Landing Page v. Website: Do you need one, the other, or both??

Do you need a website, a landing page, or both? What is the difference between the two, and which one is better? If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, you’ve probably already spent a lot of time and energy on your website, a must-have in today’s increasingly internet-dominated economy…right?

Websites

Most websites include a homepage, about page, and various other pages depending on the nature of the site. Enmeshed somewhere in some or all of those pages there may be a place for interested visitors to subscribe to the site by putting in their email, but this is not the main point of the website. Rather, a website is designed to host content and provide information.

The problem with this is that there are currently over a billion websites online, with thousands more being created every day. Which means that if a reader who is surfing your website does not immediately subscribe to your email list and becomes distracted by something else—another site, his or her phone, a friend or family member—he or she may forget all about you and never come back. They won’t have a chance to get to know you, and you’ll lose your opportunity to take the customer relationship to the next level.

Landing pages

Unlike websites, landing pages are designed for only one thing: to capture leads. There is no About page and no navigation – literally nothing that distracts from the primary action you want a visitor to take. It is a standalone webpage that includes a single call to action. Landing pages have one job, and one job only: to convert visitors into subscribers and clients/customers.

Landing pages generally consist of an introductory text (usually offering some sort of lead magnet or free gift), graphics, a call to action, and space for visitors to enter their information (first name, email). Landing pages are focused on getting visitors to do one thing only, and they do this using clear, persuasive copy and calls to action.

Simple, easy, effective.

Most people don’t act unless they are given explicit instructions. Website visitors who aren’t told clearly to do something will simply meander through a few pages or paragraphs, then leave. Landing pages, however, provide straightforward instructions: “Type your email here to receive ‘free gift'” and remove unnecessary extra distractions that might keep your target audience from performing the desired action.

Case Study: Benjamin P. Hardy, Medium writer, author, entrepreneur

Top Medium writer Benjamin P. Hardy used a landing page to capture nearly a quarter million leads in a matter of months. As a popular personal development writer, Hardy attracts tens of thousands of viewers per article. And many of those viewers and readers become fans and customers.

Yet when Hardy first started writing online, he did not understand the importance of landing pages. When his first article went viral, Hardy was completely baffled when the high-volume traffic he received to his site resulted in minimal email subscribers.

Finally, Hardy realized that visitors who came to his site were merely taking a look around, then leaving again without doing anything, because they did not realize there was anything to do. Armed with this revelation, Hardy designed a simple landing page that offered a checklist in exchange for readers’ email addresses. In each of his articles, he included a link to his landing page, directing readers who enjoy his work to sign up for the free checklist in exchange for their emails.

Within months, Hardy had acquired a quarter-million subscribers, which he leveraged to get a book deal with a major American publisher and start his own million-dollar-revenue online courses.

Currently Hardy uses his website like a glorified resume, where he posts some of his best articles. He considers the website an optional tool. Hardy’s most valuable marketing device is not his minimalistic site, but his landing page.

Done right, your landing page can be your most powerful marketing tool, as well. So how do you create a truly effective landing page?

Tips for creating your landing page:

  1. If you are shooting for volume of subscribers, removing the “first name” section and allowing readers to simply input their emails will increase your email subscribers by 5-10%. But collecting first names and using those to address readers in future emails can improve your sales conversion rates.
  2. Keep your landing page as simple as possible. Don’t include links to your social media accounts or links to other pages. Remember, the landing page is designed to do one thing and one thing only: capture leads. Therefore, adding confusion by including extra bells and whistles will reduce its effectiveness.
  3. Hone your call to action. Keep it simple, and use a command. For instance, “Get your FREE gift now!” is far more effective than a long, rambling “If you enjoyed my article on…then you should subscribe here…”
  4. Offer a valuable, but simple gift. Our last blog was all about creating a good lead magnet – the landing page is where you make the offer! It’s something that your audience wants, but will not take too much time for them to process. Benjamin Hardy offered a checklist to his readers, which he found far more effective than a free ebook (which takes too much time investment to read). You could also offer cheat sheets, templates, swipe files, examples/samples, toolkits, apps, or more. The sky’s the limit!

Leads, leads, leads!

If your goal is to provide some interesting information that might entertain or educate a random visitor now and then, you won’t need a landing page—a website will do very well for those purposes. But if you are interested in building or scaling a business, increasing your influence, and selling a product or service, then you must consider creating a landing page to capture leads and drive conversions for success.