To Navigate or Not: How to Set Up Your Landing Pages for Success

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Key Takeaways:

  • Increase landing page conversion using strategy and constant measurement.
  • Trust factors and strong calls to action are key for a successful landing page.
  • Using landing page strategies on standard pages can increase performance of an entire site.


The question was posed in a recent Google Partners event that we held: should I keep my website navigation or let it go from my landing pages? I wasn’t sure what the answer was, but it was a question that has always bugged me. After I click on an ad and end up on a landing page, the first thing I do after reading the page is visit the main website for the company. I thought, “doesn’t everyone else do this too?” Wouldn’t you want to give your visitors the ability to learn more about your entire company while trying to convince them to buy your product or service?

Before I dig into the answer, let’s talk a bit about landing pages. Firstly, what is a landing page, anyway? A landing page, sometimes called a sales page, is a page designed to solicit a specific action from its visitors. Actions could include downloading a free guide or report, signing up for an email newsletter, or purchasing a product. Often, advertisements are used in conjunction with landing pages to drive visitors to the page.

But do I include navigation? When we are faced with these challenging questions of what’s best, intuition just isn’t enough to decide on a solution – we need data! Thankfully, there is plenty of data available, and the associated reports give us the answers. Last year, HubSpot, a marketing automation software company, published a report that explored this exact question. The data in their study revealed that in every case, landing pages that excluded navigation had higher conversion rates.

What it really comes down to is focus. When trying to get someone to take a specific action, it is your goal to hyper-focus his or her attention, and eliminate distraction. By getting your audience to focus 100% on the elements of your landing page, you increase the likelihood that they will convert into customers.

So what exactly are the elements of a successful landing page? Let’s dig deeper:

  1. Clear & Compelling Headline – You should be able to explain exactly what your audience will get in the main headline. If needed, add a secondary headline. Be sure to promote what your audience will get after engaging in your call to action. Think: “What am I offering that no one else does?”
  2. Related Images and Videos – Larger images are proven to be more effective at converting visitors, but what’s more important is making sure your image relates to the concept you are trying to promote. The same is true for videos. Think: “Does my audience see themselves in my photos?”
  3. Features & Benefits – Be sure to clearly spell out what the features and benefits of the action goal are. Think: “Would I be convinced that there is enough value in this to take action?”
  4. Engaging Story – Tell a short, but engaging story that constantly builds up the value of your action goal. Think: “Can my audience say, ‘this sounds just like me!’”
  5. Offer – If you are selling something on your page, be sure that your offer is promoted as a discount of sorts. Think: “Is my deal or offer so good that my audience will not think twice about taking action?”
  6. Bonus – If you are selling something, try to include some sort of added value that your visitors will only get if they buy now. Think: “What else might my audience find useful that I can give away for free with this?”
  7. Trust Factors – In order to establish trust and build confidence, use real testimonials and money-back guarantees. Add SSL certificate seals with credit card forms if taking payment on the page. Think: “How can I prove that I am legitimate and show that not just trying to get their money/waste their time?”
  8. Strong Call to Action – Be sure to have ONE clear goal and make the action clear with contrasting buttons and specific text. Instead of “Buy Now” consider using “Secure Financial Freedom Today!”, but using text that relates to your action goal, of course! Think: ”Does my button say exactly what they will be getting when they click?”
  9. Measuring Tools – Be sure you have a method to measure how many visitors converted. Google Analytics is a great tool and can be used with other measuring tools like the Conversion Tool provided by Google Adwords. It is also a good idea to split test or A/B test your campaign. This test tries different designs or specific offers and drives half of the visitors to the control and half to the alternate landing page. Whichever performs best becomes the control, and you can make a new alternate to test additional changes. Think: “I am missing opportunities if I don’t constantly try to make this work better.”

Creating a successful landing page can be time-consuming, but it can also exponentially increase your ability to capture leads and sell products. The most important thing to learn from understanding how landing pages convert visitors is that you can also apply many of these concepts to the main pages of your website.

You have to think of your website as a marketing tool, not just an information tool. So why not include trust factors, clear headlines, strong calls-to-action and other key landing page elements on your main pages? While the structure of your page may not be the same as your landing page, all of the same rules apply when convincing your audience that you hold the solution to their problem.

Are you ready to make your website work for you? I have been telling people since I became a consultant, “if you don’t start using your website as the center of your marketing strategy, competitors who haven’t even opened their doors will put you out of business.” I know that sounds a lot like fear mongering, but with the current pace of disruption in business, it pays to be on the cutting edge. Feel free to ask me how these principle and others can be applied to your business to make you more successful!