In the olden days of traditional copyrighting, the headline was the almighty first step in grabbing the readers attention. And while some practices are not necessarily applicable to the online world, the one constant is the importance of that headline, especially on your landing pages.
When we speak about landing pages, just what is it we mean? A landing page is a page on your website for which your intention is to maximize conversion of visitors with a desired outcome. It is a page focused on eliciting a positive action (contact, download, view) based on some sort of referral from another source (paid ad, organic search, email campaign, banner advertisement, etc). This conversion usually involves your visitor filling out a form, providing you with information to either contact them in a sales focused way, or else to add them to a nurturing campaign, with a softer scope of contact than direct sale.
Landing pages can take several different forms, each one having its advantages and disadvantages, but all of them vital, depending on your intentions. One form is that of an interior page in your website. While not a specific goal-oriented page, an interior landing page is one that helps tell the whole story of your solution or proposition. This type of landing age is perhaps the weakest in terms of conversion potential, as not only is it a facet of the story, but it follows normal interior template format, and allows visitors to easily creep away from the page using the standard navigation and calls to action found on all of your interior pages.
A second form of landing page, is one that is not included on your navigable site architecture, and have a reduced navigation from that of standard interior pages. These page will contain the same domain name as your website, but are hidden from regular site traffic. The visitor is focused on one or two calls to action, and no real way to “creep” off the page to another part of the site. While these pages allow for greater conversion potential, they also can suffer from a greater bounce rate, if not optimized properly.
A third type of landing page is a Microsite. A Microsite usually is on a completely different domain, and is focused on one particular facet of your solution, in far greater detail. These sites are often greatest in terms of single visit conversion because of its simplicity, but may not offer enough information for visitors in the buying stage of the sales cycle. These conversions tend to be softer conversion (download, view, read, trial). Additionally, since this is a unique domain, you cannot leverage and “SEO juice” that you may have gained from your formal website domain. Likewise, it will not help your main website in its relevance for any targeted terms.
Now that we have established the definition of a landing page, we need to understand how the headline plays such a vital role. Your headline is your first impression to your visitor. You can either grab them, or make them turn away, simply with your headline.
Your headline should:
- Inform the reader of exactly what it is you do or provide
- Exude trust by being honest, transparent, and avoid the “cheese” factor. Using phrases like “Guaranteed Results” or “Secrets Revealed” may sound enticing to you, but throw a wall of caution up in front of your prospect.
- Be a benefit-oriented statement of what you can expect when you complete the call to action.
- Explain what you can accomplish if you decide to pursue your company’s solution.
A headline should not live by itself. You should incorporate the use of sub-headings and bullets to support your headline. Just remember not to write huge blocks of text (like this post) as our audience is more likely to scan than read your landing page.
Read more about the differences between landing pages.