The following article is an excerpt from our newest ebook, 25 Website 'Must Haves' for Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales. You can download the complete, free ebook here.
Landing pages are one of the most important elements of lead generation, yet most companies don’t use them enough -- or at all. It’s common to give more attention to a website's homepage instead. After all, it is the first room in your virtual storefront when visitors "walk" through the door.
Surprisingly, studies show that the average conversion rate for a website is between 1% and 3%, which means it’s only converting a teeny tiny portion of site traffic. With such a poor outcome, why do businesses still rely on the homepage to do the heavy lifting?
A landing page (also referred to as a lead-capture page) is a crucial must-have for any website because it provides a targeted platform for converting higher percentages of visitors into leads. In fact, landing pages have a 5-15% conversion rate on average. Yet they are often overshadowed by a homepage or other product pages.
This is because, for years, marketers have focused on driving people to a company website without a clear idea of how visitors got there and where to take them next. Today, we now use email marketing, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and other online channels that empower marketers to send traffic to specific locations (landing pages) containing the right messages for each audience.
The job of a landing page is to tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do and why they should do it. Homepages, while still an important element of a website, are typically less focused on a particular task because they are serving the masses. Homepages are great for direct traffic, but when you can control how visitors arrive on your site, a landing page is the best place to send them. When done right, landing pages can have a very positive impact on your lead generation.
While landing pages perform better than main site pages at a 5-15% conversion rate, they can do much better if using the best practices explained below. In fact, many of HubSpot's customers who have implemented these tips are experiencing a 30-45% conversion rate! That’s insanely above the average!
To put this into perspective, if you drove 10,000 visitors to your homepage, you’d receive an estimated 300 leads. If you instead sent them to a targeted landing page with an average 30% conversion rate, you could generate 3,000 leads. Which one would you rather have?
Wondering what it takes to get a stellar landing page conversion rate? Check out the tips below for creating the perfect landing page.
1. Never Use Your Homepage as a Landing Page
As mentioned above, homepages typically have too much messaging, making visitors feel lost. We'd also recommend not using a main site product page either. Even if your homepage and sub-pages are awesome, a dedicated landing page (using these tips) will perform better at converting visitors into leads because they are focused on one task.
2. Landing Pages Must Contain the Following Elements
- A headline and (optional) sub-headline
- A brief description of the what is being offered
- At least one supporting image or short video
- (Optional) supporting proof elements such as testimonials, customer logos, or security badges
- Most importantly, a form on the landing page itself to capture information. If for some reason you can't include a form on the landing page, use a large call-to-action (CTA) button to direct visitors to the next step.
3. Remove or Limit Extra Navigation
A landing page is used for one purpose and one purpose alone – to encourage a visitor to take one specific action. When visitors land on a page, we want to keep them there until they perform that action. Leaving the navigation might induce them to continue wandering. Remove main site navigation from the page so they don’t move off your landing page.
4. Keep the Objective Simple and Clear
Don’t try to stuff too much information on your landing pages. Make it clear what the page is about and what you want the visitor to do. Limit the amount of copy, images, media, and links to only what's necessary, and organize your content in a proper structure so objects are in logical order. It's especially important that the call-to-action (CTA) is as crystal clear as possible for the visitor.
Example of a landing page that could improve the CTA:
5. Match the Content to a Visitor’s Previous Source
Whether a visitor comes from a PPC ad, email, or call-to-action from another source, ensure the messaging matches throughout the entire conversion path. If your PPC ad says “Download our Marketing Ebook,” your landing page should say the exact same thing -- or similar. If there is a disconnect in your messaging, visitors will feel as if they are in the wrong place and will likely hit the ‘Back’ button.
Friction is caused by objects (or missing objects) on a page that inhibit a visitor from taking action. This can include providing too much information (adding complexity), animation that is distracting, lack of customer proof or security, etc. Make your visitors feel confident in their choice to provide their information. To reduce friction, keep the page simple (don’t require visitors to read too much), include proof elements such as customer testimonials, number of downloads/sales (to indicate acceptance from others), security badges (if you’re dealing with sensitive data such as credit card information), and as mentioned above, make sure messaging matches throughout their conversion path.
7. Focus on VALUE
Don’t create a landing page to download a fact sheet (never put these behind a form). Do create a landing page for a valuable whitepaper. Don’t use a landing page for “Contact Us,” but do use one for a valuable guide, free trial, demonstration, or evaluation. Offering something of value will enable you to generate more leads so you can nurture them over time until they are 'ready to buy.'
Example of a great landing page providing value:
8. Only Ask for What You Need
When it comes to web forms, there is no magic answer for the number of form fields that should be required. But here is one simple rule of thumb: only ask for what you or your sales team really needs. If you don’t need their hair color, don’t ask for it. Try to stay away from sensitive or confidential information, too. And never, ever use the word “Submit” on the form button. Always use language for what they are getting in return. For example, use “Download Now,” “Get your Free Evaluation,” or “Join our Mailing List.”
9. Create a Lot of Landing Pages
For every new campaign or offer, create a new landing page. The more landing pages you have, the more opportunities for converting more traffic into leads.
BONUS: Make Your Landing Pages Shareable
This is optional, but it's another great way to drive more visitors to your landing pages. Include social media sharing links or a social sharing widget on your landing pages so visitors can easily share that content with their own personal networks, and in turn, drive more opportunities for converting leads.
Evaluate your landing pages, and use these best practices as a checklist for setting up the perfect page. Effective landing pages are what will turn your website into a lead generating machine. And don’t forget to test your landing pages to see which ones work best for you!
What other landing page best practices would you recommend?