Landing pages are a key part of any online business.
They are one of the best options when it comes to effectively collecting email addresses.
But, landing pages can and should be used for most sales pages as well.
Because they are used towards the bottom of the funnel, just a small change in conversion rate can have a huge impact on your profit over time.
And, while landing pages in general have a higher conversion rate than any other generic page, the conversion rate on landing pages can differ drastically.
According to Hubspot research, the typical landing page converts at 5 to 15%, but some landing pages that are highly optimized convert at 30% or above.
There are 3 main reasons that marketers and site owners are resistant to using landing pages in appropriate situations:
- They take too long to create or are too difficult to create
- They’ve never been able to achieve incredible conversion rates in the past
- They don’t know how to systematically improve their landing pages
All 3 of these problems can be solved with tools.
Create better landing pages (quicker too)
When you want to create a landing page, there are only a few options. You can hire a developer, which takes time and is expensive, or you can try to create one yourself.
If you don’t have much technical experience, the landing page won’t turn out as well as possible. If you do have experience, you’re still spending a lot of time on them.
But, the thing about great landing pages is that they are typically simple and repetitive.
There are many tools that allow you to use templates and to edit in whatever messages you’d like. Instead of spending hours creating a landing page, you can create a great one in minutes.
The following tools are ones that can help you do just that.
One of the leading landing page creation tools is Unbounce, named to suggest that visitors to their landing pages don’t “bounce” (but convert instead).
Unbounce, along with the other tools I’ve included in this section, feature similar functions. So, I’ll go over them once here to clarify them.
The reason that these tools are so simple to use is that they are “drag and drop” tools.
You can pick elements (text boxes, images, forms, etc.) from the side menus and simply drag them into a section on your landing page.
You can, of course, edit them afterwards in any way that you like.
Another important feature is that most pages that you create will be responsive. This is becoming increasingly important as mobile browsing continues to become more popular.
It’s been shown in the past that when a page doesn’t show up correctly on a mobile device, conversion rates suffer.
An Aberdeen Group study found that responsive design resulted in a 10.9% increase in conversions per year, compared to non-responsive design that only had 2.7% yearly growth.
With these landing pages, visitors will see the page as it was intended, whether they are on a laptop or mobile phone:
The next feature that you need to know about is perhaps the most important. You can easily add in any type of form that you’d like.
Most landing pages are created as lead generation pages (collect email and other information). Without an attractive form, your conversion rates will suffer. With a tool like Unbounce, you simply drag and drop one in (and edit the fields), or add custom code from a form generating tool:
As I’ll dive into in more detail later, split testing a landing page is one of the most effective ways to increase your conversion rates.
Unbounce offers built-in A/B testing.
You can copy a landing page that you create, make one change to it and then Unbounce will do the rest.
Your analytics will show the conversion rate and other overall stats of each page, as well as the confidence in the test, so that you know when to stop the A/B test.
Finally, Unbounce features a wide variety of templates (that you can see without signing up).
While you have the option of starting from scratch, it rarely makes sense to do so.
Instead, you can use a template that was created by someone else. As you can see in the above picture, other Unbounce users can vote on their favorites, so you’ll typically see the best converting pages first.
In addition, you can sort them by purpose or industry by using the sidebar filters:
Unbounce is among the priciest landing page creators, with their cheapest plan set at $49 per month. However, you can get a free 30 day trial first to make sure that it’s the right tool for you.
Once you have an account and log-in, go to your “pages” tab and click “create new” to get started:
Unbounce offers a walkthrough tutorial, plus the tool is pretty intuitive.
You can see the templates on the right, in the picture above.
Once you pick a template, the main page editor will open and you’ll be free to edit or rearrange elements as needed.
Another popular landing page creator is Instapage. It offers a pretty limited free plan (instead of a free trial like others do), but has a slightly more affordable “basic” option at $29 per month. It’s probably the best option for a tight budget.
Just like Unbounce, Instapage landing pages are responsive:
On top of that, it offers almost all of the same important features. It allows you to drag and drop elements in and out of your page, as well as to edit them just by clicking on them.
It also has a built-in A/B testing feature, so that you can optimize your page’s conversion rate after you’ve built the first version:
The Instapage page editor is simpler than the Unbounce editor. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your needs and skills.
If you’re not very technical, it’s a great thing. You can still do 99% of the same things and it will probably be easier to learn.
However, if you like total control over everything, you’ll probably be more pleased with a tool like Unbounce that offers greater customization.
Once you’ve created a page, you can choose how you’d like to publish it:
Instapage allows you to publish a page on their domain (e.g. Instapage.com/your-landing-page), which I don’t recommend.
If you pick “custom domain”, it will give you the option to connect your domain to your Instapage account to publish the landing page directly to your site. You only have to set this up once per domain.
Alternatively, you can use Instapage’s WordPress plugin. It allows you to sync the page from your Instapage account to your site in just a few clicks.
3. LeadPages (or Click Funnels)
The basic plan is comparable in price to the Unbounce, but it’s solely a landing page creator. On the higher tier plans, you get access to the advanced features like A/B testing and Leadboxes (I’ll get to these in a second).The final and, perhaps, most well-known landing page creator among Internet marketers is LeadPages. Many of the top bloggers that you probably follow use it.
The actual landing page editor is very similar to the other options we’ve looked at,but LeadPages offers a few unique features that might sway your decision.
The first major component is the template selection. Not only do they have a hugeselection of templates, but you can even sort them by conversion rate.
Keep in mind that it’s a conversion rate based on past experiments and might not necessarily reflect the conversion rate that you’ll get. It depends on other things, like your value proposition and niche.
You should also know that most templates aren’t free. They typically cost $10-15 each, which adds to the cost.
In summary: great selection, great landing page template quality, but it will cost you extra.
Like the other landing page creators, you have an analytics section in LeadPages that allows you to split test landing pages and see how they are performing:
The page editor itself is robust, but still fairly easy to use. It’s pretty comparable to Unbounce, in terms of how it’s used:
If you’ve followed many top blogs for long, I guarantee that you have seen a pop-uplike this:
This pop-up type is called a “Leadbox”, which is included with all LeadPages accounts, except the basic one.
You can configure these pop-ups to display when a visitor clicks a link in your content, which is why they are most commonly used for content upgrades. However, they could still be handy for landing pages too.
On top of that, you can configure them to work with any popular email marketing service and automatically deliver your bonus (e.g. Ebook).
Launchrock can be used to create landing pages, but not in the same way as the first 3 options. Instead, Launchrock is mainly used to create “coming soon” landing pages.
These landing pages are typically used by startups that are about to launch or businesses that are trying to gauge interest in a coming product.
If you’re looking for a page to quickly put up while you work on launching your business or product, Launchrock is a great tool.
It’s very simple to use. You just pick a theme and edit your message:
The most appealing thing about the tool might be the pricing:
If all that you need is a few landing pages for a one-time event, there’s no reason not to save money and use this tool.
5. Hello Bar
I’m not exactly unbiased, but thousands of website owners have benefited from collecting emails and displaying messages with the Hello Bar.
If you’re not familiar with it, the Hello Bar is a thin bar that runs along the top of your website.
It can be used for a wide variety of reasons, but could also help with your landing pages.
Alternatively, you can use the bar to quickly offer a product or service discount on a sales landing page, without going to the trouble of editing the copy on the page itself.One idea is to link to your landing page across your site, using the bar and an attractive call-to-action. This will drive extra traffic to your page with minimal effort.
You can add Hello Bar to your site for free. Create an account by inputting your domain name in the homepage text box:
Once you’ve created an account, you can choose from the different types of Hello Bar.
In this case, since you’re going to be using it on landing pages, you’ll probably either want to “show an announcement” or “collect email.”
The editor is dead simple. Fill in the information (color, message, etc.) for the bar in the prompted fields.
You can either use the obvious “next” buttons to continue through the 5 main steps or just click the menu tabs on the left:
Once you click “save and publish,” you can choose any of the standard installation options.
Either grab the code yourself and send it to your developer, or install our WordPress plugin to make it even easier:
Get real user feedback
Once you know how to design good looking landing pages, your design won’t have a huge effect on your conversion rate any more.
The tricky part about this is that it’s difficult to have realistic expectations. You may think that the value proposition is obvious, but that’s only because you know the offer so well. To a random visitor, it may not be clear.What will have a huge effect on your conversion rate is how valuable and clear your value proposition is.
The following tools can help you get unbiased 2nd opinions, which can be incredibly valuable feedback that allows you to edit your landing pages for higher conversion rates.
Visitors don’t like to search and think too much. If your message and offer isn’t obvious to them within 5 seconds, it’s likely not clear enough.
This tool allows you to get real feedback from random users to see if they can quickly understand what your landing page is about.
Let’s walk through the process, from the perspective of a user on the tool.
A registered user will get the following message, and, once they click “start the test,” they will be shown a page:
The page could be about anything.
Ideally, you’d want the reviewer to be in your target audience, but there’s no way to guarantee that here – it’s luck.
So, while it’s a useful tool, it’s not 100% definitive feedback.
After seeing a landing page (like above) for 5 seconds, the landing page will be closed and the user will see a question about it (chosen by the page creator).
Ideally, you should ask about what stands out and what is the main value proposition/offer on the page.
Once you have a few dozen answers, you probably have enough to evaluate your landing page.
I’d caution you to not take the results as gospel, because the users aren’t your target audience. But, it can still provide useful feedback that you should consider.
It’s a pretty cheap tool as well. You can either participate yourself by answering questions about other landing pages to get credits, or you can just buy tests for $1 each.
Sometimes, you’ll want a more in-depth review of your landing page. This is typically the case if it’s a longer or more complex one.
With UserTesting, the users (testers) record audio of their interaction with your landing page.
They are shown your landing page, are asked to navigate around it and are also possibly sent to your website. While they are doing so, they have to record their thoughts out loud and you’ll get a copy of this.
This can be useful, because you’ll hear things like:
- “I don’t understand this…”
- “I’m trying to do X, but can’t…”
- “I’d like to see an example of Y, but don’t see one anywhere…”
This can be incredibly valuable feedback and you don’t need too many videos to get some actionable advice.
The one drawback is that it’s fairly pricey. It costs $49/video for your first 10 videos. If you expect to make thousands from your landing page, this isn’t a problem. But, it could be a deal breaker for some landing page owners with skinny budgets.
One nice feature about UserTesting is that you can somewhat target who reviews your sites:
You can choose their device, age, income, gender, country and web expertise.
Another alternative is to use “Peek”, which is another tool that is separate from the main UserTesting video reviews option.
This tool is free.
You enter your page in the Peek textbox and click “start”:
That’s all there is to it.
Peek involves someone reviewing your website and giving you feedback, but it’s different. The main change is that you can’t choose who reviews your page. It’s completely random.
Also, videos are capped at 5 minutes long, instead of 15. This is fine for landing pages, but if you wanted a full website review down the line, this might matter.
These other tools are useful, but there’s one main thing holding them back – the feedback isn’t from real visitors.
The visitors that are actually going to be on your landing page and interested in your offer are the ones that matter most.
Learning what they are confused about or don’t care about can be the difference between a low converting page and a high converting page.
The problem is that it’s difficult to learn what your actual visitors are thinking. In almost all cases, you can’t just stand behind someone as they see your landing page and ask them questions.
The best solution is to install a small, unobtrusive chat widget. It will show up along the bottom of your page and only expand if a visitor clicks on it:
When you have it installed, visitors can ask questions about the page:
- “What about Y?”
- “Does this come with a guarantee?”
- “Do you offer a payment plan?”
- and so on…
If you start getting the same question over and over, chances are that other visitors (who don’t use the chat box) are also wondering about it.
You can then answer this question more clearly on your landing page. This is a highly effective way to reduce friction between a customer and an offer. You want to alleviate as many of their concerns as possible.
I included Olark here because it’s one of the most well-known live chat software solutions, but there are several other similar tools that are also great.
To set it up, you need to configure the display and message of the chat bubble/tab that appears at the bottom of your page.
Pick a theme or color scheme that stands out from the rest of the page, so that you know most visitors will see it.
Once you’ve modified the widget, you’ll get an installation code:
You can either copy and paste the code right into your site, or paste it in the custom code option that all of the landing page creation tools that we’ve looked at have.
A final note on this tool is that it doesn’t require you to be the only one talking with customers in real-time. Depending on the package you choose, you can operate the support as a team or as an individual.
Finally, you can easily toggle it on and off, so that it’s only available to visitors while you have time to chat.
Make sure that you’re making the most of your traffic
Getting traffic to your landing page is not always easy, or cheap, which is why it’s important that you make the most of it.
For example, if you’re spending $0.50 per visitor on PPC advertising, a doubled conversion rate would save you $250 per thousand visitors (or only need to buy 500 visitors to see the same results). This adds up fast over time.
To maximize your conversion rate, you’ll need tools specifically designed to help you do so, like the ones in this section.
9. Crazy Egg
Again, as the co-founder of Crazy Egg, I’m not the most unbiased when I say that I think Crazy Egg is one of the best heatmap tools out there. I’ll let the positive reviews from thousands of webmasters do that for you.
Crazy Egg is designed to show you exactly how your visitors are using your website(or a specific landing page).
While there’s some fairly complex things going on in the background, it’s actually very simple to install Crazy Egg on your website.
Once you create an account, you’ll have access to your own personal code that you can copy and paste into your website and tracking will begin automatically:
Below your code, there’s a “check installation page,” so that you can confirm that everything is working as it should:
If you want to make it even easier, use the Crazy Egg WordPress plugin to install the tracking script.
Once you collect a bit of data, it’s easy to see how a heatmap could be useful. See which areas visitors are paying the most attention to and then put the most important elements there.
If visitors are skipping over a part of your landing page, either get rid of it or move it down, because they don’t care about it very much.
When it comes to split testing on your website (landing pages included), a few tools stand out. Optimizely is one of these.
If you’re using a landing page creator tool, you may not need this. But, if you created a page from scratch, it’s a good tool for split testing.
While there is a paid plan, you can get started with the free plan to get used to the software.
Once you sign in, it will ask you to type in your landing page URL.
It will then load the page as a new variation (see the original in the “original” tab). You can also add more variations, if you’d like to test multiple changes.
To make a change, click on an element on the page (left click). This will bring up a menu that gives you many editing options.
The option you’ll probably choose is to “edit element” and change the text.
Once you’re done, click the bright green button in the top right corner to save and start your test:
It will give you a simple code that you need to copy and paste into the header of your landing page. That will ensure that your traffic is split between the 2 or more versions that you’ve created and that performance is tracked:
Once you have some traffic, you can log into your Optimizely account and see how each version is performing. It will tell you when a test has reached a significant result.
Optimizely’s main competitor is Visual Website Optimizer (VWO).
Once you create an account, the tool works very similar to Optimizely.
It will ask you for an optimization goal, which in this case will be to “optimize a landing page”:
Enter your URL in the text box and then click “Next.”
Just like before, click on the element that you want to change. A menu will pop-up with different options (edit, move, etc.):
Once you’ve made your change (remember, only change one thing in an A/B test), click on the “Next” button in the bottom right corner.
Once you do that, you need to tell the tool what you’re tracking.
For a landing page, it’s usually going to be form submits:
Once you’re done that, you will get your final code:
Install that the same way, by copying and pasting it into your landing page’s header.
When you come back after your page has had some traffic, you can see a detailed comparison of which version is winning or has won:
There are 2 main factors that determine how your landing page will show up for a visitor. First is their device, which is why using a tool that supports responsive pages is important.
The second factor is their browser. You need to be careful to check how your landing page shows up in multiple browsers, not just the one that you use.
If your landing page shows up as a jumbled mess on a popular browser, you automatically lose a portion of potential conversions.
Browsershots won’t fix the problem, but it will help you spot any browsers where your landing page shows up funny.
Enter your landing page URL in the textbox and then pick the browsers that you would like to check.
This tool offers over 100 browsers, but you really don’t need to check all of those if you don’t want too. Pick at least a few of the latest versions from the most popular browsers (Internet explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and operating systems, then click “submit.”
While the tool is free, there’s usually a queue. It will give you an estimated finish time on the next page.
When you reload the page later, you will see a bunch of tiles (pictured above) – one for each browser. If one of them looks strange, click the tile to load a larger image.
If you find a problem, you can either try to fix it by yourself, if you have the developing skills, or ask for support from the landing page creation tool that you’re using.
Landing pages are essential for a successful online business. They are arguably the best way of capturing a lead’s information and moving them further down your sales funnel.
However, if you’re not creating landing pages because it’s too difficult or time consuming, you’re not taking full advantage of their power.
If you’re not creating high converting landing pages, then you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.
If you suspect that you have either of these problems, I’ve given you 12 tools (all of which are very affordable or free) that most top online marketers use on a regular basis
Once you learn how to use them, you’ll be able to create high converting landing pages in no time, leaving you more time to spend attracting quality traffic to your landing pages.
Don’t think there are only 12 good landing page tools either. If you know of any others that you’ve used in the past and have loved, leave a comment below so that other readers can also benefit from them.