If landing pages didn’t exist and you were designing one for the very first time, what landing page elements would you need to make your new creation a success?
Let’s take look at the anatomy of a landing page, and we’ll define the building blocks of a successful online marketing campaign.
There are 5 must-have core elements on any landing page, which can be broken down further into a more detailed list of building blocks:
The diagram below represents a sample layout with the 5 elements placed in locations determined by their hierarchical importance in terms of the story you are telling your visitors. Your specific landing page may vary from this layout, but it’s helpful to look at this for reference as we walk through each element.
The starting point of a marketing campaign revolves around your ability to define a point of differentiation. What is it about your product or service that sets it apart from the competition? You need to communicate this in a succinct way on your landing page. Try to break down your offering to its most basic level, to describe the specific benefit your customers will get by choosing your product/service.
A classic example comes from Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it’s free.”
A well crafted USP sets clear expectations for your customers and allows them to understand why they should care.
The USP can be broken down into 4 page elements, which collectively tell the story of your offering throughout the landing page:
Your headline is the very first thing that people will see and read. It’s critical that it very clearly describes what a visitor will get from the page (its goal) and that the message match is strong enough to show the visitor that they are in the right place.
Your headline can only say so much if you want to keep it succinct and easily digestible. The best way to keep your headline short and sweet is to add a supporting headline.
This can be used in two different ways:
People will scan your page when they are reading it. This makes it critical that any titles you use – such as your main headline and feature/benefit titles – throughout your page stand out to a reader.
There is another page title that you can use to drive home the purpose of your page. This is the reinforcement statement. It sits about halfway down your page, and serves to add a mid-experience message that you want to communicate to your visitors. Essentially it’s like a second headline.
Here is an example:
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As your landing page comes to a close, you have one final chance to communicate the benefit of your offering. Similar to the reinforcement statement, it backs up your main value proposition. For a click-through page, it should be coupled with a repeat of your call-to-action.
Note: For a very short page, this isn’t always a requirement as your headline will still be visible.
The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true in the short attention span world of the landing page. The hero shot is the visual representation of your offer and can help people to gain a better understanding of what it is or what it looks like. For maximum effect it should show context of use. This means showing rather than telling how it will be used by a customer.
The idea here is to get your customers to empathize and place themselves in a scenario where they are using it. There are many ways in which to achieve this, including:
Following on directly from the USP is a more detailed description of your offer’s benefits and features. By crafting an effective headline you gained the attention of your customer, and now you have to provide a little more detail to the offer to answer any questions they may have. Try to focus on answering the question “What will this do for me?”, as this will help you to write copy that speaks directly to your customers questions.
It’s important to strike a balance here and not get into so much detail that your landing page feels like it’s full of text. Write a brief one paragraph summary and 3-5 bullet points for clarity. Come back to this section many times and edit the copy to remove any bloated or unnecessary verbiage.
An example, for a phone, might be:
Bad (feature based)
Our new battery is twice as powerful as the competition’s.
Better (benefit based)
Our new battery means you’ll only need to charge your phone every couple of days.
To support your brief benefit statements you want to extend the bullet point descriptions into a more detailed overview of their purpose and benefit. A good way to approach this is to expand upon the benefits first, and then if needed, add some feature details below.
The important point to remember here is that you need to communicate the benefit of your offering first. Then, and only then, do you start to add features – which are typically directed towards those who require more detail in order to make a decision.
The benefits describe the problem you are solving, and the features describe what it does.
Social proof is a powerful persuasive concept. Simply put it’s the use of social signals to illustrate that other people have bought/consumed/read/participated in, what you are offering. The concept being that you are more likely to convert if you see that others before you have, and were glad they did.
Basecamp does an excellent job of showing social proof on their homepage:
There are two key examples of social proof here:
Other examples of social proof are:
Your conversion goal is a term that describes what the purpose of the page is to you. It’s purely a label intended to keep you focused on this page element when designing your page.
To a visitor, this is presented in the form of a Call-To-Action (CTA), which can either be a standalone button on a click-through page, or as part of a lead gen form.
Your CTA is critical to conversions as it’s the target of your pages’ conversion goal – in other words, it’s what you want people to interact with on your landing page. How you design it, where you place it and what it says are all important considerations.
It’s common – especially in the B2B marketplace – for the main purpose of your landing page to be lead generation. Usually this will involve asking the visitor for their Name and Email in exchange for a piece of content such as an ebook. If you are requesting data from your customers, keep the form as short as possible and include a privacy statement near the button or email address field.
Poorly written CTA’s are the standard CLICK HERE or SUBMIT. A good example would be “Get your $50 spa coupon” which clearly articulates what you will be receiving in exchange for your precious click.
Read about the 15 Steps to the Ultimate Lead Capture Landing Page.
By now you should have an understanding of what a landing page needs in order to function. As I mentioned at the start, you can use the 5 elements of a landing page to quickly construct an effective landing page for your marketing campaigns. One particularly good technique for visualizing landing page design potential is to create a paper prototype. Do a quick sketch of the 5 landing page elements on a piece of paper, cut them out and move them around on a new piece of paper. Try to lay it out so that they tell a fluid story with a strong focus on the CTA.