If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you’ll know that my wife and I visited Vietnam for our honeymoon.
Being newlyweds, we were on a budget so tight that, if it were a dress, it would have elicited lustful wolf whistles from construction crews perched on walls eating their lunches.
Needless to say, frugality was at the order of the day, and we made a list of ways to possibly save on expenses during our trip, such as booking accommodation that included breakfast and walking everywhere rather than spending our dong (relax. That’s the Vietnamese currency, dammit) on taxi fare.
Here’s the thing about Vietnam, though.
With humidity upwards of 90% in November (which is when we visited), the place is practically a giant freaking sauna, but with fewer fat, hairy dudes with a very laissez faire approach to personal space.
At the end of a decidedly sweaty day spent roaming the crowded streets of Ho Chi Minh City (the country’s southern capital), the best thing in the world was coming back to our mercifully air conditioned hotel room, taking an ice cold shower and then surrendering my body unreservedly to the AC-chilled embrace of the sheets.
What does all this have to do with creating landing pages?
Glad you asked.
In my view, a landing page is sort of like the hotel room in my story. Your prospective client has spent the whole day navigating the vast, labyrinthine city that is the Internet, and all he wants right now is to put his face inside the mini fridge for a few hours and then lie down.
The job of your landing page is to make him as comfortable as possible so that he feels compelled to take the action you’d like him to take, for example signing up to receive your newsletter or making a purchase.
If the hotel room has no AC and the matrass is lumpy and full of stains of questionable origin, the only action you’re likely to take is to pack your shit and go look for a better establishment. You’re hardly going to take the time to write a glowing review in the hotel guest book.
Similarly, you should be optimizing your landing pages and squeeze pages for maximum conversion.
Imagery is (almost) everything on a landing page
For a writer, I’m pretty damned obsessed with visual content – and with good reason!
You see, people love stories, but they don’t always necessarily have the time or patience to read one, especially if they have a very specific objective in mind.
By using eye-catching graphics, we are able to “cheat” a little bit in that we can tell an entire story in a fraction of a second.
Make it a distraction-free environment
A landing page has one job: to convert a prospect into a lead. You don’t want the visitor to get distracted and navigate away from the page, so remove temptation by not including top and sidebar menus.
Ideally, a landing page should comprise only six elements:
- A headline
- Some copy
- A lead capture form
- A call-to-action
Copy with clout
As with most online content, brevity and concision are your friends.
You have weird friends and you should probably get out more. Moving on.
Think about it like this: if eye-catching imagery is what the room looks like, then good copy is the fully-stacked mini bar, chocolates on the pillows and towel warmer. The copy is that all-important final stretch of the race, with cool, refreshing lead conversion waiting at the finish line.
Landing page copy should be:
- Clear and concise
Start by writing a strong headline and sub-headline, and build your copy from there. For lead conversion, it’s a must to include a clear benefit in your copy. In other words, tell the visitor why they should part with their personal details. What’s in it for them?
A strong call-to-action
If I may just quickly quote Mortal Kombat for a second here: FINISH HIM!
The best kind of CTA is one that solves a problem, or that empowers the prospect to solve the problem himself. Here are some examples:
“I want more sales!”
“Teach me how to code in one week”
“I want to know the 17 best-kept secrets of inbound marketing!”
The lead capture form
Okay, so you’ve wowed your prospect with amazing visuals and convinced her with superb copy…what’s next?
Next, you need to seal the deal by capturing the prospect’s details such as her name and email address.
This is typically done via a lead capture form like the one below, which you can modify to suit your particular data requirements. But do keep in mind that this is a crucial and delicate stage of the transaction, so tap into your inner Hemingway and be economical in terms of how much information you ask the prospect to enter.
You’ll only frustrate your leads if you expect them to enter their entire biography before giving them what was promised (i.e. your eBook, a discount coupon, etc.).
It’s a well-known fact that everyone loves getting tons of unsolicited emails and cold calls ad nauseam.
Wait, what? Absolutely no one loves that? Well, I’ll be damned!
Let’s face it, spam is goddamned annoying, so you’ll understand if people are reluctant to give their personal information to complete strangers.
This is why it’s important that you include a clearly-worded privacy statement reassuring visitors to your landing page that you won’t bug the shit out of them or sell their details to a 419 scammer.
Bringing it all together
Below is an example of an optimized landing page, with annotations explaining what the different elements are.