This blog post is compliments of our sponsor, Lulu. Originally posted on the Lulu blog.
Landing pages are a standard part of most online marketing campaigns. As an author, creator, and entrepreneur, you need to understand how to use landing pages for your content and how to build a landing page with the minimum investment and challenge.
Unlike your homepage or blog, a landing page must be fast to build, simple, and easy to maintain. Whether you’re a new creator getting ready to market your first book or a seasoned entrepreneur, this guide will help you with the basics for an effective landing page. I’ve also got a quick look at some popular tools you can use to build your landing pages.
What Is A Landing Page?
A landing page is created with the hope that people online will ‘land’ on the page. Sometimes, you’re aiming for organic traffic from some high-value keywords you use on the page. But more often, a landing page is designed to convert visitors and be used as the destination page for your marketing campaigns.
There are a few unique elements that landing pages have that set them apart from a pages on your website:
- Clear intent – Landing pages tend to have a specific, clear purpose.
- Call to action – Your CTA should complement your page’s intent.
- Forms – Fillable lines for your name, email, and other information.
- Social proof – Testimonials are key to helping people who find your page trust you.
All of these elements can be used on any kind of web page you create, but for a great landing page, you’re going to need these elements.
Landing Page Examples
To get us started, let’s look at a couple of simple examples.
Here is James Patterson’s landing page for his newest novel Countdown (yes, by the time you read this Patterson has almost certainly published something else). This is an example of the cleanest way to promote your newest project. The page is slim on content, with the focus clearly on the image of the book and your options for buying.
Patterson’s page checks the boxes for intent and CTA buttons, but he lacks social proof. Note that because James Patterson has built such credibility and reputation, he doesn’t necessarily need to use social proof here. His name alone tells you what to expect.
Here’s a page we created to give people an opportunity to create a Lulu account. It follows a very common landing page template:
- Highlight your product/service
- Show how it benefits current users
- Explain how it works
- Call to action
While still pretty simple, our landing page is a bit more complex than Patterson’s. That’s because the best landing pages are built with the target audience and your goal in mind. Here’s my take on a few simple ways to categorize.
3 Types Of Landing Pages
You can find tons of different listicles about different kinds of landing pages, but I think it’s easier to separate them:
- Lead Generation
Campaign Landing Pages
In marketing departments, a ‘campaign’ is a series of marketing efforts with the same goal. When you write a blog post, make a video on YouTube, and post on Twitter about your new book, you’re running a marketing campaign for that book.
Campaign landing pages often feature a prominent call to take action. That can range from making a purchase to signing up for a newsletter or course. That all depends on the goal of your campaign.
You will want to keep the page pretty simple. Focus on the goal and provide support info that helps uncertain people determine if they want what you’re offering. The Lulu page I shared above is a campaign landing page. Here’s another example from Shopify:
This page’s goal is to get you to try their trial. Most likely, Shopify is using this page for periodic campaigns to attract potential customers. The call to action is central, while the rest of the page offers more information and a short FAQ section.
Book launch pages often look like campaign pages. You’re not just selling your new book. You’re also letting them know about advance reviews, where you’ll be signing, and of course giving them a chance to get on your mailing list.
Sales Landing Pages
While campaign pages often focus on earning a fan who will purchase your services or sign up for your email list, sales pages are solely focused on sales.
James Patterson’s page that I shared above is a stereotypical sales page. The product (his book) is center stage and the call to action is clear (buy his book).
If you’re thinking that sales pages seem an awful lot like a product page—the page on your site your customers go to buy a product—you’re right. In fact, a product page is basically a sales landing page. The difference is that your book landing page doesn’t need to be exactly like the others on your store. You can curate the content and help inspire your fans to make a purchase.
When you do that, you’re in control of every aspect, can decide which reviews to highlight, and leverage search optimization to make your page easier to find.
Lead Generation Landing Pages
While the previous kinds of pages can be used to target your existing audience, lead generation landing pages are all about growing your audience
These pages will focus purely on convincing anyone who lands on that page to enter their email address (and ideally a little more information) so you can market to them further.
3 Landing Page Platforms
You can likely create landing pages using the same platform as your website. WordPress, Shopify, Wix, and all the other common options will make it easy to build stand-alone pages.
If you’re interested in maximizing your conversion rates—that is, how many people who visited the page did what you hoped they would do—you may want to consider a dedicated marketing platform. Here are three examples offering some unique benefits for your content and marketing.
A dedicated marketing platform, ConvertKit focuses on offering software for creators to market their products and services. Since you can create landing pages using their free account and the features are robust at the paid levels, ConvertKit is an excellent choice for all your marketing needs.
If you’re new to marketing your content, ConvertKit is also very easy to get started with and includes numerous templates to simplify designing your first landing pages.
Another popular all-in-one marketing platform, Mailchimp is heavily focused on your email list. If you know you’ll also be really focused on your email audience, Mailchimp is a good choice with its email design options and competitive pricing for large lists.
Your landing pages will use simple templates, but much like ConvertKit, this can be a big time saver.
If you want to build a landing page fast and don’t want to use a marketing platform like Mailchimp or ConvertKit, Carrd is for you. The entire idea behind Carrd is to make it simple and fast to create and share landing pages. They deliver on that promise with great templates and a simple interface.
Best of all, a single site is free to create and manage. Their paid plans are very affordable (capping at $25 per year) and let you host more sites as well as create custom domains. You won’t have the variety of marketing options ConvertKit or Mailchimp offers, but if you just need a simple landing page, Carrd is perfect.
Creating A Landing Page
Depending on the software you use, the process for creating may vary. All modern options will include drag-and-drop builders, making it easy to create your landing pages without coding.
Regardless of the platform you use, there are parts of the process that should be the same.
Start by writing some copy. Depending on your purpose, you might not need a lot of text, but you’ll always need some. Be aware of SEO opportunities while you’re creating copy for you landing pages too. You may not be aiming to win a lot of Google searches, but it’s still smart to optimize your page as much as you can.
Here’s a template I like to use that separates each line based on the position and component. Feel free to make a copy and use it for your own site.
Once you’ve created the copy for your page, you should have a good idea of how you want it to look. Let’s run through what it looks like to build your page using Carrd:
1. Select A Theme
Go to Carrd and sign in or create an account. Then click the New Site button. You can choose a blank theme if you want to build the site completely, but choosing a template will save you a lot of time.
2. Add Content
Add the text you wrote to the elements. You’ll need to click into each element to edit it and assign styles to make your landing page look just the way you’d like.
3. Add Elements
The template you select may not have everything you need. In that case, you’ll need to add and edit new elements.
4. Finalize And Review
Once you’ve added everything, preview it and check everything. That includes your spelling, the images, links to other pages, and any form your page includes (note that forms are a paid feature for Carrd).
Using Your Landing Page
Now that you know everything you need to create your own landing pages, it’s time to put them to use! As you’re preparing your next book launch or just a campaign to drive attention for a book you’ve already published, think about how you could make use of a landing page. From capturing email leads to selling your content, knowing how to quickly and easily create unique pages is a valuable skill for any content entrepreneur, author, or creator.
This blog post is compliments of our sponsor, Lulu.
Lulu is dedicated to making the world a better place, one book at a time, through sustainable practices, innovative print-on-demand products and a commitment to excellent service. Since 2002, Lulu has powered the knowledge sharing economy by enabling authors in more than 225 countries and territories to publish nearly two million books and eBooks. Our industry-leading tools and global community help authors tell their story, publish it in printed or eBook format, then sell them in online bookstores around the world. At Lulu, authors are in control, owning the rights to their works, setting their own price and keeping up to 90 percent of their book profits. Learn more about Lulu here.