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3 Advanced Features That Successful Landing Pages Have In Common

by Neil Patel

Killer landing pages don’t happen by accident.

In fact, if you were to examine the world’s highest-converting landing pages and come up with a list of reasons why they are so successful, you would find several things that all of them have in common.

But this list of things might surprise you. There’s no such thing as one color, button size, or layout that always works.

Conversion optimization goes much deeper than that.

What are the features that successful landing pages have in common?

Let’s check it out.

1. Successful Landing Pages Have A Deep Understanding Of Their Target Audience

Take a look at these two landing pages.

Here’s Unbounce. Unbounce knows a thing or two about landing pages.

Unbounce landing page

Source

Now, here’s Nike.

create your own nike

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Now, for the question:  Which one is better?

Obviously, that’s a trick question. Neither is “better.” Both are designed with a unique goal for a unique audience in a unique niche.

So they’re going to look different. A lot different.

  • Unbounce is B2B. Nike is B2C.
  • Unbounce is selling software. Nike is selling shoes.
  • There are hundreds of other differences.

And that’s the point. Landing pages should look different based on who they are selling to.

Pssst! BTW – Those landing page templates you’re using will probably only get you so far 🙂.

And that’s where landing page design should begin — with a deep understanding of one’s target audience. Basically, you have to read their minds. (Which isn’t too difficult, as long as you know what you’re doing.)

How can you get to know your target audience?

I suggest you start by creating a marketing persona.

The basic template looks like this.

Identification

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Here’s how Jessica Mehring explains the specific information you should come up with.

Name Of The Persona

Job Title

  • Key information about their company (size, type, etc.)
  • Details about their role

Demographics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Salary / Household income
  • Location: Urban / Suburban / Rural
  • Education
  • Family

Goals And Challenges

  • Primary goal
  • Secondary goal
  • How you help achieve these goals
  • Primary challenge
  • Secondary challenge
  • How you help solve these problems

Values / Fears

  • Primary values
  • Common objections during sales process

This is just a starting point for creating your landing page, but it’s also a good starting point for marketing in general.

The better you understand your target audience, the better you will be able to design the perfect landing page.

2. Successful Landing Pages Are Part Of A Well-Plotted Marketing Funnel

Successful landing page are not standalone elements.

Landing pages are simply one part of a larger process — the marketing funnel.

There are two ways of looking at a landing page:  

  1. As a single element designed to improve conversions
  2. As one piece of the overall marketing funnel

There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing funnel. Each business must design their own marketing funnel based on their customers, budget, product, and niche.

Like the name suggests, a funnel draws people into the wide end, and pulls them down toward the ultimate goal — the sale.

Of course, that’s not the end of the funnel. Most businesses have methods of retaining customers with further engagement, upsells, and continuation.

Sales funnels are often very complicated. Most sales processes involve multiple discrete steps. Although customers don’t usually realize it, their touch points with an online business are all separate steps in the sales funnel.

Some companies have a clear delineation between sales and marketing, which divides the funnel into two halves.

digital marketing traditional marketing

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Here are some examples of where landing pages fit within the marketing funnel.

Most of the time, the CRO conversation starts with landing pages, subject line optimization, and tips and tricks.

That’s all fine and good, but it’s helpful to take a step back and figure out where these landing pages fit in the overall scheme of marketing and conversion optimization.

In the funnel image below, landing pages are at the very bottom of the funnel. Landing pages come after social, organic search, content marketing, and nurturing.

content marketing funnel

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In the funnel diagram below, the landing pages play a key role in the acquisition process. But notice how many detailed steps come after that point.

In this case, the product may be large, expensive, or require extensive implementation.

funnel lead generation marketing automation

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This simplified funnel diagram shows landing pages being the final point before a sale. While it’s obviously simplified, the image does indicate that landing pages aren’t the starting point for a customer.

web traffic funnel

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Yet another funnel shows landing pages at the very top of the funnel, right along with blog content, and free content.

top funnel middle funnel bottom funnel

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A funnel diagram helps you determine precisely where to place your landing pages.

If you create landing pages haphazardly, with no regard to your sales funnel, then your landing page will not flow logically. Instead of an organized approach to attracting your users, you will merely be presenting them with information and requests for a sale.

Instead, consider carefully how your landing pages fit within the funnel and design them accordingly.

3. Successful Landing Pages Address The User’s Need At The Correct Point In The Customer Journey

Where your users come from determines what they will do once they are on the landing page.

Every customer follows a journey to sale.

How does this differ from a sales funnel? Certainly the two overlap, but there are some key differences.

  • The customer journey provides an overview through the customer’s eyes and through their specific experience.
  • The sales funnel explains how this journey applies to the actual marketing activities of the business.

Notice my comment at the beginning of this section:

“Where your users come from determines what they will do once they are on the landing page.”

Where Your Users Come From…

Your landing page needs to address user intent. In other words, what queries did they use to find the landing page? Why are they there to begin with? You can answer these questions by mapping out the customer journey.

…Determines What They Will Do.

If you have successfully identified the user’s starting point or intent, and given them a landing page that meets that intent, then your landing page is far more likely to convert them.

Let’s look at a simple two-step example.

Let’s pretend I want to buy a camera. So I search for “buy a camera.”

That’s step 1.

Here is what I see when I Google, “buy a camera.”

google buy a camera

Next, I’m going to go to a specific landing page. I select Sears, from the far right column of Google Ads.

What I see is step 2.

digital cameras

See what happened? Simple customer journey

  • Step 1:  My intent is to buy a camera, so I input a commercial query.
  • Step 2:  Sears has a landing page that matches my commercial intent, so I click on it, where I may or may not buy a camera.

Your customer journey map is a unique process that only your business can create. Let’s take a step back now and look at the customer journey process from beginning to end using a few examples.

Here’s a simple journey map that explains both the purchase process and the subsequent customer service process:

decide search find buy headphones

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Below is a slightly more involved customer journey map. Notice how this map is divided into several phases:

  • Pre-Engagement
  • Commercial
  • Consultation
  • Initiation
  • Coordination
  • Completion
people chart

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What about a product like health insurance? There’s a customer journey for that too. Notice how this one involves both time frames and touchpoints. These are critical aspects that you need to keep in mind as you design a landing page and the marketing elements that surround it (like retargeting).

health insurance purchase journey map

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Finally, let’s take a look at the customer journey map for someone who is booking travel arrangements.

example of customer journey map

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The map above is meaningful because it describes the emotional state of the person as she tries to find travel arrangements.

Identifying the customer’s emotional state is very important because your landing page needs to take that into consideration. The customer has a need — that’s a specific point in the journey. Your landing point needs to meet that need at that point.

Conclusion

Success on landing pages happens when you can go beyond button design, layout, copy, headline, and images. It happens when you look at the deeper issues.

It might sound a little boring at first, but when you begin to uncover the absolute power of these features, you’ll see what a game-changer they are.

Landing pages succeed when they harness the deeper-level components of marketing.

  • Who is the customer?
  • Where does this landing page fit within the entire marketing funnel?
  • How does this landing page meet the customer on his or her journey?

Answering these questions with a well-designed landing page is the solution to having a killer landing page.

What advanced features have you discovered to make your landing pages powerful?

2 Comments

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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  1. Stephen says:
    February 21, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Hey Neil,

    Enjoyed reading your post I am glad I found it and how I did is kind of a funny story too. I was actually working on designing a landing page yesterday. Prior I was using a template, I guess like the one you refer to. lol I picked it up free from someone trying to sell me something. I should know better, right?

    Anyway, I had a mentor help me with my design and it seems we covered a lot of the important points you recommend here. So I am feeling good.

    The funny story I mentioned is that I was in another conversation about UX and the “F” shape common in heat mapping. The discussion was about whether that “F” is still relevant in mobile use. It seems it would not be but I guess there is still alot to learn, there.

  2. Deepak Gera says:
    February 16, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Excellent post Neil, I am little confused like most of the time every page in our site can be a landing page at a time so that means all pages should have all those attributes which a landing page should have? If yes then landing page look and feel should inline with all other pages also. I don’t think each landing page should be designed uniquely.

    Just an example, in information sharing sites, every page seems landing page in terms of information and all pages used to have few actions to be performed.

    What do you suggest in these scenarios?

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