A landing page is a website page that allows you to capture a visitor's information through a lead form. A good landing page will be targeted to a particular stream of traffic - say from an email campaign advertising a particular whitepaper - and, because it is targeted, and because it has an interesting offer behind a lead capture form, you will convert a higher percentage of your website visitors into leads with which you can follow up.
Why are landing pages so critical?
Too many companies send their advertising, email, or social media traffic to their homepage. This is a huge missed opportunity. When you know a stream of targeted traffic will be coming to your website, you can increase the likelihood of converting that traffic into leads by using a targeted landing page.
For example, imagine you have a Google AdWords PPC ad running for one of your best keywords. Even if you advertise how great your company is (a boring offer for any company) and someone (amazingly) clicks through on that ad, do you want to send them to your homepage? When they land on your homepage, what are they supposed to do? What do you want them to do? Once you figure out what you want the visitor to do, make it easier for them to do just that. Send them to a landing page that prompts them to complete that action. You'll see the effectiveness of your online marketing improve dramatically.
Limit Navigation. You've brought your targeted traffic to a page where they can take your desired action. Don't distract them! Limit the number of exits from your landing page so that your visitors are focused on filling out your form. A key part of this is to hide your website navigation elements on landing pages.
Deliver Value. First and foremost, if you have a valuable offer, your visitors will give up their contact information in exchange for your offer. Ask yourself if your offer is compelling to your audience and make sure that your landing pages demonstrates that value.
Enable Sharing. Tap into a huge community of your best (and free!) marketers: your audience. Add share links to your landing page to encourage your website visitors to share your content with their audiences.
Keep it Short. The longer your landing page and form, the more friction you add to the lead conversion process. Keeping your lead form short and straightforward will increase your conversion rate.
Test, Test, Test. As many best practices as you may read about online, your landing page can always use more testing and improvement. Make sure you have a landing page creation toolthatallows you to create and test many different landing pages to see what works best for your business.