Landing pages are a multipurpose tool that is important to have under your belt as a startup founder.
First, they are great at explaining your products, services and general business clearly to everyone stakeholders in your company† This is important for all kinds of companies, but it is crucial for startups because they are often innovative and their offerings are not so easy to understand.
Second, they are a great tool to test the viability of your offering. Landing pages are the foundation of some of the best idea validation experiments because they aren’t expensive to build these days.
The purpose of a landing page isn’t always to drive a purchase, but more often than not, it’s to encourage some kind of action – to get people to subscribe to your content, generate leads, etc.
Since this is the case, what sets a bad landing page apart from a good one is how well it motivates visitors to take action, which is commonly referred to as a conversion rate.
Startup founder, investor and marketer Julian Shapiro puts it succinctly in the following formula:
Purchase Rate = Desire – (Labour + Confusion)
So to effectively motivate your users to trade, you need to maximize desire and minimize labor and confusion.
Maximize desire, minimize labor and confusion
In addition to the monetary price customers have to pay to use your product or service, there are other costs that influence this decision (product prices is also a key factor in purchasing decisions, but is beyond the scope of this article).
In the equation above, labor and confusion are the variables that represent the cost of getting accurate information about the offering and the cost of switching to your solution.
To minimize these costs, you need to remove all barriers to entry and soften the learning curve.
On a landing page, the best way to do that is to follow a familiar page structure and use concise, concrete copywriting.
Most of your potential users have seen many landing pages. It would reduce the effort they have to make to find information if the information is placed where they expect it.
Playing with the landing page structure is dangerous because it can create confusion. Instead, use your creativity in good design and copying.
The default landing page structure consists of the following sections:
- Navigation bar: logo and links
- Hero section: Here you have to explain as briefly as possible what exactly you are offering. What problem do you solve and how?
- Social proof: why should the visitor believe you? Present proof, social proof is the best kind.
- Call to action: Ask users to do what you want them to do.
- Features: provide more details about your offer
- Call to action: repeat the CTA
- Footer: various links
So to reduce work and confusion, present your information as concisely, concretely and logically as possible.
However, to increase desire, you need to make good emotional and rational arguments in the paragraphs mentioned above.
For example, on a rational level, the “social proof” section should tell your users that they’re not taking the early-adopter risk and that other people are happy with your offer. On an emotional level, it should create a fear of missing out.
The features section, on a rational level, informs the landing page visitor that the exact features you offer can solve their problems. On an emotional level, you can use the features page to build very high perceived value by using competitor offers as a relativity trap.
The same logic can be applied to the hero section – a nice visual can affect your users on an emotional level while also conveying the rational message that your solution is very user-friendly.
Of course, these are just examples – the point is that you need to convey as much rational and emotional information and meaning as possible in as little space as possible. This is the key to a successful landing page.
In summary, to build a good landing for your startup project, you need to:
- Use an established, non-confusing structure and concise and concrete copywriting to make it as easy as possible for your users to understand what you offer and to whom
- Influence your visitors on a rational and emotional level to increase their desire and encourage an action