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What is a landing page in digital marketing?



by Adobe Experience Cloud Team


When it comes to getting potential customers to take action, landing pages play a critical role in the marketing funnel. Yet most landing pages only convert, or capture lead data, at 2.35%, leaving lots of room for improvement.


Landing pages need to be highly customized to drive conversion rates and decrease customer acquisition costs. To do this, marketers need a deep understanding of how the most successful landing pages are constructed and how they should be integrated into the customer journey.

Read on to discover the importance of landing pages in digital marketing, what types are most effective, and how to optimize them to increase conversions.


In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • What a landing page is

  • Differences between a home page and a landing page

  • Types of landing pages

  • The importance of landing pages

  • How to use landing pages to increase conversions

  • Landing page best practices

What is a landing page?

In digital marketing, a landing page is the webpage visitors land on immediately after clicking links in:

  • Email marketing campaigns

  • Search engine results

  • Social media advertisements

Though Google and other search providers define a landing page as the first page viewed in a session, the digital marketing definition is more specific.


Each of these generally falls within the category of either a lead generation landing page or click-through landing page. These are the two main types of landing pages.

Differences between a home page and a landing page

Marketers often struggle to understand the distinction between the home page and landing pages. We define a landing page and home page as below:

  • Landing pages are single webpages or small hub sites focused on getting users to take a specific action, such as signing up for a report.

  • Home page is the main navigation page of a site where users can access various content and view FAQ using nav bars.

Home page vs. landing page

Types of landing pages

Lead generation and click-through are the two main types of landing pages. But there are also related types, including squeeze pages, sales pages, infomercials, splash pages, viral landing pages, and microsites. Here we’ll dive into the most common types.


Lead-gen landing pages

Lead-gen pages are all about generating sales leads. Ads hosted on social media, in Google, or through an email campaign urge users to follow a link to the landing page to get exclusive content.


A landing page should be geared toward prompting users to share their details through a form, in order to download the exclusive content. The page CTA is the data capture form.


Users get a helpful, insight-packed piece of content while a brand gets a valuable new lead. The brand will continue to serve relevant content and offers to the new lead over time, known as lead nurturing.


Single-offer landing pages

A single-offer digital marketing landing page only has one asset. While these pages rarely generate as much traffic as hub-style pages, they typically result in more conversions.


Single-offer landing pages are most effective later in the customer journey when a consumer is aware of or experiencing an issue the content directly addresses. Even if these leads do not convert right away, there is contact information available for sending them more content related to their pain points.


Click-through landing pages

Click-through landing pages are a more immediate form of a lead-gen landing page. They are often used by ecommerce sites focused on making fast, high-volume sales more nurturing leads.


These pages are a little riskier than single-offer pages since they lead prospects straight to a subscription or direct sale. Here, customers can simply click a CTA button like “Buy now” to move forward with a transaction.


The buttons and links direct users to a page where they can purchase goods or services. The aim is to get people to convert there and then as opposed to nurturing the lead over a longer period.


The importance of landing pages

Well-designed landing pages can generate significant traffic and act as the leading paid channel for businesses. High-performing landing pages demonstrate value, an understanding of consumers’ needs, and a clear explanation of how those needs can be met.


Without landing pages in campaigns, marketers miss out on significant opportunities. These include but aren’t limited to:

  • Meeting user expectations. Every digital campaign needs a landing page to convert visitors into customers. If visitors click on advertisements and are directed to unrelated pages, they might be confused and less inclined to purchase or convert. Each landing page needs to match the associated campaign messaging to meet user expectations.

  • Promoting action. Landing pages allow marketers to emphasize a single action for visitors to take. Whether prospects should download a gated asset, sign up for a newsletter, or purchase items on sale, focusing on one goal per page encourages visitors to make decisions.

  • Boosting site performance. Google can discern how well a site anticipates visitors’ needs. Vague messaging on landing pages drastically changes ad rank, cost per click, and position in the ad auction. Landing pages can help algorithms recognize value and boost SEO with relevant keywords in headers, URLs, alt text, and content.

  • Generating leads. Landing pages are handy for collecting valuable contact information. Marketers can require visitors to enter their names, work emails, and job titles on contact forms in exchange for gated assets like webinars or eBooks. This allows companies with longer sales cycles to send email campaigns later.

How to use landing pages to increase conversions

Creating diverse landing pages can drive more traffic to a site. Incorporate them into paid, organic, email, and retargeting campaigns to get the most from the pages. Explore the below examples of how landing pages can benefit campaigns.


Paid campaign landing pages

Paid social media ads allow marketers to be precise with audience targets. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram attract people with very different attributes and preferences, allowing for specialized targeting.


This also gives the flexibility to refine retargeting strategies over time, but those features are wasted if traffic is funneled to irrelevant webpages. Highly targeted ads require highly targeted landing pages to achieve maximum ROI.


Search engines also offer paid advertising based on:

  • Browsing history

  • Search terms

  • Demographic data

Pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns guide prospects to landing pages too. Landing pages are especially important for PPC ads because they contribute to Google’s ad Quality Score. Campaigns with poor landing pages will have a lower Quality Score, causing a stark decrease in site traffic.


Start by designing landing pages for PPC campaigns on Google or Bing that are:

  • Hyper-relevant and reinforce the ad’s promise

  • Clear on the single next step the visitor should take

In the end, this type of landing page can decrease the cost of acquisition, increase conversions, and lower cost-per-click costs.


Email campaign landing pages

Email campaigns are still one of the most popular marketing forms, delivering $36 in ROI for every $1 spent. Email marketers may not have as much detailed data to work with, but email campaigns have tremendous reach.


When looking to generate more ROI, write personalized emails and landing pages. Landing pages for existing customers consider products they may have purchased previously. Try suggesting new products that complement what they already have.


Organic campaign landing pages

Search engine optimization is key for organic campaigns. Creating competitive content that lands at the top of Google drives organic traffic. To get there, content needs to be exceptionally valuable to a target audience.


Often, a home page might be what ranks in search engines. Unfortunately, many home pages are not laser-focused on conversions.


Be sure to:

  • Research the needs and questions prospects might have

  • Explore the keywords they use to locate answers

  • Address these questions in organic landing pages

This can help pages rise higher in search engine results. But update these landing pages as customer demographics and product offerings change.


Landing page best practices

There are best practices every site should follow when creating landing pages. Here, we break these down into simple steps to follow.


Write strong headlines

Headlines are crucial to ensuring users understand the page’s purpose and how it can help them. A good headline will be concise, active, and speak directly to the reader with a hook to make them read on. Without a captivating headline, visitors will simply click away.


Here’s how to write headlines for specific campaigns:

  • Informational content. Use a “How to” headline to show the reader they will learn something by engaging.

  • Commercial campaigns. Use the word “you” to speak directly to the reader and stress what they will gain.

90% of visitors who read a headline will also read a CTA ..


Concise copy, forms, and structure

Online, people scan rather than read. The Nielsen Norman Group found only 16% of people read word by word when looking at a webpage. A landing page content needs to be short and sweet, with the language easy to understand and focused on the reader.

When crafting a page, keep its purpose in mind. Landing pages are designed as a place for users to “land” when clicking through from an email, ad, or social post. Are people trying to retrieve an offer or sign up for more information? What do you want them to do next?


The page design should be clear and easy to follow. And forms should not be overly complex or long. Make all user experience aspects as frictionless as possible. Here are some top tips to follow:

  • Perfect the headline and opening paragraph.

  • Break up the page with subheadings.

  • Use bulleted lists to detail steps or benefits.

  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short.

  • Prefer short, simple words to long, complex words.

  • Use bolded important phrases to catch the eye.

Make content shareable

Incorporating social proof in a landing page can improve user confidence in an offering. Things to consider include:

  • A banner of the biggest customer logos to validate a company

  • Testimonials to help potential customers answer: ‘What’s in it for me?’

  • Links to press articles and other earned coverage

  • Stats showing new customer numbers

Shareable content can also go a long way to engaging leads and promoting action. This can also help generate more traffic to a landing page as users share content they think may be relevant to others. The best part — this marketing costs nothing.


Select eye-catching images

The best ads sell a feeling. Images are a wonderful way to evoke an emotional response.

Rather than picking a dull stock photo or an unexciting product image, think about what readers want to feel. Select an image that conveys how a product or service can recreate a feeling.


Test, test, test

Customer preferences are ever-changing, which means landing pages must evolve too. A/B testing allows marketers to measure the performance of two landing pages with slight differences (such as headlines or CTAs).


The winner of an A/B test can become a new default page. After a few weeks, test this default against another variation and continue doing this to improve conversion rates over time.


In contrast to very specific A/B testing, multivariate testing gives marketers a broader idea of what is working. This might help when trying two drastically different landing pages to see which version to continue using as a template.


Above-the-fold content

This is the first chance to hook an audience in. Although people scroll vertically more than they used to, eye-tracking data shows they will still look more above the page fold than below it.

Aim to:

  • Personalize the message to stand out from the crowd.

  • Address target customers by name.

  • Add relatable videos or images.

  • Acknowledge prospects’ concerns related to their profession.

  • Grab the visitor’s attention.

  • Communicate the message with a clear headline, supporting headline, and hero image.

A landing page is where visitors will arrive after following a link from an email, social media post, or search engine results page. Landing pages can drive conversion and decrease customer acquisition cost when done correctly.


CTA

Although this will technically be found above the fold, the CTA deserves some individual attention. A CTA should align with an action visitors should take and should remain consistent throughout the page.


Attract customers with excellent landing pages

Landing pages are a great tool for bringing in customers and capturing data that can help generate more business in the long term. But they are just one part of the customer journey. Getting those leads to take action as a result of a campaign is the next step.


Now that you’re equipped with the basics of creating a landing page, it’s time to focus on how to drive conversions and trim customer acquisition costs. This can be more difficult than it sounds, and keeping leads engaged takes effort. It also takes the right tools to help marketers experiment with campaigns, layouts, navigation, and copy.


Adobe Marketo Engage has done a lot of the legwork for this already, testing hundreds of different landing pages as a trusted advisor to companies like CenturyLink, Charles Schwab, and General Electric. After nearly a decade of leadership experience in lead management, Marketo Engage specializes in email and consumer marketing.


See Adobe Marketo Engage in action and schedule a demo to learn more.

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