If you browse the web for marketing best practices, you’ll sooner or later come across ‘landing pages.’ But what, actually are they? Here’s a secret: done right, your landing pages may just be the most important parts of your website.
That merits further explanation. After all, you’re probably brought up to believe that your homepage matters more than any other. Next might be the About Us and Products/Services pages. We’ll, it’s time to rethink that hierarchy.
To truly understand modern digital marketing, you have to understand the meaning and importance of landing pages. That sounds simple, but can take a significant amount of time. Consider this the start of a thorough education of the what, why, and how of this marketing catalyst.
The narrow definition
What is a landing page? In the most narrow sense of the term, it’s a page on which your audience first lands when they get to your website. Yes, even (and especially) your homepage can be a landing page by this definition. That’s Techopedia’s definition:
A landing page refers to any Web page that a user arrives at after clicking a hyperlink.
The true meaning of the term, of course, goes deeper. When you hear marketers refer to a landing page, they typically mean a very specific thing. Put simply, this narrow definition doesn’t do it justice. So let’s forget about it, and dig deeper.
The modern meaning of landing pages
With that outdated meaning out of the way, it’s time to get specific. Here’s the thing: that definition is not actually wrong. But a modern landing page is so much more than the spot where your audience happens to land when they first arrive.
This is how Unbounce defines a landing page:
In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” when they have clicked on a Google AdWords ad or similar.
And here’s HubSpot’s definition of the same concept:
A “landing page” is any page on the web on which one might land that 1) has a form and 2) exists solely to capture a visitor’s information through that form.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Modern landing pages, in other words, are specifically designed as a next step for audiences. When you build a digital campaign anywhere from social media to Google, you need to link it somewhere. The page you link it to, which offers your audience more insight and guides them forward on their buyer’s journey – that’s a modern landing page.
What a landing page is not
We know what it is now, but it’s just as important to define exactly what a landing page is not. That way, you’re not confused as you build your website. Don’t confuse your landing pages with:
- Your Homepage, About page, or any other page that’s a permanent part of your basic web structure.
- A temporary ‘flash’ page that doesn’t actually get indexed by Google.
- A general information page or your blog, or any other page that focuses on the content itself rather than the next step from it.
- A gathering spot for any information you cannot fit somewhere else on your website.
Instead, it’s purposeful. It has exactly one purpose, which we described above. More specifically, every landing page on your (and any other) website should possess a number of features that make it unique among your other pages.
6 qualities of any successful landing page
Perform a cross section of successful modern websites, and you’ll come across plenty of landing pages that fit the above descriptions. Once you analyze them, you begin to recognize that as different as they are from each other, they all share a few unique features. As you consider how to build your website, keep in mind that your landing pages should share these same 6 qualities, as well.
1) It follows through on promises
Each landing page is likely attached to a marketing campaign. That marketing campaign, in turn, probably has specific messages and value propositions that, due to size and text limitations, cannot be explained in full. Your landing page needs to follow through on those promises, either by elaborating further on a concept or offering the thing (an ebook, perhaps) you promoted in your ads.
2) It supports information given
On your landing page, you can make bold claims about your brand, thought leadership, and expertise. But these claims only matter if you can actually back them up. That means including supporting information, such as statistics and third-party opinions. Social proof is an especially effective way to back up your messages.
3) It offers a natural next step
What, exactly, do you want the audience to do when they land on your website? Clearly define that goal, and make sure you build your entire landing page around it. Most often, as described by HubSpot above, that’s a sign up form through which you capture your audience’s contact information for future communication. Make it obvious for your audience to get to that point.
4) It keeps a singular focus
It’s easy to get scattered. You finally have your audience’s attention, so you want to tell them everything about you. In reality, though, you need to stay focused. Unbounce’s attention ratio is a useful concept to follow. The ideal ratio is 1:1, meaning that you should only have a singular goal and a singular way to get to that goal. Keeping that focus helps you keep your audience on the path through the buyer’s journey.
5) It’s optimized for all screens
More than 50 percent of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. Your landing pages need to look just as good on a 4 inch screen than they would on a 21 inch desktop monitor. Responsive design matters throughout your website but is especially crucial for this section, which should help your audience find their way through the page and to that next step you’re focusing on.
6) It features plenty of visuals
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of visuals on your landing page. Conversions rise drastically if your pages showcase your points with videos, graphics, and images. Visuals can also help to break up those walls of text that can make mobile experiences so difficult on outdated websites.
There you have it: a detailed definition of the modern landing page. Of course, knowing what the concept means is only the beginning. Moving forward, we’ll explain exactly why you should emphasize this part of your website structure, and how you can build landing pages that actually improve your marketing efforts.