02.02.201614 min read

5 Keys to Rapidly Building Smarter Landing Pages

by Will Hoekenga

12 times as many leads as your biggest competitor.

If I had to guess, I’d say that phrase probably perked your ears up a bit. And you’re not alone. 

I adapted that phrase from a stat about landing pages that I saw more than almost any other stat during 2014:

Companies with more than 40  landing pages get 12 times more leads than those with five or less.

To break that shocking statistic down, that means if Company A is pulling in 100 leads per week from its three landing pages, Company B could be pulling in 1,200 leads per week with its 40 landing pages.

The evidence is clear — you should be creating more landing pages for your business. Enough said, right?

Wrong. Not nearly enough said. For one big reason:

Simply having a bunch of landing pages isn’t good enough. To have an effective strategy, you need landing pages that, in addition to simply existing, actually achieve high conversion rates.

You need smarter landing pages. And to get them, you first need to understand how to build them (and how to do so quickly).

In this post, I’m going to show exactly how to use landing pages to grow your lists faster than ever. All of this information is based on best practices we’ve learned at LeadPages, where our more than 30,000 customers have generated over 38 million leads using our landing page and lead generation software over the past two years.

1. Wait...why landing pages in the first place?

That starts with answering a very basic question:

What the heck is a landing page, anyway?

A landing page is a standalone web page designed to get visitors to take one specific action, such as to:

  • Join your email list
  • Purchase something
  • Register for a webinar
  • Click through to another page

Ideally, this page is separate from your website and doesn’t allow visitors to navigate to any of your other web pages.

That way, when you send traffic to this landing page via channels like social media, paid advertising, email, etc., they only have one choice to make: fulfill your desired action or leave the page.

image1.jpg

Above is the landing page New York Times best-selling author Michael Hyatt used to collect leads by giving away a free report in exchange for visitors’ email addresses. This page was created with the Social Proof Giveaway Page template in LeadPages.

2. Make your landing pages adaptive

“Adaptive content” is already shaping up to be a big buzzword in 2015. 

Essentially, adaptive content is content that can fit in in any environment. For example, you publish a blog post that can be promoted across multiple social media platforms, sent to your email list, syndicated on other sites, repurposed as an infographic, ebook, slideshow, etc.

It’s not just content that sits on your blog. It’s content that adapts to fit into many different environments.

That’s exactly what your landing pages need to be, in two ways:

1. Your landing pages need to adapt to different traffic streams

Think about all the different traffic streams you can send to your landing page:

  • Email list subscribers
  • Facebook followers
  • Twitter followers
  • LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, forums, etc.
  • Facebook ad traffic
  • AdWords traffic
  • Different business verticals
  • Guest post readers
  • Organic search
  • Affiliate referrals

What are the odds that one landing page would be the best page for all of those different types of visitors?

Pretty low.

The solution? Start by creating one landing page specifically tailored to one traffic source. Then, tweak that landing page so that it’s custom-tailored to each traffic stream you plan on sending its way. In other words, adapt it.

For example, let’s say you want to create a landing page that offers a free report to your blog readers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, readers of a blog you’re guest posting on and AdWords traffic for particular keyword searches.

Instead of sending all of those traffic sources to the same landing page, it would be way more effective to create a different landing page for each traffic source. For example:

  • If you know that your Facebook fans are, on average, significantly older than your Twitter followers, you may want to customize your landing page copy so it appeals to this specific age group.
  • For your guest post: You might link to a version of this landing page that greets your new blog readers in the headline. This would help ease the transition between your guest blog post and the landing page.
  • Or, let's say your Twitter followers tend to respond very well to videos. You might create a version of this landing page that features a video just to promote on Twitter.

2. Your landing pages need to adapt to different devices

You probably don’t need to see another stat communicating the importance of mobile-responsive design, but in case you do, consider this:

Mobile devices accounted for 55 percent of internet usage in January of 2014. And that percentage has only gone up since then.

That’s not to mention that Google has indicated that “mobile-friendly” websites and pages will start getting extra benefits in search rankings.

Mobile-responsiveness is so important to landing page conversions that we never release a landing page template at LeadPages™ that isn’t mobile responsive.

image2.gif

Mobile-responsive landing pages (like the one above) dynamically adjust based on the size of the window or screen that’s displaying them, as you can see in this example featuring the Modern Webinar template.

It’s your job to make your landing pages adapt to your visitors’ experience, not the other way around.

3. Pay attention to what’s working

After viewing thousands of landing pages over the past year, I can tell you that the majority of the successful ones have certain things in common.

The two-step opt-in process, for example, is something that we started noticing more and more at LeadPages over a year ago.

image3.gif

Rather than simply placing the opt-in form right on the page, the two-step opt-in process gets (above) visitors to take an action before being presented with the opt-in form.

When LeadPages initially tested out using a two-step opt-in versus a one-step opt-in, we discovered that, on average, it resulted in a relative increase of 30 percent in conversion rate.

Since then, it’s become a best practice we’ve applied to all of our landing pages. Many companies have followed suit.

image4.gif

The two-step opt-in process isn’t limited to just landing pages. Above, Shopify has incorporated it into their blog sidebar using LeadBoxes®.

The moral of the story? Pay attention to what other businesses are doing on their landing pages. Watch for trends. And when something stands out, don’t hesitate to test it out on your own landing pages.

Which brings us to point number four...

4. Split test, split test, split test

We constantly see LeadPages™ users getting huge boosts in conversion rate just by making one simple change on their landing pages.

If you’re actively driving traffic to a page, split testing will allow you to not only increase your conversion rate, but also gain valuable insight into what your audience responds to.

In fact, Neil Patel (co-founder of KISSMetrics and Crazy Egg) recently wrote in an article for Forbes.com that split testing (or A/B testing) is “really the only reliable way to improve your conversion rate”.

In this recent split test, the marketers at NeverColdCall.com not only increased their conversion rate by a whopping 216 percent (raising it from around 9 percent to 29 percent), they also learned how to emotionally appeal to their potential customers, all by making a simple change to their headline and subheadline.

By making incremental changes to your landing pages, you can learn what works and what doesn’t for each traffic stream you send their way.

5. Create the landing pages that make sense for your business

With so many different types of landing pages, and so many different ways to promote them, it can be difficult to determine where to start.

That’s why it’s important to ask yourself this question before you dive in: What is the most high-value action my online prospects can take?

For example, the answer to this question might be something like:

  • Opting in for a free report 
  • Registering for a webinar
  • Booking a free coaching session
  • Filling out a form for a price quote

Your answer should be something that you know often leads to sales.

At LeadPages, our answer is in the second bullet point — registering for a webinar. We know that webinar registrations are extremely valuable to our business because they often lead to sales down the line.

That’s why, over the past year, we prioritized creating landing pages that help us drive more webinar registrants, such as:

1. Thank you / webinar registration page

image5.jpg

This is the “thank you” page our visitors land on after they opt-in for the LeadPages email list or for a free download.

As you can see, it starts by thanking them for signing up, and then invites them to take our high-value action — register for a webinar.

This single landing page was responsible for doubling the amount of people attending our weekly webinars. 

The best part? It utilized traffic we were already getting. We didn’t have to pay a dime to send traffic to this page. We just replaced our existing (boring) thank you page with one that actually builds our business.

2. General webinar registration page

While the previous example utilizes existing traffic in our opt-in funnel, we also needed a landing page to link to in our emails and on other parts of our website. 

For those purposes, we created the following landing page using the Web 3.0 Webinar Registration Page template inside LeadPages:

image6.jpg

Since visitors take a different path to get to this page than they take to get to the previous one, the information is presented differently. The people arriving on this page didn’t opt-in for anything, so we don’t have to dedicate the first part of the page to thanking them for signing up.

If you take a look at this landing page (which we’re still using), you’ll see that it utilizes all of the best practices we’ve discussed in this post, such as the two-step opt-in process and mobile-responsiveness. That’s a big reason why this page has ended up being one of the highest-converting pages we’ve ever used.

3. LeadBoxes

Okay, okay, we’ll admit it — this last one isn’t actually a landing page. Instead, it’s something that you should sometimes implement instead of a landing page.

In the old days, you would link to landing pages like the one in the previous example from places like your website’s sidebar. That way, you could advertise your upcoming webinar and visitors could click through to register for it on your landing page.

But what if you could take that landing page out of the equation, and allow your visitor to register for your webinar (or opt-in for your free report, for example) without having to leave their current page?

That’s exactly what we did in 2014. We built the two-step opt-in process right into our blog sidebar, as you can see in the example below:

Zz1iNzE5ZDFiYjZiODhiYWY4Y2Y4MzRkMjk0ZTM3MDA4NQ==.gif

As valuable as landing pages are, there are some occasions where all they do is add an extra step to your opt-in process. For those occasions, we use our two-step opt-in tool called LeadBoxes.

If you ever find yourself linking to a landing page from your website, it’s worth testing an option like this. We found that it consistently increased the amount of opt-ins we would typically get when linking to a separate landing page.

What landing pages will you create in 2015?

Rapidly creating high-converting landing pages that build your lists has never been easier. The only question is this — will 2015 be the year you start implementing them in your business?

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