A landing page is a page that a visitor to your site first interacts with. This is their first point of contact with your business on the web. For many websites, this may very well be a homepage. If a visitor navigates to your homepage, that is likely the result of your brand name and visitor has either searched it in a search engine or typed it directly in the browser URL field.
However, the landing page we want to discuss here is the dedicated one - the landing page you insert in your marketing campaigns whether they are paid search, email, sales or other digital marketing channels you may use. Each marketing campaign should have its own dedicated landing page.
For example, according to MarketingSherpa, more than 70% of responses found landing pages are very effective when used with social media and affiliate referrals, and over 50% considered them effective for paid search ads.
Additionally, landing pages had an average conversion rate higher than other pages. While the overall median conversion rate for websites is around 2.35%, landing pages had an average conversion rate of around 10 to 12%. You will likely not want to bring the traffic you pay for to your home page.
Landing page should enable your visitors to directly convert and complete the transaction. This means a landing page should have all five essential elements:
- Unique value proposition
- Convincing imagery
- Social proof and trust indicators
- A single call to action
These general guidelines are applicable to every landing page in order to make it more likely prospects will convert when they reach the page. The information landing page provides should be sufficient for a customer to make a purchase or conversion decision. The main reason for using a dedicated landing page is to make sure the information it offers is relevant to the customer.
A dedicated landing page is fully aligned with the content of the campaign and prospect navigates to a page specifically made to match the language, style, and content of the campaign itself. This is the main reason why a landing page is more effective than other pages. A prospect who clicks on the link in the email and lands on a page that will match the language used in the email containing the same imagery and design will make it easier for a prospect to convert.
A landing page is important for one simple reason - it provides a prospect with a clear and simple way to convert.
What makes a certain landing page effective?
A landing page is effective for a simple reason - it is goal-oriented and dedicated to converting traffic with specific intent. As we have already mentioned, there are five main elements of every landing page. Let us examine each one and see how they help landing pages convert visitors.
Unique value proposition
A unique value proposition is a factor that differentiates your ecommerce store from all the others. An effective unique value proposition should give an answer to three main questions:
- Who is it for
- What are the benefits
- Why is it better than other products available elsewhere
If your unique value proposition offers these answers it will be effective and grab visitors attention right away. If the visitor understands that the product you are offering is useful for them, offers clear benefits and you are offering it at better conditions (price, shipping, support, etc) than others, they will be more likely to convert.
To convince the customers the product is right for them, the unique value proposition should clearly identify who is the target audience. By clearly identifying the target audience in your unique value proposition it is easier for the prospects to identify with your offer.
For example, Mancrates uses the following headline - Unique gifts guys love. It immediately identifies the target audience and allows prospects to understand if the product is the right fit for them.
In addition, you can use a benefit your products offers to prospects, as BeanBox does. They use ‘Give your mornings a fresh start’ headline, to promote the fact that their coffee is fresh and helps you get started in the morning
Images are as important (or even more important than) a unique value proposition. While a good value proposition helps customers understand if the product is for them or if it is a solution for their problems, a prospect still needs to read it. Image enables prospects to absorb the information at a much faster rate (up to 60,000X times faster). Also, visual imagery is much easier to remember (people will remember 80% of the visual content as opposed to only 20% of textual).
This makes images highly valuable for landing pages since the first impression on a landing page is formed in the first 50 ms. Attractive imagery is, therefore, necessary to grab and maintain customer attention and reduce the bounce rate of your landing pages. Once you have customer attention, they will be more likely to pay attention to your catchy headline containing your UVP.
For example, Tailor4Less uses an image of a smartly dressed man to showcase their product.
The image aligns perfectly with what a prospect would be looking for when they searched the internet for suites and clicked on a search result. A suit that fits perfectly is what a prospect will likely remember after seeing the image on this page.
Trunk club promotes their subscription business on a landing page that features the trunk filled with clothes. The emphasis here is the trunk, to help prospects connect the goods with the company brand name.
What the customer gets from your products is why they want to buy it in the first place. Pointing out the benefits of your products is vital for an effective landing page. Benefits can be provided as a list below the main heading or as a part of the image.
BirchBox lists the benefits of their products clearly right above their call to action. They promise a personalized mix of beauty product samples for only $15/month. This helps customers understand the offer and make a decision.
DeathWishCoffee presents the benefits in the form of a list.
One of the main points they do is to remove any risk for the customer, by promising a full refund if the customer is not satisfied.
Social proof and trust indicators
When you point out the benefits or uniqueness of products or the service you offer, you cannot really expect people will take you for your word. To make sure prospects will believe your claims, you need to offer social proof. Ideally, it would consist of endorsements from a peer group your prospect will readily identify with.
Social proof helps prospects see that people like them are happily using products you sell and makes it more likely they will convert. Social media helps in promoting social proof by implementing shares, likes and similar indicators. You can also use your own reviews or testimonials to show your prospects people use and love your products.
MeUndies sells underwear on the bases of monthly subscription and uses a total number of customers as a form of social proof. Since 9 million is an imposing number, the company feels it is sufficient proof customers are happy with the products and service they provide.
While 9 million is an imposing number, sometimes prospects want a more relatable endorsement, from either people similar to them or well-known people whose judgment they trust.
Nike, for example, used Serena Williams to promote their shoes. This made perfect sense as Nike sends sports shoes and using a well-known athlete can influence prospects to convert, thinking ‘If it good enough for Serena, it is certainly good enough for me’.
You can also use a star rating from existing customers, or reviews from media covering your industry.
On their landing pages, Leesa uses several social proof indicators, such as reviews from renowned sources and star ratings from existing customers.
Call to action
The entire point of a dedicated landing page is driving prospects to conversion. You can have the best headline in the world or most attractive imagery but if you lack a call to action, your landing page will not convert anyone. While last, call to action is by no means the least important element of an effective landing page.
A call to action is what converts your prospects. It may seem an insignificant element, but its placement, shape, micro-copy and even color can play an important role in the conversion. Placement is important because if your prospects do not notice the call to action above the fold it might eliminate a significant number of your prospects (according to Nielsen Norman Group people tend to dedicate 57% of their attention to the area above the fold and 74% to the first two screens).
While losing 74% of prospects to this is unlikely, you still want to place your calls to action to the area where the attention of your prospects is at peak level.
While the shape of your call to action button may not be critical, it can still increase conversion rate if you get the call to action button to look right. Commonly, call to action button as a square. However, experiment with this as some research indicates that a round or ellipsoid shape may be more conducive to conversion, by focusing prospect’s attention towards the call to action (rounded edges) instead of out (sharp edges).
Copy inside the call-to-action button, also known as micro-copy plays an important role. Since the space inside the call-to-action button is relatively limited, using fewer words is necessary.
Using imperative in a call-to-action button is the best way to ensure your customers will provide your prospects with a strong nudge where to proceed next. For example, using ‘Buy now’ or ‘Get your copy’ and similar are more likely to drive your prospect to conversion.
In addition wording of a call to action should remove any doubt about what follows next. If you use words like Proceed, a natural instinct of your prospect will be to ask ‘Proceed to what?’, causing them to hesitate. Using ‘Proceed to checkout’ for example answers the question immediately and you encourage the prospect to click on it, knowing what happens next.
Here a call-to-action button is connected to the promotional offer and the micro-copy reflects that.
Finally, the color of the call-to-action is the variable element that could influence your conversion rate. It is often cited as the thing you can test to improve your conversion rate. The truth is unless you have selected a color that is similar to the background or very hard on the eyes, you will not notice significant conversion boost.
When you select a color of your call to action, make sure it stands out from the background and allows prospects to clearly read the call to action.
How to use landing pages for ecommerce
Commonly, landing pages are largely associated with SaaS, and most online advice on landing pages will refer to this use case. This does not mean ecommerce websites do not need landing pages. Use cases vary and include lead generation, new products feature or sale promotion.
Lead generation landing pages
Similar to SaaS, one of the main uses of landing pages for ecommerce is lead generation. Typically, lead generation means getting a contact address from your customer in order to be able to send them an offer tailor-made for them at a later date. In ecommerce, getting the email address of a customer enables you can use it to send them promotional email campaigns, abandoned cart notifications or newsletters with regular updates.
In order to persuade a prospect to give their email address, you need to make a landing page that makes customers give their email address. This can be done by promising a benefit - either a coupon or early access to the new collection in your store or better service through personalization.
Let’s see how two sites have created landing pages for lead generation:
1. Revival Rugs
The site sells unique one of kind rugs and periodically refreshes its offer with new arrivals. Since each rug is uniquely designed, there is a clear benefit in getting the information as soon as possible to be able to pick the one you may like.
This is reflected in their landing page for email address capture.
A landing page is simple, with one call to action and nothing to divert the attention of the prospect. However, a call to action could be made a bit more visible, by adding some color around the sign-up button.
The landing page has a clear benefit ‘Sign up for early access’, attractive and relevant imagery, a single call to action. Unique value proposal is ambiguous, especially for new customers, who may not be familiar with the company’s business model.
Winc is a subscription business that sells wines on a monthly subscription basis. Their lead generation is based on being able to offer customers the type of wine they would want and they do this by gathering as much data as possible, asking questions seemingly unrelated to wines.
By getting to know the prospect through a short survey, Winc is able to match customer’s preferences and offer them superior service.
Both landing pages lack social proof, but since the amount of trust necessary for a prospect to provide their email address is relatively low since it does not involve any financial transaction. For any other sort of landing page, social proof would be necessary.
New product promotion
Another case when an ecommerce website may use a dedicated landing page is for presenting a new product addition. When you add a new product you want to present its new features both to your existing and new customers. Creating a separate and dedicated landing page for this product is what many ecommerce stores do.
Here is an example of how Anker introduced their new product. The landing page outlines its main features and encourages the prospect to learn more.
On the other hand, Joovv, a company that sells infra-red light lamps for therapeutical purposes, introduced the new product using a long-form landing page.
The landing page presents and described the main new features of the product with a ‘Shop now’ CTA. By using video, the company increases the conversion rate by 86%, according to research by EyeView.
Product pages as landing pages
Paid advertising presents unique challenges for ecommerce, especially in terms of landing pages. Most ecommerce websites have many (often hundreds) of products. For an ecommerce store that runs a paid search or display campaign, a typical landing page is either a product page or a category page.
The main advantage of using your product or product category pages as landing pages for your search campaigns is in the fact that they are already ready-made for this purpose. You do not need to make any major alterations. Product pages already contain many main elements of a landing page, such as benefits (product specifications), social proof, images and call to action.
The main difference is that a product page as a landing page offers many distractions in the form of the navigation menu, allowing customers to navigate away from the page. By hiding the menu (using the hamburger menu or slide menus) you can reduce the visibility and distraction caused by the navigation menu.
Here is the example of a product page for Bellroy wallet:
There are few navigational features and the call to action button is visible at all times. The product benefits and features are listed clearly and you can select any of the products and add them to cart easily.
Improving the performance of landing pages
The importance of landing page in your funnel and conversion process means you need them to operate at peak efficiency. However, it is highly unlikely you will manage to get it right the first time. Your initial landing page copy, design and general layout may be suboptimal.
Fortunately, there are methods to improve the performance of your landing page. Landing page optimization is a set of method marketers use to get the most out of a landing page. Once you complete the design, and QA of your landing page it is time to launch.
Once your landing page is up and running, only real visitor interaction will show how effective it is. If your traffic acquisition is effective, meaning you have done your homework in promoting your landing page, people will start arriving at your landing page.
The best way to improve a landing page is to use A/B testing. A/B testing is the method of splitting your existing traffic and displaying different versions of a page to determine which of them performs better. Using A/B testing you can test any of the design elements of your landing page, changing headlines, imagery or calls to actions.
Landing pages for ecommerce websites are different from SaaS pages since ecommerce websites are focused on sales or getting high-quality leads, with few opportunities to offer trial periods or demo of products. This puts a higher emphasis on engendering trust and getting customers to buy.
Furthermore, most ecommerce stores have many (sometimes thousands) products they offer and creating landing pages for each of them is hardly possible. Therefore, ecommerce must rely on using product pages as landing pages and treat every product page as a landing page.
This is especially true for the paid advertisement, where customers will usually use product names or product groups (categories) as search terms. This allows you to anticipate these keywords in your PPC campaigns and direct prospects to appropriate product pages.