Great content, solid organic promotion, paid search, and social strategy are the keys to a successful inbound marketing campaign. But, even the best campaign strategy can go wasted if you do not have a high converting landing page when users arrive.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a page that your prospects and leads “land” on when they click through on an ad or email. Typically it’s a standalone page, independent from your website, specifically designed to fulfill the needs of a specific marketing or advertising campaign.

Landing pages aren’t pages you’d find in your typical website navigation—they stand on their own and drive users down a conversion path to eventually become your customers. A good landing page will specifically focus on one product feature, answer a specific question, or target content to one portion of your audience.

What is a good landing page?

In order to effectively reach your audience, your landing page should be designed with their needs in mind. They’ve arrived at this page because they’ve clicked on a link you provided. They’re already interested in what you have to say, so make sure you get to the point quickly and concisely. Landing pages should be short, as most users won’t scroll down very far or spend too much time reading.

How do landing pages drive conversions?

In most inbound marketing campaigns, landing pages are developed as a “gate” to a piece of content that is valuable to your audience. This may be a whitepaper, guide, toolkit, or sign up for an event or webinar. This “premium” content should be a valuable piece of thought leadership, focused on offering genuine value and educating your customers about a topic genuinely interesting for them.

In order to receive this content, your user will need to provide their information, typically via a form, that collects their information and sends it to your CRM. They can then be added to various marketing automation workflows or receive direct follow-up from your sales team as you’ve determined in your overall inbound marketing strategy.

As a rule, you should not use brochures, branded content, or sales materials as gated content. You want prospective customers to be able to access this information freely. In return, users will likely be willing to share their information in exchange for this type of content.

How do I get started?

Before you dive into developing and launching landing pages, you need to know what your target audience actually wants to see. You do this by conducting market research to gain a better understanding of your target audience, their needs, and the content they will be interested in.

Start with Persona Development

Before you begin mapping your landing page needs, you need a detailed understanding of your specific target audience or audiences. Personas are semi-fictional representations of individuals within your audience that includes a few basic criteria:

  • Demographics: How old is your ideal customer? Where are they located? What is their racial/ethnic background? Is the individual male, female, or other?
  • Background: What is the ideal customer’s job title? What level of education do they have? How far are they in their careers? Are they a decisionmaker in the type of purchase they need to make for your product or do they need to consult other stakeholders?
  • Activities: What does your ideal customer do on a daily basis? Are they more process-driven or goal-oriented? Are they running between meetings and appointments or do they spend more time doing heads-down work? How much time do they spend online? What devices do they use most frequently, and what do they do on those devices?
  • Goals: What is your ideal customer hoping to accomplish? What do they hope for in the next week, month, and year? What is the ultimate desire that is most relevant to you and your business?
  • Challenges: What problems does your ideal customer encounter in their activities? What roadblocks do they encounter when trying to achieve their goals?
  • Mindset: Is your ideal customer the type of person who likes to make decisions quickly? Do they ask a lot of questions or conduct research before making purchases?

Understand Trending Topics

Google offers a really robust tool to identify how frequently users are searching for a topic over time. A Google Trends search is a great place to begin your market research. Not only will you be able to see how many users are searching for that topic or query over time, but also get a picture of:

  • Where the searches were conducted based on region
  • The popularity of both the topic and specific search query over time
  • Most popular related search terms and queries
  • Terms and queries that are rapidly gaining volume

Using this as a jumping-off point, you’ll be able to begin developing your premium content and start strategizing a campaign.

Using Social Media for Market Research

Once you understand how the searches are working on google, you should also dive in on social media to get an understanding of the audiences that are speaking about your brand, topic, and queries. With basic social listening, you can get a pretty good sense of which hashtags, terms, and pages are most popular among your target audience personas.

If you understand your persona, mindset, and activities, you’ll generally have a pretty good idea of what social media outlets they’re most likely to use. If they’re interested in quick updates and conversations, they likely spend time on Twitter. If they’re more interested in professional networking, look to LinkedIn. If they’re more driven by socialization, Facebook is a safe bet. If they’re more interested in inspiration or visually-driven, they’ll likely leverage Pinterest and Instagram.

Social listening tools will allow you to search for topics that aren’t necessarily tagged with the # or @ symbol. By leveraging these tools, you gain an understanding of how frequently audiences are really talking about your tracked topics, and what they’re saying about those topics. Social listening tools allow you to monitor a brand across platforms, monitor related brands, and gain an understanding of audience demographics, trending topics and public sentiment about the topic.

How do I build a landing page that maximizes conversions?

Once you’ve identified your target audience, gained a detailed understanding of what matters most to them and started mapping out your inbound campaign, you’re ready to build your landing page. To get the most out of your marketing efforts, be sure to keep a few core best practices in mind in the construction of your landing page.

Landing Page Design

Your landing page design needs to lead the user through a clear, logical journey. Ensure that critical elements are placed above the fold (the first portion of the page that is visible without scrolling), as most users won’t spend much time scrolling to read the full page. Above the fold, you should have:

  • Your headline, which matches what the user clicked
  • A short supporting subheadline or statement
  • A “hero” visual element, either a high-impact graphic, photo, video, or blockquote
  • A short introductory paragraph explaining who you are and why the user should complete the form
  • The form you want your user to complete
  • A clear call to action

If you design your above-the-fold content well, your users will have a clear idea of what you want them to do, and will either immediately fill out the form and convert, or continue scrolling to learn more about you. Below the fold, you can include:

  • Core benefits of working with your company
  • Differentiating features of your product
  • Testimonials from customers or, for B2B services, your top clients’ logos
  • An additional CTA link or button to ensure that users have an additional opportunity to convert without scrolling back to the top of the page

Landing Page Content

The content on your page should be concise and impactful. You might be tempted to dive deep and use your landing page as an opportunity to delve into your full brand and tell users all about your product, it’s features and why they should choose you over competitors.

Resist this urge.

Your landing page should be detailed enough to give your users a taste of your brand without overwhelming them. You should leave them wanting to know more about your brand, and make it clear that acting on your Call to Action (CTA) will give them more answers to their questions.

Landing Page Call to Action

If your content incentivizes and spurs them to action, your users need to know what action to take. Make your CTA clear and obvious, with active language that creates a sense of urgency. Typical CTA language is a simple imperative statement that tells users what to do next:

  • Download Now
  • Sign Up Here
  • Learn More
  • Schedule an Appointment
  • Contact Us

While you might be tempted to offer your users more than one CTA option on your landing page, too many options can reduce landing page performance. The function of a landing page is to make it clear that there is a path you’d like the user to take, and multiple CTAs create forks in that path and can cause a user to get lost and turn back to their search.

Overall Landing Page User Experience

Your landing page needs to function beautifully and load quickly on any device. If load times are too long or a page doesn’t display correctly on your user’s phone, they’re unlikely to convert. Your form should have minimal fields to increase your form completion rate—too many fields may cause users to drop off before completion.

Consider what happens once a user has completed the form. Do they receive a thank you message, either on-screen or via email? Once they’ve submitted their information, can they update it easily? Do they have the option to navigate away from the landing page and onto your main website? All of these factors carry weight in creating a welcoming and simple user experience.

How do I optimize landing page performance?

In order to ensure your landing page is performing well, you need to continually measure, test and optimize. Let your campaign run for a few weeks to get a baseline, then make slight adjustments to content, imagery, and page layout. Some variables to test might be:

  • Color scheme
  • Headline and subheadline
  • Form fields and placement
  • CTA language

Once you’ve gathered baseline performance information, try adjusting one of these variables and see if it increases your conversion rate. If it does, proceed with the changes and test other variables. If the change reduces your performance, you need to either revert to the initial version of the page or try another version of the same variable.

You can also begin the process of testing these variables immediately at launch with A/B testing. To A/B test, publish two versions of the landing page with one slight variable difference. Promote each page equally for the same length of time. After a period, you’ll be able to look side-by-side at the conversion data and determine which version works best.

Regardless of your approach to testing and optimization, be sure only to change one variable at a time. If you make too many changes, you won’t know which change actually led to the improvements and can’t replicate your results or apply your learnings to future campaigns.

What comes next?

Once your users have converted on a landing page, what comes next? You need to continue nurturing your converted leads through the decision process until they’re ready to make a purchase. Once they’ve made a purchase, your work doesn’t end there. You need to continue to offer a great service experience and continue to nurture brand loyalty.

A robust marketing automation platform will not only allow you to create highly converting landing pages but also build email marketing drips, manage your leads through a robust CRM and serve content regularly.

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Ready to learn more about landing page optimization? Here are some additional blog articles to explore:

Why Your Landing Page Didn’t Convert
How to Write Landing Page Copy That Converts
Dynamic Landing Pages

AUTHOR
Jamie Embree
Jamie Embree

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