In a previous post, I wrote about consistently giving away valuable information - good content - as part of your inbound marketing strategy. One of the primary benefits of providing this information is getting a little something in return - that something is typically a full name and email address of the person downloading your content. A key component in obtaining this information is a landing page.
When I recently polled random people (friends, acquaintances and several business connections) more than a few weren't sure what a landing page is. In its most basic form, a landing page is the specific place where you want your Web visitors to “land” when they come to your site.
By definition, your home page is a landing page, but it is not necessarily the best place to send new visitors to your site. If you are running an AdWords campaign, sharing links through social media, or giving away a free report, you'll want to create a specific landing page -- a place where visitors can go so they'll find exactly what they're looking for. (Think of how long you stay on a site when you click on link and land somewhere that's totally irrelevant to the link itself - you leave immediately!)
Two Distinct Types of Landing Pages in Inbound Marketing
The first type of landing page is essentially a lead capture page. This is the page where people go to sign up for a free report, join your mailing list, or take a survey that will give you valuable information.
The other, more basic, type of landing page is a dedicated page that may describe one of your services, which you are advertising or promoting. While this type of page is important to your strategic marketing plan, we're going to focus on the first type of page, which is what most marketers today think of when they hear the words “landing page.”
Why a Landing Page is Important in Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Above any other type of page on your website, a landing page is designed to quickly provide visitors exactly what they came for. If they want to sign up for a free report, all they need to do is provide the information requested to receive it. If they're shopping for a product or service, the landing page should provide the necessary information and a clear process that enables the person to buy right there.
The most important feature of a landing page is that it is the catalyst for the conversion process on your site. Conversion is that very important point at which a random visitor becomes a known entity by virtue of filling out your landing page form. Conversion allows you to take the exchanges with your site visitors to a whole new level of relevance.
But just because you're offering a free report (in exchange for an email address or other information), a newsletter subscription or free content doesn't mean the person who clicked the link is completely “sold” on this trade, yet. (Sidenote: People are often hesitant to give away any personal information, so the less you ask for, the better.) So a landing page whose aim is to give away a free report in exchange for an email address will require a few sentences to seal the deal. (The more you ask for, the more compelling your copy will have to be to convince visitors.)
If you're selling something, such as an info-product, and your AdWords link leads people to a specific page to buy that product, you'll definitely need a few paragraphs -- or even several screens -- of copy in order to make the sale after people have clicked the link.
Below is a screenshot of one of the many landing pages HubSpot creates to support their product's sales. I have highlighted the key areas of this landing page form so you can see the different elements in practice and how it looks when a landing page is done correctly.
Landing pages are such a valuable tool in your inbound marketing toolkit and they play an important role in converting site traffic into customers.