Do you need a landing page?

The short answer: yes.

Research shows that businesses with 10-15 landing pages tend to increase conversions by 55% compared to those with fewer than 10 landing pages.

And those with more than 40 landing pages increase conversions by over 500%.

Oli Gardner, conversion rate optimization expert and co-founder of Unbounce, argues that every campaign you create should have its own landing page:

Creating a landing page that matches the message of each campaign will boost your conversion rates. (Source)

So, yeah, you need a landing page.

A landing page is a standalone page created for a specific conversion goal, like:

  • Contest entries
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Webinar registrations
  • Content downloads

People land on a landing page by clicking on a specific call-to-action in an email, ad, or social media post. Landing pages often match the theme and messaging of a specific campaign.

Done right, directing traffic to landing pages can help you capture and convert far more leads than driving traffic to your homepage.

To learn more about how to write a landing page, click here!

Keep reading to learn when (and why) you should use a landing page.

When (and why) should you use a landing page?

Whenever you have a marketing campaign that links somewhere, you need a landing page for visitors to land on. You should create unique landing pages for:

  • PPC (pay-per-click) ads
  • Google AdWords ads
  • Social media ads
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Podcast ads

Each marketing campaign has its own unique goal — signups, content downloads, subscribers — and needs its own landing page to match.

Marketers design landing pages with that specific goal in mind. Landing pages usually feature prominent opt-in forms and a clear call-to-action (CTA).

Creating a landing page lets you use “message matching” – you can send people to a landing page that has the same messaging as the campaign that made them click.

Unbounce practices what they preach by customizing their landing pages based on which campaigns people click on.

This ad shows that Unbounce offers PPC landing pages

After someone clicks on an Unbounce ad, they get taken to a landing page that matches the ad’s message:

Someone who clicked on an ad about PPC landing pages probably wants more information about PPC landing pages. (Source: Unbounce)

Whether you run paid ads or not, you need a landing page any time you promote a special offer or event. This includes:

  • Gated content offer (like a free ebook download)
  • Event RSVPs
  • Webinar signups
  • Free quote
  • Free consultation
  • Free trial or demo

The signup page designed for ActiveCampaign and Typeform’s webinar in October 2018. When someone clicked on a link in an email, blog post, or social media post promoting the webinar, they landed on this page.

The page was designed with one goal in mind: to collect registrations for the webinar. Although this page technically lives on the ActiveCampaign website, it doesn’t have navigation or links to other parts of the site.

Why should I create a landing page instead of linking to my homepage?

“A homepage is for everybody, and so, it converts nobody.” – Andy Nguyen

Too many people send traffic from an ad to their homepage. You might have an amazing homepage, but that doesn’t make it the right place to send your ad traffic.

Your homepage is the most generic page on your site; it’s designed to appeal to every visitor, no matter how familiar they are with your product or where they are in their customer journey. It’s a gateway to the rest of your site.

“A homepage is for everybody, and so, it converts nobody.” – Andy Nguyen Click To Tweet

Your landing pages are destinations. Your landing page should match the messaging and design of your ad.

(Message match, like the Unbounce campaign above. Without message match, people will bounce right off your landing page because it feels unfamiliar and incohesive.)

And good ads — ads that make people want to click — have more specific details, offers, and calls-to-action than your homepage.

Don’t make visitors work to navigate your website from the homepage — give them exactly what your ad promised them.

If you send ad traffic to your homepage, you might as well throw money away — especially when you pay for each click with PPC ads. Every time a visitor lands on your homepage from an ad, you pay… for what? If they don’t fill out a form, sign up, or convert, what exactly does that money get you?

Don’t use your homepage as a landing page.

Landing page vs. product pages

A homepage is too general to act as a landing page. But what about your feature or product pages? Your ad promotes a specific product, so it makes sense to link to the product page you already have on your site… right?

Not quite.

Your product page has a CTA like “Buy now.” Or “Add to cart.” Or “Sign up today.” But for visitors who land on your page from an ad, this might be their first intro to your brand or product — and they might not be ready to buy.

When you create unique landing pages for each campaign, you can tailor them to your visitors’ level of awareness. If they don’t know anything about your product or brand, give them valuable content on a relevant topic (without pushing for a sale). This helps build credibility with leads who you can later nurture and convert to customers.

Plus, product and feature pages can be full of distractions, like:

  • Navigation menus
  • Lead magnet popups
  • Chatbots
  • Special offer banners
  • Anything that takes attention away from your CTA!

Research shows that the more choices you give people, the longer they take to make a decision — and the less motivated they are to do so. Too many options makes people more likely to click the back button than your CTA.

To boost your conversion rates instead of your bounce rates, use a landing page instead of a product page.

This email marketing feature page on the ActiveCampaign website is a great product page — but it would make a terrible landing page. There are too many distractions: The chat bubble, two places to submit your email, the navigation, the sub-navigation, the Contact button, the Login page…

Can I reuse a landing page for different campaigns?

You should not reuse the same landing page for multiple campaigns. Instead, create different versions of your landing page based on:

  • The goal of your campaign
  • The campaign’s call-to-action
  • Your target audience

The way you position your product or offer depends on your audience. If you have an email marketing platform, you might tell solopreneurs how it can save them time on their daily tasks and let them focus on other areas of their business.

When you talk to the CEOs of multi-million dollar corporations, you might focus instead on the big-picture impact your product can have on their company’s bottom line.

“Your language will get you delegated to the person you sound like.” – Chris Orlob, Gong.io

The copy on your landing page should match the audience your ad targets — including where they fall in the customer journey. How familiar are they with your product?

Use the 5 stages of awareness to help craft your copy. (You can’t offer a solution if you don’t know the problem!) Target your customers’ pain points based on their stage of awareness:

  1. Unaware: Talk about what people like them do
  2. Pain Aware: Talk about the pain
  3. Solution Aware: Talk about options to solve the pain
  4. Product Aware: Share your product’s value proposition
  5. Most Aware: Show them your offer (features, pricing, etc.)

If visitors land on your page through retargeting ads or an email campaign, they’ve already interacted with your content. If they find you through a paid search ad for a non-branded term, this might be their first interaction with your brand. Adjust your landing page copy accordingly.

Conclusion: Landing page best practices to capture and convert leads

Now that you know when (and why) to use a landing page, here are 10 landing page best practices to help you boost your landing page conversion rates.

1. Write a great headline. Your landing page headline should sum up what benefits you offer your visitor. Answer their question: “What’s in it for me?”

2. Make it visual. A big block of text makes for a boring landing page. Include a photo, illustration, or video to showcase the benefits of your product. (Fun fact: Video landing pages can convert at up to 56%!)

3. Stick to one CTA. Over 68% of businesses have 5 or more CTAs or links on their landing page — but research shows that having just one CTA leads to higher conversions. Limit distractions with just one CTA. Make it descriptive: Think “Boost your conversion rates now” instead of “Submit form.”

4. Ditch the navigation. Don’t include navigation or an exit link on your landing page; the goal of your page is to keep the user there until they convert. Studies show that removing your navigation menu can increase your conversions by 100%.

5. Incentivize conversions. Make it worth your leads’ while to convert. Offer a valuable content offer like an ebook, checklist, or whitepaper. You can also boost customer confidence by offering a free trial or money-back guarantee.

6. Limit your form fields. Make it easy for leads to fill out your lead capture form. Skip the home address or alternative phone number — only ask for things you 100% need.

7. Back it up. Use social proof and stats to build trust with your leads. Include video testimonials, star ratings from reputable review sites, and quotes from case studies. Avoid words like “best,” “fastest,” and “cheapest” unless you have the statistics to back up your claim.

8. Create a thank-you page. Don’t leave your leads hanging! Once your leads fill out the form on your landing page, send them to a thank-you page. This page should tell leads what happens next: Will they receive a follow-up email confirming their subscription? Where can they download the gated content they just signed up for?

9. Nurture your leads. Once a lead fills out your form, send them a welcome email! According to Andy Crestodina, welcome emails see 2x the average open and click-through rates of any other email you send. (Check out this 6-email welcome sequence you can steal.)

10. Test, test, and test some more. A/B testing: the secret weapon of inbound marketers everywhere. (Okay, maybe it’s not so secret.) Companies whose conversion rates have improved year-over-year execute 50% more tests on average.

For the most accurate results, test different elements — like your headline, image, body copy, CTA, and form fields — one at a time. What works for one audience may not work for another, so be patient and test on.