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What is a landing page and how do you use it?

Landing pages are simple to understand, but hard to master and make effective for your website. Fundamentally, a landing page is designed to funnel a visitor into becoming a conversion and are a well-established digital marketing tactic.

It’s all about getting the visitor to engage with a call to action and convert into a lead, whether that be sending an email inquiry, dialling a phone number, signing up to pre-order something, or anything else. The success of a landing page is most often measured as the percentage of conversions vs. the number of people who visit the page.

The best landing pages have a clean, focused design that funnels the visitor down the page and towards the call-to-action. Landing pages can vary in length, and more in-depth explanations of a product or service may require more content in order to encourage a conversion.

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Landing pages need to be clear in what their purpose is and do away with elements that would otherwise be a distraction. They also usually benefit from having a bespoke design that helps differentiate them from a typical webpage.

A landing page is about focusing on one thing and eliminating distractions. In the context of SEO, landing pages are often created to establish an engagement funnel that targets users who have used a specific keyword.

What’s the point of a landing page?

For example, if your business was a music school that offered music lessons for children, then you might create a landing page that targets the keyword “kids music lessons”. The landing page would then be connected to a relevant PPC ad.

For someone searching for “kids music lessons”, visiting and engaging with a dedicated landing page for that service is more convenient for them than opening your homepage and trying to find information on children’s music lessons. Therein lies the key purpose of a landing page – to target specific search intent and deliver a focused page that drives the user to convert.

If you offer multiple products or services, then your homepage can have a lot of distracting elements that can affect the user journey. On the other hand, a well-made landing page is bereft of these distractions and strikes while the user is fresh from the search engine.

This makes landing pages ideal for converting users who aren’t very sure about what they want can be distracted easily be other offers. To illustrate this, let’s look at another example.

Let’s say you have an e-commerce business that sells board games online. If a user visits your site looking for a way to order Monopoly, they may get distracted by other offers their desire to buy Monopoly will lose strength. On the other hand, if they landed on a dedicated landing page for ordering Monopoly online, then you would be taking full advantage of their search internet, and they will have a higher chance of converting.

In this sense, a landing page is about ‘striking while the iron is hot’, capturing and directing user interest and not allowing them to be distracted.

How do you create an effective landing page?

Of course, not every landing page is created equal, and a poorly conceived landing page will fail to generate enough conversion to justify the effort put into creating it. This is why the initial planning and layout of a landing page is critical for it to be successful.

You need to think carefully about the search intent you are targeting and try to put yourself in the shoes of your target user. Consider what someone is likely thinking/feeling when they search for the keyword and design your landing page so that it pushes them towards a conversion.

Your landing page needs to be both informative and persuasive – giving users the information they need and convincing them to make the decision to engage with your call-to-action. They should be short and sweet.

If you need to go into extra detail, put that information below the fold (after the initial call-to-action). Be wary of including too many links to other pages, as they can be distracting and take away from the focus of your landing page.

If you are working on multiple landing pages, try to establish a template that allows you to produce consistent results. This will be beneficial later on when you are analysing the performance of each page and comparing what works vs what doesn’t.

What are local landing pages?

When a user is seeking certain products or services, the proximity of the business can be an important factor for them. This is why keywords with product/service + location are some of the most competitive keywords out there.

For example, when someone wants to hire an emergency plumber, they are pretty much guaranteed to search for one in their local geographic area. If someone is searching for a lawyer, then they might limit their search to the city they live in.

Local landing pages are very useful for small businesses who don’t have the budget to compete for general keywords. Ranking for a product or service limited to a certain region is easier than ranking for that product or service generally.

A local landing page does wonders for ranking locally and targeting the customers who are most likely to engage with your business. Users who are searching locally for something are more likely to engage than those who use general search terms since it suggests that they need to product or service more urgently.

While you may start by targeting the geographic areas your business physically exists in, you can also create local landing pages that target areas nearby. This is why many businesses will have a series of local landing pages that target search interest across suburbs/regions within close proximity of one another.

When you are writing multiple local landing pages, you need to ensure that the content on each of them is unique. While it is tempting to copy and paste the same landing page and use the find + replace function to change the area you are targeting, doing this will ensure that none of the pages rank.

A lot of this will come down to re-wording the same information, especially if you are targeting areas that are not very different from one another. However, larger regions can have differences that are worth acknowledging when you prepare unique content that targets the people who live there.

Your local landing page should seek to make an excellent first impression with visitors and including a great image of you/your team is a winning strategy. People associate local business with familiarity and a departure from faceless corporations, so you need to engender a local business spirit with your landing page.

Creating the optimal landing page

When you are writing a landing page, you need to use firm and authoritative language to convince your target audience to engage with your call-to-action. It’s best to use language that conveys the benefits of different aspects of your product or service.

For example, if you want to describe your services as affordable, it would be better to place the word ‘affordable’ before the name of your service. ‘Affordable plumbing services’ is better than ‘plumbing services that are affordable’ etc.

Always focus on making sure that your target audience understands the benefits of engaging with your call-to-action. Don’t worry about explaining every little detail, just enough that they can make an informed decision about engaging with your business.

Try not to mention competitors unless it helps you make a really good point. Acknowledging competitors can distract the user as it will remind them that they have other options – not something you want to do when they are close to converting.

Use strong, assured language and avoid using a passive tone of voice. Instead of saying “we can do X” say “we provide X/we will get Y”. You want to sound as authoritative as possible and not use language that makes your business seem like it’s not entirely confident in what it does.

Keep your sentences and paragraphs punchy and to the point. You aren’t trying to write an essay; you’re trying to convey meaningful information that pushes the user towards converting.

Think about the level of formality you have in your writing and adapt it to the type of audience you are targeting. If you are selling to another business, then your language can be more formal/technical than it would be if you were selling to the general public.

Using fancy language might make you feel clever, but if it makes it harder for your audience to understand what you are talking about, then it’s a waste of time. Always ensure you understand how knowledgeable your audience is before writing anything for them.

Include keywords in a natural way that does not feel forced. Try to avoid using the same phrasing over and over again, and make sure that each part of your landing page provides new information.

It’s a great idea to use images to reinforce ideas that you are talking about on your landing page. A picture says a thousand words, so don’t hesitate to include images/videos of your products or services rather than spend time writing about them.

If you have a complex product or service, then an explainer video can be really useful. There are plenty of dedicated explainer video services out there you can engage in getting a cartoon visual + voiceover that succinctly explains what you do to your audience.

Leveraging social proof

Landing pages are one of the best places for you to use social proof. In case you didn’t know, social proof is the well-studied phenomenon by which people copy what they see others doing when it is presented as the correct behaviour.

This means that when someone reads a testimonial on your landing page, they will be more likely to engage with your call-to-action and copy the behaviour of the person who left the testimonial. This is pretty simple social engineering, but it works a charm!

Seeing that another real person has engaged and had a good experience with a business will make you more likely to follow suit. It also serves the purpose of legitimising the business and making it feel more ‘grounded’.

If you are using testimonials, try and get permission from the customer to use a photo of them to pair with it. This adds a lot of credibility to the testimonial and enhances the effect of your social proof.

Displaying payment options

If the purpose of your landing page is to get a user to spend money through your website, then you need to make sure that you clearly display the available payment options. These days, most people automatically scan the payment section to see if their preferred payment method is present.

It’s in your best interest to support as many payment options as possible. A large percentage of people will abandon the buying journey if a business doesn’t support the usual payment method that they find most convenient to use, even if they otherwise love the product or service.

Make sure that the signature logos of major payment methods are displayed in the payment options section of your landing page. This enables visitors to see at a glance whether or not their preferred payment method is supported.

On top of displaying payment options, it’s important to display signage for the payment security systems you have in place. These days, people are very cautious about using their credit card information online and will be more suspicious of websites that don’t show how their information is kept secure.

Landing page length

The length of your landing page is really going to depend on what your goals are. If you are trying to rank organically for local search terms, then you might want to create a longer landing page that allows you to go more in-depth.

On the other hand, if you are simply trying to get a user to act fast on a purchase decision, you would benefit from a shorter landing page that succinctly communicates the features, benefits, and costs of your product/service.

There is no perfect landing page template since the most effective landing page for different businesses will look very different. The most important rule to follow is ensuring that you understand your target audience and what it will take for them to convert.

Conclusion

Creating an effective landing page doesn’t need to be hard, and 90% of it is about researching and planning out what the purpose of it will be. As long as you identify a clear strategy and remain consistent, you will be able to generate results.

With that said, plenty of business owners choose to rely on 3rd party digital marketing firms to help them with their landing pages. These agencies are made up of experienced digital marketers who can create effective landing pages quickly + monitor and report on their effectiveness for you.

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Written by Shark Digital

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