Annie sat at her computer frowning at your Web site.
She found it by searching for something. Maybe she clicked a link on another Web site. Or maybe it was that Twitter thing. She's not sure.
But now she's here at your Web site. And she has a problem.
You have the solution.
But Annie is confused. There are so many things on the page, and she can't find what she wants.
She is still frowning and two seconds later, she clicks the Back button.
Why Landing Pages Matter
When Annie clicked over to your Web site, do you know what page she landed on?
Any page that a user can visit by clicking a link or typing in the Web address is technically a "landing page" because visitors can "land" on it directly.
The marketing term "landing page" has a more narrow meaning, but for now, think of a landing page as a Web page that is intentionally designed to be the first page (and possibly the only page) a visitor sees when she first visits your Web site.
But Isn't That the Home Page?
Yes, your home page is a landing page. But it shouldn't be the only one.
If all the links to your Web site all just point at the Home page that may be costing you revenue because you are not helping visitors like Annie who have a specific problem.
How You Can Help Annie
You can help Annie by designing a page that specifically answers her question or solves her problem. Your page offers your solution to the problem Annie was having.
You can help Annie by creating links to this page, so she can land on it easily. You can run ads, send out tweets, get ranked in search-engine results, and so on. Do whatever is appropriate for your solution and then market it.
You can also help Annie by making the benefits of your solution obvious: easy to find, and easy to read.
People don't read Web pages; they scan them. You can help Annie save time and frustration by making important information on your page stand out.
You can help Annie most by telling her exactly what she needs to do to buy your solution.
Now, when Annie lands on this new, helpful page, she can quickly confirm that she's in the right place because she sees that you are talking about her problem. She can easily scan through the information on the page and note that your solution promises to solve the symptoms of her problem that most concern her.
She can follow the simple directions on the page and purchase your solution. She's happy; you're happy.
How to Create a Landing Page
To create a landing page, you start with a blank Web page.
If you're using some kind of framework software like WordPress to manage your Web site, chances are that when you create a new Web page, it has a bunch of things on it by default, such as menus, logos, headers, footers, sidebars, and sometimes even default text for the content.
For a landing page, you want to get rid of those things. All of them. You may need a plug-in, theme, template, or help from a programmer to make the page completely blank. For now, just imagine that the page is blank.
On this blank page, you're going to put a button, and make that button allow Annie to buy your solution or get the information that will solve her problem.
The button is the goal. If what you are offering is right for Annie, you want Annie to click that button.
A landing page has one goal.
[Editor's note: This landing page for our Virtual Writing Retreat is from our Book Author training site. Note the lack of navigation. Once you know what to look for, you'll see landing pages everywhere!]
Make Your Landing Page Scannable
We want Annie's eyes to scan naturally and easily from the top-left corner of the page (for pages in English) to the button, so that by the time she sees the button, she has decided to buy.
The art of persuasive writing is called copywriting. Copywriting is an entire discipline worthy of study (and/or hiring a professional), so I won't delve into it much in this article.
At this point, your blank Web page just has a button on it. Now you need to write a headline. This headline is designed to get Annie's attention and arouse her curiosity enough to read the next line. You may also write a sub-headline to increase Annie's curiosity, if you like.
The rest of the page could include text that talks about one or more of the following:
- How people with Annie's problem suffer
- Why they miss opportunities
- The dangers of not solving Annie's problem
- How solving Annie's problem can make a difference in her life
- The financial and/or emotional results achieved by those who took advantage of your solution
All of this text is designed to keep Annie engaged in reading long enough for her to know that you understand her Problem, you have a Solution, and your Solution is worthy of her desire.
After reading through the text, Annie clicks the Buy button. And both of you are happy.
But What About the Rest of My Web Site?
When you thank Annie for buying, by all means give her an opportunity to visit the rest of your Web site. You might even highlight some related and/or popular areas for her to visit. She may find more solutions to more problems.
The point is: your landing page did its job. It solved a problem for Annie and made a sale for you. Annie had no trouble finding the page, because she landed on it.
Annie read the page mostly because you made it interesting and informative. Most importantly, it focused precisely on the problem she was worried about.
On this landing page, there was only one thing she could do. It had clear instructions and just one button to click.
That's the power of a landing page.
Try It, You'll Like It
Now it's your turn. Create a landing page for your most popular solution. Then link to it from your home page.
After that, tweet it, mention it on LinkedIn.com or Facebook, and maybe even run a pay-per-click ad for it. You'll discover what this simple yet powerful tool can do to improve your business and make your customers happy.
Then come back and tell us about it!
Guest post by Steven A. Lowe (read more about Steven)