landing page guide

The Ultimate Landing Page Guide

Posted on Posted in Blogging, Tutorial

Did you know that one high-converting landing page can generate a million dollars?

It worked for SEOmoz.

…Okay, real talk.

You probably won’t make a cool mil with a single landing page.

(At least not right now. But put it on the bucket list.)

But you can see major results from a landing page, if you do it right. A really good landing page will turn casual readers into invested customers and will help you lay a great foundation for your blog.

In this landing page guide, we will talk about everything you need to know to build a successful landing page that converts. Big time.

Landing Page Guide Table of Contents:

  • What is a landing page?
  • The anatomy of a landing page
  • How to design a landing page
  • How to test a landing page
  • Tools for building a landing page

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone page that has exactly one conversion goal. When a visitor comes to that page, you are trying to make them do one thing.

That thing could be anything from signing up for an email list to buying a product.

Whatever it is, a well-constructed landing page can make it happen.

Here’s what my main dude Neil Patel has to say about the importance of landing pages:

“Marketers spend a lot of time driving traffic to their website and blog pages. But if these destinations don’t entice prospective customers into your sales funnel, and educate and convert them into customers, you are wasting your time.”

I don’t want you to waste your time.

The Anatomy of a Landing Page

Let’s talk about the bread and butter of structuring a solid landing page.

The Dollar Shave Club has a brilliant example of a good landing page. I don’t know what their actual conversions are, but I’d venture to guess they’re doing a-okay. They’re doing a lot of landing page things right:

landing page guide

A clear headline: The shorter, the sweeter. But don’t be vague. The headline should state exactly what is going on. Let your reader know what’s up.

Images and videos: Use high-quality images or videos that enhance your message. You don’t want images and videos to detract from what you’re trying to communicate. Cheesy stock photos? Yeah, definitely don’t use those. They look fake (because they are).

Keep it above the fold: That means that the reader should be able to see everything they need to see without scrolling. The less work they have to do, the better.

Trust signals: Use testimonials, social signals, or a live chat option to let people know you are real and you are legit. Especially if you are asking them to make a big purchase, they need to know you are trustworthy.

Here are some live chat options to take a look at:

  • LiveChat: Lots of customization options and real-time visitor monitoring, among other things. Plans start at $99/year.
  • Comm100: Customizable and really flexible! Plans start at $29/mo.
  • LiveHelpNow: A fully integrated customer service experience. Lots of pricing options, but a basic live chat is only $21/mo.

A strong Call To Action: Your CTA needs to be really, really obvious. Always have a big bright button that tells the reader exactly what they are supposed to do. Like this one, from Simply Business:

call to action example

The button is obviously a button, and it has the added benefit of telling you exactly what will happen when you click on it.

Pro-tip: the CTA button should never, ever say “Click here”. Too generic. You can do better than that. Tell the reader what will happen when they click (e.g.: “Compare quotes” or “Start your free trial”).

Also, KISSmetrics has a really great infographic that walks you through the anatomy of a perfect landing page. Be sure to give that a look.

How much copy?

You might be wondering how much copy you should write for your landing page. Lots? Just a little bit?

The amount of copy you write depends on what kind of conversion you want.

Here’s the only rule for copy on a landing page: Give all the necessary information succinctly and clearly.

The landing page is not a place to meander along and be vague. Tell the reader what they need to know and be done.

But keep this in mind: the bigger the ask, the more information you should give.

If you are trying to get someone’s email address for your email list, that is a relatively low-risk, simple request. You don’t need to write an essay about why they should sign up.

If you are asking someone to drop $900 on a product, you will probably need to provide some substantial information up front. This is where a long-form landing page would come in.

Even on a long-form landing page, though, the copy should be clear and concise.

Don’t write unnecessary copy.

Use just enough information to make the conversion happen.

AIDA

AIDA is my favorite thing. It is the favorite thing of marketing gurus the world ‘round.

Why?

Because it works. No matter how long (or short) your copy is, you can use AIDA.

Those are the building blocks for your landing page content. If you follow the AIDA steps, you will have awesome copy.

landing page guide

So you know how to structure your landing page. Now let’s talk about how design can (and will) affect your results.

mailchimp landing page

Bold headline: Your headline (that one you spent solid time crafting when you structured your page) should be the absolute first thing the reader sees. Make sure the font is clear (and big!) and the color pops.

Image: We talked about this up in the structure section, but it bears repeating. If you use an image or video, make sure it fits your brand and helps enhance your message.

In this example, MailChimp used a picture of their brand mascot. Perfect. Notice, also, that the monkey is looking at the headline. This helps direct the reader’s eyes to what you want them to read.

Background: The background is simple and not at all distracting. You can use an image as your background, if you want, but make sure it isn’t overpowering the message. This Slack landing page is a great example:

slack landing page

(Also, take a look at that SWEET use of a testimonial as social proof.)

CTA button: There is a whole big argument out there about what color works best for CTA buttons. It’s pretty unimportant. (Actually, I really like this guy’s take on it.) Here’s what you need to know about button colors: The button needs to jump out on the page.

It doesn’t matter what color it is, as long as that color contrasts strongly with the rest of the page and makes people want to click it!

Check out this Shopify page:

shopify landing page

Your eye sees the CTA button right away, because the bright green pops against an otherwise neutral page.

Color Psychology

Let’s take a quick minute to talk about colors. The colors you choose for your landing page are very important, because color can have a big effect on the brain.

Think through these points when choosing colors for your landing page:

  • Are these colors on-brand?
  • How do I want the reader to feel?
  • What do I want the reader to do?

landing page guide

How to Test a Landing Page

A/B testing works just like it sounds: you create two versions of the same thing (version A and version B) and a choose a metric that defines success. Then you test them simultaneously to determine the winner.

Usually, version A is the pre-existing version, and version B is the one you manipulate. You can split your website traffic between the two versions, and track their success based on the conversions you care about.

how to test a landing page

What you test is determined by the outcome you want. Are you looking for more sign-ups? Test your copy and the length of your sign-up process.

Looking for more sales? Test your trust signals, or CTA button color, size and text.

The options are literally endless. You  can test your:

  • CTA button text, size, color and placement
  • Headline
  • Form’s length
  • Images and videos
  • Length of copy on page

You can set up your A/B test in one of two ways:

  1. Change a single element in your testing tool and the test will automatically replace that element for random visitors.
  1. Create two totally different pages and have the testing tool redirect some of your visitors to the test page.

Here’s a cool thing: The more you test, the more powerful your landing page will be.

Visual Website Optimizer is a great tool for A/B testing. They also have a solid guide to A/B testing, which you can read here.

Tools for Building a Landing Page

Here are some options for tools that will help you build a hot-looking landing page in a few easy steps.

A lot of these tools also come with A/B testing functions as well, which is awesome.

Leadpages: They just rolled out a new builder that can make custom landing pages, or you can use their classic layouts that are proven to get results.

The Standard Plan is $25/mo, billed annually.

Unbounce: Comes with lots of options for customizing and optimizing landing pages.

The Standard Plan starts at $49/mo and comes with a 30-day free trial.

Instapage: Features customizable templates, easy template importer, and thank you/confirmation pages.

The Basic Plan is $29/mo, paid annually. But, if you want, there is a free 30 day trial with unlimited pages for split testing.

Landerapp: Create awesome landing pages for your marketing campaign.

The Basic Plan is $37/mo, if you pay annually.

SumoMe: Features lots of landing page and pop-up box options. Easy to use, and the most basic plan is totally free.

The Email Pro plan is $40/mo.

So there you go…

Now you know what a landing page is, and how to build one that gets people clicking like crazy.

You also know how to test different features of your landing page to make sure that what you’re doing actually works!

Now get converting. Good luck!