What is a Landing Page?

The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages - Chapter 1

From brick and mortar business owners looking to build their email list for the first time, to the most seasoned digital promoters, we’re all at different levels of marketing know-how. But regardless of where you might fall on that spectrum, it never hurts to head back to the basics, and dig into the absolute best practices for your marketing.

This landing page course will be the most comprehensive selection of content we can provide you. We’ll show you the depth and variety of uses for landing pages including how to create high-converting pages in no time, using the techniques and best practices we’ve learned through the millions of visits our customers receive to their Leadpages landing pages every single day.

It’s essential to remember that when we start on the same page, we can grow together, and build our knowledge to help grow our businesses. To that end, let’s start at the very beginning by defining exactly what a landing page is.


Landing Page Definition

At Leadpages, we like to remind people what a landing page is not. For starters, a landing page isn’t just any page you arrive on for a particular website. It’s not necessarily your website’s homepage either.

Instead, a landing page is a webpage that is designed to take web traffic, and convert visitors in a particular way, for a particular reason.

In other words, landing pages are created to get people to do something (ideally, just one thing). And there’s a few primary actions any business might want people to complete on a given landing page.

  • Subscribe to an email list or newsletter.
  • Download a piece of content (like an ebook or free report).
  • Register for a live and/or digital events like webinars or conferences.
  • Purchase an actual product or service being offered.

You might notice that all of these behaviors have something in common. They are all ways that anonymous or fleeting website visitors can be converted into leads.

That’s because at the end of the day, the primary purpose of any landing page, is in fact lead generation.

Landing pages are built to grow your email list (and your audience) so that you can promote future products and events to a warm audience, build a community, and grow your business.

Need a quick refresher on what exactly a landing page is?

Watch as our Educational Content Creator, Ryan Kopperud breaks down the ins and outs of what a landing page really is. In just two minutes, he’ll talk about what they are and what they can do for you and your business.

 

4 Types of Landing Pages

When, where, and how you use a landing page can determine the sub-genre of landing page you might use. Don’t worry, we won’t get too much into complicated definitions here. But it’s worth noting that what we refer to as landing pages can also be called one of the following.

Splash Page

A common type of landing page is a splash page (also occasionally called a splash screen or a welcome gate). Splash pages are often used as an introductory page on a website, which is why the term “welcome gate” gets used as well. Essentially, it’s a single page visitors see before they can enter your site.

You can think of it as an introductory page for a website that provides valuable information or is designed for common lead collection purposes as well. Business owners often use a splash page so they can immediately ask new visitors to join their email list.

Squeeze Page

A squeeze page is just another word for “landing page.” It’s called that because this type of landing page is designed to squeeze information out of visitors—specifically an email address. Squeeze pages are like landing pages, in that their purpose is—you guessed it—lead generation. However, they often feature a wide variety of shapes, sizes, lengths, and content types.

When you see the term squeeze page, you can more than likely interchange the words landing page. Sometimes, squeeze pages feature a progression of information, testimonials, and context, which are all designed to “squeeze” a visitor into converting or making a purchase.

Capture Page

Another industry term you might see frequently in reference to landing pages is the term capture page (or more formally seen as a lead capture page). Once again, this is basically a synonym for a landing page (and the aforementioned squeeze page). Just like with squeeze pages or landing pages, capture pages are designed to (you guessed it) capture leads.

There’s nothing specific you really need to know beyond that—just keep in mind that these phrases are interchangeable.

Sales Page

Ideally, you will want to provide value to your website visitors before you ask for them to purchase from you. However, in some circumstances,, you might want to start selling your product or service to first time visitors. For that, you’ll want a sales page. A sales page is a landing page that uses copy, testimonials, videos, or other elements to sell your products or services instead of focusing on lead generation.

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Landing Page Elements

Now that we have a solid and agreed-upon landing page definition, and we’ve covered some common terms and synonyms for landing pages, we’re ready to discuss what kinds of elements belong on your landing pages.

It’s important to remember that nearly every kind of business—from brick and mortar stores to digital marketers—use landing pages. That’s why no two landing pages are really alike. Since their uses range far and wide, landing pages are constantly changing to meet the needs of both their creators and their visitors.

That being said, there are four elements of a landing page that we commonly find across the highest-converting landing pages.

An Engaging Headline

You probably wouldn’t pick up a newspaper or a magazine if it didn’t have an engaging headline, right? Or what if you saw a newspaper lying on a diner counter somewhere with all the text the same size font on the front page? Would you read that? We sure wouldn’t, and we’re guessing you probably wouldn’t either.

It’s the same with your landing pages. The most important element on any landing page is your headline.

Your headline tells your readers exactly where they are, why they’re here, and gives them a reason to keep reading. Like a well-crafted newspaper headline, your landing page headline also entices your would-be customers to stick around and see what you have to offer.

A landing page without an engaging headline isn’t much of a landing page at all—and in our experience, will never drive a quality conversion rate for you and your business.

In a later chapter of this course, we’ll speak more to the exact specifics of writing an engaging headline for your landing page. For now, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you want to create a clear and powerful headline:

  • “What is my landing page offering here?”
  • “Why does my audience need it?”
  • “Why is this the only place they can get it?”

If your headline answers these three questions in a compelling and concise fashion, you’ll be well on your way to generating more leads.

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A Compelling Offer

Landing pages are designed to get your would-be customers to take action. The best way to inspire people to take action is to give them a clear and compelling offer.

Whether you want your web visitors to purchase your product or service, join your email list, or take some other desired action on your page, you have to offer them something valuable in return.

It might sound simple, but many marketers forget to offer some specific value on their landing pages. They don’t explain exactly what people will receive if they purchase or give their email address on their landing pages—and why people should want it.

No matter what your landing page is used for, you’re inevitably offering something. It might be software, it might be a free ebook, it might be a webinar, or it might be a professional service—but in exchange for money and/or an email address, you’re offering some kind of value.

It’s essential to be as clear and specific as possible about what exactly that offer is. The more compelling your offer, the more likely your visitors are to see the reason they should complete your desired action, and know exactly why it will benefit them.

Supportive Imagery

Supportive imagery doesn’t necessarily mean adding a ton of extra photos to your landing pages (although photos can be fantastic). Icons, graphics, logos, bio photos, directional arrows, color variety—really any type of supportive visuals can be an essential element for your landing pages.

Why use good imagery on your landing pages? It’s the same reason why food trucks are painted bold, beautiful colors. It works.

People are more willing to do business with anyone or anything that appears professional, and good aesthetics are an important part of that.

Think of it this way. If someone tried to sell you tacos out of the side of a rusty minivan with broken windows, would you buy one? Not likely. It’s the same for your customers. Your customers are more likely to respond to visually appealing, professional-looking landing pages.

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A Good Call-to-Action

Most often, when you hear people mention a call-to-action (or “CTA”), they are talking about the button on your landing pages that your customers click to join your email list, purchase your product, register for your webinar, etc.

In order to nail your conversions and generate more leads and sales, each of your landing pages needs to have an enticing call-to-action. We’ll talk more about exactly how to craft compelling copy for your CTA buttons later on in this course, but for now it’s important to understand that a good CTA should be clear, well written, easy to see, and easy to execute by one of your web visitors.

Even more important, your button copy should highlight the value of executing your CTA. For instance, many business owners use generic button copy like “buy now” for their sales pages. But if you use the words “Buy Now” your visitors don’t necessarily recognize the value of clicking that button. Instead, they recognize that they’re buying something and paying money for it. There’s also some ambiguity around what they’re buying, because you’re not explaining what you’re purchasing in this “Buy Now” command.

On the other hand, if your button says, “Start Learning French Today” your customers will know exactly why they want to click the button. If you can highlight what your customers will receive or what value they will receive by clicking your CTA button, you’re more than likely going to dramatically increase your conversions.


Landing Page Best Practices

Now that you’ve got a good understanding of the four primary elements a landing page should have, let’s get into additional best practices your pages should include for best results.

In a later chapter, we’re going to talk very specifically about writing your landing page copy and creating your landing page design so don’t worry about the exact specifics right now. We want to make sure you’ve got a good general understanding of landing pages as a whole before we dig deeper into the details.

Often, you’ll see best practices shift a bit depending on the exact purpose of any given landing page. That being said, there are a few best practices that nearly every landing page has in common.

At Leadpages we believe the best landing pages:

  • Are easy to follow.
  • Are mobile-friendly.
  • Use clear language.
  • Feature clean design.
  • Contain a valuable offer.

Let’s explore each of these in brief now.

1. The Best Landing Pages Are Easy to Follow

It’s no secret that attention is fleeting on the internet. Regardless of whether you have an active and engaged community visiting your landing pages, or you’re sending cold and brand new traffic to them, there’s no guarantee anyone will stay on your landing page. This is especially if your page isn’t easy to follow.

That’s why the best landing pages make it as easy as humanly possible for your visitors to understand all the information on that page, and complete the action you want them to take. As a marketer, you should always make the user experience as frictionless as you can. When you do, then carrying out the intended behavior becomes intuitive and desirable for your visitors—especially if it’s the only action your visitors can take on your page.

So what does this mean for you when creating your landing pages?

  • Make sure all of the copy on your page is essential. Cut away any unnecessary words.
  • Use the design of your page, including arrows and sightlines, to guide visitors to your call-to-action.
  • Be sure all text is sized appropriately and easy to read.
  • Use contrasting colors to make all text and page elements easy to understand.

2. The Best Landing Pages Are Mobile Friendly

It’s critical to accept today’s reality: our website visitors are increasingly accessing our sites from their mobile devices (and that’s most likely a majority of visitors).

Whether with tablets or smartphones, we continue to see our online lives through the lens of a mobile device. That’s why any and every landing page you create must be responsive and mobile friendly. Ignoring this best practice will have a negative impact on your business.

If a prospect or customer visits your landing page from their mobile device, you have to make it just as easy for them to see, read, understand, purchase, or submit information on that device as it would be from a desktop or laptop computer.

Unless you’re coding your own landing pages, you shouldn’t need to know the exact advanced HTML and CSS techniques in order to make this happen. Generally speaking, this should be taken care of by the landing page builder you purchase and use.

For instance, at Leadpages we provide our users with hundreds of high-performing landing page templates, each of which are both designed and coded to work just as perfectly (and beautifully) on a smartphone or tablet screen as they function on a laptop or desktop.The Best Landing Pages Are Easy to Follow

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3. The Best Landing Pages Use Clear Language

It might surprise you how frequently we encounter landing pages that are simply unclear in their purpose or offer. If a visitor on your landing page doesn’t understand—clearly, and quickly—why they should be there, they will inevitably leave soon after.

The only way to combat this undesired behavior is by having clear, concise language on your landing pages. If your visitors have a limited time and attention span, you have to give them a simple and compelling explanation of why they should stay. Consider your audience. Use terminology your ideal customers will understand and write at a reading level that they will appreciate (aim for an 8.0 score on the Flesch-Kincaid test). Do not over-complicate matters.

For example, sometimes marketers will fill up their landing pages with unnecessary questions, and unintentionally create a FAQ page for their offer. When instead they should be clearly answering potential visitors’ unasked questions in their copy.

4. The Best Landing Pages Feature Clean Design

We will devote an entire section of this course to landing page design. For now, it’s important to understand that a clean landing page design is best for your conversions. This goes along with the “supportive imagery” we mentioned above. While general aesthetic can be subjective and dependent upon the audience, clean design is something all landing page builders can (and should) employ.

At Leadpages, our landing page templates make designing a clean and modern landing page extremely easy. But as you’re customizing your landing page to meet your exact needs, keep these three things in mind:

  • Simplify your page - The antithesis of clean design is adding too many elements on your page. Visitors are not likely to take action on your landing pages if there are too many images, icons, blocks of text, buttons, and elements to distract them. Keeping your page simple, using white space to break up your elements, and reducing page elements will help your conversion rate and contribute to a cleaner design.
  • Use fewer colors - Too many colors on your landing pages can also overwhelm your visitors. If your text, images, buttons, and backgrounds are all different colors, your landing page will be too intense and hard for visitors to look at. As a general rule, fewer colors and a clean color scheme will almost always lead to higher conversions (and create a more enjoyable experience for your visitors).
  • Reduce fonts and sizes - Some marketers think adding new font styles and font sizes to every new section or line of text keeps things interesting on your landing pages. But in reality, it just makes your landing pages difficult to read. Our brains use patterns to focus and concentrate, and the more you use different fonts and text sizes on your page, the more you interrupt your visitors’ focus. To create a better experience and up your conversions, use no more than two different fonts and three sizes.

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5. The Best Landing Pages Contain a Valuable Offer

This should go without saying, but for any landing page to be effective, it has to contain a valuable offer. And it can’t just seem to contain a valuable offer, because the content you provide will set the tone for the rest of your sales process. You’re beginning a relationship with your prospects and clients.

If you promise someone a comprehensive glossary of terms in your industry in exchange for their email address on one of your landing pages, then you have to deliver. If a prospect signs up for your glossary and then you give them five words with definitions copied from Merriam Webster in a Word document, you’re not setting a great tone for that prospect in the future. They’re not going to trust you or view you as an authority. They certainly won’t share your content or your offer with their peers. More than likely, they also won’t want to do business with you in the future, if they want to interact with you at all.

That’s why your landing page has to offer something of value. Remember, valuable doesn’t mean expensive, and it doesn’t mean time consuming. Your knowledge is valuable. If you can deliver a truly useful portion of your brain to your potential customers or prospects in a professional looking format, your relationship with your new lead will start out on the right foot.

Take the time to create a valuable offer, and you’ll end up thanking yourself (and so will your bank account) in the future.


In Conclusion

Ta da! We’ve made it to the end of the first chapter here, and we’ve created a great foundation for your landing pages. We’ve got an agreed upon landing page definition, covered some other key terms, types and synonyms for landing pages, discussed common landing page elements, and covered some best practices to keep in mind as we proceed.

Remember how we mentioned that there’s a wide variety of uses and purposes for landing pages? Well next up, we’ll get more specific about what people do use landing pages for, and what you could use landing page for in your business. Later, we’ll get into exactly how to build landing pages, including step-by-step directions for copy and design, testing and optimization, and more.

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