landing pages vs websites for online advertisement

A landing page is a separate page from your website, designed with a specific goal in mind — to get leads. Landing pages are used for paid advertising, most commonly for pay-per-click (PPC) and Facebook/Social ads.

While the term “landing page” is often used to refer to any web page that you “land” on, in digital marketing, a landing page is the URL a person lands on after clicking your online ad. The page is separate from your main website (not a part of your website’s sitemap) and designed to get a specific action out of the user, usually a phone call or a sign-up.

Landing Pages vs. Websites

Your website probably features robust navigation, links to additional content and resources, frequently asked questions, news and events, social media feeds, etc. That’s a good thing. You want your website to encourage deeper engagement with your brand, values, products and services.

Landing pages, on the other hand, focus on a singular vision. Everything on a landing page is meant to support a focused initiative and should not distract from the ultimate goal of converting the user into a lead.

Let’s say you are an electrician and you have an ad you for $50 Off Ceiling Fan Repair. If you send people to your website’s homepage, they won’t know what to do and will either get distracted or click on the back button.

By creating a landing page that directly matches your PPC ad copy, people will instantly know they have reached the right page. The offer is front and center and there is a clear call-to-action, satisfying both parties. The landing page eliminates choice, thus reducing cognitive load and increasing conversion and user experience.

A popular principle among designers, Hick’s Law says that for every increase in choice, there is an increase in decision time. This is as true for restaurant menus as it is for web design. In most cases, when you reduce choice, you increase sales and satisfaction.

Landing Page Features:

  • Designed to get targeted traffic to “land” on a specific page as part of an advertising campaign (PPC, Facebook, email marketing, radio, print, etc.)
  • Designed with a singular action in mind (one call to action)
  • Page content is focused on the one product, service, or offer
  • Minimizes, or completely eliminates, navigation
  • Not meant to be a permanent part of your website
  • Usually features some sort of deal, giveaway, or benefit
  • Consistent with the copy elements from the ad

Your landing page should be about one thing — one product, one service, one offering, one download.

Website Features:

  • About
  • Locations
  • Services
  • Contact Information
  • Employment
  • Blog
  • And More

Your website will probably have a navigation bar and sidebar menu with easy navigation to these various pages. Think of your website as a group of webpages that helps the user find and navigate to the intended area of interest. Click here for 10 Common Website Mistakes.

When to Use Landing Pages

  • Use a landing page whenever you are running a PPC, remarketing, social media, radio, television, or print advertisement.
  • Use a website for everything else.

Use landing pages whenever you are running a marketing campaign that focuses on a single call-to-action.

According to Google:

Landing page experience is AdWords’ measure of how well your website gives people who click your ads exactly what they’re looking for–quickly and effortlessly… the experience you offer affects your Ad Rank and therefore your CPC [cost-per-click] and position in the ad auction. Your ads may show less often (or not at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience.”

In addition to PPC and social media, landing pages are also recommended when writing guest blogs and other SEO-related campaigns. For instance, if you wanted to promote a product, webinar, white paper, or email subscription, it would be best to use a landing page instead of a website.

By using a landing page, you can eliminate all unnecessary distraction to get people to take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or webinar.

Generally, you want to use a landing page whenever you are seeking a specific and direct action from the user. When you don’t know or cannot define the action you want the user to take, use your website. Your website should still include clear call-to-actions and an easy means of contact.

Landing Page Optimization

Business who use landing pages, combined with effective campaign strategy, have seen conversions soar. But landing page design isn’t so simple. Not only must your landing pages follow certain advertising policies and procedures, but they must also be well designed to keep cost-per-lead (CPL) low.

In order for the user to complete the action you want, whether that is scheduling service online or calling a phone number, you want to combine great design with the right amount of persuasive content.

Improve your landing page experience with these 5 tips:

1. Minimize Distractions

There should be no navigation, but if there is, don’t make it so obvious. Put your links to locations or other relevant information at the bottom of the page. And don’t even think about adding social media links (unless it’s part of a social media campaign).

Other typical website features should be removed, such as blog sections, image sliders, teasers, and more. Remember Hick’s Law and remove as many distractions as you can. The main thing that separates a landing page from a website is its simplified content and design.

2. Short and Sweet Content

The content on the page should match the ad text and keywords. There should be a short and sweet story with pictures and headlines that gives the user what they are looking for.

The content should be different for different versions of your ad. If your ad is about ceiling fans, the content should be specific to that — not a general electrical page.

Since the ad is targeting specific keywords, messages, and products, the user is expecting to see that need fulfilled. If you aren’t showing them what they are looking for, you will lose them.

Be as specific as possible and provide useful content, offers, and features on whatever you are advertising.

3. Transparency

When customers click on an ad, they want to make sure that they can trust the company and page they land on. To do this, it’s important to have certain elements in place that convey trust and transparency:

  • Display licensing numbers and trust seals.
  • Use security icons and verbiage when asking for personal information.
  • Only make promises you can deliver or over-deliver on (Same-Day, Satisfaction Guarantee, etc.).
  • Consider adding verified testimonials and videos to add more trust.
  • Your landing page should be directly relevant to the ad.
  • Deliver products and services as promised.
  • Use professional and attractive web design.
  • Content and design should convey consistent brand identity.
  • Keep page, offers, and content up-to-date.
  • Clearly explain company guarantees and offerings.

We have all visited webpages that make us feel vulnerable. It’s common knowledge customers only give money and personal information to websites and companies that convey trustworthiness.

4. A/B Testing

You can test landing pages to see which one converts best. Sometimes two or three versions of a landing page are used in order to compare conversion rates. After a certain amount of tweaking, the end result will be your permanent landing page. Every once in a while, additional experimentation is needed.

5. Responsive Design

If your website and landing pages are not responsive to different devices and screen sizes, you are missing out on a lot of potential leads.

  • Make it easy for visitors to find the information they need.
  • Don’t interrupt the visitor’s experience with pop-ups and sponsored content.
  • Prioritize your offers and unique selling propositions (USPs) above the fold.
  • Make it as easy as possible to call, buy, or schedule service.
  • Decrease loading time by optimizing your images and media for web.
  • Test your pages for mobile-friendliness and speed here.

Create a mobile-friendly website with our Responsive Web Design Guide.

By using the landing optimization tips above, your AdWords Quality score will increase and CPS will decrease.

Web design in general is starting to look a lot like landing page design. Just take a look at Apple, Lyft, and Codeacademy. You may want to consider redesigning your website to be more like a landing page.

In summary, use a dedicated landing page when you are seeking a specific action from your audience. The next time you run a marketing campaign, make sure you have dedicated landing pages first!

If you have any questions about landing pages or websites, don’t hesitate to contact us!

We can assess your website and landing page experience and provide a walk-through of our services.

Give us a call today for your FREE websitePPCSEOcall center training, and general online marketing consultation: 1-877-311-5695

VitalStorm can run all of your PPC, remarketing, and social media advertising for you. We design, host, and manage websites and landing pages from scratch.

Learn more about our PPC and web services and contact us if you would like to schedule a walk-through.

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