8 Must-Have Elements of an Effective B2B Landing Page
- by: Vladimir Blagojevic
Here's what you're up against:
On LinkedIn, there are more than 2,5 million startups and other tech and service companies in the software space alone.
And while not all of them are your direct competitors, many are competing for a piece of your prospect's mind, relying on 7000+ sales and marketing automation tools.
So the question becomes: how do you make a landing page that not only captures your prospect's attention in this noisy, over-marketed environment — but actually make them want to fill out your form?
#1. Effective Landing Page Meets The Prospects Where They AreBy definition, a landing page is where visitors “land” after clicking a link from an ad, e-mail, social media post, or another type of targeted campaign.
So the first thing an effective landing page needs to do, is to provide a natural extension of experience your visitor started when they clicked that link. But understanding your prospect's context needs to go beyond "optimizing the post-click experiences" (aligning the landing page with the content and the context of its originating link).
It is about meeting your prospects where they are in their buying journey —and then helping them along to the next step. Which means that your landing page needs to be engineered as a part of a bigger whole.
For example, if your prospect is struggling with a problem, you could offer them an article with your expert analysis of their problem and your unique insights into the root-cases and associated solutions (some of those solutions will be described by landing pages). Then, offer them to continue this relationship by downloading a free e-book, blueprint or an e-mail course diving deeper into the topic — via another landing page. Always relevant and on topic. All the while developing your relationship with the client as they are getting to know you.
#2. An Effective Landing Page Grabs Visitors Attention — but it's not about being clever
On average, you will get less than 8 seconds to grab the visitor’s attention.
Think about this: they’ve landed on your page while browsing the web. You know very well what sifting through all those web pages means, right?
They are anxious to move on, pressed to make a snap decision if you are worthwhile their attention.
This is a job of a well crafted headline. And while it takes a great deal of thinking and skill to craft an attention grabbing headline, there is something that matters more: the way you position your offer.
In their book “Positioning for Professionals”. Tim Williams talks about two separate dimensions of positioning: relevance and differentiation.
This is in line with the definition of UVP – unique value proposition:
UVP is a single, clear and compelling message that states why you are different and worth buying (Steve Blank).
Note that the description consists of two parts:
- "Worth buying" (relevance): what value does your offer create?
- "Different" (differentiation) Is this better or worse than other pages I was looking at? A good UVP needs to stand out. How is your offer different from all the other websites they just saw?
Communicating all of these is the goal of your UVP.
How is User Testing different? Well at the time of their launch, usertesting.com would provide you results faster and cheaper than any other alternative.
That's both relevant AND different.
Or look at the landing page of KISSMetrics. There is the UVP. And very little else.
#3. An Effective Landing Page Communicates in a Simple, Clear and Unambiguous Way
When a visitor lands on your page, the first question they’ll have is:
“What is this? Is this what I am looking for? Or should I hit the ‘back’ button?”.
Answer this question right away. You goal is to capture their interest, so they’ll read on.
User Testing.com (see above) does a great job in explaining a relatively new concept. You know exactly what they offer: for $39, you get a video of a visitor speaking their thoughts as they use your website. In addition, there’s a very effective video on the top right corner of their landing page, which tells you what User Testing.com is all about in the first 10 seconds.
Now how about the following landing page?
NationBuilder does not tell me what they are in a clear and unambiguous way. This is what I saw when I first look at the website:
- They’re hiring. My eyes went to the top left corner, no surprise there. When the visitor scans a website, this is where they start. According to studies, most people follow a specific “F shaped” pattern when reading web content
- In the meantime, the images on the slider started to move. That made me think this part of the screen is less relevant, and I started to look elsewhere. Couple of seconds later, still not clear! Getting frustrated, I looked back at the images. Ah, people – users I guess. But what does “using film as a catalyst for action” mean?
- Ok, there’s the sentence that explains it: “Community Organizing System”. Unfortunately, community means a different thing to different people. Is it a builder of online communities? Local communities? Communities of practice?
Explain what your website / product is, using clear, simple and unambiguous language. Don’t use meaningless adjectives – especially superlatives (“revolutionary”, “unique”, “innovative”). Neil Patel aims to write as a fifth-grader.
#4. An Effective Landing Page Calls the Visitor to Perform an Action
“Call to action”, or CTA, is a key element of the landing page. An effective landing page serves one clear objective: get the visitor to perform a desired action (e.g. sign up, leave their contact info, download, request a demo…). The CTA should compel the visitor to perform that action.
CTA is typically a button, or a link. No surprises – use typical means for engaging visitors in action on the Web.
To do VoiceBunny justice, this is not really a landing page, but a homepage.
And if a visitor ends on your homepage withoutyour knowledge of their previous context (e.g. they hear about the service and type in the address), offering your visitors different options depending on their needs (and their buying stage) could be the only option you have.
Nevertheless, VoiceBunny could do well to simplify this part of their homepage (and they have since done it!).
Lessons. The best CTAs:
- Have a single objective
- Represent the only action you can take on the landing page (e.g. no menus or links that take you elsewhere)
- Stand out (e.g. using high contrast, bright colors, strategic placement on the page…)
- Are designed and formulated as a call to perform an action – often starting with a verb (e.g. get, sign up, start, download…)
- Make it clear what you get when you click on them
#5. An Effective Landing Page Reduces Anxiety
A landing page is a lot like a sales conversation. If you’ve done a really good job, you’ve awakened your prospect’s desire. But before you can close the deal, you still need to address any objections they might have.
The trouble with impersonal communication of a landing page is that the visitors will not communicate their objections like they might in a face-to-face conversation.
The best way to deal with objections isn't to hope they will not be raised — but to raise them yourself proactively. This is always a good idea, even in a face-to-face conversation.
But how do you know which objections to diffuse?
- Ask your existing customers "Did you have any reservations or doubts when evaluating our product?"
- Look through any recorded or written communication from your prospects or customers and look for any critical questions, as that's how objections often mask as
And here is a list of common objection categories with some hints on how to address them:
- Financial risk – help them justify their return on investment (ROI). Show them how fast they will reap the benefits if they use your product
- Product-needs fit risk – help them evaluate if the product is the right fit for their needs. Provide information about product features, FAQs, demo, or a free trial…
- Competitor risk (choosing the wrong solution) – help them understand why you are a better fit for them than the competing solutions
- Compatibility risk – help them understand how your solution will fit in their way of working (and if relevant how it will integrate with their other tools)
- Look at this extensive book of typical sales objections for more ideas
You'll also want to provide your prospect an opportunity to raise objections.
Make it easy for them to provide you feedback or ask questions. Set up a live chat (e.g. Olark, SnapEngage…). Or use a service like UserVoice that lets you integrate a feedback form right in your website. Another cool tool is KISSInsights, a lightweight survey tool that you can integrate right into your web page.
#6. An Effective Landing Page Builds Trust and Credibility
In the scammy world of Internet, who is to be trusted?
People buy from people. People they trust. So you need to build that trust.
One great way to build trust is using testimonials. Highrise from 37signals takes this very far.
Other forms of social proof include, especially in B2B, detailed case studies, listing known brands you helped ("trusted by:"), and in some contexts mentioning press articles (“as seen in…”).
A very effective strategy for building trust and credibility is smart use of content marketing. By producing unique, well-researched content that addresses specific challenges of different stages your buyers go to, Which brings me to the next point.
#6. An Effective Landing Page Gives Some to Get Some
Landing pages are often built to convert visitors into leads. Often by providing a lead bait (aka a “free ethical bribe” usually in the form of free content…) in exchange for your e-mail address.
So the call to action will be to register for a webinar, or download an e-book or a free report.
Providing free content is usually a part of a broader content marketing strategy I hinted at in the first section of this post.
A face-to-face sales rep will often have to visit their customer several times before the customer is ready to sign. A good sales person knows the importance of a relationship they build with their prospect.
Signing people up for a newsletter or an e-mail course, and then delivering high quality content on a regular basis can help you build this relationship in the faceless context of the Internet.
And once they land on your page after consuming such a high quality content for a while, they are not anymore a cold lead.
#8. An Effective Landing Page Looks Great
How do you think people judge credibility of a website?
The number 1 criterion they use?
They assess if the web site looks professional. This is according to a large study from the Stanford University. Here’s a couple of comments from the study’s participants:
- This site is more credible. I find it to be much more professional looking — M, 38, Washington
- More pleasing graphics, higher-quality look and feel — F, 52, Tennessee
- Just looks more credible. — M, 24, New Jersey
- Actually, despite the subject of the Web site, it looks very credible. This may be due to the subdued color scheme and the font used on the left-hand side of the page. — F, 29, California
- I know this is superficial, but the first thing that struck me is the color difference. The site is a soothing green (sort of like money) while the [other] site is a jarring purple. — M, 56, Virginia
- The design is sloppy and looks like some adolescent boys in a garage threw this together. —F, 48, California
- Not very professional looking. Don’t like the cheesy graphics. — F, 33, Washington.
- Looks childish and like it was put together in 5 minutes. — F, 25, Maryland