A guide to creating effective landing pages that convert

Landing pages play a crucial role in converting leads. Yet with the endless amount of landing pages that you’ll encounter online, how can you make yours effective enough to drive those important conversions? Read on for a guide covering how to create effective landing pages that convert.

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What are landing pages?

Landing page displayed on 3 different devices

A landing page is a standalone page on your website that a user ‘lands on’ when clicking through from a link source. Traffic can be directed to a landing page from a range of sources, including email, an online ad, a blog post, or social media.

Landing pages provide one sole purpose – for driving and converting leads. Landing pages are used to capture information from a potential lead in exchange for something of value to them. This can include gated content, signing up for a product trial, or subscribing to a newsletter.

To increase the effectiveness of a landing page, all ‘distractions’ are removed leaving just the essential content. Anything that is likely to increase a user to click off a landing page, such as the navigation bar, is removed. Placing greater focus on the content of a landing page helps in guiding a user to fill in and submit your landing page form.

Unlike other pages on your website, a landing page will focus entirely on one message and one call to action. As you want to encourage a lead to take one desired action, a landing page needs to focus solely on delivering that one action.

An effective landing page should seek to:

Ensuring these 3 points should help in driving more organic traffic to your site from the search results.

Benefits of landing pages

Landing pages can provide lots of great benefits for your business, including:

  • Increase your conversions
  • Help provide additional insights about your target market that can help shape your buyer personas
  • Increase your subscribers
  • Help create a favourable impression of your brand
  • Provide data to see which channels are driving traffic
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Improve your paid search ad campaigns

So, now you know what a landing page is and the benefits it can provide, it’s time to cover some tips for creating effective landing pages.

Tips for creating effective landing pages that convert

Trying to create an effective landing page that drives conversions is no easy feat. But following these tips should stand you in a much better position for driving those all-important conversions.

1. Set a goal for your landing page

Setting up a goal for your landing page is one of the best ways to set your landing page up for success. Without a clear goal of what you want your landing page to achieve, you may struggle to drive those conversions.

Why? Because without a clear goal, you’re landing page will lose focus. Before you decide on any of the messaging and content of a landing page you need to establish your goal. Examples of goals for a landing page can include increasing awareness, generating leads, or boosting sales.

Once you have your goal set, you’ll have a much more solid foundation for creating an effective landing page. It will also provide you with key performance indicators to measure the success of your landing page afterwards.

A goal should always be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

2. Focus on your headline

The headline will likely be one of the first things a visitor looks at on your page, so it will have a lot to live up to if you want to keep someone on the page.

To do that, you need to create a compelling headline that instantly tells a user what they want to know. That is – what’s in it for them? Your headline needs to clearly focus on delivering your user’s pain point.

Your headline needs to also be short and concise. You may need to experiment, but make sure you put across your landing page’s value in as few words as possible, such as this example from FreshBooks:

3. Visual content

Visuals can really transform a landing page. Choosing the right visuals can also make or break your landing page. The imagery you use to illustrate your offer will be the first thing a user looks at.

Visual imagery on a landing page is compulsory. Not only that, but it needs to be relevant for your potential customers. The right use of visuals on a landing page can help resonate with your customer’s experiences or problems. A picture tells a thousand words, right?

The images you use should always showcase what your offering is (whether it be a content offer or product demo) so a user knows what to expect or illustrate how a user will feel once they’ve received your offer. What you see is what you get. Here’s an example from Uber:

4. Writing compelling written copy

Alongside your headline, you need to write compelling written copy on a landing page. Whether this is above or below the fold, the written copy you include on a landing page needs to be short and concise as well.

When writing your copy, try to use the active voice, where you write with the subject performing the action as opposed to making the object of action the subject. For example:

The active voice would be: “Our new e-book guide helps you to focus your inbound marketing efforts”.

The passive voice would be: “The new e-book that we’ve created can help to focus your inbound marketing efforts”.

Using the active voice in your written copy makes it more direct and clearer to a reader. Every sentence of your written copy should serve a purpose – to support your call to action. Anything else and you should cut it. Always make sure you’re delivering value for your customers.

Incorporating social proof onto a landing page can be an effective way to encourage users to act.

5. A clear design

We mentioned earlier about removing distractions from a landing page to increase its effectiveness. A major part of that comes in the design of your landing page. This includes the placement of images, the headline, your logo, and the form.

A landing page that looks overstuffed or busy won’t do you any favours for driving conversions. The simpler the design, the better. Your design also needs to focus around encouraging a user to act. Removing as many obstacles, such as links, will help in increasing the effectiveness.

Your design will also include all the main elements of a landing page, such as a headline, form, and headline image, above the fold. Then, below the fold, you can provide more insight and benefits that will encourage a user to act. Including multiple methods of contact can also make your landing page much more persuasive.

A landing page design should also be consistent with your message and ad campaign. Not doing this will this create a clash and leave a negative impression on your potential leads. A good landing page will ensure all the elements work towards your conversion goal, not against it, such as this example from GetResponse:

Using people and faces can elicit stronger responses from users

6. Keep your form fields to a minimum

A common mistake marketers make on a landing page is to collect as much data about a prospect as they possibly can. The longer you make your forms, the less likely someone is to submit them.

An effective landing page form will follow the approach of ‘less is more’. Ideally, your form should only be asking for the details that are essential. For example, if you are offering an online content download, asking for someone’s postal code is not relevant.

The quicker a user can fill in a landing page form, the better. If necessary, you can also ask for additional information on the thank you page. Don’t forget to include your privacy policy as well detailing how you will use someone’s data, such as in this example from Workable:

7. Make it responsive

Given that more than half of all web traffic reportedly comes from mobile devices now, your landing page needs to be responsive so that it works on both desktop and mobile. A responsive design will render the landing page so that it can be viewed on any screen resolution without the need for creating multiple designs. Keeping your page speed as fast as possible will also help.

A responsive design will ensure that all elements of your design are properly positioned and sized to provide a positive experience across any device size. Typically, a responsive design will adjust the size of text and buttons so users can still positively interact with a page, such as this example from Microsoft:

Mobile:                                                                        Desktop:

8. A strong call-to-action

Your call to action (CTA) is the part of your landing page that will lead to a conversion. Everything on your landing page should be directed at your CTA in order to encourage a user to act. It is your CTA that will result in those all-important conversions.

To create an effective CTA, you should consider:

  • Making it large enough so it clearly stands out on the page
  • Using a button for your CTA as it is what people have come to expect
  • Consider the psychology of colour. Use a contrasting colour that is bright and more likely to encourage a user to act
  • Use a positive tone in your language
  • Add a sense of urgency by including terms such as ‘today’ or ‘now’
  • If you can, use visual elements to draw a user to the CTA (but only if it fits and works)

Here’s an example of an effective CTA from CrazyEgg:

Your landing page should finish by directing the user to a thank you page. And don’t forget to test, test and test again. Testing your landing pages, and elements of your landing page, allows you to find out what works and doesn’t work. Use these tips to improve your existing landing pages or to create new ones.

Have you considered the AIDA model for your landing page design?