Landing pages sell products.
Let’s start with a definition. A landing page is a web page that allows you to guide a visitor through the buying cycle of your product. It takes an individual from awareness all the way through conversion and in many cases, generates a follow up email after.
Landing pages are focused on a single objective which match the intent of the ad your visitors clicked on to reach the page.
Consider an example. You sell beer brewing supplies. Users of your website could buy spoons, hops, sugar, brewing kits, or anything in between. The homepage of your site needs to interest all of these people. The landing page, however, only has to capture the attention of what your ad was focused on. So, if you’re advertising brewing kits, then that is all the landing page should talk about.
Are landing pages something new?
Online marketers have used the term “landing page” for many years to describe a sales tactic focused on getting people to take one, specific action. Today, landing pages have become a required element in marketing for every type of business. Even brick and mortar stores utilize specific landing pages when giving information to customers.
Every link on your landing page that does not bring a user to a conversion goal is a distraction, and will dilute your message and reduce your conversion rate. Remember, a confused user does nothing. Therefore, a specific landing page relating to one product, with no distractions, equates to a significantly higher conversion rate.
Does your message match all the way through your funnel?
One fundamental aspect of conversion centered sales is message match. This is the ability of your landing page to reflect the message being presented in the ad. Today’s Internet users are very impatient and will leave your site within the first five seconds if you don’t reinforce their interests with a matching headline and purpose.
Before we go any further, let’s look at a quick refresher of the typical 5-step conversion process for online retailers.
1. Awareness (ads)
Users learn about your products through ads. These can be flyers hung up on a pegboard, Facebook ads, Google Ads ads, business cards handed out at a trade show, or any other medium you would consider advertising yourself to bring awareness to your product.
Note: For this article, we will focus solely on digital ad formats such as Facebook ads and Google AdWords.
After a user notices something interesting in the ad, they are asked to take action. This is called the Call to Action in the ad. Sometimes it is to click a link and learn more, others it is to email someone for information, or even sometimes to fill out a form. Regardless, there is a specific process we use to bring the user through each of these steps to conversion.
2. Information (landing page)
When the user clicks on the call to action (CTA), they will most likely need more information before they purchase. For example, if I just learned you are selling shirts and clicked on your ad, I still need to know size, shipping options, refund info, etc.
Your product landing page is the page that users visit after the ad that is directly related to what content was in the ad. Effective landing pages make it very clear what a visitor is going to get from a page and walk them through the process of how to get it.
3. Decision (landing page / email)
At some point in the awareness and information phase, the user will begin to formulate a decision as to whether or not they want to purchase what you are selling them. The goal of your landing page is to get them the most relevant information, as quickly as possible to eliminate all of their fears, and walk them through a conversion. Some users will convert immediately. Others will take days or weeks to think about it, and might need to speak with someone before buying. All of this depends on what you are selling and how strong the need is for the consumer.
4. Purchase (website)
When the user is ready to purchase, your landing page should have clear instructions on how to do so and a simple method to get them to checkout. The fewer clicks at this point, the higher the number of conversions you will see. Sometimes they are able to convert right on the landing page, and other times they will need to be brought to a secure checkout in order to do so. This depends on how you have setup your website.
5. Follow up (thank you page / email)
After a user purchases, you need to confirm their transaction is complete, and provide them with some sort of payment confirmation. That can be through an email or a Thank You page on your website.
So now you simply make money, right?
Any savvy online marketer understands that once you’ve done all the hard work involved in getting website visitors (through ads), the next big step is to convert them into customers of for your business. Your landing page is the tool which allows you to accomplish this.
Ironically, there is a major disconnect between the importance of landing pages and their use by marketers. According to MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook (2nd edition), 44% of clicks for B2B companies ignore this and direct advertisements directly to the business’ homepage.
Why are landing pages so underutilized? MarketingSherpa cites the number one reason businesses don’t use landing pages is because they don’t know how to set them up, or are too overwhelmed with work. With today’s landing page creation software (explained in more detail below), any computer user can create a page in a matter of minutes.
Simply put, online ads get users to visit landing pages. Landing pages then guide these users to conversions. One is not relevant without the other, and each must be viewed built and optimized as a pair. This is precisely why we can say, “Online ads do not sell products.” It takes both the ad and the landing page to convert them.
What do landing pages typically look like?
There are plenty of theories around the “best converting landing pages” you can build online. A quick Google search will give you pages among pages of ideas. In actuality, it is 100% dependent on your product, brand, and targeted audience. What works for one company, might be terrible for another. Nothing is better than experience to quickly find the most optimal page style for your company. This is why companies that create the pages everyday, such as Outside ROI, are so efficient at it.
Creating landing pages allows you to connect the value of a specific product to the audience you have selected through your ads.
The book How to Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards goes into great detail about landing pages (sales pages). It says each one should have 15 components, which I have listed below.
- Deck copy
- Bullet points
- Value justification
- Risk reversal
- Call to action
Note: For this article we are not going to go into each of those. If you have specific questions regarding any of them, you can email me directly and I will explain further.
The goal of this page flow is to mimic the job of a salesperson. Imagine yourself walking into a large electronics retailer where a salesperson approaches you. He/she will walk through the same process of introducing themselves, identifying your needs, and then offering information and eliminating your fear to purchase until you are ready to buy.
Let’s look at an example.
Say you own a company selling plastic, and your products include a variety of indoor and outdoor plastic wall covering materials. You’ve hired a savvy inbound marketer who maintains a business blog featuring articles about plastic technology as well as routine maintenance tips and tricks. You also have several premium marketing offers like free educational PDFs to download, and free in-home consultations.
Now, let’s say a mother was looking for a plastic for the walls in her baby-to-be’s nursery but was first doing some research on the dangers of the chemicals. She comes across your blog post entitled “10 Safe Plastics to Use In Your Nursery” as a result of a Google search, and she clicks through to read it. When she reaches the bottom of the article, she notices a call-to-action (CTA), for one of your offers — a free in-home plastics measurement and consultation to help her decide which style plastic is most affordable and safe for her nursery. “That would be valuable,” she thinks, clicking on the CTA and visiting the landing page where she can sign up for her free consultation.
The biggest part, as a marketer, is to simply begin creating these pages in the first place.
The landing page provides additional information about what she will get out of the free consultation, convincing her that it is valuable enough to give out her contact information on the landing page’s conversion form. She submits her information, and voila — she’s now a hot lead for your plastics business. Even better, she is now waiting and excited for you to follow up with her.
So…the more your landing page is related to the ad, the more effective you will be at converting web browsing users into paying customers. Smart marketers are always experimenting with ad and landing page combinations to find the most cost effective method of generating conversions.
The More Landing Pages You Have, The Better!
Put simply, the more landing pages you create, the more opportunities you’ll have to convert visitors into leads. Possibly even more important than that is the valuable information you learn as you create each one.
Actually Building Landing Pages
Anyone who can use the Internet can also build efficient landing pages. There are a number of marketing software solutions available to marketers, such as ClickFunnels, LeadPages, WordPress plugins, and more, that make landing page creation quick and simple for any marketer. There is no longer a need to wait days or weeks for your webmaster to build it for you. Use this software to create yours in minutes, and then begin testing variations against each other immediately.