Your web design may be technically and visually brilliant, but unless you only sell one product or service, it won’t always communicate the benefits of your business to every potential customer.
Enter landing pages. Or, rather, have your potential customers enter through a strategically designed landing page. While technically a landing page is any page on your website that a user reaches initially, the focus of this article is about specifically designed pages to covert incoming visitors.
A landing page can be separate from your main website, and often benefits from being a stand-alone page with minimal navigation. It is a web page designed with a single goal for a specific type of incoming visitor, and a short message designed to encourage them complete that goal. Common uses of landing pages include driving incoming visitors to fill out a pricing request, contact request, download of a document, or request for notification of a future event – depending on the goals of your marketing campaign.
Why you need landing pages.
Not all users are the same. And not all users are going to use your website in the way that you may hope. Users have different reasons for visiting, and very short attention spans (and also pages of search engine results to compare your business to). A landing page allows you to define a specific type of user (i.e. your ideal customer for a product or service) and tailer the message of your page directly to their pre-determined needs as soon as they come into your website.
Particularly when running online marketing campaigns, landing pages allow you to focus your website’s message to the specific product or service you’re targeting with your advertising. This allows you a much better chance of having visitors actually contact your business than if you are driving them to your homepage, which may contain information irrelevant to their needs.
Effective landing page web design principles
An effective landing page has crystal clarity and ease of navigation. Landing pages should be simple, and focused around just three elements, in an engaging way:
The headline, reinforcement, and the call-to-action
Or, why they’re here, why they should care, and how they can move forward.
The pages headline should confirm that the user has found what they’re looking for, and that your business can provide the product or service they need. Various elements can be used to reinforce that your business is in a place to help address their need (think examples of your business’s work, case studies or testimonials). Lastly, the call-to-action must be clear and accessible. “Contact Us”, “Request Pricing”, “Sign up”. Leave no room for ambiguity in what a user should do to move forward, or what they can expect from doing so.
Remove other obstacles to your goal
Make it obvious which web design elements users can interact with, and make sure there are no “dead-ends” in the design where a user is removed from the original message or call to action. For example. if the navigation is designed to have the user scroll, this should be immediately obvious, with visual cues.
Request a minimum amount of information. Again, to remove obstacles for having your landing page goal completed, and reduce abandonment because there are too many fields requested. Keep the information you’re requesting from your potential customers as focused as the landing page design itself, and only request what you really need to move forward with their request.
Make it beautiful AND functional
The goal is clear— to get new leads through smart web design. However, in the design stage, focus on impressing and captivating users first. Landing pages have to be authentic and meaningful and not overly pushy. We’ve all seen web design that feel like an infomercial, and we know this approach rarely works. Compare your approach to others in your industry and chose each visual element as carefully as you would for any other representation of your business. Limit the amount of text on the page, and make sure the visual presentation and information serves your customer first.
Test, measure, improve
Once you’ve tested and launched your landing page and have a suitable amount of data, it’s time to optimize. Track performance with Google Analytics to understand how effective the design has been. From detailed conversion tracking to testing multiple versions of a landing page at the same time, there are always opportunities to improve, and the tools available to make clear decisions on what works, and what can be further optimized.
Staying authentic to your brand
Although a landing page may be separate from your website, keep in mind that it represents your brand at a very critical time — when potential customers are likely seeing your business for the very first time AND are already interested in a product or service you offer. A well designed landing page must represent the elements of your brand as well as your own homepage. Keep in mind that you don’t need to let a potential customer know everything about your business at this stage. It’s critical not to overwhelm users with too much information. Stay true to the goal of the landing page, provide enough information to intrigue them, and begin working towards the actual sale in the next stage of the process.
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