As part of my role at Shopify I speak with freelancers and agencies who specialise in Shopify theme design and builds. One of the hot topics we often discuss is lead generation – in other words, how to find those in need of their specialist skills.
In addition to being listed in programs such as Shopify Experts, many freelancers and agencies create highly crafted “landing pages” which potential clients are directed to via multiple marketing channels – both online and off.
You’ve probably heard the term “landing page” before and might be wondering what the difference between a bog standard “web page” and a “landing page” is.
According to UnBounce, a landing page can be described as follows:
“In the purest sense, a landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on. However, when discussing landing pages within the realm of marketing and advertising, it’s more common to refer to a landing page as being a standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective.”
Landing pages often differ structurally and visually from a company’s main web site (despite often sitting on the same logical domain).
Landing pages are purposefully designed to limit the options available to the visitor with the aim of guiding them towards a defined objective. You will often read the phrase “one page, one goal” in relation to landing pages.
Some typical goals include:
Whilst this article will focus on landing pages, it’s fair to say that many of these ideas and concepts – such as the goal-driven nature of the page – can be applied to single page company or product web sites. I’ll have a quick look at a recent one I found at the end.
The distinguishing feature should always be that it has a defined goal – whether it be one of those mentioned above or an action such as signing up to a plan or buying a product.
There are a number of ways to direct potential “leads” to your landing page, ranging from organic search engine traffic to pay per click (PPC) campaigns targeting keywords and phrases. Other ways of directing potential “leads” to your landing page include:
That’s just a few of the things I have tried and you will of course have your own ideas. Sadly, there’s not room in this article to discuss how to fully implement all these approaches but let’s assume some, if not all, play their part in driving visitors to your niche services landing page.
With strategies in place to get traffic to your landing page, it’s vital that the page itself is constructed to achieve your intended goal.
Unbounce, a service that bills itself as “the landing page builder for marketers,” has a number of useful articles directly relating to constructing successful landing pages.
Their 12-point plan includes some really useful things to consider when designing and building a landing page. Let’s explore a few in depth:
To the list offered by UnBounce I would also add the following:
Let’s have a look at some examples to see the theory in practise.
The following is a full-page screenshot of a site called “Web Site Rescues” by Ethercycle who are based in Illinois, USA. They are a client-focused web design agency specialising in responsive, mobile first and performance optimised sites.
Before looking at the different elements of the page, it’s worth noting that this single page sits on its own domain of websiterescues.com and is linked to via a menu item on the main Ethercycle web site.
Overall, I really like this page. It’s long, but has a nice flow to it and there are many little touches that make it appealing including:
The banner headline is short and concise. You are instantly made aware that this offering focuses solely on “rescuing” an existing Shopify store as opposed to designing a new one.
Equally, the three round graphics which appear second in the flow highlight the three major selling points of their service: speed, affordability and the goal of increasing checkout conversions.
As we progress down the (admittedly lengthy) page, their success is enforced by testimonials and case studies. Highlighting the revenue of their existing clients (over $10 million USD) shows that they are “trusted” by companies with considerable income. However, they are careful not to alienate any businesses by making a point of saying that they work with startups, online retailers and Inc. 5000 businesses.
The second half of the page is taken up with a letter from Kurt Elster – the co-founder of Ethercycle. It’s a clever design trick as it clearly distinguishes this text from the testimonials above and feels more personable (even if we know it’s not).
The letter can be broken into four main sections:
Overall, I really like this landing page but was a little surprised that the main call to action wasn’t referenced earlier. The “Contact us for a confidential discussion“ form appears very late on in the page. Many landing pages would have included a button link to the form higher up in the page. By not doing so, you are “forced” to scroll down which may increase engagement.
There are only four links on the landing page, all of which are very discreet. The first appears at the end of the letter section.
Links are often referred to as “leaks” in relation to landing page design. Whilst giving people the opportunity to browse your site is the usual course of action, the main goal of a landing page is to keep the visitor on that single page as Oli Gardner explains:
“Distractions remove people from the reason you have paid them to be there. Removing all links on the page, so there is only one action, will increase engagement with the page’s conversion goal, increasing form completions and reducing the bounce rate.”
It’s for this reason that you will rarely see the primary navigation of a site included on a landing page.
The landing page also has a secondary goal of signing visitors up to a free five-part email course via a link in the footer of the form. To reinforce the option, a pop-up overlay (which isn’t alway advisable from a UX perspective) appears after a given amount of time providing the option to subscribe to the course. This page uses Drip to handle their signups and email course. Both MailChimp and Campaign Monitor offer similar features.
The page is responsive in design and works equally well on mobile devices or wide screen desktop monitors.
Oli Gardner is not a fan of the “Submit” button. In 26 Beautiful Landing Page Designs Critiqued with A/B Testing Tips he begins with the following:
“Do you remember those old grey Windows buttons that said “Submit”? We all do. And it’s about time we stopped copying bad habits and started creating relevant Calls-To-Action (CTAs). CTAs should be instructive. They should inform your visitor what will happen once they’ve clicked. And for the love of all things clickable, your CTA should never, ever say “Submit”.”
One potential improvement to the form section of this landing page would be to change the text of the submit button to something more appropriate – e.g. “contact me with next steps.”
For further inspiration, I recommend reading the UnBounce 50 point landing page checklist.
One-page landing pages for web applications can (as mentioned earlier) include many of the tactics used in landing pages. In fact, you could argue they are landing pages.
Recently launched “Delighted” describes itself as “the fastest and easiest way to gather actionable feedback from your customers.”
The page looks great. Here are a few highlights:
Landing pages are as much about understanding human psychology as designing great web pages. Tactics such as reducing choice, visually guiding a user through a page, and using video to further engage each play a part in persuading visitors to action our intended goal.
Whilst I have highlighted two pages I think work well (and feel free to disagree), there are plenty of other great, and not so great, landing pages out there.
Hopefully some of the ideas outlined here – most of which have been culled from the fantastic knowledge shared on blogs by Unbounce and Hubspot – will influence how you plan and design your next landing page.