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How to Build an Effective Landing Page

landing-page-iconFew things will get your numbers up faster than a great landing page. A properly created landing page is like a net that helps you drag your catch into the boat. You don’t want to land a big one on your hook and fail to bring it onboard. You don’t want people visiting your page and, for some reason, not taking the action you want them to take.

Your landing page is your lead capture mechanism. You don’t want a mediocre-looking page as part of your conversion funnel. You want a specific landing page with a strong call-to-action because this is what will leads to conversions.

To create landing pages like this, they need to be specific, targeted, motivational, and contain a strong Call-to-Action.

The Value of Specificity

Retailer California Closets wanted to test how an ad-specific and a generic page would perform. The ad-specific page asked visitors to schedule a free design consultancy while the generic one simply told visitors to get organized with the best. How did they perform?
California Closets
The ad-specific landing page outperformed the generic by 115%.

Your landing page is likely your first and only first impression. You need to start a conversation, invite a discussion, or navigate visitors to your site. Don’t assume that your visitors will “figure out’ what you need them to do. This is why your home page is a bad idea for a landing page. Rather narrowly focus on only one particular topic.

From the above, the best time to use landing pages is when you have something specific to offer:

    1. Are you running pay-per-click ads? Create a different landing page for each of your keywords.
    2. Are you about to launch a product? Create anticipation with an attractive “coming soon” landing page.
    3. Are you looking to segment your audience? Avoid a one-size-fits-all landing page and instead create different pages tailored specifically to each group.

Don’t forget to be specific with your headlines as well. Tell your visitors where to go, what to do, and how to do it right from the headline. The best performing landing pages are clear and concise right from the top.

Takeaway: The more specific, simple, and streamlined your ad copy, the more likely visitors will take the desired action.

Identify and Target Your Ideal Customer

Bright-Idea-PhotoIf you could read your customers’ minds, making a sale would be real easy. The closest thing however that you can do is to come up with personas of your ideal visitors. These are digital profiles of what your target customers look like. Most marketers rely on demographics to create personas but a much better approach would be to use psychographics.

Psychographics are segments of your audience based on more deeper and meaningful points that go beyond demographics. Some of these include aspirations, attitudes, lifestyles, and opinions. Regardless of what you are selling, you can always position it where it makes a statement in people’s aspirations, attitudes, lifestyles, and opinions.

Think of how you would sell green energy to an environmentally conscious person. You are more likely to make a statement if you target their:

    Aspirations – “I dream of living in a cleaner planet.”
    Attitudes – “I feel clean energy will benefit the economy.”
    Lifestyles – “I believe in sustainable energy solutions.”
    Opinions – “I think we all have a part to play.”

A case in point is how Green Guide, a company that promotes going green, was able to optimize its landing page and increase conversions by over 91% by speaking more directly to their target audience: investors. They changed their landing page that focused on investing in renewable energy solutions to one that showed proven, tested strategies made by industry experts.
Green Guide - Original
Green Guide - Optimized
Takeaway: Try to pin down the emotions, dreams, and beliefs of your target audience to a tangible cause or goal.

You Need a Motivator to Convert Visitors

One big misconception about writing landing page copy is that benefits alone are powerful enough to convert. Simply having a list of benefits isn’t going to cut it. People need to be motivated to click, subscribe, donate or to surrender their email addresses to you.

You need a motivator.

One of the most powerful motivators is actually fear. The need to feel safe, secure, and sheltered powers our core decisions.

Pushing your visitor’s pain buttons can spur them to action as this example from the United Agencies West shows:
Dollar Homes Burned

You have probably figured out that the second line received better traction. The insurer increased leads 65% simply by creating fear. When using this motivator, consider how your product addresses and calms the fear and what would make the customers’ mood to shift from a feeling of uncertainty to one of calm and confidence.

Urgency can also be used to move audiences to act quickly on your offer. Focus on what the user might be missing out. Push their boundaries by showing them life is passing them by if they don’t step up and claim it. Last minute deals are especially appealing when selling digital products.

Consider how you might craft your copy:

    1. Download Now! This link expires in 24 hrs.
    2. 50 people have already claimed their offer. 50 more remaining.
    3. You have 5 hrs, 20 minutes left to buy.

To get some inspiration, consider checking out sites like Groupon and Appsumo. They are great at instilling urgency into the purchase process.

Showing your visitors the results of what to expect is another powerful motivator. This can be done in form of social proof, testimonials, before and after photos, earnings statements, or through charts and graphs. These are testaments to the solidity and value of what you have to offer. They are proof that your offer has passed the test and is guaranteed to deliver the desired results.

Wikijob, a site that offers aptitude tests, was able to increase sales by 34% when it added only three lines of the right testimonials.
Wikijob - Original
Wikijob - Optimized
Takeaway: By leveraging the fear and scarcity factor, and showing your audience what to expect, it’s possible to to increase the value of your offerings and sales dramatically.

Optimize Your Call-to-Action

This is one of the most powerful elements of your landing page, and rightly so. It has been estimated that a well optimized call-to-action can affect your click-through and conversion rates to the tune of 30% and more. One way to do this is to use actionable words.

Which of these are you likely to click?

    “Download Whitepaper” – “Download a Free Whitepaper that Shows You How to Increase Your Sales by 50%”
    “Learn More” – “Click Here to Get Instant Access to Our Library of Best-sellers.”
    “Find Out More” – “Click Here for More Information.”
    “Join Our Private Beta. We Need Your Help” – “Now Available by Invitation Only”

Words like “Find”, “Learn”, and “See” are weak and passive and should be avoided.

Instead, use action-verbs like “Get’, “Access”, and “Download.”

Research has shown that the more action-verbs your landing page copy has, the higher the conversion rate. In addition, the Call-to-Action buttons should look like a button, with depth, gradient, and drop-down shadows. It should stand out from the rest of the page, calling and luring the visitors to take action.

Takeaway: Use actionable language and a reference to what the visitor is getting in your Call-to-Action.


A great landing page can help you not only increase your sales, but also give insight into the effectiveness of your offers. It is yet another data set that you can use to optimize your marketing, understand your prospects, and fuel your other marketing channels.


Guest Blogger David Gitonga
Guest Blogger David Gitonga
David Gitonga is a full-time Web content creator and strategist working with various companies in developing and executing online marketing campaigns on social networks and search engines. He mostly works with small and medium-sized businesses looking to leverage the Internet to drive sales, innovation, and engagement online. Connect with David on Twitter and Google+ or through his website.