You hear the term “landing page” often, especially when delving into digital marketing. But what is a landing page and how is it different from websites?
Working in the CRO (conversion rate optimization) industry, I get this question a lot. Although landing pages might seem almost identical to a regular website homepage, there are some key differences that make them important to a digital marketing campaign.
The purpose, goals and often even the traffic source of a landing page are different from those of a website, so it’s critical to make sure that you optimize both for their intended purpose. To do that, you have to understand how the two differ in 4 key areas.
The first major difference between a website (pages) and landing pages is the audience.
Landing pages are literally what they sound like. It’s a “page” someone “lands” on after clicking on one of your ads. Here’s an example landing page from Unbounce.
Specifically with paid search ads, the viewers of a landing page have already shown interest in a company’s products and/or services. For example, someone might search for “Car Repairs in Lagos and then click on your paid search result.
You know this person is looking specifically for car repairs in your area and so you can assume they are further down the sales or conversion funnel than someone that happens upon your website organically.
With these digital ads, you can target certain demographics who are more likely to convert. This means the landing page needs to be tailored to this type of audience. They are less likely than organic traffic to be simply exploring a website, so the landing pages should only show them the information and content they are going to need to push them to converting.
That being said, you don’t want your traffic to feel ambushed but you can get away with a lot more selling on a landing page than you can on a website.
Landing pages only have one goal: convert traffic. Websites, on the other hand, have to wear a lot of hats.
For example, on a typical website, there is usually some sort of navigation bar up near the top. There might also be several more site links on the footer, or social media links on the blog. All of these links are needed to help website visitors get to where they need to go or interact with a website in the way the owner wants.
On a landing page, however, one shouldn’t have any of these links. Keeping the viewers on a landing page until they convert is the main goal, so avoiding all these potential distractions is highly recommended.
Here’s a great example of simple and effective landing page that gets right to the point. There are really only 3 options: 1) Convert, 2) Login, or 3) Leave the Page.
Let’s imagine it this way. Say there are links to your social media accounts up at the top of your landing page that show off your 10,000 page likes. This is helpful social proof that encourages your visitor to convert…until they actually click on your Facebook icon.
Your visitor heads to Facebook to check out your page; but, as soon as they get to Facebook, they see 2 new friend requests. In that instant, you’ve lost them. Suddenly, that visitor you worked so hard to get onto your landing page is now scrolling through their Facebook feed and they’re unlikely to ever give your site a second glance.
It’s best to find ways to give audiences the information they need without taking them off the landing page. For a long page, having a nav bar that scrolls them to the correct section of the landing page or show off the social media follower count directly on the page.
Although one might use some of the same information that is on ones website, a landing page should only have content that is specific to the offer, product, or service that is being promoted.
Unlike organic traffic to a website, you know what ads and search terms brought visitors to a landing page. As a result, a landing page should be specific to those searches or ads.
For example, you are a company that sells all types of fruit. Someone searches for “bananas” and clicks your ad. Now, instead of taking them to your website where you are showing off the many types of fruits you offer, you should be pointing these ads to a landing page specific to bananas. Why are your bananas the best? What type of offer do you have for banana sales specifically?
Similarly, if you are a law firm who works on a variety of cases, but someone is looking for legal copyright services, make a landing page with content based on your experience with copyright law. The person who clicks on your ad doesn’t care about your trademark defense services, so don’t distract them with irrelevant content!
Ideally, landing pages should be set up so that someone who clicks on an ad arrives at the page and thinks, “Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for!”
One of the biggest difference between a website and a landing page is that a landing page is action-oriented. In other words, landing pages should have some type of Call-to-Action (CTA) that encourages your viewers to convert.
A CTA can be anything from filling out a form to calling a phone number or even plain buying a product. But, regardless of what the CTA is, it needs to be obvious and straightforward. For example, “Get Your Free Evaluation!”, “Call Us Now!” or “Get Started Today” are great examples of CTAs.
Often, having a specific offer associated with the CTA helps to boost conversions. So, instead of “Call Us Today”, one can try something like “Call Today for 10% Off”. This makes the audience feel like they are getting something in return for their info and incentivizes them to act now.
In contrast to landing pages, the website likely does not have a strong and prevalent CTA (which is perfectly ok) because it’s mostly used as a resource. Landing pages, however, should set themselves apart by visually and verbally driving viewers to convert.
One might be able to say that it all comes down to focus. The website has lots of info, lots of sources and lots of links. The purpose of a company site is to provide plenty of information and resources to potential customers.
A landing page has a specific message, relevant content and is tightly focused. Its purpose is to convert, whether that means generating leads, prompting phone calls, increasing sign-ups or initiating an online chat with potential customers. In other words, a landing page is a simplified and more concise version of a website with a specific call-to-action.
Although websites serve many critical purposes, landing pages capitalize on the specific audience targeting and conversion tracking options available through paid search, making them a crucial part of pay-per-click and other digital advertising methods.
If you’re interested in trying out a landing page for your site or in having diKoncept media set up some high-converting landing pages for your company, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or any of our SM pages!
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