Landing Page Basics

One of the top reasons why SME fail at CPC advertising is that they fail to have an effective landing page, often just linking to their home page.

There is no standard “one size fits all” when it comes to landing pages, there’s just too many factors changing the needs of your landing page design, content, layout and visual elements; but that said, there are similar characteristics of landing pages that you should learn and employ in creating your next landing page.

How many landing pages do I need?

The first step is planning what your pages are going to be about and how your going to present to different demographics. Start by looking over your existing analytics data and begin grouping keywords and demographics into groups that may require different landing pages. Some considerations should be:

A breakdown of the common landing page characteristics

Your core message for the page should be communicated in one way or another throughout all content section of the landing page. Landing pages are designed with quite strategic layouts that needs to be pushing the reader closer to the end of the buying cycle and allowing them to take action.

First section.

The first section should be entirely above the fold. It should be mostly visual, and contain few words. Use a concise headline and short paragraph. Have a big visual element, and a action button.

Most important for the first section is it needs to quickly signal to the user that they are looking at a page relevant to what they were searching for. Its crucial that this section engages the user so they stay on the page and keep reading. If your seeing a high bounce rate then this first section is usually the culprit.

A reader who is in the late stages of the buying cycle will see this section as confirmation that they have reached a page thats relevant to their search query and offers what they want. Customers who are late in the buying cycle will usually skim over the page looking for a few key points before they take action.

A reader who is in the early stages of the buying cycle will interpret this section as an introduction to the product or service you offer and they will associate it with something they want, don’t want, interested in, relevant or irrelevant.

Depending on your online marketing strategy, you may want to target customers in the early or late stages of the buying cycle with different landing pages which could be as minor as copying the landing page with slightly different content and headlines.

  • The headline should tell the reader what the product or service is about.
  • The headline should grab their attention and be engaging.
  • The section should have a prominent visual component illustrating the service or showcasing the product.

Second section.

The second section can include more text, and expose them to more of your business messages, but try to keep your sentences short and too the point. Break your points up into visually distinct sections and don’t have a single wall of text.

If the reader doesn’t know what your product or service is, you’ve lost them, so they need to be informed but they aren’t likely going to commit to reading large sections of text just yet so you have to start small. Make your messages concise and presented in a format that’s visually appealing & distinct.

If no call to action was presented in the first section then this is where you’d want to put it. Offering a call to action close to the top of the page allows readers who are further in the buying cycle to take action right away.

Readers who are further in the buying cycle are not looking for information, they’ve already done the research, now they just want to see that you have what they want and then take action. They do not want to be reading through your entire sales pitch. If no option to take action is presented they will just go back to the search engine and keep looking for the product or service they seek.

Third section.

The third section is where you have the ability to express your benefits, qualities, features in more depth. Just be sure to keep along the common messaging goals of this page.

Throughout the third section provide links to other pages, but be discrete with these links because you only want customers who are early in the buying cycle to be clicking these links. The reason for these links is to send readers to pages that offer more specific details about those specific aspect. Customers who are late in the buying cycle are usually going to be skim reading over your landing page to make sure their main points are satisfied before taking action, if they are skim reading then having prominent links and buttons which go to more info pages are just going to distract from their main objective.

Think of these links as filters for those looking for more information (and usually would be early in the buying cycle). These links will send those readers off to pages that provide more information about the specific aspects of the product/service without them having to go back to the search engine and do another search. You’ll be retaining them on your website and hopefully satisfy more of their queries, bringing them closer to taking action.

Fourth section.

For readers who get this far in the landing page will be more likely to take action. Now that they’ve read through in more depth each of your messages in the sections above, we now want to trigger each of these messages again so they can mentally revise how these points relate to them and further fix in their memory your company’s products, services, qualities, values and messages.

A checklist format is a clear and simple way to reiterate your points in this section. Be sure to include another call to action here.

Fifth section.

In the fifth section is where you want to resolve any possible stoppers that you think your readers may have in preventing them from taking action. A stopper could be a lack of credibility or they are skeptical of your claims, so maybe offer a guarantee, some more info links, a enquiries emails address, or testimonials.

Another common stopper is that they haven’t found exactly what they are looking for or they have an unanswered query. Study your FAQ’s and related search terms to see if your landing page is including all the right points and maybe include some related pages links here to send the reader over to a more relevant landing page.

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