Having an online presence in the form of social media and a website is an invaluable asset to both large and small business marketing. A website that lacks strong landing pages, however, will find it particularly difficult to convert their website visitors into users or buyers.

What is a Landing Page?

Also known as a “destination page” or “lead capture page,” a landing page is a webpage to which you direct visitors with the goal of having the visitors complete a pre-determined action (which can include signing up for your company newsletter, filling out a form, or calling to find out more about your services). While it sounds simple enough, creating effective landing pages takes effort. Directing traffic to your homepage is likely ineffective as it forces users attracted by an advertisement for a particular product or service to sift through your site for what they are interested in, potentially losing interest along the way. On the other hand, creating multiple landing pages for different advertisements can be a time-consuming exercise, requiring writing numerous variations of copy and utilizing a variety of different page designs. In short, creating the right landing page takes time and skill.

What Makes a Good Landing Page?

A strong landing page targets a specific stream of traffic. The page should immediately present the user with the information he or she was looking for when they clicked on the link attached to your advertisement or social media post. Just like you want your marketing strategies to be targeted, you want your landing pages to target a specific audience as well. Here are four guidelines to design a landing page that will keep a potential customer’s attention.

1.  Content is key. Landing pages are most effective when they contain the information for which the user was searching when they visited your page. Just as text ads need to be relevant to keywords, landing pages should be relevant to the subject of your ad. Don’t try to trick people into visiting your website; provide the website visitor with what they are looking for. Specific landing pages that focus on a user’s search query not only increase conversion rates, but they lower conversion costs, help increase AdWords quality scores (and ad position), and have an overall positive impact on your Adwords campaigns. Keep keywords in mind, but don’t simply stuff as many keywords as you can fit on a page. Both Google and the customer will see through that.

2.  Keep design elements simple. Don’t be afraid of whitespace! Use clean designs and appropriate layouts to direct your visitor’s attention to what your offer or goal is. Utilize images to attract, but don’t make them overbearing or distracting. Make sure your website’s color schemes are attractive, complementary, and visually appealing.

3.  Use a strong headline and valuable copy. This will likely be the first thing a visitor sees, so make sure it compels them to stay on the page. You want your headline to be relevant to the PPC (pay-per-click) keyword that attracted your visitor to the page in the first place. Follow up your strong headline with solid web page copy. Don’t be too wordy with the text you include on your landing pages. Be straightforward and professional in communicating the value you are offering your visitor. Utilize bullet points if appropriate. Many webpage visitors simply skim webpages for information, so make it easy for them to find and digest.

4.  Have a clear call to action. Now that you have a visitor on your desired landing page, the last thing you want to do is confuse them about what they are supposed to do or where they should click. Limit navigation on your landing page to make it clear what you want the visitor to do. If you want them to fill out a form, click a button, or perform another action, make sure the action item is prominently (but not obnoxiously!) displayed on the page. Keep your CTA (call to action) “above the fold.” Ensure all pertinent information is displayed on the screen at once, and don’t make users scroll down to see what they are supposed todo.

Ultimately, your landing page goals should include a solid return on investment (ROI). And as with most marketing strategies, you’ll want to experiment with multiple landing pages and see what works best for your business. Once you have found effective landing pages, calculating the ROI of a landing page can not only improve lead quality, but can help you understand your website visitors’ behavior better and convert as many customers as possible.