Anyone who is serious about their business is serious about landing pages. Why? Because they’re an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy; directing prospects into your sales funnel with free content such as ebooks, whitepapers and videos or the offer of a free report or consultation.

For those of you who need a refresher, a landing page is simply that, somewhere for site visitors to land after clicking through an ad or call to action for a specific offer or product. They’re an extension of your website, nurturing leads and reinforcing your branding and ethos yet further. Basically, they shouldn’t be hastily created without careful planning and testing.

In this post I’ll be outlining four key areas that should be taken into consideration when designing your landing page and how best to approach them. Remember, it’s all about being clean, crisp and informative.

The Design

As with a website, the design of your landing page is the first thing visitors will notice. It needs to be consistent with the rest of your branding; reassuring them they’ve clicked through to the right page before grabbing and holding their attention.

The first thing to remember is to keep your landing page sleek and clean to prevent your text from getting lost among a noisy background and potential leads from closing the window because they don’t know where to look. Forgo flashy music, videos and wild colours in favour of a simple layout that utilises one key background shade that lets your heading, subheading and body of text take the lead.

Page colours in particular can play a big part in how people form a conclusion about your business, with consumers placing visual appearance above texture, sound and smell when shopping. The general consensus seems to be that blue illustrates trust, tranquillity and authority (making it a perfect background colour for your landing page), brown and orange are seen as cheap and off-putting and white represents cleanliness and safety.

Then there’s your heading. Studies have shown that a headline has less than a second to hook a page visitor, so make it count! Make sure it clearly reinforces why the user has clicked through to your landing page in the first place; summarise the product, service or offer in a sentence that arouses curiosity and guides them fluidly into the copy below. Trying to be clever or artistic in this instance mostly just leads to confusion.

Instead, save your artistry for the more graphic elements. Try and include just one or two key graphics or images that not only look appealing but serve a purpose, whether that’s to illustrate your product or utilise the line of sight technique (more on that in the ‘The call to action’ section).

Take a look at Sugar Sync’s landing page below to see all of these elements working in landing page harmony.


Tip: Make your landing pages responsive to ensure ease of use for PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet users alike. Quickly shifting and changing to suit the screen they’re being viewed on, responsive pages are not only more convenient for the user but are cheaper than creating three separate versions.

The Content

Once you’ve nailed the design it’s time to implement a chunk of killer content. Industry blogs and websites are littered with passages telling us about the importance of content to inbound marketing and, although the portion of content on your landing page may be shorter than the rest, it’s still just as important to converting leads.

Absolutely any industry could utilise landing pages for a host of different content types, but for now I’ll focus on the marketing industry. You don’t need to offer anything as drastic as a month’s free service if you can’t afford it, simply giving away a free ebook, whitepaper, report or consultation is enough to pique the interest of leads and get them clicking your call to action.

One of the most popular landing page elements is email opt-in. Not only is this a fab way of capturing data but for nurturing leads in weeks following their sign up with company news, blog posts and ebooks delivered straight to their inbox. If prospects have clicked through to a landing page they must be interested in your services, so why not give them even more help and information in return?

The key to an opt-in forms success is simplicity and clarity. Include a call to action that, rather than merely stating ‘Sign up’ tells visitors to ‘Sign up for our free, actionable newsletters’ and includes just a few information fields. Generally a simple ‘Full name’ and ‘Email address’ results in higher conversion rates, although there’s no harm in split testing one that also includes ‘Company name’,  ‘Website’, ‘Telephone Number’ fields to see which garners the best response. The rule of thumb is to ask for the minimum amount of information you need to either contact or nurture a lead.

Then there’s your page copy. Your landing page is there to make a value proposition so keep text clear, relevant and valuable; no-one likes reading whole reams of copy when they just want to find out how to collect their free ebook. You have one opportunity to show visitors that you know your stuff and will benefit their business, so tell them how you’ll do it in a way that’s easy to scan – short paragraphs in thin columns that outline benefits instead of features and, where relevant, bullet points.

Seamless keyword integration is also essential to making your copy comfortable to read, so ditch any more than two and focus on helping your content give something back to the page visitor. The Google AdWords tool is great for finding relevant key phrases if you want to save time and hit the nail on the head.

Tip: A landing page is meant to be a deal sealer, so don’t make it too long and place your most important content (such as headings, images, calls to action and your main body of text) above the fold; users don’t like to work for something they’ve been willingly offered. does this to great effect…


The Calls to Action

A worrying 49% of businesses aren’t optimising the number of calls-to-action (CTAs) on their landing pages. I say worrying because this is it, crunch time. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest looking landing page in the industry that’s filled with the most captivating content; if your call to action falls flat then prospects will close the window immediately.

Positioning is key, with 80% of users spending the majority of their time above the fold, so it makes sense to place your CTA there for optimum exposure. Make it large and clearly identifiable, but not so big that it overwhelms the rest of your page content. You could also test out the line of sight technique, employing arrows that point to your call to action or, if you’re including images on your landing page, one where the subject’s eye line is directed towards your CTA.

Colours are also effective at making your CTA stand out, especially when implementing one in button form. Obviously something as specific as colour varies from brand to brand and industry to industry, but there are some crossovers where click-through-increasing shades are concerned. While orange was seen as cheap when used as a landing pages main colour it’s one of the most popular shades where calls to action are concerned, encouraging consumers to buy, sell and subscribe. Yellow works in the same vein, while the tranquil qualities of blue fare well in situations where less pressure is called for.

Once your CTA’s strategically placed it’s time to concentrate on encouraging an increased click through rate. Calls to action that just state ‘Download’ just won’t cut it; visitors are looking for far more clarification to remind them why they visited your landing page in the first place. Something like ‘Click below to download your free ebook’ is much more effective in grabbing peoples’ attention, and starting with a verb is especially effective at increasing click through rate.

Take a look at Click & Play’s clear, prominent and direct call to action below for a bit of inspiration.


Tip: Don’t overwhelm visitors with multiple calls to action unless necessary. A landing page serves one specific aim, so one specific, concrete CTA is generally more than enough. However, if you want to capture potential leads for later who mightn’t be ready to convert just yet, implement smaller calls to action such as social media buttons. You never know, they might come back for more.

The Testing

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you can sit back, relax and admire your brand new landing page at this point, but are you sure your call to action is optimally placed for your buyer persona? Is your headline attention grabbing enough for page visitors to keep on reading?

The truth is, for all of your preliminary research these things rarely work out perfectly the first time, requiring a number of A/B tests to determine what does and doesn’t work for your prospects.

If you’re unfamiliar with A/B testing, it’s the process where two different versions of the same element are measured against each other (in terms of their success in achieving the goals you set for them) in identical experiments, before the most successful element is implemented on your landing page. Similar to the tests you carried out in science or psychology back in the day.

There are endless combinations of testable elements including the size, colour, placement and wording of your CTAs, the length, tone of voice and content in your headlines and main body of text, the length and fields of your opt-in form, the overall layout of your landing page and the popularity of any images. Basically, test every feature, chopping, changing and shifting them around according to results. You might even discover you need to create multiple landing pages to accommodate a number of buyer personas.

Confusing I know, but there are plenty of programmes to help your A/B test along its journey:

Google Analytics: Although Google Website Optimiser is no more, Google Analytics now includes a ‘content experiments’ tool which – although the features aren’t quite as comprehensive and you can’t edit pages from within it – is great for simpler A/B tests.

Unbounce: Not just a tester but full on landing page creator, Unbounce uses integrated A/B testing for fast and powerful results that are a favourite of MailChimp, Hootsuite and I Can Haz CheezBurger.

Visual Website Optimizer: Visual Website Optimizer is perfect for those who aren’t well versed in coding or HTML, instead letting you chop and change your page elements completely visually. It’s also been touted as increasing Hyundai’s conversions by 62%!

Optimizely: Optimizely was founded by two former Google product managers, so you know it’s going to be good. After inserting just one line of Optimizely code into your HTML you won’t have to mess with the code base again, allowing you instant testing capability coupled with in-depth goal tracking features.


Landing page creation might be time consuming but, especially when you start seeing encouraging results, has the habit of turning into a labour of love. Don’t despair if you don’t see a surge in conversions right away though, optimise and continually test your landing pages over time to ensure that every element is working to its full potential.