A good landing page can be the difference between wild success and crushing failure. No exaggeration intended – they’re that important. In this post, we’re going to build the perfect landing page for a monthly newsletter, as well as talk about why you need a landing page in the first place. Let’s get started!
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is simply a web page designed to convert. What do we mean by convert? In colloquial terms, to buy whatever you’re selling. If you’re selling a book, your landing page aims to make them buy it. If you’re trying to get subscribers to your email newsletter, your landing page aims to make them sign up with their email address. A good landing page is optimized to maximize this number of ‘buyers.’
Usually, visitors come to your landing page directly from a search engine or via another external website, not via an internal link on your website. Thus, the name “landing” page – they’ve just landed on your page. The goal is for your visitors to arrive and think, “Wow, this is exactly what I’m looking for!”
Get an Awesome Headline
First things first: your headline needs to be awesome. After all, it’s the first thing that your readers will see. But what makes a headline awesome?
- It’s attention-grabbing, but not obnoxious. A good headline gets your readers’ attention without being annoying. It’s clever, quietly confident, descriptive, and intriguing. What is isn’t is loud, manipulative, or pushy. Checkr’s headline, “Hire Great People. Faster.” is a good example. It’s relevant and descriptive, but subtle.
- It’s descriptive, but not boring. Your headline should pertain, in some way, to what you’re selling. But that doesn’t mean it should be dry and overly-descriptive. A headline of “Sign up to our monthly newsletter” is boring. However, a headline that has nothing to do the topic isn’t good either.
Missive is a good example of a compromise. The huge “WORK” headline is attention-grabbing and exciting, while the subheader is descriptive.
- It’s short, but not too short. A good headline is between ten and twenty words. If the title is too long, less people will read it. But if it’s too short, it won’t be enticing enough to pique readers’ curiosity. Aim for the sweet spot in the middle, like ThumbTack’s elegantly simple, “Get it done.”
Have a Clean, Organized Design
After your headline, the second most important thing is the design of the page itself. To put it simply, your landing page needs to be dead-simple. Don’t have any flashing lights, ringing bells, auto-playing videos, or other obnoxious web design features. Stick to simple, bold colors, readable fonts, and (at most) 2 or 3 side-by-side columns of text. Generally speaking, people won’t read your content anyway – they’ll scan it.
People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.
Nielsen Norman Group
Remember: the goal is conversion, not to impress them with your writing and web design skills.
Have a Clear Call-to-Action
Along with a simple design, your call-to-action should be equally as simple. What’s a call-to-action? It’s a button, form, or other interactive element that prompts the reader to act. A good call-to-action convinces readers to do something, rather than just exit the page.
For our newsletter signup landing page, we want a call-to-action button that encourages readers to subscribe to our newsletter. Usually, this can be something simple like Subscribe!, but it can also be more complex. If you also sell products, try giving away a sample to anyone that subscribes to the newsletter. Check out our guide to creating your own “free sample” newsletter.
This is also what we recommend in our ultimate guide on improving newsletter signup forms.
Only Ask for What You Really Need
As with many things in life, less is more when it comes to landing pages. This is especially relevant when it comes to asking your readers to do something, like input information. People, in general, are pretty lazy. The longer it will take to fill out your form, the less likely they’ll be to do it.
In general, the fewer fields you have on a form, the higher the conversion rate. This is because, with each new field you add to a form, it creates more work for the visitor, and thus fewer conversions.
As such, don’t ask for too much information from your readers. While knowing their address, initials, and favorite ice cream flavor may be useful, it probably isn’t essential (unless you run an ice cream blog.) Instead, we always recommend only asking for the absolute basics: email and a name. This keeps it simple and increases the likelihood of them subscribing. You can always get extra information from them later.
If you absolutely must get certain information from your readers, break it up over multiple pages. PayPal is a good example of this tactic. As a financial company, they need quite a bit of information from their users. The initial sign-up page, however, only has two options (Create a “Business account” or a “Personal account”).
Only Have One Offer
As we mentioned in the previous section, simplicity is key in building a good landing page. One way to keep a landing page simple is to only have one offer. That means you shouldn’t pitch your newsletter and another product on the same landing page – stick to one thing at a time. If you have multiple products, pitch them on separate landing pages. This also allows you to be more narrowly focused on a particular demographic.
Companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.
In fact, having more than one offer can reduce your conversion rate by 266%(!). Needless to say, keep it simple!