The real question is—why wouldn’t ya?! Landing pages help increase your conversion rates and lower your cost-per-acquisition.
The main reason they’re so good at it is that promotional or product-specific landing pages are focused on a single goal. This goal matches the intent of the ad or email visitors clicked on to reach your page.
Plus, Your Website Isn’t Designed to Convert
Close your eyes and picture the homepage of a typical software company—it can be your own site, if you have one, or somebody else’s.
What do you see?
Probably many things. That’s because typically a homepage is designed with a general, exploratory purpose in mind. It speaks to brand and corporate values.
And it’s likely loaded with links and navigation to other areas, whether that’s info about your team and company, editorial content designed for search engine optimization, or other marketing materials such as press clippings, white papers, case studies, and social media feeds.
In short, there’s a lot on the typical homepage. For most businesses, it’s probably a necessary evil to have all these links. But they won’t do your conversion rates any favors.
A landing page, on the other hand, has a singular purpose: converting your website’s visitors into customers or leads.
How does it accomplish this? Well, when it comes down to it, there are really two factors set landing pages apart from everything else on your site: attention ratio and message match. Let’s explore.
Every link on a page that doesn’t represent your conversion goal is a distraction that will dilute your message and reduce your conversion rate.
Attention ratio is the number of things you can do on a given webpage versus the number of things you really should be doing in order to convert.
While a homepage might have a ratio of 30:1 or higher—essentially, 30 shiny objects vying for the visitor’s attention—a successful landing page will get as close as possible to a 1:1 attention ratio.
Landing Page Navigation
The biggest culprit when it comes to creating leaks on your landing page is navigation. Whether it’s found at the top or bottom of the page, it will carry visitors away from your call-to-action and flick the invisible switch in their brains from “buy” to “explore.” For that reason, keep navigation off your landing page whenever possible.
Yes, that means your visitors won’t have a direct path to the rest of your website. But, if you want them to convert, that’s a good thing.
Q. Should I always avoid links?
If your landing page has a lot to see, it might be necessary to bend the rules a little. For instance, a long-form landing page may contain internal navigation that lets visitors jump between sections. But you can also add extra content in lightboxes so that people don’t navigate away from your pages.
Have you ever walked into a restaurant that looked promising from the outside, only to realize that, yeeeah, you don’t actually want to eat there? (Is that a cockroach!?)
Message match is the ability of your landing page to accurately reflect the ad copy that got your visitor to the page in the first place. People leave restaurants before being seated all the time when their expectations aren’t matched, and they do this frequently on the web too.
Most visitors will leave your site within a few seconds of arrival if you don’t reinforce their mission, so it’s crucial that the buyer’s journey flows smoothly from ad to page. By ensuring a strong message match, you’re letting them know that they’ve made a “good click” and helping them along.
This example shows a comparison of good and bad message match on a landing page for a typical PPC campaign:
An example of bad message match
Ad: Get 50% Off Nike Air Men’s Shoes
Landing page message: Welcome to Jill’s Sporting Goods
An example of bad message match
Ad: Get 50% Off Nike Air Men’s Shoes
Landing page message: Get 50% off Nike Air at Jill’s Shoe Store
PRO TIP. Some companies don’t even bother with the whole “homepage” thing. If you’re just starting out, your offering is exceedingly simple, or you’re testing a new idea, a landing page can be an inexpensive starting point.
Another Big Reason You Should Choose Landing Pages
It’s entirely possible to create landing pages that adhere to the rules above using your existing development resources—provided you have them.
The problem is that creating new pages on a traditional site can take a lot of time (and money) and it likely needs to be done by devs outside of your marketing team. Often, you risk ending up with something you don’t want in a timeframe that doesn’t work.
By using a landing page builder, like Unbounce, you can design and publish pages in a matter of hours, without the support of a development team. Drag-and-drop features and various integrations allow you to create, track, and optimize your pages for maximum impact.
And you can create promotions quickly by minimizing the lead up time.
But When Should I Use a Landing Page?
Landing pages are ideal for most inbound digital advertising campaigns. In fact, marketers have been successfully using them for over a decade to improve conversion rates and lower cost per acquisition.
Here’s a few situations when landing pages would be ideal:
- Koalified HR wants to run a pay-per-click campaign on Google Ads that targets searches related to payroll software.
- SKRT Design have created a promotion targeting subscribers to their weekly email newsletter.
- Haircore routinely advertises salon kits to young women who follow hairdressers on Instagram and Facebook.
- Eyelusions Optical uses the Google Display Network to retarget people who’ve previously visited their site without converting.
- SpringBox Mattress Co. runs native ads on a dozen lifestyle podcasts that offer discounts to listeners.
- HomeLove wants to see how interested most people are in a new expandable media table before they go to market with it.
In each case, a series of targeted landing page helps these (completely fictional) companies make the most of ad budget or their email marketing by delivering the right message to the right prospects.
PRO TIP. Building ads and landing pages for every possible Google search can demand a lot of your time. Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion in Google Ads and Unbounce’s Dynamic Text Replacement feature to personalize for many different search queries.
Segmented Promotional Offers
Not all promos are for all people. If you need to communicate to various types of customers, then the simplest way is with separate landing pages. For example, you might create pages for people who’ve signed up for your free trial versus those on your top tier plan. You’ll adjust copy, design, and the offer itself to match.
Landing pages are ideal for merchants and ecommerce marketers who have more than one SKU on the go. Even when they’ve only got a single product offering, there might be multiple contexts better represented on separate pages. (“It slices! It dices! It does your taxes!” That’s at least two landing pages.)
Multiple Traffic Sources
If you run a campaign across a range of channels, creating landing pages with messaging that matches the source is a must. The captivating visuals you run on Instagram, for instance, may benefit from a different headline, hero, copy, or call to action than text-based search ads.