I talk a lot about landing pages, but I’ve realised that I don’t actually have a checklist of the main components that a solid landing page should comprise.
So here it is.
You don’t need to use ALL of these elements in every landing page you create. However, its usually a case of the more the merrier, so feel free to use as many as make sense.
1. Compelling Landing Page Headline
Every landing page should have a headline. Just like every sales page, every email (the subject line), and every blog.
The headline has been a crucial element in copywriting for decades. It’s the ‘A’ in the AIDA formula (it stands for ‘Attention’). It’s the first – and often only – piece of copy that many people will see.
But a headline in a landing page is different to a headline in an advertisement.
While an ad must stand out and get noticed, must capture the attention of people going about their daily business, the landing page is not usually the first thing that the prospect sees.
They have usually encountered the ad first (or the email), and it’s after this that they end up on the landing page.
So rather than primarily focusing on capturing the attention of the prospect, you want to focus on giving them a good reason to continue reading.
Whole books have been written on headlines, and I won’t go into them in detail here. But focusing on a key benefit of the product or service is a good starting point.
Be clear. Be succinct. Use curiosity if you feel it works. Use words that inspire action. Make it enticing.
But don’t try and be too cute or clever.
Provide the prospect with a key benefit of signing up to your list, clicking through to your product page, buying your product, or whatever it is you want them to do.
One thing I will mention is the concept of message match.
If you send your prospects to your landing page from an ad, make sure the headline fulfils the promise made in the ad.
The progression should be seamless, and the prospect should arrive on your landing page and immediately know that they are in the right place.
I’ll also throw the subheading in here too. This is an almost-essential element of any good landing page. You may not need one, and it depends how clearly you can communicate your offer in your headline.
But a slightly longer subheading can add clarity and a secondary benefit to keep the prospect reading.
Bullet Point Benefits
Benefits are not so much an individual element as something that should be present throughout your landing page copy.
However, to simplify things, I would recommend writing a list of benefits, then choosing the best 3-5 and listing them in bullet points.
Bullets are great on landing pages, especially short pages. They clearly communicate the key benefits of your solution in a few seconds of reading time, often making the case far more clearly than full sentences.
Often you may not need much copy at all on your landing page. Sometimes all you need is a headline, subheading, a list of bullets and a CTA.
Sometimes longer pages are more effective, especially when you are marketing an expensive or complex product. In this case, bullets containing your key benefits can be an effective way to make the page more scannable.
3. Enticing Call to Action (CTA)
Essential on any landing page, the CTA is not to be forgotten. The whole purpose of your landing page is to encourage your prospects to take a specific action.
What might this be?
For lead generation landing pages, providing an email address.
For product pre-sales pages, you want to warm prospects up and encourage them to click through to the product page.
Or you may want to sign them up for a month’s free trial.
Whatever it is, you need to explicitly ask for the action that you want the prospects to take.
“Click here to start your no-risk trial.”
“Fill out your email to receive your ebook.”
“Start your free course.”
There is a lot that goes into a good CTA, but one thing I’ll mention here is to only ask for as little as you can get away with. i.e. If you only really need an email, only ask for that (rather than phone number, address, date of birth, etc).
4. Social Proof
I wrote a post on social proof a short while ago.
Actually, it is such an important topic that I made it my first blog post.
Just to summarise the details of that post, social proof involves using other people or things to highlight the benefits of your product or service.
The most common way it is used is in the form of testimonials. People are far more convinced by the words of other people than your words. Any business can say that their products are marvellous, but when someone else says the same thing, the effect is tenfold.
Testimonials along with the details of the person as well as a photo can be effective. But there are other forms of social proof.
- A large number of Facebook Likes
- The large number of people who subscribe to your newsletter
- The clients you have helped in the past
- The publications that have featured your products
These are all good trust builders that help to convince your prospects to take action.
5. Rock-Solid Guarantee
The guarantee is one of those things that often raises eyebrows. I can’t tell you the amount of times that a client has baulked at the idea of using a guarantee.
They usually say something along the lines of: “We don’t want to lower the value of our service”, or: “People will just take all the information and cancel their subscription”.
But a guarantee is almost always a good idea.
And the reason is that people will always be wary when they are being asked to do something. They will always have something telling them that they should not sign up to your list, that they should not part with their money.
Anxiety gets the better of them, and you need to help them get over it.
A rock-solid guarantee is a great way to do that. If you are selling a product, provide a money-back guarantee for a month or longer to help prospects get over their indecisiveness. It’s far easier to make a buying decision when you know you can always get a refund.
A free trial for one month is a type of guarantee, used to great effect by countless businesses, such as Netflix. So if you sell a subscription service, offer one month for free. You’ve got nothing to lose.
The thing is, you believe in your product or service. You know how great it is. So let your prospects discover it for themselves rather than risk them deciding to try it out another day.
Some people will cancel. Some people will ask for a refund. But how many more sales will you have made?
6. Image or Video
Landing pages should be simple but attractive, and an image or video is often necessary. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is certainly true on landing pages.
What you don’t want to do is add any old image just because you think it needs some colour.
Instead, think about your image or video in the same way that you think about your copy. Include an image that shows the product, or a video that shows someone using the product.
If you are an expert at something, simply using a smiling photo of you could be effective.
And don’t forget about directional cues. Make the person in the photo look in the direction of the CTA, such as the form that needs filling. Little things like this can make all the difference with your conversion rate.
7. Trust Elements
I’ve already touched on this in social proof, which is itself a trust element. But don’t stop at social proof.
Trust is so important when you are trying to get people to sign up to your list or try out your free product. Your prospects often don’t know anything about you, and your aim is to quickly make them feel trust towards you.
Trust elements include:
- Endorsements from well-known people in your industry
- Press mentions in well-known industry publications and national publications
- Large numbers, such as the amount of people who are already using your product
- Certifications, such as associations you belong to, security symbols
- Results that you have got, such as the amount saved for your clients, the amount earned
And Finally …
These seven elements are almost essential in most landing pages. Not all successful landing pages use them all, but you can bet that most will have at least a good selection of social proof, powerful images, great headline, powerful CTA, etc.
They are not the only things, however, and there are other factors to keep in mind:
Keep it simple. The best landing pages are the ones that make it clear exactly what they are trying to do within a few seconds. Don’t overcrowd your landing page to make it too noisy, and use only as much copy and information as you need.
Keep links to a minimum. The ideal number of links is one, which is the link in the CTA. All other links are “leaks” that will take prospects away from the page.
Only ask for what you need. If you don’t need the prospect’s telephone number, don’t ask for it. Make it quick and easy to fill out the form by keeping the number of fields to a minimum.
And then of course, you should test it. The first landing page is just the control. After you’ve got that up and running, change things up. Write a new headline and test it against the control, use a different hero shot, change the CTA, anything.
Keep on testing, keep on improving, keep on making more conversions.