Your Guide to Creating Landing Pages

The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages - Chapter 3

In the previous two chapters of The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages, we showed you all the different uses for landing pages, and why landing pages are so critical for growing your business. Now that we’ve got the basics under our belt, we’re ready to start creating landing pages.

It’s not uncommon for marketers to ask how to create a landing page. Many marketers find themselves stuck with an email service provider that comes with subpar landing page templates, because these companies focus on their email senders or automation instead of lead collection. Other marketers find themselves digging for a Wordpress plugin or theme that actually consistently works, or the code hack to design a landing page. If you’re struggling with creating landing pages, fear not—before many of us started at Leadpages, we weren’t well-versed in the subject either.

When you go to start creating your very first landing page, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Landing page builders can feature widgets, options, integrations, icons and images. And even though many of them feature different templates to match a particular need, it can even be difficult to select the correct template to build a high-converting landing page for your specific industry.

In this chapter, we’ll demystify the process of creating landing pages. We’ll show you how to select the right template for your purpose, the principles of good landing page design, how to write your landing page copy (including optimizing your page with some basic SEO premises), and the five things you must have to create a landing page. Let’s get started.

Watch us create and deploy a landing page in less than 10 minutes.

Watch as our educational content creator Ryan Kopperud demonstrates how we create and deploy landing page with Leadpages, live online, in less than ten minutes.

 

The 5 Things You Need to Start Creating Landing Pages

Before we dive into the specifics of creating landing pages, there’s a few things you’ll need to get started.

The purpose of your landing page.

Before you can build your page, it’s essential to know why you’re building it. Every element of your page relates back to the purpose it serves, so it won’t make sense to start writing or designing your landing page if you don’t know your page’s overall goal.

A helpful way to think about this is to ask yourself, “If someone were to arrive on this page, what is the one thing I would want them to do? And why would they want to take that one action?”

This will frame the purpose of your landing page in the simplest terms give you at least a rough direction of what your page should say and look like. For example, perhaps you want to make sure people watch the video on your page (or most of the video). Or you might want to encourage people to opt in to receive your ebook in exchange for their email address. Whatever the case may be, your primary purpose should always be the starting point when creating landing pages.

Your email service provider.

It doesn’t make much sense to try to start collecting people’s email addresses if you don’t have a way to communicate with them once you they’re on your list. That’s why an essential starter piece of creating landing pages is selecting an email service provider.

It’s much easier to set up an email integration at the beginning of your landing page creation process. This means you can start collecting email leads from the second your landing page goes live. Your other option is to go back and link your landing pages with your email service provider later, but that’s not easy or efficient. When selecting your email service provider, you’ll more than likely want to select one that offers automation features—like Drip, for example.

This will give you flexibility in how you communicate with your new leads, and allow you to scale your business as you grow. That’s the nice thing about most email service providers. Many offer a series of plans that grow in price and functionality as your business grows.

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A landing page builder.

This is the software or service you’ll use to build your landing pages—just like Leadpages. If you don’t use a landing page builder, you will have to code your landing pages from scratch using HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.; or pay an independent developer to build them for you. That can result in lost time and expenses for your business (particularly if you have to contact your developer each time your changes on your landing pages).

Using a landing page builder is a much faster, more cost-effective way to create your company’s most important landing pages. With a landing page builder, you can create landing pages at the speed of thought. As your business changes, you can create new and different landing pages for any and every occasion. You can also continuously split test your pages to discover exactly what works for your audience.

With Leadpages, you get a visual, point-and-click simple builder with drag and drop functionality that allows you to see your page as you create it. You can adjust literally every element on your landing pages from the text and the design. You can also deploy your pages to a custom subdomain, your Wordpress site, or your Leadpages hosted subdomain and publish your page live online in minutes. Your landing pages built with Leadpages will automatically be mobile-responsive.

Landing page builders simplify everything and make your business web-ready in a matter of moments instead of hours or even days.

Your landing page copy.

This is exactly what you want your landing page to say. Your landing page copy is the words you’ll use to convey what your page is offering and the value it provides to visitors. We recommend you write this copy in advance, so that you can structure your page around your written purpose. We’ll discuss the details of this much more in depth during this chapter. However, the primary copy elements you’ll want to consider writing in advance are:

  • Headline
  • Subheadline
  • Benefit bullet points
  • Call to action
  • Guarantee

When writing these copy elements, remember to keep things consistent, relevant, and specific. With only a little practice and the guidance we’ll provide below, you’ll be writing high-converting landing page copy in no time.

Landing page builders simplify everything and make your business web-ready in a matter of moments instead of hours or even days.

Your landing page design.

The design of your landing page should largely be taken care of by the template you choose for your page. That said, there are of course tweaks you’ll want to make to personalize a landing page and make it your own. You’ll want to be sure you’re considering which elements to include and not include as you proceed, and make sure the template matches your landing page’s purpose.

Your overall landing page design will include the visuals you use, the colors and fonts you choose, and any additional elements. For instance, are you adding a video to your landing page? Will you want multiple buttons, or just one?


Writing Your Landing Page Copy

We often hear marketers say things like:

“I’m not a copywriter—I’m not going to be able to write compelling landing page copy.”

Or:

“The copy I write isn’t that important… As long as I have a good offer and traffic, the rest will follow.”

To which we humbly respond, “Not true! And not true!”

In the excitement of creating a landing page, the pursuit of making sales, and the myriad of other things small business owners and entrepreneurs juggle on a daily basis, writing your landing page copy often falls by the wayside. But the truth is, the copy you write is essential to the success of your landing page.

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Your landing page copy allows you to communicate the importance of what you have to offer to your visitors. Your words also give you the framing you need to create a valuable and positive experience for them.

In this section we’ll cover the five most common elements of landing page copy including tried and true tips on how to write copy successfully, no matter your level of proficiency. We’ll give you our five best strategies to writing the best landing page copy possible, and driving more leads and sales.

Creating a Clear and Powerful Headline

When you’re creating your headline, it’s important to remember that you have roughly 3-5 seconds to catch your visitor's attention before that reader decides to exit your page, perhaps forever. Your headline is what keeps visitors from leaving in those 3-5 seconds. Indeed, that is not a lot of time, and that’s why headlines are so important.

Headlines are at the top of your page. They’re the first thing a visitor sees, and there’s a very good chance your headline is the largest and clearest piece of copy on an entire page.

Once your visitor sees it, it’s going to be the first indicator of whether your landing page is the place where they want to be.

Your visitors will be asking, “Is this for me? What exactly is it? And how will I benefit from it?”

That’s why, in order to properly persuade your visitors to stay, your headline needs to answer these three questions:

1. What is the offering here?

It’s surprising how frequently people simply don’t answer this question in their headline. We’ve seen landing pages that say things like, “Coaching to take you to the next level.” But what kind of coaching is it? Are you a life coach? A career coach? A football coach? What is the product? Is it a coaching ebook? Seminar? Webinar? 1-on-1 private calling sessions? You visitor should know exactly what can be there’s if they stick around, and it should be crystal clear right away in your headline.

2. Why does my audience need what I’m offering?

People want to know what they can do once they get whatever you’re offering, or how they’re going to feel once they have it. Being clear on the benefit they’ll receive is essential. If you can help someone increase their consulting business income by up to 300% in six months, you should tell them that in your headline. If you’re going to help your visitors double their reading speed with the techniques in your videos, let them know. If your students go from barely exercising to being able to run a half-marathon in 12 weeks, spell out that benefit in your headline. Once they know your offer and what that offer will help them achieve, your visitors will be increasingly more likely to want it.

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3. Why is this landing page the only place they can get what you’re offering?

Don’t underestimate the uniqueness of being you, or the individuality of your product or service. Your headline should clearly communicate that exclusivity to your prospects. If you don’t feel your offer is genuinely unique, it’s time to either add to your offer or take some time to ponder the exact reasons why your offer is actually unique so you can be sure to include those reasons in your headline.

Hold Attention with a Subheadline

Most often, your subheadline will be the second most prominent piece of text on your landing page, and the next thing to catch your visitor’s eye after your headline. If you have headline runners-up that didn’t make the cut for your main headline, try them out as a subheadline!

This is also a perfect carryover space for ideas that were too long to fit in your headline, like why your offer is unique and exclusive. You can take several approaches to a successful and persuasive subheadline.

Here are the three ways we craft subheadlines at Leadpages, and the ways we recommend our clients write their own subheadlines

1. Intrigue visitors with a surprising metric.

If you can tease or intrigue people further with a surprising metric, your subheadline is a perfect place for that too. Numbers can be engaging proof that your offer is valuable. For example, you might tell visitors what kind of ROI they can expect in a specific timeframe by purchasing your product. You can also use social proof here if you have it (like testimonials, case studies etc.), to tell visitors how many people have done, bought, or benefited from your offer, your product, or your services.

2. Drive visitors down your page with a counterintuitive statement.

A counterintuitive statement is the exact opposite of what people would expect. It’s something that puzzles your visitors in a good way. These types of states will prompt your audience to think, “Hmm… Really? Tell me more…” For instance, the following counterintuitive subheadline could support a clear, exclusive-sounding headline:

“The Last Knife You’ll Ever Need: This Knife Cuts Everything from Cheese Wedges to Soda Cans, Yet It’s Safe Enough for a 7-year-old to Use.”

A knife that cuts anything but can be used by a child sounds counterintuitive, and makes people want to know what that might be, or how it works. Try this technique with your subheadlines when writing and do your very best to stoke their curiosity.

3. Use scarcity or a deadline to create a sense of urgency.

Once you’ve communicated your offer in your headline, consider adding language in your subheadline that communicates a limited time or low volume for your offer. If a visitor to your landing page already is intrigued by your headline, and your subheadline communicates a need to act fast, you can push visitors toward a call-to-action even faster.

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Simply open the PDF document and fill in the blanks to start crafting high-converting copy. You’ll have a better grasp of the goal of your page, and a better feeling for how it will read before you build it.

When you’re finished, you’ll have a better grasp of the goal of your page, and a better feeling for how your page will read before you even begin to build it.

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Building Fascinating Benefit Bullet Points

Bullet points are most often the meatiest part of your page. In this section, you’ll have space to say more about why your offer is valuable, and exactly what visitors can expect when they purchase your product or opt in on your page.

However, studies show that when you use more words, as little as 20% of the people who see this longer copy may actually read it.

That’s why you want your bullet points to be just as intriguing as your other copy, but perhaps not as essential. This is still where you add details about the what and why of your offer, but you wouldn’t want to bury the most critical defining characteristic of your product or service in your third of seven bullet points.

Here are three techniques we use with an example for each:

1. A “Number” Bullet

A number bullet or statement can attract visitors with the volume of your offering. It’s not necessarily about wowing people with a large number, as much as it is about creating intrigue with a relevant number. For instance, “The only 3 techniques you need…” isn’t a big number, but telling a person they only need three techniques to accomplish something creates interest. Here’s an example:

“7 Proven Copy Techniques to Boost Your Landing Page Conversions: You’ll see the exact proven copy strategies that our 40,000 customers use to persuade their visitors.”

2. A “Why” Bullet

A why bullet or statement tells visitors you know something important that you’re going to share with them. It showcases authority, because you’re alluding to having figured out the cause of something that’s of interest to your readers. Here’s another example:

“Why Scare Tactic Copy Doesn’t Always Work: You’ll see where (and how) marketers go wrong with negative selling statements and how to avoid all these copywriting mistakes on your own pages.”

3. A “How To” Bullet

A how-to bullet or statement makes sure your landing page visitors know they’re going to learn an actionable method they absolutely want or need. Here’s one more example:

“How to Craft Irresistibly Persuasive Headlines for Your Own Landing Pages: You’ll get plug-and-play formulas you can use to start building your own irresistible headlines.”

The same techniques that work in headlines and subheadlines work in bullets, too.

Try including impressive metrics, making counterintuitive statements, and proving that readers have a need that only your offer can fill.

At Leadpages, we’ve also found it’s best to have three, five, or seven benefit bullet points. However, you should always keep your bullets concise. You don’t want to delay or distract your visitors from your call to action—which we’ll talk about next.

Writing High Converting Button Copy

The last mile can be the longest, and you want to make it as easy as possible for your visitor to complete the intended action on your landing page. High converting button copy is clear and specific. Often at Leadpages, we find that the most persuasive button copy is often written in the first person. For example, things like:

  • Send me the free gardening ebook now!
  • I’m ready for my private sushi-making webinar!
  • Give me the 12-part video course!

Your button copy is that final chance to encourage people to take action on your page. It’s also your last opportunity to show visitors you have what they’re looking for. To do that, you need a strong, consistent message, from the first ad they’ve seen to this final call to action. Remember, even though a call-to-action button will mostly likely be the last item on your page, it doesn’t mean it’s the only location it will be. More often than not, you’ll also want a button with your persuasive copy above the fold of your page, so visitors can see it as soon as they land on your page.

Reversing Risk with Guarantees

Writing a guarantee on your landing page is all about giving your visitors a parachute. It’s a way to tell your audience:

“Hey! There’s no big risk here! Go ahead and click that button! You’ve got nothing to worry about! It’s going to be awesome if you take me up on this offer, and if you don’t think it is awesome, I’ll make sure you’re no worse for wear!”

But remember, a guarantee doesn’t always mean you’re giving people their money back. A guarantee can be a refund, but it can also be a guaranteed replacement of a product, or simply a guaranteed offer to resolve any complaint someone might have, until they’re fully satisfied.

Even lighter flavors of a guarantee can simply let your visitors know that their credit card information will be 100% secure with you, or that you respect their privacy and would never spam them.

Final Thoughts on Writing Landing Page Copy

If you’re looking for more information and learning how to get better at writing your landing page copy, check out these resources:


Landing Page SEO Basics

When it comes to landing page search engine optimization (SEO), we’re mostly talking about making Google happy with the experience you provide your visitors. That means both with the words you write and the experience you create on your landing page. With over 70% of the global search market, Google makes regular changes to their search algorithm to ensure that websites are delivering the optimal experience for any given visitor.

While there are thousands of factors taken into consideration, search engines across the board will essentially look for the relevance and quality of the content found on a landing page to determine how high to rank it. Whether you’re looking to rank your landing pages highly, or simply create a great experience for your visitors, learning SEO basics is an essential part of creating landing pages.

Writing Naturally

Most people know that search engines look for the presence of keywords on a page to determine what to rank them for. But just because keywords are present doesn’t necessarily mean Google will value them equitably. The most important thing to remember when optimizing your landing page for search engines is to write naturally. Don’t repeat keywords over and over in sentences just to try to rank those words, and don’t write unnaturally long paragraphs that provide more keywords in them than actual value. Write in your own voice, write well, and write naturally, and your landing page will already be perceived as more optimal than many found online.

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Conveying Value

Search engines want to rank content that is perceived as valuable by users. If you’re looking for something online, you want to find that thing—and hopefully the best version of that thing you can find. Make sure that the copy you write for your page conveys the value of someone being there and clearly articulates why your page exists. Value and length of copy aren’t inherently linked, but also remember that if you have only a few sentences and one button on your page, search engines simply won’t regard it as a valuable piece of content that should rank highly.

Relevancy and Consistency

Relevancy and consistency are paramount when it comes to SEO for your landing pages. Make sure that the copy you write for your page matches what a visitor would expect to see when they get there, and keep the content consistent throughout.

For example, it’s not a good practice to have a landing page that talks about a wide variety of things. If you’re a professional life coach but you also own your own plumbing business, you wouldn’t want to talk about those two businesses on the same landing page. That lack of consistency makes it hard for search engines to understand the purpose and value of a page, which won’t bode well for high rankings.

Creating a Positive User Experience

Another essential element of good search engine optimization for your landing pages is making it easy for users to understand your landing page and execute the intended behavior. A bad user experience is confusing, complicated, busy, and aesthetically unpleasing. Try to avoid those pitfalls by making a landing page that is easy to follow. To create an aesthetically pleasing and simple to execute landing page, try to use as few colors and fonts as necessary.

A final note on SEO: It’s important to distinguish whether you want to rank your landing pages for organic traffic or other traffic from alternative sources (like paid media). Both of these are options, but it’s essential to remember that ranking a single landing page can be extremely difficult. Search engine algorithms are wary of single pages when it comes to ranking highly. That being said, all of the tips in this section will make for higher quality landing pages, and create a better experience for your visitor, regardless of whether or not search engines decide to rank them highly.


Landing Page Design

At Leadpages, we often hear the same things about designing landing pages as we do about writing copy for them. Things like:

“I’m not a designer—I’ll never be able to make a page that both looks good and converts well.”

Or:

“The design of my landing page doesn’t really matter. As long as all the information my visitors need is there, they’ll sort it out.”

And once again, to this we humbly respond, “Not true! And not true!”

The nice thing about landing page design is that every builder should offer you a plethora of good-looking and high-converting options to select from when building your landing pages. Unlike landing page copy, your landing page design will usually have a great starting point. That being said, there are definitely some best practices to keep in mind as you continue to tweak your page, and make it your own.

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Keep It Simple

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” But we have good news...

You don’t have to be a legendary artist to make good landing page design decisions.

A smart way to think about this is to ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” as you’re adding elements throughout your page. If you find yourself adding icons or text blocks just for the sake of adding more to your page, or to fill up an existing content block, then you’re probably overdoing it.

Adopt the truism “less is more”and remember that if it’s not adding to your page, then it’s detracting. Too many icons, text chunks, pictures, and buttons just overly complicate a page and will inevitably distract your visitors from executing your call to action.

Use of a Color Palette

Too few colors, too many colors, or colors that simply don’t look good together are all easy mistakes to make. Thankfully, there are many tools online that make it easy for non-designers to get ahold of a solid colors palette. These sites help you find a color palette with colors that complement each other, and would look good adjacent to each other on a landing page you want to create.

Whatever you do, try to keep your landing page to three colors or less. Adding four or more colors to your landing page can start to make your page visually difficult to follow and unappealing to look at. Three complementary colors—usually one light, one dark, and one medium—will make for a clean and professional landing page design. With a hexadecimal color code selector in Leadpages, you can also be sure that your landing pages match seamlessly with your company’s brand and your website.

Make Smart Font Choices

Even though landing page builders like Leadpages feature a variety of web-based fonts to match the design of your page, it’s essential to try not to use all your favorite fonts on one single landing page. It’s also essential to try not to use too many sizes of fonts, either.

A best practice is to choose two fonts at a maximum and three sizes of each at a maximum. Two fonts can complement each other while adding diversity to your page, but adding more can make your page begin to appear chaotic. The same applies to your font sizes. Three font sizes can help guide the eye through different sections and elements of your landing page, but any more than three and it can become hard for your visitors to know what to read and when.

Use White Space

Many non-designers see white space and view it as an empty place that should be filled right away. This, however, is a choice to be avoided.

In fact, studies have found that an increased use of white space on a page can increase a visitor’s comprehension of the page content by up to 20%.

It’s important to use white space on your page in order to help your visitors separate items from each other and focus on what’s next on the page. If every square inch of real estate on your landing page is covered with images icons and text, your page will become far too busy to comprehend and look at.

Add Imagery

There’s a variety of research online suggesting that adding images to landing pages—specifically images of people—can increase the conversion rate of that page. This isn’t to say that adding images to landing pages is a universal rule. However, adding images to pages can make them both more attractive to visitors, and can potentially impact conversion rates.

Experiment with using imagery to improve your landing page design by incorporating related stock photography into your header or further down sections of your page.

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Using Landing Page Templates

Most landing page templates are designed with a purpose in mind, and the template itself as well of the title of the page are created to match.

For example, any landing page builder worth its salt will have a variety of the following types of page templates:

  • Webinar Registration Pages
  • Splash Pages (aka Lead Generation or Opt-in Pages)
  • Video Pages
  • Sales Pages
  • Welcome Gate Pages
  • Resource Pages
  • Etc.

You want to be sure you’re matching the template you select with the purpose of your page. Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole, by selecting a random template and trying to over-design it to match your needs. Choosing a solid landing page template is the best way to ensure your landing page design is up to snuff with today’s standards.

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Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Creating Landing Pages

When you first begin making landing page, it’s normal to make some mistakes. We still make mistakes when creating our landing pages (that’s why testing your landing page is the next chapter in this guide). But if you can avoid a few common pitfalls in the beginning, you will set yourself up for success.

To help you best accomplish this, we’ve outlined the five most common mistakes we see when people create their landing pages for the first time to help you avoid them as you proceed.

An Unclear Offer

One of the most frequent mistakes we see people make when they start creating landing pages is having an unclear offer. If you want someone to give you their email address, they need to know what they stand to gain if they give it to you. The same is true if you want someone to register for your webinar or purchase your product. Your offer needs to be absolutely crystal clear. Don’t be awkwardly repetitive. Don’t be ambiguous, and don’t offer something of little-to-no value.

If it’s unclear why a person should be on your landing page, they’ll inevitably exit your page posthaste.

Too Much Content

If your page has too much going on, visitors will have a difficult time figuring out how to respond to your page. There’s no perfect amount of content for a landing page, but very long, complicated, and busy landing pages are not likely to convert.. That’s because with every added element, a visitor has one more distraction from clicking your call-to-action and opting into your page. As always, test your pages for length, but try to reduce the content on your landing page to only essential elements. Good rule: If an element is not helping your visitors towards a conversion, it’s detracting from it.

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A Confusing Call To Action

It’s difficult to get someone to do the thing you want the most, if you give your visitors multiple things to do on any given landing page.

In other words, if you give your audience 10 steps to potentially take instead of one on your landing page, they’re less likely to take the single step that matters most. That’s why you should have as few calls-to-action as possible on your landing pages—preferably one.

Also, make sure that your first call-to-action is placed above the fold on your landing pages. This means your visitors can see your first call to action when they first land on your page, without having to scroll.

Unprofessional Look and Feel

People are unlikely to do business with people they don’t trust—and trustworthy companies appear professional. If your pages don’t look professional, they won’t appear trustworthy, and people may be reluctant to do business with you. Stick to predesigned templates that work for your business and look good to you, and always try to emulate professional pages you enjoy. If you’ve seen it out there in the wild from a marketer you respect, there’s a good chance a similar design could work for you too. You can always click here to see our Roundups on the Leadpages blog. These are posts that cover the best looking and most functional Leadpages and Leadboxes that are made by our customers every month or so. Use them for inspiration to create even better landing pages when designing your own.


In Conclusion

Once you get the hang of it, creating landing pages can truly be both fun and easy. The better you get at it, the higher your conversion rate will inevitably climb. Take time writing, and emulate other sales and landing pages that have been compelling to you in the past. Do the same for your landing page design. Start with a solid and user-friendly template, and make changes that enhance the page or make it appear similar to pages that you’ve appreciated in the past. Over time, your skill will grow, and you’ll know how to build a high-converting landing page each and every time.

Now that you know exactly how to start creating your landing pages, we’ll talk about optimizing them and driving traffic to them next, in the following chapter of The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages.

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