Three types of landing pages and when to use them

Landing page design

Everyone is looking for high conversions for their website, and this does not apply only to those who are selling an actual product, be it physical or digital. Service providers such as small businesses equally seek to gain leads for their services and publishers are looking to attract viewers for their content.

What is a conversion?

To define a conversion, it is the completion of an action on a website by the website’s visitor. The web designer will put together the elements of a page with the intention of the visitor completing this action.

This action needs to:

Meet a goal – There should be an action that the user can complete. This could be to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter or make an inquiry to a sales team.
Be measurable – Tracking the visitors that completed that goal, how that visitor found the site and their journey through the website to the point of completing the goal.
Be Valuable – Should provide value to the website owner whether this is directly leading to a sale or building the marketing reach for that business.

What is a landing page?

There are many definitions for a landing page; one is that it is the entry point of a website. This suggests that a landing page is just a homepage, but in online marketing terms, a landing page can be much more than this.

When building a landing page to generate a conversion, you may need a standalone page. Something that is directly connected to a marketing campaign. When the visitor clicks on the advert, they land there. It does often have the look and feel of the full site but is usually very stripped down and often has a single purpose.

The purpose of landing pages is to help nudge a customer who is in camp maybe to camp yes. It intends to inspire a sense of immediacy into the user experience. To make what is on offer seem ultra desirable and convince the visitor to take the next step.

Designing a useful landing page is part art and part science. There is a lot to consider, and there is no one size fits all approach to making it work. One of the first decisions the web designer needs to make is what kind of landing page will suit them.

The standalone landing page

The classic standalone landing page is a single page website that exists for one specific action. This can be either part of a larger brand or can exist to promote a single item like an app.

A good landing page should be clean and distraction free. The message of the purpose should be clear and easy to digest, and there should be multiple. The content displayed should match the add from where the visitor originated. Trust signals like logos and accreditations are also a useful feature and will help a user to develop a positive image of the brand.

The Airbnb example

Airbnb landing page design

When Airbnb advertise to attract new hosts, they know their target audience. A key selling point to any potential host is making money as reflected in their landing page that offers a smooth revenue calculation tool to help convert the visitor into a host.

They also know it is easy to land on this page when the visitor is merely looking for a place to stay. To make it easy for visitors to make their way back to the main Airbnb website they still can navigate to the home page of the main site.

The microsite

Microsites are usually created when a larger site with complex navigation needs to focus on a single product and build content and functionality around with only related content. It is used to create a buzz around a marketing promotion. It can appeal to new or existing customers.

A microsite should have many of the characteristics of a small website. The design is still important as it is the showcase for the new product. It will feature a clear call to action, a compact and easy to use navigation. It will tightly control the path of the visitor with a single or a small number of actions to take, all of which will add benefit. Most importantly the content or functionality of the microsite will be compelling adding value to the user experience.

The Spotify example

Spotify landing page design

A good example is Spotify a year in music. This exists to prompt engagement in the existing site with multiple links.
As a Spotify user, I have started to look forward to the microsite they produce at the year end which gathers together the musical highlights of the past 12 months. If existing users are looking forward to something, this is a sure-fire sign you are doing something right.
On that note, ElfYourself.com is another shining example of microsite design.

The classic homepage and category page

With e-commerce, particularly websites with a lot of products on offer the landing page will become the category pages, offers pages and product pages. In many regards, they already exist.

Succesful e-commerce landing pages tend to respond to key search terms like men’s running shoes and serve up the category page with key examples of the product that satisfy the needs of the majority of the users of that search term.

Sports shoes landing page design

The Sports Shoes example

Sportsshoes.com has a well-designed landing page for the keyword above. It knows the mindset of its customer – that they likely have an idea of what they are interested in but confused by the options – and in response offers easily accessible filtering. As a product like running shoes is a high investment buy with many confusing choices, this problem is addressed so from the start the visitor is introduced to a tool for the potential customer to get more specific about what they are looking for. in turn this builds trust as the customer values the knowledge of the brand.