June 13, 2008
A landing page is the first page the web user arrives at using a specific URL, or clicking a link in an email or at another site. They are popular because they are more effective at accomplishing their purpose than standard pages. However, there are certain characteristics that effective landing pages have in common – here are seven of those characteristics.
1. The landing page should have only one objective. The objective can be for the reader to buy a product, sign up for a newsletter or to click on an active link to go to another page. The action can be anything that you want. The key is there is only one thing you are asking the reader to do. There is no confusion for the reader – they either take the action or they don’t.
2. The landing page copy should target a specific audience. One of the ground rules of all effective marketing and copywriting is know your target audience. This may mean you need different landing pages to appeal to different target audiences. That’s OK. Each landing page can speak to its individual target audience. For example, you may offer a coaching program that is designed for women of all ages but the benefits of your program to a woman who is 30 may need to be presented differently than to an audience of women who are 50.
3. Create a compelling headline. Since you only have 7-10 seconds to capture your reader’s attention, your headline needs to immediately grab the reader. You may need to try a couple of different headlines before finding one that keeps the reader on the page.
4. Keep the page simple and easy to read. Don’t distract your reader with too many fancy graphics and moving objects. Make sure the layout of the page is not confusing. Visitors should know exactly where they should read and what they should do. A single column seems to work best as it keeps the reader going down the page. Including an audio or video message on the page has been proven to increase conversion rates. Don’t include any links not related specifically to the action you want your visitor to take.
5. Place your most critical information “above the fold” – that space on the page that is seen before you have to scroll down. This is where you are conveying the heart of your message. Whether audio, video or the written word, above the fold is the first place visitors will look to determine if your message is of interest.
6. Clearly state the benefits of your offer. Use sub-heads and bullets to highlight the benefits of what you are offering. Even if you want the reader to click on a link to another page, tell them what the benefit will be as a result of moving to the next page. If you have a testimonial that fits in with the benefits – use it.
7. The action you want the reader to take should stand out from the rest of the page. If you want the reader to buy your eBook, a large button saying “Click Here to Buy This eBook” leaves no doubt what the reader should do. Don’t be shy about making it obvious what you want the reader to do. Everyone is in such a hurry these days, the easier you make it for your visitor, the happier they will be.
So how do you know if your landing page is effective? Review your web statistics and determine your conversion rate – the percentage of your visitors who are taking the action you want them to take. Depending upon who you ask, the average conversion rate is about 3.5%. However, highly optimized sites can achieve rates between 50% and 80%.
These 7 tips are just the basic steps of an effective landing page. More advanced strategies for maximizing landing pages include using popovers, popunders and optimizing keywords, among other tactics. Use these tips to create a landing page or evaluate your current landing pages.
Nancy D Waring, Internet Communication Strategist and owner of OnPoint Communication Solutions, assists coaches and other service professionals who are not internet experts more effectively manage their online marketing so they can spend more time on their business. For more information about solutions to expand your business using the web, pick up her special report at http://www.onpointcommunicationsolutions.com