In the article ‘What is a Landing Page and why to use one‘, we established that its primary goal is to convert visitors to leads. It’s a vital part of your digital marketing arsenal, so it’s important to understand how to put a successful landing page together and what tools you have at your disposal to create them.
Knowing your options can save you both time and money over the long run and knowing how to design and structure your pages correctly will ensure your pages convert well.
Landing pages can be built using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, coded from scratch in HTML, or created using a web-based landing page service for a monthly fee. Your technical ability, available time, and budget will usually dictate which approach you take to build your landing pages.
What are your options for building landing pages?
1. Code your own landing page from scratch
Under the hood, it also needs to be constructed correctly to be a good page for SEO. That’s a whole topic in itself, so we won’t go into further details here.
Building your own page usually results in a very fast and reliable page as it’s not tied to a CMS (Content Management System) which requires database access.
Even if you don’t have the skills to do this yourself, or you just don’t have the time, there are plenty of freelance developers who would be able to do this on your behalf for a reasonable price.
2. Create landing pages in your Content Management System
If you are already using a Content Management System like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or something similar for your website, then you can use it to set up landing pages.
You will need to have appropriate access to the site and permission from your company to add pages, so make sure you check with whoever runs the site if you can do this.
Most modern themes provide some kind of page builder functionality that allows you to design pages quickly and easily without having to know how to code using HTML or CSS. Even if your theme doesn’t offer this, it’s also possible to create landing pages using certain plugins that add this kind of functionality which makes building landing pages quite straightforward.
3. Use a Software as a Service (SaaS) Landing Page provider
Probably one of the easiest ways to get your landing pages built is to sign up to a web-based landing Page service. For a monthly fee, you can create as many new landing pages as you like, hosted in the cloud. This means you don’t have to worry about modifying your existing website or worry about optimizing your pages, so they load quickly.
These web-based providers make sure your pages load quickly and reliably. They also offer a large number of templates for you to use and modify, usually based on layouts and designs that are proven to work effectively.
They also work well with other services such as email list building software so you can embed lead capture forms from other services very easily.
The only real downside is that you have to pay a monthly fee, but such services become more cost effective with the more landing pages you create. If you are only ever going to need one or two landing pages, then it might not be so easy to justify the ongoing monthly cost of using a web base landing page provider.
Anatomy of a landing page
1. Logos and minimal use of links
At the top of the landing page, we would expect to see your company logo which serves to reinforce the credibility of the page and your brand. If your logo usually links to your website’s homepage, we’d recommend removing the link if possible, so visitors aren’t taken away from the page if they click on it.
In fact, it’s highly advisable that you remove any kind of links or navigation menu from the top of your landing page. This reduces the likelihood of a visitor clicking a link and leaving your landing page instead of carrying out the intended action you want your page visitors to do, i.e. filling in the form on the page so you can capture their details.
This also applies to any other kind of links you might think of putting on the page. For example, the page may have links to your social media accounts, but again, if the user is tempted to click these they will leave the page, and it’s highly likely that they will not come back.
To prevent this happening just don’t include these kinds of links. If you need to add links to your privacy policies or any other legal information, it’s probably best only to display the information in a pop-up modal box rather than taking them to a different page on your website. When they close the popup box they will still be on your landing page.
2. Images and Media
Many pages use a hero image of some description, and we would expect this to be in alignment with the imagery that you have used in your advertisement which bought the visitor to this page.
Make sure that you use images which are optimized for use on the web, i.e. file size and dimensions on not too big as this will cause your page to load slowly.
It is also worth making sure that you add the correct alt tags for any images to make sure your page is fully accessible.
If you’re planning to use any kind of media such as a video, it is advisable that you post this on an external video hosting service rather than trying to serve it from your own web pages. If many people are viewing the same video on your hosting plan, it can cause bandwidth issues which you would not experience if you post a video on external services such as YouTube or Vimeo.
3. Headline, Subheading and Copy
The landing page should display a headline to catch the users attention, and this should be followed by a subheading which gives some more detail about the heading which then should lead them to read your copy.
Whether you use short form or long form copy is up to you. You need to decide which works best on your page and may require some testing to determine which one works best. You could also use video content instead of, or in addition to, your written copy.
Again this is something you would have to experiment with and decide whether video works best on your landing page or written copy. We’ll talk more about testing later in this article.
4.Detail Capture Form
Your list provider will provide you instructions on how to embed this on your page along with details on how to style your form and submit button.
There are two schools thought on where to place the form on your page. Some believe that you should always be placed above the fold which means it’s immediately visible to the visitor when they come to the page. Others think that the call to action should come after your written copy or video so visitors have had time to absorb the information they’ve been presented with which should persuade them to fill in the form on your page.
At the end of the day it’s your decision where you place the form and as always we would recommend testing different versions of this. You should also take some time to think about how the actual submit button of your form looks as well.
Make sure to use a color that captures the eye. For example, a bright blue or bright green is quite common color to see on capture forms. Also, it’s probably worth changing the default text from submit to something a bit more meaningful. So instead of just having ‘Submit’ written on the button you could have ‘Yes! I want to get my offer now’ or ‘Yes! Tell me more about this product..’ written on the button. Again, it comes down to testing what works best on your landing pages.
5. GDPR Compliance
With the latest GDPR legislation, you also need to make sure that your forms are compliant when capturing a visitor’s details and email addresses.
This usually means including a checkbox on your form where the visitor will consent to you capturing the details and storing information. Ideally, when you capture information from people you’ll be using double opt-in to confirm that the visitor really wants to receive communications from you by email.
6. Trust logos and Testimonials
If your landing page is promoting a product or service that’s already being used by well-known companies, then it’s a good idea to place so-called ‘trust logos’ of those companies on the page. People often like to know who else is already using something before taking the plunge themselves.
You often see trust logos added to a page as grayscale images, so they are visible but not overly prominent or detract from your own branding.
Additionally, if you already have testimonials about your product or service then place these on the landing page too so visitors can see real-world feedback about the product or service being offered.
Landing Page design
Your landing page should use a design that makes good use of whitespace so it’s not overcrowded and the visitor can easily see what is being offered on the page.
Whatever design you settle on it is essential that it works on both desktop and mobile devices. With the ever-increasing number of people accessing the web from mobile devices, it’s especially important to provide an optimum mobile experience and even more so with Google rolling out their mobile first index.
Logos and images used on the page should be consistent with those used in your original advertisement to maintain a sense of visual continuity when the visitor transitions from your advert to the landing page.
You should avoid the use of visual line breaks such as horizontal lines so the visitor’s eyes will flow down the page without any kind of interruption.
You should also use an easily readable appropriately sized font with suitable line spacing, so it is easy to read. Your copy text should also be broken down into sections with their own headings, so your page readers are not confronted with one massive piece of text to read.
If you’re not very good at writing your own copy, then consider hiring somebody to write suitable content for your landing page to increase conversions.
When it comes to the design of your capture form, make sure it’s clear exactly what information you are capturing from the visitor. Also, only capture the absolutely necessary information as not to put people off completing the form.
If you just need to capture an email address, don’t ask for the visitor’s postal address details and phone number!
As mentioned earlier, use a striking color for the main button used to submit the form, so there’s no doubt which button needs to be pressed.
Testing the effectiveness of your landing page
It’s unlikely that you’ll get everything just right on your first attempt and you’ll have to make tweaks here and there to improve the conversion rate of your landing page.
That said, you’ll also need to get a feel for when you’ve done the best you can and leave the landing page to do its job. If and when you make changes, make sure you make gradual changes, i.e. change the images used and see if that makes a difference. Then maybe make some changes to your copy.
Experiment with where you place your capture form and what words you put on the submit button. Make a change and see if it makes any difference over a few days.
You can even go down the route of using split testing tools where you have two or more versions of the same page and visitors are taken to one of those pages. You can then track which one works best.
However, a word of caution, if you are using paid advertising with social media platforms like Facebook. Once you have set up your adverts with Facebook, they will look at your landing page. If it is changed too much, they will reduce or even stop displaying your ads as it’s not the page they authorized your adverts for.
In this article we have discussed the available options for building landing pages including building your own from scratch, adding landing pages to your existing CMS, or used a landing page service for a monthly fee.
We also looked at designing your pages and what components should or shouldn’t be on your landing pages and how to go about testing your landing pages.
A good landing page can make or break your campaign, so remember to take your time when building it.