Think about your website. You’ve likely designed it to be beautifully centred around your homepage as the start of a visitor’s journey. We often think of our website’s homepage as being like a virtual business card, or at least the first impression we present to the online world.
However, your homepage isn’t the only route to your website, and nor should it be. Not only do people sometimes come to your site via other pages that they have happened upon first in an online search, but you may also have a particular product or offer page that you are directing users to via paid marketing campaigns. These kinds of pages are referred to as landing pages.
Although some of the principles used to successfully construct landing pages are similar to the principles used to construct homepages, they also have some key differences. While a good homepage provides a comprehensive look at what your business does and links to the other top-level pages on your website, a landing page stays focused on a single topic or offer, playing down additional navigational options while prompting visitors to take one clearly-defined action. In this way, landing pages are primarily about conversions – turning site visitors into leads.
So, in what instances would you consider using a landing page, instead of directing people straight to your homepage?
Chances are if you are doing any display advertising or email marketing, you’ve come across this ‘straight to the website versus a special landing page’ dilemma. Unlike your homepage, which has to cater to all types of visitors and prospects in different stages of the sales cycle, a landing page can be designed to receive traffic from a specific source (like a PPC ad or email).
In this way, it can continue the particular conversation you were having with your visitor, instead of this getting lost amidst your website’s other information. On a landing page, you can steer visitors in exactly the direction you want them to take.
Facebook (and similar) users don’t typically come online for the express purpose of looking at ads, so it usually requires an extra nudge, and something compelling, to make them connect with your brand. The mere fact that your website is there is unlikely to cut it. Offering something special that has an impact is easier to do on a landing page.
When it comes to search ads, you have more scope to get all the keywords and messaging you need into a landing page, without having to reshape the focus of your main site.
If you’re sending people to a specific landing page as part of your digital campaign, it is much easier to track your success without having to weed through other visitors to your main site. Landing pages also allow you to test and measure different content and different offers, to see which ones achieve the most conversions. In this way, landing pages can be a great tool for continuous ROI improvement without having to constantly disrupt the status quo on your website.
For both landing pages and home pages, a guiding strategy, great content and concise messaging are vital ingredients. However, when you know exactly the action that you want your audience to take, and you want to measure the success of a specific initiative, a landing page is probably your best bet.