Complete Guide to Landing Pages

Have you ever clicked on a product’s ad on Google or social media? Or on the button at the bottom of a promotional email from your favorite clothing brand?

These clicks typically lead you to a specially crafted web page, aka a landing page that’s designed to make you pull out your wallet and say “gimme!”

In this guide, you’ll learn the complete what, why, and how of landing pages, along with some crucial components to consider when designing a landing page and the metrics to track their performance.

Let’s dive in!

What is a landing page?

In the marketing realm, a landing page is a standalone web page created specifically to convert visitors into leads (or even customers).

It’s the page where visitors land after they click on a link in a newsletter, or ads from Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms.

Unlike other pages on your website that usually encourage visitors to stick around and explore, landing pages are designed with a singular focus, known as a call to action (CTA), meant to convert them into leads.

As an inbound marketer, you typically use a landing page to offer a free resource (such as an eBook, a newsletter, an online course, a free product trial, etc.) in exchange for the visitors’ key contact information, such as name and email address. This is captured using a short lead-capture form and a CTA button on the page.

You could use a landing page for various other purposes, too, such as inviting people to a conference or selling them a subscription. But at its core, a landing page facilitates some type of desirable opt-in process and lead generation.

Why do you need a landing page?

You may wonder why you would create a special page just for people to fill out a form and give them a free resource. Can’t you just use your home page or contact page for this?

Well, you can, but it won’t nearly be as effective in achieving results when compared to using a well-designed landing page. Below are three good reasons why you need a landing page.

Proactively generate leads

By creating a landing page for a specific traffic stream, such as from a social media ad campaign that's promoting the free trial of a newly launched product, you’re taking a proactive approach to your lead generation process.

As the landing page targets only the people interested in this product, using careful demographics analysis and segmentation, you’ll likely convert a higher percentage of your website visitors into leads whom you can then nurture into customers.

Build trust with your prospect

Landing pages also help create a strong first impression on your visitors. An eye-tracking study cited by Conversion XL shows that it takes just 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the part of your site that most influences their first impression.

The better the first impression, the longer your visitors will stick around and be more likely to check out what you have to offer. With a carefully crafted copy and high-resolution images, a well-designed landing page helps form a solid first impression, building trust with your prospect.

Moreover, a landing page is a perfect place to display social proof in the form of customer testimonials, case studies, success statistics, product reviews, trust badges, industry awards, influencer shoutouts, and what have you.

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Source: Valpak

Ultimately, before they convert, people want to know what you’re offering is authentic. By including social proof on your landing page, you're validating your offer without being “salesy.”

Build a clear pathway for conversion

An ideal landing page eliminates distractions by removing site navigation, links, and any alternate options, so you get your visitor’s undivided attention. The page only consists of a short and easy-to-fill form with a CTA button.

This builds a clear pathway for conversion from campaign to CTA.

Put simply, the sole focus of landing pages on converting visitors into leads makes them your best bet for boosting the conversion rates of your marketing or ad campaigns while lowering the cost per lead acquisition.

Furthermore, this separation from other pages on your website enables you to monitor analytics easily and track KPIs, while also making reporting and split testing (discussed later) a much simpler task.

Best practices for your landing page

With so many great drag-and-drop page builders (such as Unbounce) available today, creating a landing page may not look like a tall order. You don’t have to write a line of code to build something professional in a matter of hours.

And while it certainly isn’t a herculean task, it makes sense to pay heed to some battle-tested best practices proven to boost conversion rates. Let’s go.

Craft a smart, customer-centric headline

The headline is the first and most critical element on your landing page. Make it bold, clear, concise, and benefit-driven. Your headline must be able to capture the visitor’s attention and make them want to dive into the offer right away.

You can safely assume that at least seven out of every ten people visiting your landing page will bounce. To minimize this number, here are a few reliable ways to craft an attention-grabbing, customer-centric headline:

  • Ask an intriguing question in your headline
  • Make a testimonial from an authority figure part of your headline
  • Use exact success statistics
  • Express negative or positive emotions
  • Create a sense of urgency or FOMO

Source: Unbounce

Use relevant images

The images on your landing page, especially the hero image, is one the first elements visitors would see, and since humans process visuals far quicker than text, the right image sets the tone for their entire experience.

The key is to use relevant images and design graphics that your target audience can instantly relate to. So, take some time to answer the following questions:

  • What does my persona look like?
  • How old are they?
  • How do they dress?
  • What are they interested in?

Your answers to these questions would establish what image you’re going to place front and center on your landing page. If you want your image to sway your audience, it needs to represent them somehow.

Incorporate a clear CTA

Arguably the most pivotal element on your landing page, your call to action (CTA), needs to be crystal clear and stand out from everything else on the page. After all, it is the final touchpoint towards conversion.

Use a vibrant and contrasting color to make it stick out from other elements.

Write a clear, crisp (no more than five words) and benefit-driven copy with action verbs (“Get,” “Grab,” “Download,” etc.), so visitors know exactly what you want them to do and they feel they’re gaining something worthwhile.

Also, make your button large enough, so it’s immediately and easily visible. Give it some negative space, and don’t crowd the area around your CTA.

Finally, follow the page’s flow and place the CTA where your audience’s eyes will go, such as to the right below or beside the main copy.

Make the page interactive and responsive

As with every other page on your website, your landing page must be responsive, which means it automatically adjusts to the device (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.) on which it is loaded.

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Source: Unbounce

With more than half of your traffic coming from mobile devices, you surely don’t want your page to disappoint visitors on mobile devices. Make the form elements and CTA such that they’re easy to interact with no matter how your visitors view your page.

Make the page search friendly

Your primary means of driving traffic to your landing page would be via social media, email blasts, or paid ads on Google.

Even so, your page should be optimized with the right keywords so that when someone hears about your offer and searches for it, they find your landing page at the top of the search results. Likewise, if you target a keyword with ads, those words should be there on your landing page.

Additionally, this is important, not just for search-friendliness, make sure your page loads lightning fast.

According to Unbounce’s Page Speed Report, nearly 70% of consumers admit that loading time influences their desire to buy.

Almost half of them say they’ll try to refresh a page at least once when it takes 3 seconds to load, while 22% say they’ll close the tab, and 14% say they’ll visit a competitor’s site. So for 1000 visitors a day, that’s 360 potential leads down the drain.

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Simply put, if your landing page takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’re going to lose a lot of prospects. So, make sure to compress all images (without losing quality) and follow Google’s speed recommendations.

Remove navigation elements

As mentioned earlier, an ideal landing page is entirely free of distractions. It has one and only one goal of converting visitors into leads, and you must remove any opportunities for your visitor to leave the page.

In other words, resist the temptation to include unnecessary elements that drive people away from your landing pages, such as site navigation, additional calls to action, or even links back to your home page.

Your landing page will work best if it only consists of things that lead to conversion — a short and easy-to-fill form with a CTA button.

Designing your landing page

Sure, great imagery and appealing colors are needed. But there’s more to a high-performing landing page design than just slapping on a couple of graphics, catchy text, and a CTA button.

An effective landing page design is not just aesthetically pleasing but also functional and direction-oriented. Let’s take a quick look at some of the critical components to consider when designing a landing page.

Structure and layout

As already discussed, a good landing page structure incorporates only the basics — an attention-grabbing headline, relevant images, a short lead-capture form with only necessary fields, some compelling copy, and clear CTA.

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Source: HubSpot

But you need to couple this structure with a smart layout. You see, most of your audience won’t read every word on the page and instead, would skim through to get the most important details quickly.

So you must make all the necessary details stand out by:

  • Keeping all important information above the fold, so visitors don’t have to scroll to get to it.
  • Using enough white space, along with bullets, subheadings, and short paragraphs to make your copy easy to consume.
  • Incorporating an F-pattern to drive people to the key points that will get them to convert.

Color theme

The design of your landing page — including the colors you use — should reflect that of your brand and website. Your goal is to form a long-term relationship with your landing page visitors and build brand recall, so it helps to familiarize them with your unique branding color theme.

The only element where you must use a contrasting color is your CTA button, as discussed earlier. Contrast helps the button stand out and invites clicks.

So, if your brand’s primary color revolves around blue, consider using a complementary color for the CTA that draws attention, such as a shade of orange.

Visuals

Yes, using relevant images and graphics that represent your target audience is essential, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

People tend to follow directional cues, like where someone is looking or pointing. So to nudge visitors to fill out a form or click something, consider using an image that drives their attention toward that element.

As images are one of the first things visitors see, they should reinforce the page’s central message. Furthermore, the modern audience prefers watching quick videos over reading text, and using videos on landing pages can improve conversions by 86%.

So, consider using a short explainer or testimonial video as the centerpiece of your page, or have it play quietly alongside copy and images to win over visitors. Just make sure it doesn’t distract visitors from your ultimate goal — the CTA.

With these three considerations settled, here are three crucial questions you need to ask yourself when you’re done designing your landing page:

  • Does the content suit the target audience?
  • Do the images complement the message?
  • Is it mobile-friendly? Is it easy to navigate?

Make sure the answer to these is a resounding yes. Here’s a great landing page example from ActiveCampaign that checks all the boxes.

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Source: Instapage

A word on A/B testing

While everything discussed above is well-founded in theory, your business and target audience is unique. The only surefire way to know if your approach is working is to test and iterate.

That is, it’s a good idea to invest efforts in continuously A/B testing the most impactful elements of your landing page, such as the headline copy, images, lead form length and fields, main copy, and the CTA size and color.

In essence, A/B testing is the process of splitting your traffic into two (or more) variations of your landing page to see which performs better.

The main constituents of an A/B test are variants — the two versions of the page, the champion, the original page, the challenger, or the modified version of the page that you compare against the original.

Split test one element at a time, otherwise, you won’t know which element’s variation brought in the results. The “winner” becomes your new champion, and you can then create another challenger to test another element. Repeat this until you reach your target conversion rate.

For quick and efficient split testing, use a landing page software like or Elementor that makes it straightforward to split traffic between two variations and see which version performs better. If you’re using WordPress, a great alternative is Divi.

Whichever you pick (Unbounce, Elementor, or Divi) — just don’t go about it manually.

If you’re interested in getting these tools:

Key landing page metrics

Tracking some important landing page metrics will give you insight into how your page is performing and what you can do to improve it. You can never know for sure as to what will work when you make the page live for the first time.

Measure the following key metrics right from the off until you reach a desirable conversion rate.

Number of page visits

First off, check how many visits you are getting on your landing page. Of course, the more, the merrier, as it increases your odds of earning more conversions.

Try adjusting your ads campaign strategy by redefining target keywords to drive more traffic to your landing page. And if you haven’t already, let your followers know about your offer via email and social media.

Traffic source

Knowing where your best traffic is coming from (blog, email, ad, etc.) will allow you to double down on specific sources and ditch those that aren’t paying off.

Submission rate

The submission (or conversion) rate is the number of people that complete your lead-capture form and successfully go through to the thank you page. Simply put, this metric shows how successful your landing page design is in generating form submissions.

While the average conversion rates vary drastically depending on the industry you’re in, the average landing page conversion rate is 4.02%, according to Unbounce. Try split testing various elements on your page to boost this number over time.

Visitors-to-lead ratio

Monitoring your visitor-to-lead ratio helps you reverse-engineer your landing page goals.

For this, establish the number of leads you need at the end of your campaign before launching the campaign. Then, measure the number of leads you generate over time (via Google Analytics) to see if you’re converting enough visitors and if you’re on track to reach your goal.

Maintain campaign momentum by consistently driving the number of visitors needed to convert the desired number of prospects into leads.

Bounce rate

This metric shows the percentage of people who leave your site after visiting only one page, which means they don’t take any action, such as filling out your form or clicking a link.

Simply put, a high bounce rate likely means that your landing page content is not what visitors expected, and they were not interested in taking any action.

So if visitors are promptly leaving without clicking anything, then you must assess whether:

  • You’re targeting the right audience.
  • The content on the page is aligned with the promise that brought visitors in.
  • The form is unnecessarily long, or the CTA is hard to find.
  • The page looks unappealing, or the grammar is poor.

Once you find and fix the culprit, you’ll decrease your bounce rate and increase conversions.

What next?

So you’ve created a compelling landing page that’s bringing in the desired results, and you’re now converting visitors into leads on autopilot — kudos!

The last thing you want now is to let those leads go to waste. So, it’s time to start nurturing them into happy, paying customers.

Start by optimizing your thank you page, as it is the first thing your leads would see post-conversion. Your goal here is not just to deliver on your promised offer but also to spark their interest in your other offerings.

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Source: IMPACT

So, besides a delightfully written thank you, provide links to relevant content on your site and invite them to follow you on social media.

Next, guide them further in their buyer’s journey and help them make their way to the decision stage. You already have a solid idea about your lead’s pain points and what they’re interested in, so you can send helpful content or resources to make them see why you’re a great option to buy from.

In other words, focus on building a value-driven relationship if you wish to turn those leads into customers. After all, people buy from brands that they know, like, and trust.

Time to Land Big Wins

Landing pages are an essential weapon in your marketing arsenal. Well-designed landing pages that incorporate the aforementioned best practices can make a huge difference in your lead generation success.

But don’t just rely on what the experts have to say; always be A/B testing various elements of your page (headline, visuals, CTAs, etc.) for continual improvements.

If you’re already using landing pages, are you getting the results you want? If so, what’s the one strategy that’s working well for you? Make sure to drop your two cents in the comments below.

Mark Quadros is a Content Marketer for SaaS and Online-business. He also runs 'The Real Mark', a blog about travel, remote work, and online marketing.Affiliate Disclosure.

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