Part 1 of How To Create High Converting Affiliate Landing Pages in 2017:
If you’re an performance marketer in 2017 and don’t know how to make a landing page…..
…then your chances of seeing a successful campaign are very slim.
This isn’t a “best practices” blog post…
The truth is, once something becomes “best practice,” it tends to lose its competitive advantage as more people implement it.
Online marketing is all about competitive advantages.
A landing page is your chance as a marketer to gain that advantage.
It’s incredible how many large companies I see on a daily basis spending massive amounts of money sending traffic to their….
Then ask me, “why doesn’t this campaign work!?!!”
Linking to your homepage and sending traffic to it may have worked a few years ago.
Times have changed…
This technique can work for branding campaigns.
It should never be used for performance-based campaigns.
So before we get into how to make a kick-ass landing page…
Let me first answer the question…
What Are Landing Pages?
A landing page is a custom page build specifically for the interests of your target visitor. Having a particular landing page allows you to tailor the experience and provide the visitor with exactly the information they’re seeking. This also lets you more easily direct that specific visitor to perform the action you want them to take. Landing pages help improve the experience for the user, which will result in boosted conversions and, in some cases, lower ad costs.
Types of Landing Page
There are two basic types of landing pages – “pre-landers” and Lead Generation pages, also known as lead gen or lead capture pages.
A pre-lander, just as it sounds, is a landing page seen before the actual offer. The pre-lander helps warm up the visitor to your offer, so they’re more likely to convert by the time they finally click through.
Lead Generation Landers
Lead gen pages, on the other hand, are used to capture information about the visitor. This information will then allow you to market to and connect with the prospects at a subsequent time. There are many uses for lead gen landing pages, but they’re generally used when a larger product or service is being sold.
Landing Page Research
Before you open up your favorite text editor or landing page creator, you must first do some due diligence.
Determine Your Landing Page Goal
In a perfect world, every visitor would turn into a conversion.
Even though this isn’t the reality, we can build our pages to encourage a vast majority of them to convert.
To do this, we must first identify exactly what it is we want them to do.
This could be as simple as entering their email, downloading an eBook, or even making a purchase.
In this example, my landing page goal is to collect emails in exchange for downloading my campaign launch checklist. Visitors are given two options – download the list, or lose money… and no one wants to lose money.
The goal of your landing page will be to have your visitor complete one very precise action.
To do this, we must remove any resistance they may face while achieving our desired action.
Our marketing goal must be precise and speak to our audience directly.
To do this, we must understand exactly who our audience is.
Identify Your Audience
Everyone is different – we all have different hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
The better you understand your audience’s needs, wants, and current problems – the more success you’ll have.
Our job as marketers is not to “sell” our products or services. It is to move our visitors from a “current” state to our desired “after” state.
Currently, our potential customers might feel bored, frightened, in pain, or simply unhappy.
It is our job to identify what pain points our visitors are facing and give them get a taste of what the “after” state can be like.
Once they acquire your product or service, life is better. They’re now entertained, unafraid, no longer in pain, and happy. The “after” state has been achieved, and their life is better.
If your landing page can properly make your visitors visualize how much better life is after they consume your offer… A successful conversion will have been made, lives are improved, and you make money.
To answer these questions, we use prospective buyer personas to identify pain points.
Prospective buyer personas are very much like buyer personas. However, assuming we don’t have any current buyers, we must build what I call “prospective buyer personas.” These personas will allow you to strategically target specific groups of people, without existing buyer data, in order to test whether or not they turn into buyers.
Depending on where you plan on getting traffic, your landing page can greatly change the dynamics of the campaign.
For example, if we were buying search traffic from Google for the keyword “Buy XYZ,” we know they’re more likely ready to purchase the item and are at, or close to, the final step of the purchase funnel.
Since we know the visitor’s intent in this scenario, it makes sense to have our landing page focused on the ability of comparison.
This may mean comparing our product to other competitors, or perhaps even comparing different models that we offer.
Our landing page would also likely feature more reviews or testimonials about the product from previous customers.
If the traffic is coming from a display or social source, we don’t know if the visitor is ready to purchase just yet. They’re more likely in the “awareness” stage of the purchase funnel rather than the buying stage.
Our landing page, in this case, should introduce to the visitor, for the (potentially) first time, how our product or service could benefit them.
Learn From Your Competition
Find your largest competitors and go through their funnels.
Take note of their marketing messaging, placement of various trust factors, calls to action, and style.
- Do they have a lead magnet? – e.g. 7 Carrots For Lead Capture
- What information do they capture about the user?
- How do they re-attract or message to exit traffic? e.g. New lead magnet, coupon code, etc.
- Are they using dynamic call-outs to capture the user’s attention?
- What color scheme are they using? Generic or “trust colors” (more on this later)?
Duplicate their landing page as much as possible without just ripping it.
Pro Tip: Personally, I’ll take the top 3 or 4 competitor landing page styles and split test all of them.
By starting with a landing page very similar to your proven competition, it will give you a baseline of conversion rates. So you can split test against it to see if it is performing better or worse.
Tools that can help you with competitive research are:
Be sure to modify your marketing messaging to fit your goals.
Now a lot of marketers get this part wrong…
Trust signs don’t always just mean adding a Norton security logo to your site.
Trustworthiness comes from familiarity with something, even if they don’t realize it.
Smart marketers use this to their advantage.
Put simply – make your landing page “familiar” to them by designing the landing page based on what the visitor is familiar with using on a daily basis.
Need a hint?
Don’t know what color to make your landing page?
I would start with a blue, green & white landing page as a baseline.
You figure it out…
Keep The Flow The Same
How many times have you clicked on an ad only to be shown something entirely different than what was promised?
So in the ad above, we have a Luxury All-Inclusive Surf Resort for $2490.
Sounds great right?
When we click the ad we land on this landing page:
Now as you can see, this page has a ton of problems.
At first glance, you wouldn’t be able to tell that this is a surfing resort what so ever.
15% of the page has gone to showing us a brand who, honestly, we don’t care about yet.
Their hero image is of a pool rather than people surfing, and there is no call to action above the fold.
Finally, somehow the price went from $2490 to $2740 – quite the increase in such a short time.
The point is, this landing page isn’t effective at all, and chances are if you were looking for a surf resort, you would have left this page in a hurry.
This is another landing page I found for the same term.
You very quickly know what this page is about and therefore, it would be much more likely to convert.
The landing page matches exactly what the user is looking for.
It can still have A LOT of improvements, but it was the best I could find for that search term.
In display advertising, keeping the flow looking the same is crucial.
Now this is not the be-all end-all, but if your landing page is brown, and your banner ad is blue, the visitor will fill a bit disconnected.
Try to keep your creatives matching each other as closely as possible.
- Make the color of the banner and the landing page the same
- Use the same image on the banner and landing page
- Keep pricing, discounts or any other marketing messaging the same
- E.g. “$2490 Surf Lessons” on the banner should have the same headline on the landing page.
Landing Pages Builders & Tools
Now that we have done our research and have a good idea of what we’re currently going to offer, it’s time to start building our lander.
Depending on the complexity of your landing page, you may need the help of a developer.
For those that don’t know basic coding, but are the do-it-yourself type, there are quite helpful tools:
Personally I use Leadpages for quick clean landers & hand code more complicated variants. To check out a lander I made in Leadpages, check out my free checklist.
I could go into detail on how to build landing pages in these tools….
But to be honest, the psychology and understanding of the purpose of landing pages is far more important.
If you know basic HTML/CSS, you’ll be able to get most landing pages working.
All you have to do is “View Source” in your browser to take a look at your competitors code.
There are also other resources such as GitHub, where a lot of codes are given out for free.
Finally, be sure to check out my post on landing page code to improve your ROI.
Currently using WordPress for your landing pages? Checkout ThriveThemes
Landing Page Examples
There are several great landing pages out there that in theory should convert very well.
Now obviously I don’t have access to the analytics on these pages, but from a creative and psychology standpoint they’re doing all the right things.
The reason I love this landing page is that you can immediately tell what it is about.
Lyft has done an excellent job zeroing in on drivers looking to make money.
Hints “Make up to $35/hr Driving Your Car”.
The CTA is “Become A Driver” after applying now. If you have any doubts right below it, you can calculate how much you can make based on how many hours you drive and which city you’re located.
Now this page my look simple to some, but in most cases simple equals better.
You very quickly know what you’re going to get once you sign up.
If you’re looking to learn how to code you know what the page is about in 5 seconds & it’s “free” to boot.
The CTA is very simple – “Get Started!” after entering their information.
Also, those that need more convincing can scroll down the page and read testimonials from other students.
Finally, they have social proof at the bottom of the page – “Join over 25 million learners”.
Simple, clean & straight to the point.
Shopify is the “WordPress” of eCommerce.
Their landing page is very simple and collects a crucial piece of information as their first step, the user’s email. This allows them to market to the user even if they don’t fully complete their store.
If you visit this landing page, you know exactly what you’re doing within 5 seconds & your decision is reinforced with trust logos and the benefits of using Shopify.
In the next part of the series, we’ll go into how you can better optimize your landing pages even before going live.
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