What is a landing page? In common usage, the term “landing page” often refers to any pages or sub-page of a website. In fact, landing pages have a specific function: they are the first stop for visitors who have clicked on a specific link. Because of their importance, there is much to be considered when creating or optimising a landing page.
In its broad sense, the definition of landing page refers to websites which users can access via an external link. For example, if a user clicks on a link in the newsletter or on an internet ad, they will be redirected to a landing page: also referred to among professionals as a marketing page. But what content should be included on a landing page, and what should be considered when carrying out landing page optimisation?
The purpose of a landing page
The fundamental aim of a landing page is to “capture” the user after they click on a link. The visitor’s first contact with the company is therefore when they land on a certain page and – in an ideal world – are then pointed in the desired direction. Critical to the definition of a landing page is that the user must previously have clicked on an advertising element. This advertising element might be a link or button in a newsletter, for example. When creating a landing page therefore, it is important to know exactly what action a user should perform on the website. What would you like to encourage the user to do exactly? Contact the company, buy something, or sign up for something?
In order to trigger the desired action, a landing page should always pursue a very clear goal. This goal must be clearly defined and formulated from the outset. In order to implement the project efficiently and with the greatest possible success, there are several helpful criteria which characterise a good quality landing page.
Compared with the other pages and sub-pages of a website, the actual landing pages take on a special role, since they do not have to be a permanent element and may also differ in some other points from the usual design. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to implement pages which are intended to achieve a reaction from the visitor in accordance with the landing page principle.
Create landing page: Yes or No?
The gravest error is failing to create any landing pages at all, or creating pages which do not follow the landing page principles. Campaigns without landing pages miss out on a huge amount of potential. A landing page is recommended in particular to encourage users to:
- Purchase products
- Make use of special offers
- Conclude contracts
- Subscribe to newsletters
- Make contact enquiries
- Download white papers
- Take part in webinars
- React to any kind of time-limited promotion, such as clearance sales, holidays, start of school semester, etc.
- Make use of any promotions for specific target groups, such as new customers, customers switching from competitors, students, etc.
The purpose of a landing page is to trigger a reaction from the visitor. The full website and its content must therefore be clearly oriented towards this goal. After all, visitors should be able to see what the website is about at first glance – and should ideally carry out the desired action. Prompts should be clearly presented on the landing page and should make carrying out the target action as easy as possible.
When starting to create a landing page therefore, it is important to think about what you want to achieve and whether a landing page is an appropriate way to reach this goal.
Advantages of landing pages at a glance
1) Measurable and traceable effects
Clever marketing involves evaluating the success of your own marketing activities on a regular basis. It is very easy to measure the success of landing pages in particular, as only two results are possible: the visitor either carries out the desired action, or they do not.
Consequently, landing pages are particularly well suited to split testing. There are two options for split tests. In option one, the levels of effectiveness of different versions of a landing page are compared. In the second option, it is possible to check which incoming links were most frequently used to access a specific landing page.
The second variant relies on the fact that both the link text and the link environment correspond to the actual landing page. If this is not the case, the user will have false expectations and will then be disappointed. At this point, trying to convince the user with the landing page and to encourage them to act becomes problematic.
2) Easy setup using tried-and-tested templates
Because landing pages focus on a single topic, they are relatively quick to create. For example, with the help of templates. It should be noted, however, that templates cannot replace a design with specific text and graphics.
The setup is also easier, as landing pages do not tend to have additional elements such as navigation, teaser boxes, or additional information. The focus is always on the desired action of the visitor. This action is prompted by the “call to action”, or CTA. Thus, landing pages can be used to try out new approaches independently of the actual website.
3) Easy to delete
Separate landing pages are not usually accessible using the navigation. In addition, internal links do not normally lead to landing pages. This means that it is easy to delete landing pages at any time. When a landing page is deleted, therefore, there are no “dead” links. If something does not work as expected, or once a campaign is finished, the relevant landing page is removed quickly and easily.
Creating the perfect landing page: tips for landing page optimisation
Since a good landing page is characterised not only by a carefully considered concept, but also by its ability to ensure a good first impression and a high degree of user friendliness, presentation is the be-all and end-all. The path the visitor takes from clicking a link to the purchase of a certain product must therefore be as simple and direct as possible, in order to ensure a high completion rate.
A clearly laid out landing page which allows for the immediate implementation of the desired action involves no unnecessary distractions. Instead of clicking through the entire website and the navigation, the visitor can, for example, add a product to the shopping cart or register for a newsletter with a single click. It is advisable to take sufficient time to formulate the objectives, and to write these targets down in order to formulate them clearly.
Certain measures can be used to provide the visitor with the necessary information and encourage them to act. With a landing page, you control what information you present to the user. As soon as the target has been formulated, it should be realised accordingly in the content and structure. So what elements should a landing page include?
1) Descriptive title
When it comes to a landing page, the benefit to the user of continuing to read on should already be clear from the title. It is therefore important that the chosen title corresponds to the name of the link that brought the user to the website. This leaves the user no room for doubt as to whether they are on the right page.
To give a concrete example: if the link name reads “Click here for information about our trendy new trainers”, the title of the corresponding landing page should refer back to this. The reference need not necessarily be verbatim, but some common wording is generally useful. The title of the landing page must always correspond to the link in the newsletter in terms of its content, however. In this case, for example, “This season’s trainer trends”.
2) Short and snappy formulation
One of the most important elements when it comes to ensuring the readability of a landing page is a well-structured text with plain and clear-cut statements. This content can still be kept short and concise – but it should be meaningful and relevant. The benefits to the user of performing the desired action must be presented clearly and explicitly.
In order to keep texts succinct and concise, snappy formulations or the use of lists instead of running text, for example, have proven to be useful. Lists illustrate the potential benefits for the user. You should take these aspects into account when optimising the landing page, in order to ensure the text is easily understood by users.
3) Clear design
Short and snappy formulations contribute to the clear design of a landing page. In essence, ensuring a clear design means paying attention to the page’s readability: in other words, the elements on the landing page should appear in a logical order. It is always a good idea to use a clearly formulated headline that attracts attention. Bear in mind that pictures increase user attention. Suitable images should therefore be added to the landing page during its creation or optimisation.
The most important elements or information on the landing page can be placed in the area that is directly visible without scrolling (“above the fold”). This tip is equally important for the conventional desktop version of the target page as well as for its display on a range of mobile end devices.
It is also neater if the landing page only allows the user a few options for action. Take a shopping cart page, for example: from here the user’s only option is to carry on to the checkout. If the user is also presented with links to other offers, their attention will be diverted from the actual target (CTA).
4) Use confidence-building elements
Confidence-building elements such as statements from satisfied users can strengthen the visitor’s trust in the provider. Such statements become even more credible when they are accompanied by photos of these users. Further confidence-building measures include product evaluations, reviews and test results. Seals of approval and other marks of quality also belong to this category. Another option is something known as “side-by-side product comparison”, which helps users to directly compare products.
5) Strengthen your own brand
The entire design of the landing page, e.g. colour scheme, fonts and layout, should be adapted to the design of the actual company website. The visitor must be aware at first glance that this page is part of a company’s overall internet presence.
6) Clear call to action (CTA)
In order to fulfil their purpose, landing pages require a clear call to action – an unmistakable CTA. What the visitor is being called on to do must be clearly formulated. Buttons labelled with things like “Buy now”, “Subscribe here” or “Make an appointment” can be used for this purpose. Alternatively, you can use several calls to action. Bear in mind, however, that the fewer the number of calls to action, the more effective each one is.
Landing page and SEO? But of course!
Even in the case of a landing page, it is very useful to use SEO. Target pages, like all other web pages, are also relevant to search engines. It should therefore have a unique page title and a unique meta-description.
This ensures that the web page will appear in the search results. Once this is the case, the landing page has fulfilled its purpose and is exploiting its full potential.
7) Add in as few links as possible
Since a landing page has just one goal, links can be disruptive. It is therefore advisable to avoid including internal links and possibly even to hide the standard navigation of your website. This helps the user to focus on the essentials. In some cases, however, it may be useful to insert links. These should be the most essential links: for example a link to the company homepage, or to the FAQs, to ensure that the landing page does not become a “dead end”.
8) Choose pictures and graphics carefully
Pictures or graphics can support the message of a marketing page, but should be used in a meaningful way and in moderation. If a landing page is displayed in the search results in connection with an image, then this same image should be found on the landing page itself. This allows the user to see immediately that they are on the right page.
Landing page optimisation – Split testing brings measurable success
Landing pages can easily be tested for effectiveness using what are known as split tests. A test using this particular method helps gain valuable insights about the page’s visitors and increase the success of future target pages by means of landing page optimisation.
In A/B testing, two different variants of a landing page are compared. To do this, half of the recipients receive a link to the first version (variant A) and the other half of the recipients receive a link to the second version (variant B). The results of each group are then compared. Important parameters include in particular the click rate, conversion rate, and duration of stay on the landing page.