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Plain Language, Please: What’s a Landing Page?

The definition is in the name, but it only tells half the story.  Yes, a ‘landing page’ involves users landing on a page. But how did they get there? And what are they supposed to do next?

We’ll tell you – in plain language.

If you pay for advertising online, such as through Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search campaigns, banner ads, or social media, this is definitely worth a read. Here’s why:

When users click on your banner ad or Facebook paid ad or whatever tidy, little promotional blip you have advertising your business online, they are sent to a page. A landing page.

It’s “any web page a potential customer arrives at after expressing interest in one of your upstream ads” (Unbounce).

But not all landing pages are created equal. Many online advertisers let their website homepage suffice as a landing page for their paid ad spots, and hope that once users get there, they’ll figure out what to do next. If only it were that easy!

The landing page has much more potential to further convince and show users how to complete an action on your site – the action that brought them there in the first place.

Paid ads are specific. They have specific messages and offers. So when a user clicks to learn more about a sale that you are promoting through a PPC advertisement, they should land on a page that gives them the information they need to make the next move. If they arrive on your homepage and find no direct indication of the ‘sale’ your paid ad promoted, they’ll turn around and leave.

Imagine this:

You’re driving along a country road when you see a sign on the side of the ditch that says “GARAGE SALE TODAY! 2222 GOOGLE ST! LOTS OF GREAT STUFF!”

That sounds pretty good to you, so you drive to 2222 Google Street.

You arrive at 2222 Google Street. The garage door is wide open. There’s lots of awesome-looking stuff. But no one appears to be home, and none of the goods have price tags. Did you miss the date? Is the sale in the backyard?

You consider snooping around and knocking on the door to see if anyone’s home. But that’s kind of awkward, so you get back in your car and leave. It’s a long, windy road, and you’re sure to stumble upon another garage sale soon.

Landing on the homepage is like arriving at a deserted garage sale.

With no delivery on the advertised offer (a sale of great stuff), we’re left to figure it out for ourselves. And frankly, that’s too much work!

An effective landing page delivers what it advertises.

Landing pages are “focused on a single objective that matches the intent of the ad,” with the goal to “convert the visitor into a lead” (Unbounce).

Here’s an example:

Hootsuite Facebook Ad

From my Facebook account, I clicked on the Hootsuite advertisement on the side of my News Feed.  The offer intrigued me: 30 days of unlimited social profile management and scheduled messaging. A more organized me, for free? Let’s do this!

I was sent here:

Hootsuite Offer

Aha! The page confirms that I’m in the right place to take advantage of that sweet deal.

It also gives me an impressive statistic to help convince me that it’s worth my time (“Find Out Why…”), and a bright green button/beacon to follow to my ultimate goal: free goodies with Hootsuite.

Now that’s a landing page. It has a specific objective: get users to sign up for the free 30-day trial.

Notice anything different?

A landing page is crafted a bit differently than a typical web page, because the intent is so singular. The whole page is obsessed with getting users to complete a specific action.  As a result, every word, button, and image on the page must work towards that effort. Clutter and distractions are not welcome.

Effective landing pages typically share these qualities:

  • A strong Call To Action (CTA) above the fold of the page. In our Hootsuite example, that’s the “Get Started Today” button.
  • Clear and concise copy, characterized by bullet points and bold text to aid scanners, and easy-to-read instructions.
  • An explicit statement that outlines the value of the offer.
  • Minimal images.
  • Simple design, kept consistent with the advertising brand.

These are the elements that make it quick and easy for users to sign up, learn more, purchase your product, or give you their email address – all from a single page.

You want more leads? You want landing pages.

You pay for advertising online with a goal in mind: more leads. Landing pages make good on that goal by increasing your conversion rate – the number of prospects that convert to customers.

Your ad already has the user’s interest; landing pages make good on that initial interest, and convince the user to follow through.

So why not maximize the effectiveness of your online paid advertising budget with landing pages custom fit to your offers?

Get em’ here

It’s time for a talk with Chris or Greg about your paid advertising campaigns, and the landing pages that could make them better.

What’s a landing page? Now you know!

Need a web-marketing concept or phrase explained in plain language? Share it with us in the comment section below – it could be featured in an upcoming Plain Language, Please post!

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