In the year 2015 hopefully we can all agree that having a website is essential for businesses of any size. According to comScore stats for March 2015, 187.5 million people in the US own smartphones. That is 77% market penetration. And these are people who have the internet in their pockets and purses. There are still plenty of people using desktops, including 2.1 million AOL dialup subscribers (yes, in 2015).

These statistics show us two things. First, the internet has achieved ubiquity in the US. A website is your own personal piece of internet real estate and it only costs $14.99/year to own it. Secondly, mobile devices are increasingly how people access the internet. Google just introduced mobile-friendliness as a factor in their search engine ranking algorithm.

So hopefully you’ve got a website, it looks professional and you maintain it regularly so it’s current. That’s the bare minimum in today’s online world. But do you only deliver the bare minimum for your customers? Do you do just enough to not get fired? No, of course you don’t. You aim to please and want to deliver an exceptional product/experience. Landing pages are one of the best ways to make sure your website does the same.

What Is A Landing Page

Very loosely, a landing page is any page where you send traffic. The first page someone would see after clicking on an ad, an email or even typing the URL from a TV commercial or mailer. But I think we should be more specific, more concrete about it. Here is my working definition:

Landing page a webpage designed specifically to deliver on the promise of an ad or previous engagement (tweet, email, etc.) and where the user is expected to accomplish a single goal.

As you can see, there are three main parts of this definition. Let’s unpack them a little further:

  • Designed specifically This shows deliberation and focus. The page is specific. The copy is specific. The images are specific. They are all designed and laid out to be attractive & professional in support of the following items.
  • Deliver on the promise This is so important I’ve written an entire blog post about it here. Failure to deliver is usually fatal to performance. But the point is that your user came to your site with an expectation. Did your ad say there would be a hotel at Disneyland for $59 like this adHotels-Near-Disneyland
    If yes, then your landing page better damn well have a $59 hotel near Disneyland on it. Preferably front and center. Don’t be these guys.Hotels-Near-Disneyland-LP

    Nothing on this page says $59. User bounces. Money lost.

  • A single goal This is the 3rd and most important element because it requires you to decide the ONE goal you want the user to take. Yes, just one. To help, ask yourself this question, If a visitor to this page does only one thing before leaving, what do we want that one thing to be?
    You probably didn’t answer Click the About Us page link in the header? or Scroll to the bottom of the page to see our phone number. You want them to fill out the form, click the Buy Now? button or call the phone number right in front of them.
    Now that you’ve got that ONE goal, remove the other goals. Dead serious. Get rid of them. Get rid of the navigation (leave the logo clickable to the home page if people want to look around some more, because some people do). Get rid of the competing offers & goals. Focus. Like a laser beam.

How Many Landing Pages Do I Need?

From the points above I hope you understand the power a landing page has. It is often tasked with making a positive first impression of your brand. It has to deliver on the promise you’ve made (this begins the process of trust-building and credibility that you’ll need to make the sale). It has to turn that click into a conversion, into long-term value for your business.

Now think of all the ways that people are coming to your website. Tweets, Facebook posts, Google ads, banner ads, emails are all ways where you can control where they go first. When they do a Google search, Google chooses which page is best? for them. In all of the ways I mentioned, you choose where you want to send that visit. It doesn’t have to be the home page.

If your tweet was about your Memorial Day sale, you should send them to a page about your Memorial Day sale with products that are for sale on that very page. Don’t send them to a page where it mentions the Memorial Day sale in the sidebar and the main column is your top sellers (which may or may not be on sale).

If you haven?t guessed I’m saying that yes, you need to create more than one landing page. You may need to create lots of them. It will take time and effort, but that’s how you deliver an exceptional online experience to your customers. That’s how you succeed online. Now go out and start making your landing pages.