Landing pages are a multi-purpose tool that is important to have under your belt as a startup founder.
First, they are great for explaining your products, services, and overall business clearly to all possible stakeholders in your business. This is important for all kinds of companies, but for startups, it’s crucial because they are often innovative and their offering isn’t that straightforward to grasp.
Second, they are a great tool for testing the viability of your offering. Landing pages are the foundation of some of the best idea validation experiments because nowadays they are inexpensive to build.
The goal of a landing page isn’t always to incentivize a purchase, but it more often than not is to incentivize some kind of action – to let people subscribe to your content, generate leads, etc.
Since this is the case, the thing that distinguishes a bad landing page from a good one is how well it motivates visitors to take action, which is usually called a conversion rate.
Startup founder, investor, and marketer Julian Shapiro puts it succinctly in the following formula:
Purchase Rate = Desire – (Labor + Confusion)
So, to effectively motivate your users to act, you need to maximize desire and minimize labor and confusion.
Maximize Desire, Minimize Labor, And Confusion
Besides the monetary price which customers need to pay to use your product or service, there are other costs that influence this decision (product pricing is also a key factor for purchase decisions, but it is outside of the scope of this article).
In the equation from above, labor and confusion are the variables that represent the cost of acquiring accurate information about the offering and the cost of switching to your solution.
To minimize these costs, you need to remove any 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 to use succinct, concrete copywriting.
Most of your potential users have seen plenty of landing pages. It would reduce the effort they must exert to find information if the information is placed in the place they expect it.
Playing with the landing page structure is dangerous because it can generate confusion. Instead, use your creativity on good design and copy.
The standard landing page structure consists of the following sections:
- Navbar: logo and links
- Hero section: This is where you need to explain as succinctly as possible what exactly you are offering. What problem you are solving and how?
- Social proof: Why should the visitor believe you? Present evidence, social evidence being the best kind.
- Call to action: Ask the users to do what you want them to do.
- Features: give more details about your offering
- Call to action: repeat the CTA
- Footer: miscellaneous links
So, to decrease labor and confusion, you need to present your information as succinctly, concretely, and logically as possible.
To increase desire, though, you need to present good emotional and rational arguments within the sections mentioned above.
For example, on a rational level, the social proof section should tell your users that they are not taking the early-adopter risk and that other people are happy with your offering. 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 are offering can solve their problems. On an emotional level, you can use the features page to build a very high perceived value by using competitor offerings as a relativity trap.
The same logic could be applied to the hero section – a beautiful visual could impact your users on an emotional level while at the same time conveying the rational message that your solution is very easy to use.
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 a well-established, non-confusing structure and succinct and concrete copywriting to make it as easy as possible for your users to understand what you are offering and to whom
- Impact your visitors on a rational and emotional level in order to increase their desire and incentivize an action