MESH Interactive Agency Blog

What is a Landing Page?

Want an easy way to increase your conversions and introduce fresh prospects to your sales funnel?

Landing pages make it easy to turn your website visitors into active leads–and to turn your leads into buyers.

  • If you have never used landing pages before, you’ll be shocked at the increase in conversions they trigger, in some cases almost immediately.
  • If you currently pay for ads, but do not use landing pages, you’re probably wasting some of your advertising budget. Incorporating landing pages into your sales process can boost conversions for each ad you run and provide you with more ROI without additional spending.
  • Landing pages can bring users into your sales funnel, provide them with more ways to engage, offer a free trial or an appealing opt-in or even close a deal and trigger a sale.
  • Unlike other marketing initiatives or inbound content, landing pages get near immediate results, since users will start to arrive on them from your ads and content as soon as the landing pages launch.
  • If you are already using landing pages, then learning more about them can help you improve your conversion rate and increase the leads and sales you generate.

Landing pages offer unsurpassed ROI and conversion rates, provided you understand what they are and how to use them effectively.

What is a Landing Page?

What happens when your prospect clicks on an ad or responds to an offer? If they are just dumped on a random page on your site, you are missing a valuable opportunity. A landing page is a specific spot on your site that is created to match an offer or ad.

You may have many landing pages on your site; to be effective, you should have a fresh page for every ad, promotion or post you create.

A landing page is a standalone element that provides the prospect with everything they need to take the next step into your sales funnel. For those who are just becoming aware of your brand, a landing page is a place to highlight who you are and what you do, and to convert that cold visitor into a warm lead.

For an established lead, a landing page provides more information about a specific offer that was clicked. Warm leads are already in your sales funnel and often arrive at a landing page because they have responded to an email, social media promotion or other campaign.

Landing pages are part of your marketing campaign, but they are not included in your primary group of pages. Your home page, about pages and store pages serve different purposes. Landing pages are targeted to specific users and designed to trigger a specific action, where other pages on your site provide different details and offer more navigational options.

A typical landing page works like this:

  • You create an ad, that is then placed on Google, Facebook or another site.
  • Your prospect clicks on that ad and is taken directly to the landing page.
  • Your landing page expands on the offer, and includes more detail.
  • They read the page, watch the video or engage with the content.
  • The visitor sees a call to action, prompting them to take the next step (the thing you want them to do next).
  • After clicking the CTA, the visitor is prompted to complete the action via form or other method.
  • A thank you page confirms the subscription or signup or delivers the requested product.
  • The user is then moved to the next part of your sales funnel, added to your newsletter list and considered a warm lead instead of a cold prospect.

A Comprehensive Landing Page Guide

Used correctly, landing pages can skyrocket your results, but you need to know exactly how they work and what offers they can be used for to make the most of your pages. In this piece, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create compelling and high converting pages that get results, including:

  • What is a landing page–and what does it do
  • The critical differences between landing pages and home pages
  • How landing pages work and why they convert so well
  • The types of landing pages and when to use each
  • Key elements of landing pages–the 4 key items that must be included to get results
  • Why you should use landing pages and the benefits for your brand
  • When you should use landing pages and which offers they work best for
  • How to spot and avoid the most common landing page errors

Landing Page vs. Home Page

While both of these pages are important parts of your site, they function in very different ways. Even if they have the same information or many of the same details, their purpose is different.

Home Pages

Your home page works as a portal to other parts of your website, introduces your brand and showcases your most important value propositions. In contrast, a landing page highlights one single offer or CTA and is designed to prompt a user to take one specific action.

Traffic arriving on your home page can take a number of different directions after viewing your content. They could hop over to your blog to read a specific story, check out a freebie you’ve offered (clicking this will take them to a targeted landing page), view your items for sale or even opt to learn more about your company.

A visitor to your home page can also get in touch with a question, click on a live chat customer service portal or head to one of your social media pages to connect there. Home page visitors could even leave your page entirely and bounce to another brand.

While almost all these actions (except leaving entirely) keep the prospect on your page and have value, they are not focused on a single outcome or a sole action.

Your home page allows your prospect to find the details they are most interested in and navigate on their own.

Because the home page allows for self navigation and exploration, it needs to appeal to a broad audience, one that could be interested in a variety of your products or services. Because of this, your home page will have multiple options and links and provide a variety of information.

Landing Pages

A landing page may look similar to a home page, but it differs in some fundamental ways. A typical home page offers the chance to navigate through a site freely and without following a specific structure. A landing page offers a single option–to click on a specific offer.

While your home page will have links to your blog, other content, “About Us” and contact pages, a landing page should not offer even these basic forms of navigation, instead, it should be a single path to your specified destination.

Since these pages serve very different purposes, most brands need them both; a home page for general visitors and those who want to explore and dedicated landing pages for each offer or promotion.

Your site will have just one home page, but it could have dozens of landing pages, since a unique page is needed for every single ad, offer or promotion you launch.

How Do Landing Pages Work?

Landing pages are considered the industry standard for conversions, but why are they so effective? Understanding how landing pages work can help you create a compelling page that your prospects just can’t resist.

While the content and purpose will vary, landing pages work because they encourage visitors to take just one single step. The action the user should take is unmistakable–in fact, it is the only option on the entire page.

Your content should be compelling and interesting enough to keep your prospect on your landing page. The best landing pages offer enough detail and interesting information that the reader continues to follow along to the end–and ultimately clicks the CTA.

Landing pages work so well because they are incredibly focused. For the prospect, they are very easy to use; there is no guesswork and no alternatives. Most, if they are intrigued, entertained, and offered value by the page will continue on to click the CTA.

Landing pages take a prospect through a similar path, no matter what industry you are in or what you are selling. A successful landing page path usually looks something like this:

  1. The prospect sees an ad or responds to an offer.
  2. They click the ad or offer and are delivered to the landing page.
  3. They read the page, watch the video and review your offer in detail.
  4. They are prompted to click a CTA.
  5. They are taken to a page to fulfill the offer.
  6. A thank you page delivers the offer or confirms the signup.
  7. The prospect is moved to the next stage of the sales funnel.
  8. The process begins with a new offer and a new landing page, until they ultimately make a purchase.

Types of Landing Pages

While your landing page can be used for a variety of purposes, there are only two basic types. The first allows you to bring visitors into the top of your funnel and introduce your brand. The second is an end of the funnel page that triggers a sale or specific action.

What is a Landing Page: Top of the Sales Funnel Pages

This type of landing page is an important selling tool, but it is not designed to close the deal or actually make a sale. Instead, these pages need to launch your connection with the prospect. Most top of the funnel landing pages focus on collecting contact or email details or encourage the prospect to engage with you in another way.

Top of the Funnel Landing Page Examples

While top of the funnel pages can be used to initiate a conversation or contact in many ways, the most common purposes are:

  • Newsletter opt-ins
  • Follow on social media
  • Webinar or other free event registration
  • Download collateral or whitepaper

What is a Landing Page: Bottom of the Funnel

While the top of the funnel page focuses on creating a connection and initiating a conversation, the bottom of the funnel page closes the deal. This type of page is a true selling page and your CTA is designed to direct the prospect to take a preferred action.

The action is up to you; you could ask the user to launch a free trial, purchase a product or donate to your non-profit. The call to action here should be the result you most want and the one you consider to be a success, whether it is an actual sale or some other action that indicates that the prospect is truly sold and ready to commit.

via GIPHY

What are the Elements of a Landing Page?

Your landing pages will improve your overall conversion rate–but what information needs to be included? You need a few different elements, including:

  • An offer the prospect can respond to
  • A landing page for the offer
  • A call to action
  • A thank you page

Each of the elements is described below.

Landing Page Elements: Your Offer

Your landing page offer launches the entire process, so it needs to be appealing.

To be effective, your offer needs to have some value for your target prospect.

If they don’t really want the thing you are offering, they have no reason to visit your page in the first place. Your offer can vary based on the needs of your prospects and where they are in your sales funnel, but this element must be included for your landing page to be effective.

The offer’s purpose is to get the prospect to click through to the next element, the landing page.

Landing Page Elements: The Actual Page

Your page needs to detail exactly what you are offering and why it is valuable. Images, headings and content need to align with your brand and showcase what you are offering the prospect.

Your landing page is the tool that will (hopefully) convert that visitor and move them to the next stage of your sales funnel or gather additional information to be effective, your landing page must offer only one option–to click on your CTA button.

Landing Page Elements: The CTA

This means your landing page needs to have no other links–no navigation, no contact button, no clickable archives.

Restricting your prospect to just a single choice ensures that they know exactly what to do next and encourages them to take the action you want them to.

Landing Page Elements: The Thank You Page

This is the page that pops up after your prospect responds to your CTA. It should thank them for responding and immediately deliver the promised item.  People who reach this point have successfully converted from this landing page and can move onto the next stage of your funnel.

Why Should I Use a Landing Page?

Landing pages boost your conversion rates and make it easier for you to close a sale or add a prospect to your sales and marketing funnel. When you have a targeted offer, your visitors are more likely to respond–and a landing page gives them one single action to take.

Landing pages can enhance your overall conversion rates and ensure you are getting the best possible ROI from your PPC and social media advertising investments, too. When you spend money on advertising, then dump visitors on a random page or your home page, they may not know what to do next–and could even bounce away.

A landing page focuses their attention in the correct place and ensures they can see what to do next.

Landing pages also make it easy to measure your ROI and ensure you are investing your advertising dollars in the right place. When you can track not only the number of visitors an ad or site lead to your pages, but the actual conversion rates, you know which platforms and initiatives are worth your time. This allows you to spend money more effectively and to build a marketing strategy based on actual data, not your best guess.

When Should I Use a Landing Page?

Landing pages can be used for any product, promotion or opt-in you have to offer. They’re also ideal for generating leads, getting users into your sales funnel and even closing the deal. Because these are so versatile, you should consider a landing page for every product or service you offer.

Any time you run a PPC ad or launch a new paid promotion or sponsored post, you’ll need a landing page to go with it. With individual landing pages, you can boost your conversions and finetune your visitor’s focus, resulting in higher conversions and sales.

Use a landing page for any or all of the following situations:

For Opt-in Ebooks and Whitepapers

When you’ve created opt-in materials that offer more insight than a typical blog post or that highlight research, specific tips or other valuable insights, you need to make it easy for your prospect to access them. A dedicated landing page will allow you to offer this content, often in exchange for an email address.

The single purpose of this landing page will be to get the user to download your content; you can test to see if gating (requiring an email to “pay” for the content”) improves or reduces your conversion rate, then adjust accordingly.

When you Advertise a Sale

When you offer a sale or promotion in your advertising, the prospect who clicks on that ad needs to immediately see it fulfilled, even if there is other information or details on the page. Every ad you place needs to have its own landing page; this includes variations you’re testing on Adwords and on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

To Attract Newsletter Subscribers

Want to increase your number of subscribers and have a way to improve engagement and forge a lasting connection? You can create a landing page specifically to encourage users to sign up to receive emails from you. Users will respond to this offer when they like the content you are already sharing and want to make sure they don’t miss anything.

A landing page designed to attract subscribers should outline the benefits of subscribing, detail the high level of care you take with personal information and be fully GDPR compliant. Your CTA should lead to a contact form but request a minimal amount of information. You need the prospect’s email address to get in touch, and possibly their name for personalization, but asking for too many details at this point could turn off some visitors and decrease your conversion rate. Keep it simple–you can always ask for more detail later, after you establish a relationship.

Online Course Enrollment and Event Registration

Offer a course, event or webinar? You can make it easy for a prospective student or viewer to enroll by using a landing page. Ideally, your page will detail what you have to offer, what students will learn and why that information is important. Your CTA should direct users to your signup page, so they can register for the event.

To Launch a Free Trial

If you offer a demo for a digital product, a SaaS solution or other useful service and provide users with a free trial, that offer should get its own distinct landing page. You can use this space to highlight the benefits of your product and the CTA should lead to the signup page.

Requiring payment at this point (to be processed when the trial ends) could impact your results, so testing a model with and without is an effective way to determine which approach results in the most paid signups.

To Support Different Funnel Locations and Segments

When your user arrives to an offer because they have responded to a blog post, they have already been given insight and details into your product. A customer arriving from a Twitter post may only have seen your 140 character tweet and your profile, so they will not have as much information. These two users will likely be in different points of your sales funnel and may need different information and support to move forward.

Determine if your prospects arriving from visual media like Instagram or short media like Twitter need a different landing page than those arriving from a detailed email or blog campaign. Offering segmented landing pages ensures that each user has the right information and offer at the right time.

To Measure Influencer Effectiveness and ROI

One of the most useful aspects of a landing page is the ability to measure results. If you use influencers or affiliates, then a different, tailored landing page for each will help you track not only arrivals, but actual ROI and results. This can help you determine if you’ve made an ideal match or if you need to expand your lineup of influencers.

Common Landing Page Errors

Poor message match: One of the most common landing page errors deals with messaging. When you promise a specific outcome in your ad, you must deliver in your landing page, ideally right away. For example, offering 25% off of a product–then not mentioning the offer again on the landing page will frustrate the user and increase your bounce rate.

Your landing page should make it very clear that the user is being provided with exactly what was offered, without deviation or making them click through multiple pages to reach the offered promo, opt-in or information.

Sending users to your home page: Your home page has a lot of great information, but the person responding to your promotion, ad or email was indicating their interest in a specific offer. When you dump them on your landing page, they will not find what they were looking for and could leave your site entirely. Your landing pages have to be true, dedicated pages that focus on one single objective, not a rundown on your brand or what you do.

Skipping the CTA: It’s shocking how many brands create stunning landing pages, but fail to ask the reader to take the next step. If you do not indicate the action you want the user to take, they will wander away, even if they were ready to move forward. Even clicking back to another page on your own site is a poor outcome, since the whole purpose of the landing page is to get visitors to take a specific step. Make sure every landing page has an easy to find, easy to use CTA to boost your conversion rates.

Failing to use one page per offer: One of the most common landing page errors, offering more than one option or variety per page will dilute your offer and impact your results. It may seem more efficient, but you can–and should–have a single landing page for each offer, product or promotion you launch. Combining pages or products will undermine your efforts and lower your ROI.

Lack of brand consistency: If your landing page looks different visually from the rest of your branding, it could undermine the trust you’ve worked so hard to build.  Your landing page should align with your branding so that it is obvious the page is yours. This consistency ensures that your visitor knows the page is authentic and trustworthy.

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Get Started with Landing Pages

Learning more about landing pages and their effectiveness is just the beginning. Even if you fully understand the mechanics and benefits of landing pages, it can be tough to determine what elements to use and how to get started. You don’t have to do it alone; we’re here to help you leverage this important marketing tool and to ensure you get the best possible results for your brand. Get in touch today to get started with your own compelling and effective landing pages or, if you want to incorporate landing pages in your overarching website design strategy.

Bill Schick

As Founder and Chief Digital Officer, Bill brings insatiable curiosity, classic style, a love of loud guitars, and deep affection for his Maine Coon to our team.

Marketing Agency

MESH is a digital marketing agency that has pioneered Account-Based Marketing via our proprietary Outcome Driven Marketing (ODM) methodology. We keep our focus on tightly integrating (or MESHing) lead generation, inbound, and outbound methodologies. We help you understand the hidden levers that impact your customers’ buying decision process, develop the right marketing strategy for your unique business case, and effectively execute and measure all aspects of your Account-Based Marketing program.