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Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 21 , 2020

From effective design elements to optimization tips, here’s what you need to know to create successful landing pages. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • What defines a landing page
  • How to design a landing page for maximum conversions
  • Common landing page mistakes to avoid
  • Examples of landing pages that boosted ROI

When it comes to paid search, the ad itself is only part of the equation. Once you get that coveted click, there’s more work to be done. That’s where your landing page comes in.

We talk a lot about landing pages around here because of how make-or-break they can be for your campaigns. Effective landing pages properly represent your brand, offer something of value to the visitor, and see an impressive conversion rate. Not-so effective ones, on the other hand, garner little more than a high bounce rate and marketing budget spent on clicks that didn’t convert.

For everything you need to know about landing pages and how they factor into a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, read on.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a page on your website that’s specially crafted to capture the visitor’s information. People most often arrive on a landing page via clicking through on an ad or an email. 

The goal of a company’s landing page is to gather the visitor’s information in exchange for something. This could be anything from an educational piece of content to a discount code. Landing pages are generally designed with a more targeted audience in mind than the rest of your site. They also aren’t meant to be arrived at through your homepage or navigation menu. 

While lead generation is the main goal of most landing pages, Mailchimp explains that there are “click-thru landing page” types as well. The goal of these pages is for visitors to click the call to action (CTA) and be taken to a new page to follow through with the action, whether that’s to place an order, schedule a consultation, or something more. 

landing pages pillar page

When designing your landing pages, experience tells us that the most important word to keep in mind is “minimalism.” (Image via Unsplash)

Why are landing pages important in digital marketing?

As HubSpot succinctly explains, the goal of a landing page is to generate leads for your business. It also serves as a type of quick introduction for those who are just stumbling upon or learning about your company.

With that in mind, you want your first impression to be one that’s positive and accurately reflects your overall brand. You can do this through things like:

  • your landing page copy
  • your page design
  • the ad leading to the landing page
  • the offer itself that you’re presenting in exchange for a person’s information

Not only can landing pages help increase conversions, but they can also provide you with valuable information about your target audience. 

What elements make up an effective landing page?

The most effective landing pages are those that are being regularly tested and optimized. However, there are a few key elements that can help ensure your landing pages are as targeted and effective as possible. 

These include:

  • A clear goal
  • A thoughtful design consistent with your overall brand aesthetic
  • An appealing offer
  • A strong CTA
  • A lead form
  • Copy that mirrors and delivers on the ad that brought them there
  • Messaging that speaks directly to your target audience

How do you design a successful landing page?

When designing your landing pages, experience tells us that the most important word to keep in mind is “minimalism.” That’s because, more than anything, you want your page to be free from distractions. Anything that could divert the visitor’s eye from your CTA will only do your page a disservice. 

And, because people are often pressed for time, you don’t want the viewer to have to do a ton of scrolling to complete the desired action. Along with a clean, minimal design, you also want to keep things short and to the point.

One easy way to stick to a less-is-more aesthetic is by excluding elements that appear on your regular site pages. Think: your header navigation or subscriber box for your newsletter. These are great to have on your regular pages, but they can potentially make your landing pages cluttered, depending on what other elements are in play. Instead, you could simply have your logo hyperlinked to your homepage, where visitors can find these page elements if need be. 

Each design element should serve to tastefully draw the reader’s eye to your CTA. This includes things like whitespace and thoughtful imagery, such as stock photos, color blocks, or informative charts. (Whitespace doesn’t necessarily mean “white” in color — just free from text, images or graphics.) It also shouldn’t stray too far from the look and feel of the rest of your website.

What are some common landing page missteps to avoid?

There’s almost always room for improvement when it comes to your landing pages. However, there are a few common landing page mistakes we’ve seen companies make repeatedly when creating these pages.

These include things like:

  • Neglecting to test your forms
  • Putting too many design elements on one page
  • Not optimizing for mobile
  • Boring CTAs
  • Slow page speed

The good news? Once you know to look for these issues, any that you come across can usually be addressed and fixed quickly. 

How do you optimize landing pages for conversions?

Conversions are generally the goal of a landing page. Because of this, any optimization tweaks or tests conducted should aim to increase those conversions. 

For starters, spend time brainstorming a handful of attention-grabbing headlines that you can then test to see how your audience responds. From there, make sure your copy highlights the value you can provide your visitor or what problem your product or service can solve rather than simply bragging about your brand. 

Other conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies for landing pages include:

  • An easy-to-fill-out form
  • Proof points like badges or testimonials that illustrate your credibility
  • A special offer of some sort
  • A mobile-responsive experience
  • Social share buttons
  • A plan for consistent element testing and analysis

What are some examples of effective landing pages?

Just like there’s no single path to increase landing page conversions, there’s no one right way to design your landing page. With that in mind, here are a few landing pages for brands we’ve worked with that not only ended up paying for themselves, but that saw results like more time on site, increased conversions, reduced bounce rate, and more.

zephyr landing page

What makes it successful: This landing page for test management software company Zephyr gets down to business. The offer is clear, the design is minimal, and their claims are backed up by impressive proof points. 

rokitboost landing page

What makes it successful: This landing page for bluetooth headphone brand Rokit Boost leans heavily on the visual to show the specific product it’s selling “in action.” From there, it’s got a minimalist navigation in case the visitor wants to know more before making the purchase. Otherwise, they can go ahead and add to cart, with the added perks of free shipping and a money-back guarantee.

proven landing page

What makes it successful: Proven’s goal is to help businesses hire better and faster. This landing page targets restaurants, with a simple landing page, a strong CTA, and thoughtful use of color to draw the eye where it needs to go. 

See more examples of successful landing pages and their results here. 

The takeaway

If you ask us, landing pages deserve a place in your digital marketing plan. They can be a significant value driver for your business, whether you leverage them as part of your pay-per-click (or paid search) campaigns, email marketing, or elsewhere. 

When you create well-thought-out landing pages that have the right mix of elements, a clear message, and an easy way to complete the desired action, you’re bound to see positive results. 

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 4 , 2020

It’s easy to fall into one (or several) of these landing page traps — let us help you avoid them. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Best practices for landing page copy
  • Why landing page design matters
  • How to avoid snooze-worthy CTAs
  • Ways to make your pages stand out

Landing pages can be game-changers when it comes to your conversion rate. But that doesn’t mean the path to success is easy. At best, landing pages have a variety of thought-out elements that come together to create a seamless user experience. At worst? They confuse or turn off the reader, causing them to bounce. 

One way to be sure you’re on the right track: Don’t fall for any of these common landing page mistakes.

1. Not testing your forms

Each element of your landing page factors into your conversion rates, but your form can be the ultimate deciding factor. With that in mind, crafting your form shouldn’t be a one-and-done endeavor. Rather, take the time to A/B test your forms to see which ones result in the most completions.

While experience has shown us that shorter forms often get more completions, this certainly isn’t always the case. It’s wise to test a few different form lengths, and even multiple-page forms, to find the sweet spot that your prospects respond to best. As long as you’re getting the key info you need from the form, you can play around with various questions and wording.

common landing page mistakes

Sometimes, the most out-there CTAs are the ones that get the most attention — and clicks. (Image via Unsplash)

2. A distracting design

When it comes to your landing page design, there’s a delicate balance to be struck between not underwhelming or overwhelming the visitor. After all, you don’t want to put all this work into creating the best click-worthy ads that end up leading to boring landing pages. On the other hand, it’s just as important that you don’t send them to a page filled with in-your-face graphics, multiple calls to action (CTAs), a header and footer, pop-ups and more. 

A well-designed landing page design will be consistent with the rest of your website, but with an overall clean aesthetic that thoughtfully uses visuals to draw the reader’s eye to your CTAs. These visuals could include things like a photo of someone using your product or service, a specially designed graphic, or color blocking that falls in line with your brand’s current scheme. 

Pro tip: Often, landing pages don’t feature the usual headers and footers that the rest of your site does, to keep the look as minimal as possible. You can experiment with including pared-down versions of your navigation menus, or just a link to your homepage.

3. Boring CTAs

If the thought of a “click here” CTA makes you want to hit snooze, you’re not alone. Not only do generic CTAs not impress site visitors, but it often lacks context about why the person should click. Are they requesting a consultation? Being taken to a page where they can learn more about a product or service? This is one of the easiest landing page mistakes to avoid by making sure your CTA is clear and to the point.

CTAs are another great landing page feature to A/B test. Brainstorm a handful of attention-grabbing CTAs that align with your brand’s voice and tone, then start trying them out to see how your audience reacts. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box: Sometimes, the most out-there CTAs are the ones that get the most attention — and clicks.

4. Sluggish page speed

Of course, healthy page speed is crucial for all pages of your website. But it’s particularly make-or-break when it comes to your landing pages. That’s because landing pages often serve as the first impression of your business. You want everything to be in tip-top shape.

Luckily, there are usually quick fixes for slow site pages. First, test your current speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. From there, you can work with your team or developer to address any issues that come up, such as too-large image files that may need compressing. 

(Page speed promises to become more important when it comes to rankings when Google officially rolls out its Core Web Vitals metrics in 2021.)

Need more help getting landing pages in tip-top shape? That’s one of our specialties.

5. Not optimizing for mobile

Around here, we talk a lot about the importance of having a mobile-friendly site. That’s because we’re seeing more and more people using their smartphones over desktops for things like searching, shopping, and visiting websites. And it’s a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing down soon. 

Before launching your landing page, conduct tests to make sure the page and each of its elements renders well on mobile. That doesn’t just mean it loads. It also means imagery is properly sized, CTAs and buttons are easy to click on, and copy is easy to scroll through and read. This should be the case whether someone is viewing your page from an iOS, Android, or tablet device. 

landing page mistakes to avoid

Consider crafting an automated message upon form completion that reiterates what the user can expect as far as next steps. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Spending too little time on copy

Another one of the biggest landing page mistakes we see is creating a compellingly designed page with lackluster copy. If you’re just copying and pasting the same copy from your ad to your landing page, we hate to say it, but you’re doing it wrong.

While you don’t need to pen a novel, you do want there to be a consistent and clear message, from your headline to your CTA. Your landing page copy should match what your ad mentioned or promised. Moreover, it should focus on the value you can provide the user, not just info about why your brand is so great. In just a few sentences, make it clear that you understand the person’s needs or pain points, and highlight how your brand’s offering can help them. 

7. Failing to provide next steps

Sure, you can get by just fine with a simple “Thanks!” message that pops up once someone has completed your landing page form. But why stop there? Maximize each visit to your site by being thoughtful about what comes next.

Consider crafting an automated message upon form completion that reiterates what the user can expect as far as next steps, whether that means an email or a phone call. You can also add value and start guiding them further down the funnel by offering them a piece of content that’s relevant to the ad that originally brought them there.

Even a funny quip, joke, or GIF paired with your “thank you” message can help make for a memorable and positive first experience with your brand. 

The takeaway

Don’t panic if you’ve fallen prey to any of these common landing page mistakes. Some are easier to detect than others, but all can be fixed. 

Letting your landing page sit stagnant can lead to the issues above, along with others, so prioritize periodically testing new elements and making sure everything is as optimized as possible for best results.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Jun 17 , 2020

These easy-to-implement tips and tricks will help you create landing pages that convert.

A landing page can go by many names: static page, lead capture page, destination page — the list goes on. No matter what you call it, it’s a great marketing strategy to take a user from an organic search result, paid search ad, or marketing promotion straight to a page on your website that delivers a clear message. 

But what should that message be, and how can you ensure your page is set up to convert? We’re glad you asked. These 12 elements are great to keep in mind to boost landing page conversions and turn clicks into clients.

hawksem blog: landing page conversions

1. A killer headline

A great, eye-catching headline can be the difference between someone bouncing from your landing page and actually completing the desired action, like filling out a form. 

Crazy Egg highlights a few elements worth keeping in mind: such as clear prospect targeting, full transparency (AKA no sensational promises you can’t actually keep), and emphasis on the benefit you’re offering.

Whether it’s a question that touches on a pain point (“Ready to say goodbye to toxic cleaning products?”), an enticing offer (“Grab one before it’s sold out”), or a solution to a common problem your audience faces (“Time to get organized — and in better sync with your team”), your headline is what reels people in and entices them to fill out the form instead of closing the tab.

2. A strong call to action (CTA)

The point of a landing page is to start your visitor on a journey — and that journey should include a CTA telling them the next step to take. 

Whether it’s completing a form, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting a consultation or demo, you want the CTA button to almost jump off the page, grab the viewer’s attention, and entice them to click.

Rather than opting for the standard “click here” message, create customized button messages that are cohesive with your landing page design and make the ask crystal-clear. Bonus points if you A/B test various CTA buttons to see what your audience prefers.

3. A thoughtful design

Your landing page’s design should be intuitive as well as correlated to your website and overall branding. Add too many elements and you risk your CTA getting lost in the shuffle. Add too few and you risk underwhelming the user and having them bounce. 

Your landing page should also line up with your ad, both in verbiage and look (if applicable). These successful landing page examples illustrate how a good mix of imagery, graphics, and verbiage can create a strong landing page that accomplishes its goal.

Pro tip: Make sure any images or graphics you use feature brief, accurate alt text for proper search engine optimization.

4. A conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy

There are a few essential factors that can transform a regular ol’ landing page into one that’s fully optimized and ready to boost conversions. 

These generally include a headline, a subheadline that explains what the viewer can expect, a concise and value-centric offer description, an image, a form, and proof points that’ll drive your message home (more on those below). As you continue to optimize:

  • Use CRO tools like a heat map to track where your visitors are flocking
  • A/B test various singular elements like photo choice and headline copy
  • Review this data after a statistically significant amount of time
  • Optimize accordingly

You don’t want anything to get in the way of someone going to your landing page, filling out the form, and submitting it. So, it’s a good idea to remove unnecessary features on these pages — such as your main website navigation bar — even if they appear on your regular website.

The fewer distractions you offer, the higher your landing page conversions will likely be. Plus, you can always show a secondary CTA after they complete the form.

hawksem: landing page conversions blog

5. An easy form

Speaking of forms, there’s a delicate balance to strike between asking for the information you need and not turning off the user by asking too much. The less you ask for, the higher the conversion rate will likely be, and landing pages are where you’re most likely to gather this crucial data.

It’s a good idea to ask for the minimum info you need to qualify a lead — you can conduct some testing to determine the best form for your business. Some CRM tools even offer smart forms that limit fields if the visitor is returning. If you’re already tracking someone who has signed up for your newsletter or previously made a purchase, for example, you don’t need to ask for their email address again.

Pro tip: Seeing lots of drop-offs when it comes to your form? Try starting with a softball question (not literally — unless that’s your industry, that is). Starting off with a fun, easy-to-answer question can get visitors engaged in filling out the form, which means they’re more likely to complete it.

6. A consistent, clear message

If the messaging in your ad is drastically different from your landing page, you risk confusing your user (which we’re guessing isn’t an emotion you want people to associate with your brand). 

That’s why consistency in your messaging is key. Your ad verbiage should very closely mirror your landing page verbiage for a seamless experience. The copy should also be easily scannable, so someone skimming your content can still grasp the gist of what you’re about. 

Pro tip: All of your landing pages should be SEO friendly — otherwise, you’re doing all your hard work a disservice. That means each one should have its own page title, meta description, and URL.

Need more help with your digital marketing strategy? Let’s talk.

7. Proof points

Sure, brands can talk about how great they are all day long. Your competitors are vying for the same clicks you are — and trying to convince your audience that they are the ones with the best solution.

Add some credibility for improved landing page conversions with proof points like badges or testimonials. Are you partnered with a well-known brand in your industry? Do you have stellar quotes from satisfied clients? Use these to your advantage! This will help viewers see you as trustworthy and legitimate.

landing page conversions: hawksem

8. A thorough plan

Once you have a goal for your landing page, the planning doesn’t stop there. Mailchimp advises you to keep the conversation going — luckily, there are a few different ways to do just that. 

You can create a “welcome” campaign that automatically goes out to those who submit the form, introducing them to your business, offerings, and brand. You can also use this as an opportunity to ask for feedback, thank them for making a purchase, or recommend other products or services they may like.

9. A special offer

Not to blow your mind or anything, but it’s a fact that limited-time offers serve as super effective marketing tools. People love to get a deal, so if you promote a special discount, time-sensitive offer, or even a freebie, your conversion chances go up. 

Of course, this offer should make sense for your company, both fiscally and from a brand standpoint. Maybe you offer a 10% discount if someone schedules a consultation within a certain amount of time, or you waive the setup fee you usually charge.

10. An easy way to share

We previously mentioned keeping landing pages minimal, but social sharing buttons are a worthwhile addition. Make it easy for users to share your offer on social media (via social share buttons). This way, you can instantly expand your reach into networks you may not have been able to access otherwise. 

And if you’ve got an email forwarding option to boot, even better. People like to share in different ways, so the easier you make it, the more you’ll see your message spread.

11. A mobile-friendly experience

One big part of effective marketing is meeting your potential customers where they are. Often, that means on their phones. That’s why it’s crucial to make your landing pages mobile-friendly. 

But beware of mirroring desktop landing pages for a phone environment. The truth is, trying to fill out a form via your cell phone can be a nightmare. For mobile landing pages, it’s best to ask for as little information (at least in the first step) as you can.

landing page conversions article - hawksem

12. A consistent testing practice

One motto digital marketing pros follow is to always be testing. Though the above tips are best practices for improving both landing page conversions and optimization, your audience may surprise you. That’s why you should continuously be testing your landing page elements like:

  • CTA locations
  • The number of form fields
  • The type of validation (such as a quote, review, stars or accolades)
  • Colors
  • Verbiage

The takeaway

There’s no crystal ball to tell you what will inspire a person to do exactly as your CTA says on your landing page.

But with these expert insights, you’ll know you’re well on your way to creating optimized landing pages set up to convert.

This post has been updated and was originally published in September 2019.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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