The magic formula for growing a spectacular blog is getting your readers to take action. A lot of action. Specifically, you want to funnel your most devoted followers into an e-mail list or convince them to purchase a product.
The best way to get this done is still the humble landing page.
Savvy bloggers rely on landing pages because…
I’ve seen a 40% jump in e-mail subscriptions when I direct readers to a dedicated landing page.
They are trackable
It’s fairly easy to isolate a specific page in your tracking software. For example, you can set-up a goal within Google Analytics and track action based on keywords, pages visited before they arrived at your landing page, and other juicy tidbits.
They can be optimized
You can test multiple versions of your landing page to boost its performance. A simple a/b split test can give you excellent information to act on quickly. You also can run multivariate tests to dynamically test combinations of the same page. Google Analytics and Visual Website Optimizer make running these types of tests super simple.
They can tell your whole story
It’s easier to persuade your readers to take action if you can tell a complete benefit story. For example, an e-mail landing page should describe what subscribers get, how often, and any incentives you have for sign-ups (a great idea by the way). This is difficult to shoehorn into a sidebar button.
They give you specific feedback
The latest landing page tools allow you embed comments (Facebook and WordPress) directly into your landing page. Landing page comments let your readers see how others are reacting to your offer and content. These comments offer “social proof,” lending authority to your page and thereby increasing conversions.
Even though landing pages are a sure bet, many bloggers shy away from them. Why?
When they hear “landing pages,” they automatically think about hours of writing, searching for pics, buttons, and benefit bullet points. Like everyone else, they run away and dive into creating another blog post.
Thankfully, it’s actually easier than you think to create an effective landing page.
Not Your Grandma’s Landing Page
I’ve been wrestling with landing pages for at least 8 years. I’ve written hundreds of sales letters that are essentially one-page landing pages (with a long scroll bar!). In the past, landing pages have been a pain to set-up. Like I mentioned, you had to be handy with HTML, Photoshop, and CSS to be able to pull together a halfway decent page. On top of that, you needed to shoehorn in payment buttons and complicated autoresponder forms, a real pain in the arse.
These days, you can pick-up turnkey landing page plug-ins and themes that make it exceptionally easy for you to set-up a custom page. My personal favorite is Premise (affiliate) for a variety of reasons.
1. Easy plug-in
Premise works seamlessly with your current theme. Other theme-based solutions need to be set-up as stand-alone blogs. This makes it easy for you to create a quick landing page whenever the urge hits you.
2. Built-in tracking
Premise integrates both Google Analytics and Visual Website Optimizer into its tracking. All you need to do is enter your GA or Visual Website Optimizer credentials and you are ready to go. It’s nice to know that my tracking is set-up automatically without needing to hack PHP files.
3. E-mail integration
Usually, landing pages are used to gather e-mail addresses. Premise makes it easy to set-up Aweber, Constant Contact, and MailChimp opt-in forms with a few clicks. E-mail integrations has ALWAYS been a pain; this is the first package that makes it foolproof.
4. Excellent tips
The Copyblogger media crew is obsessed with packing education into every product they sell. Premise is no different. Copyblogger has included detailed tutorials on copywriting and landing page optimization directly in the software.
5. Great graphics
Premise comes with a growing library of professionally designed graphics that will give your landing page a crisp and clean feel.
What about OptimizePress?
Although I prefer Premise, there are some heavy-duty applications that require OptimizePress’s full-featured approach.
OptimizePress is a theme that you activate once installed. After activation, OptimizePress will reconfigure your entire blog to fit its layout and specifications. This works best if you are creating an entire launch blog/website from scratch. In fact, I’ve used OptimizePress for this job, and it’s worked brilliantly. The support for OptimizePress is top-notch, and they add features faster than Steve Jobs can say “revolutionary.”
OptimizePress includes a variety of features that allows you to set-up full membership content sites with sophisticated registration funnels and other incredibly cool features. However, I felt it was too much for quick and clean landing page set-ups.
10 Super Savvy Ways to Use Landing Pages
Ok, we’ve covered why you should use landing pages and two excellent software packages to get you started. Now let’s discuss what you should use landing pages for. Here are 10 of my favorite ways to use landing pages.
- Build e-mail lists. E-mail lists are how the smart kids get popular and rich. Start yours now.
- Set-up interest-based e-mail lists. You can take your big e-mail list and split it up into small, targeted, interest-based lists. This will boost your conversions and sell more stuff.
- Selling stuff. Landing pages are the best way to focus attention and sell products.
- Show video. Landing pages are great places to show short video tutorials and pre-sell messages. You can even combine video with an e-mail opt-in to supercharge your list building.
Jumpstart social media. I recently recommended that a client use a dedicated landing page to drive traffic to their Facebook Fan page. It worked like gangbusters. Go ahead and steal the idea 🙂
Pillar pages. I like making a list of posts in a specific category and creating a landing page to drive traffic and seduce the search engines. I call ’em pillar pages, and they consistently outperform other pages on PushingSocial.com.
Sales pages. Sales pages are usually 6–10 page scroll-a-thons that tell a complete sales story in long-form format. Don’t diss the sales page. They still work like crazy. My favorite tactic is to take a long sales page and divide it into 3–4 themed pages. This shortens the letter and gives you more chances to sneak in a purchase or opt-in button. You can easily pull this off with Premise and OptimizePress.
Rapid prototyping. I often have hare-brained ideas in the middle of the night that I can’t wait to flush 40 hours of time down the toilet to develop. Instead of spending hours creating a full-fledged product, I often will create a quick landing page to test demand. I’ll drive pay-per-click traffic to the page to see if I get any bites. If not, I pull down the page and re-evaluate. This saves me the hassle of creating an entire site.
Polls and surveys. I’ve tested two ways to present polls and surveys; one way is to embed them into blog posts, and the other is to create a dedicated landing page. The landing page version kicks the embedded versions butt. My hypothesis is that the dedicated page has fewer distractions.
Will You Use Landing Pages?
Hey, are you using landing pages? If so, how have they worked for you? If not, what’s holding you back?