Landing pages are a marketing tool used in conjunction with advertising. They allow you to display a page to visitors that clearly matches the ad they clicked on, thereby increasing your conversions.
“Landing pages are the best way to sell your story,” as ShopPad’s COO Ryan O’Donnell says. This is a critical way to think about landing pages, particularly for eCommerce businesses given the number of formats eCommerce landing pages can take depending on which part of the sales funnel your page is serving.
While the pursuit of the perfect landing page is a lifelong struggle for most marketers (hello, constant A/B testing), there’s no reason you can’t start with a leg up using some of the best practices I’ve learned over the years.
First, let’s go over the anatomy of a good landing page. Your landing page has five parts:
- A unique selling proposition, which generally consists of a main and supporting headline. It may also contain a reinforcement statement and a closing argument.
- Your hero shot. The hero shot is a large image or video of your product.
- The benefits of your product, often demonstrated in an easy-to-read bulleted list.
- Social proof. Humans are pack animals psychologically and we love spending our money on things we think other people like. Social proof can be demonstrated in more than a few ways, but some popular ones include inserting some short product reviews or the logos of companies who use your products.
- A call-to-action. Traditionally, there is only one CTA button displayed on a landing page. However, many eCommerce businesses find that higher in the funnel landing pages require what amounts to multiple CTAs on a single landing page. (Think of a curated product page for a person clicking in off the search keyword “blue pants.”) In this case, you should think of your multiple CTAs as serving a singular purpose. In the case of that curated product page, the CTAs all have the singular purpose of a purchase of one of the several pairs of blue pants you sell.
Now let’s talk about the ways in which you can imbue those five elements with your brand’s story to bring your landing page to life.
1. Match your messaging!
The most important aspect of the perfect ad and landing page combo is that the messaging of the ad matches the messaging of the landing page more or less exactly. When people click on your ad, they’re expecting to land on a page that does what that ad promised them it would.
Matching your messaging needs to go further than just having the landing page actually do what the ad promised. Your landing page headline wording should actually be similar or exactly the same as your ad headline wording. Having matching wording is an immediate signal to a visitor that they are, in fact, in the right place. If your wording doesn’t clearly match or relate to the ad’s wording most people won’t bother to take the time to even see if your landing page still does what they wanted it to do.
For an example of matched messaging that isn’t exactly the same, check out this landing page for Coca-Cola:
While the wording is not exactly the same, you can see that the headlines both share keywords: “personalize/d” and “bottle.” “Coke” and “Coca-Cola” function similarly, as well. Because the headlines both share the important words, people can see that the ad matches what they were expecting to find.
2. Focus your goal.
You can find many, many schools of thought on how many CTAs you should have on a landing page. You can even find people who question whether you should even have a CTA. (Spoiler: they’re wrong. They just don’t know that “CTA” covers a wide amount of things other than buttons.)
So as I said earlier, eCommerce landing pages can vary in the number of actual CTAs seen on the page. The real trick for eCommerce marketers lies not in creating the perfect button, but in focusing your goal for customers and making that goal as clear as possible for them to complete.
What does that mean in practice?
- Understand which part of the user journey your landing page will be attached to. For instance, that category page-like landing page can be very effective for a consideration stage of the buying purchase. Check out this landing page I clicked through to when I searched “red dress.” The landing page is very much set up to cater to the fact that someone searching such a generic term is still just researching red dresses. The page, therefore, displays a curated product page with all the red dresses they have to allow me the chance to pick through them. A lower in the funnel landing page (searching for a very particular red dress, for instance) could shave all those CTAs down to a single one to purchase just that one product. (It should noted that more than one landing page for other ads on the keyword “red dress” took me to uncurated product pages displaying more than just red dresses. I very quickly bounced off those pages, obviously.)
- When dealing with multiple CTAs, determine what your actual goal is and be sure that all the CTAs link to a page related to that goal. On the red dress landing page, for instance, each one of the CTAs links to a red dress product page because the singular goal is to convince the visitor to purchase a red dress.
- Remove all the clutter unrelated to the goal completion. Just because you may have decided multiple CTA options work best for your landing page doesn’t mean you should just have extraneous links all over the page. For instance, the above landing page could be improved by the removal of at least one of their navigation menus. The goal is to get the visitor to purchase a red dress, so any links going anywhere other than a red dress should be removed.
3. Actually include video.
Video is still relatively new to businesses and many landing pages still utilize static images, meaning any video you use will not just pop for being interesting, but it will pop for being unique. Product videos are a fantastic way to really demonstrate your product in use and exactly what it can do. Depending on the product video, you may even be able to roll the benefits section right into the video and save space on your landing page! (Bear in mind, of course, that not everyone will choose to watch the video and you’ll still need to figure out how to get the benefits somewhere on the page.)
4. Get creative with your hero image.
It’s long been a best practice to utilize a large hero image of your product on your landing page, typically set to the left side of the page. But with the advent of videos, as we just talked about, marketers choosing to use static images are having to push the envelope.
Check out this landing page from Lo & Sons. Instead of settling for a single image or a slideshow, they’ve actually used a series of pictures to demonstrate the various functions this purse can serve. This series of photos goes a long way to achieving exactly what a video would.
5. Measure your success and test, test, test.
I wouldn’t be a very good marketer if I didn’t tell you to measure and test in this post. There are many variables that go into the success of your landing pages including:
- Channel the visitor reached the page from
- Message copy
- Image used
- CTA copy
- CTA color
- CTA placement
- Benefits copy
- Benefits copy placement
And on and on…
There are a few things you should be doing to help you test these variables.
First, you should be sure to use different landing pages for each channel within a campaign. There’s a real likelihood that visitors from Google will interact differently with a page than visitors from Instagram.
Second, you should employ some method of A/B testing on isolated variables. That is, pick a single aspect of the page, such as the CTA button color and run an A/B test where one page has one color and the other version has the other color.
Some software allows you to run an A/B test at once, serving each page to 50% of your visitors.
If you are unable to do so, you can simply run one version to all your visitors until you hit a particular number, then serve the other version to all your visitors until you hit the same number of visitors. You can then compare the results. It takes a bit more time, but the results should be the same. As a note, your optimal sample size is dependent on how much traffic your site currently receives, so you’ll need to calculate your number using a calculator like this one.
Remember: when A/B testing, you must change ONLY ONE aspect of the page, otherwise you will not be getting clear results.
So what’s the perfect eCommerce landing page look like?
When it’s all said and done, your perfect landing page will look different than anyone else’s but for an example of an absolutely killer landing page to get you inspired, check out Lo & Sons’ landing page for their Deluxe Weekender Bag. Right up front they give you the headline, but you’ll see they make extensive use of product videos that demonstrate not just what the bag can do, but how the bag can change your life. These videos cover much of the unique selling propositions, as well as taking the place of the hero image and bulleted benefits. Lo & Sons do use a combo of static images and copy to further demonstrate the bag’s many features, in case you aren’t inclined to watch the video. You’ll find their social proof at the bottom, followed by two CTA buttons, both of which actually take you to the same product page.
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