Following in the vein of the feature blogs we’ve published previously to help small business owners out there build on their SEO knowledge, next up we’ve got landing pages. Once you understand what these do and how to use them they can be a very useful tool to gain new followers.
A landing page is called so because it is a page that a visitor will ‘land’ on from an external source, such as from a search results page or via social media advertising, after searching for a specific phrase or word. These pages have a very niche focus, and are optimised in order to gain a specific response from the user. This will be carried out by a ‘call-to-action’ – a command that makes the user act in a certain way. A call-to-action generally refers to a ‘buy now’ button or a button that takes you directly into the website, or requesting the user to fill in a form (for instance, to subscribe to a newsletter or gain more information about your business).
While your landing page will be a part of your website, it is not accessible from the website itself. Think of it as a standalone page with a one-way system directing traffic to your website. People can get to the website from the landing page, but not vice versa. This is where your landing page differs from any other page on your website. Though there are considerations for both pages that cross over, such as the importance of drawing readers in and utilising keywords, there are certain factors that make landing pages very different. For instance, it may seem like the logical thing to do in order to draw in organic results from search engines is to have your homepage as a landing page. Initially, they seem pretty similar. Both pages have the purpose of drawing in your audience, right? So how are they different?
Though your homepage and your landing page may hypothetically be offering the same thing, the reason they are different is that a landing page is created for a sole purpose. Despite your homepage giving very similar information about, say, an offer you are currently promoting, this is not the sole purpose of the page. It will also have links to other parts of the website, or other services that you provide. It may have adverts, or use a lot of images to let your users know about your website as whole. The result of this is that the page becomes unfocused – it’s a gateway to numerous other things that you have to showcase. If what you are looking to do is get some details from your users so that you can include them in your weekly newsletter, having your contact form on a separate page where the focus is entirely on what the user needs to do and why they should do this is going to attract more completed forms than if it were on a page where there are lots of other things going on as well. Keep it simple and uncluttered with other ideas and you’ll see results.
There are 2 main types of landing page – Click Through and Lead Generation:
These types of landing page are most commonly used in ecommerce, where it is (hopefully!) the last stage between a customer having an interest in a product or service, and a customer wanting to buy it. From your dedicated landing page your customer will be able to ‘click through’ to either a web page of your related products, or the shopping cart, or whatever it may be that you are trying to direct them to.
You would use a ‘lead generation’ landing page if you want to get a customer’s contact details so that you can connect with them at a later date. Alongside the contact form there will often be some kind of offer available to convince the user to sign up, for instance a free ebook or discount codes. A word of warning if you are looking to get someone’s contact information – only ask for the necessary details (such as name and email address) or you’ll risk scaring them away, and always follow through with anything you offer so that your business doesn’t come across as not being genuine.
So you’ve decided which type of landing page it is that best suits your interests. Now to make the most of it.
The first thing you’ll need to think about is the heading and tagline that you’re going to use. You’ll already be aware that these things are very important for your other webpages, but this is particularly relevant here because you have a singular objective to attain. You don’t want your landing page to be too wordy, either, as this will detract from the point of your message and risk stealing the emphasis away from your call-to-action. A useful rule of thumb to work out whether you’ve got too much information going on is to test whether it is ‘skimmable’ – can you skim-read the page and still understand what action you are supposed to take? Have you got important information that goes too far ‘beyond the fold’ (i.e. do you have to keep scrolling down the page before you find the CTA?)? At this moment in time, the landing page is to get you noticed and spike interest – and if you succeed, that’s when they’ll find your website and want to get down to business. Until then, your landing page isn’t the time or place for a lengthy blog post or in-depth description of your company history.
One thing that can slip website owners up in the creation of their landing pages is the temptation to go down a different route in the way that you design the page. Although it is a standalone page, it is still a part of your website, and you need to make sure that it is an extension of your brand as opposed to a new and unique addition. Your website needs to be recognisable once your users have gone past the landing page. If it looks and sounds completely different, they’ll think they’ve come to the wrong place. It’s like sending a postcard of your house to someone who plans to visit soon – they’d be pretty confused to turn up expecting a city apartment and be met with a quaint country cottage!
To give you an example, here at Burfield we use a landing page for the specific search term ‘web design in Bath.’ It wouldn’t do to have a specific page for Bath as the homepage, because that could then cause other potential users to think that the company only deals with Bath-based clientele. However, by having a landing page devoted to that term, it ensures that any revenue to be gained by people searching for businesses based locally can be met. The CTAs are easy to find and give a brief overview of what Burfield is all about, finished with a contact form for anyone that wants more information. This way, your audience aren’t bombarded with lots of different stimuli, and instead are given the relevant information to answer their search term.
Once you’ve got your head around how they are different from the rest of your website, and the benefit that they can have in terms of your digital marketing strategy, landing pages are a valuable means to attain and maintain your customers.
If you want to get some more information about this or anything else that we discuss on the Burfield blog, feel free to give James an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively you can send a message from the Contact Page.
Image by Mohammad Abdullah – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ikaros_images/