting all vital information — your on-page copy, your lead capture form, and your CTA — above the fold, or within the browser window that loads immediately when you reach a landing page.
Basically, visitors shouldn’t have to scroll for relevant information — especially on pages specifically designed to persuade them!
Major CRO Differences Between Lead Gen, eCommerce, & SaaS
We mentioned one key form of conversion rate optimization, A/B testing, above as a key tool for improving your landing page performance.
But there are some specific tweaks that you can make to your CRO strategy depending on the type of landing page you’re creating.
Before we do that, though, it’s worth repeating that successful landing pages tend to be relevant and consistent with the messaging that attracted the visitor in the first place.
Bigcommerce says that successful landing pages are a continuation of the ad that the user clicked on. The content, language, and benefits all reflect and capitalize on the prospect’s initial motivation.
Lead Generation CRO starts with establishing benchmark metrics for conversions — how many leads your page is capturing in comparison to how many times it’s being viewed.
From there, you can perform A/B tests and multivariate tests to improve your conversion rate and make your pages more effective.
eCommerce CRO can start with a different focus than lead generation, since your goal is most likely to get a user to make a purchase.
To that end, CRO agency The Good recommends focusing on fixing technical concerns like caching plugins, using a content delivery network (CDN), and optimizing images to ensure your page loads quickly.
SaaS landing page CRO benefits from the tactics above, and can also be improved with other innovative choices. Convertize.blog suggests using the specific language your target audience uses, creating urgency with your copy, and using personalized referrals whenever possible.
Never forget the power of social proof in regards to SaaS landing pages. When it comes to software, most buyers you engage with online are going to require not only a heavy explanation of what your software does, but some serious social proof behind who’s used it and how it worked for them.
Conclusion: Find An Expert That’s Right For You
True success in digital marketing comes from knowing your audience and knowing how best to reach and engage them on a personal level.
Whether you’re an in-house marketer handling the campaigns of your own brand, or a consultant or agency handling the campaigns of a client, knowing what exactly is right for your ICP (ideal customer profile) is going to define what type of designs you use, what type of deals you offer, and what type of tests you run.
Whether it’s Lead Gen, eCommerce, or SaaS, make sure you’re crafting a landing page experience that is truly unique.
About the Author
Sean Thomas Martin is the Content Manager at KlientBoost, a premier PPC and CRO agency in Irvine, CA specializing in rapid testing in AdWords and landing page optimization with analysis, landing page video, design optimization, copywriting, and more. If you like what you just read, then you should check out what their custom growth proposal looks like.
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