It’s been a little while since I’ve written in the “How To Build An Email List” series. You see, I’ve been sitting on the fence….yes, undecided, procrastinating, thinking, biding my time…
For what? you might ask. Isn’t taking action what you should be doing constantly so as to make progress?
Maybe not. Anyway, the time wasn’t right. I had to pull the break just a tad and get my strategy right, and I reckon it’s now working better than before.
To recap, I’m using this post series to lay out my ever changing digital marketing strategy, and in particular, the process of figuring out how to build an email list from a big fat Zero to 10,000 in 12 months.
We are now almost 4 months into 2015 and progress building my list has not been what I would have liked. I got the bones of a strategy off the ground exactly 3 months ago today and my list is currently at 200 subscribers. That’s roughly about 2 signups per day.
Pitiful I know…
Anyway, onwards and upwards.
In defense of what I regard as poor numbers I have to admit I’ve changed my strategy and sat on the fence for a bit while I re-evaluated things.
In my last post back in February I explained why I decided to basically throw out my original strategy. Since then I’ve been a bit lazy, or maybe I was simply waiting for something to shift.
So I’ve been taking my time and considering my options. In the preceding time, one of the things I decided that needed work was my Landing Pages Design and implementation.
So Let’s Get Started…
Setting A Goal For Your Website
Every website should have a single core goal to which all other activity and supplementary goals lead to. Whether that’s to sell a widget, have a visitor download software or something else, your website must have a core goal.
In this case the goal is to gather email addresses. Email addresses are your gold, so collecting them should be your number one priority, and especially if you’re a Blogger.
To collect email addresses of our visitors we must build content that interests and engages our readers. Employing high quality landing page design forces us to become focused, to present a clear call to action.
Too often we pour way too much information on our visitors with the net result being, they leave with nothing, and we get nothing too.
Why High Quality Landing Page Design Needs To Be In Your Strategy
Digital Marketing can be a complex business and if you’re racking your brain trying to figure out how to build an email list then understanding Landing Page Design is one of the key first steps.
There are any number of strategies available to online business people to assist in marketing products and services, but whatever marketing methods you use, it’s pretty much a given that utilising high quality landing page design is a no brainer.
What Is A Landing Page?
A Landing Page is a page on a website specifically designed to encourage a visitor to perform the specific action for which the page was designed. In other words, it is a Landing Page Design with only one goal in mind.
A Landing Page can be designed; To collect a visitors email, to show a product for sale, to bring a visitor along a particular sales funnel etc.
High quality landing page design converts your visitors into customers or potential customers, so they are a vital tool that you simply must employ. If you’re using a crappy landing page design, or no landing page at all then you’re totally missing the boat.
In this, Part 4 of How To Build An Email List we are going to look at landing page design that works and how you can use landing pages to build your email list.
How A Landing Page Works
A Landing Page can be used to serve and number of purposes but only has one function; To trigger a response from the visitor to take action on the page, or leave.
Yes, I know you think that’s two options and you’re right. It’s actually two halves of the same function; “Get A Response”.
A good salesperson knows that getting a “maybe” is not a result so leaving the table with a “maybe” or “I’ll call you later on it” is no good. You must leave with a “Yes” or a “No”. That’s what a good Landing Page does. It gets a “Yes” or a “No”.
By presenting the visitor with only one of two choices, on or off, yes or no, in or out, it allows the marketeer to get a result. Too many choices confuse your visitors.
Starting With Good Copy
If you have no experience working with Landing Pages then it’s advisable to first get a grip on the type of copy that converts. Where better to start than with folks who can give you buckets of great advice on this subject; Copyblogger
This article from 2009 is still relevant today and it’s a good place to start. In order that you use landing pages to their greatest effect you simply have to understand the psychology behind them…
So get researching!
Often, we online business people are far too busy with other stuff like writing blog posts, to give any attention to effective Landing Page Design, and I must admit I didn’t give it the attention I should have for quite a while.
If you’re currently without good quality landing pages on your site it’s akin to allowing your red hot buyers to leave your store and go across the road to a competitor.
This post by Hubspot lays down some interesting stats related to why businesses don’t use landing pages and offers some guidance on creating them.
The Core Elements Of Typical Landing Page Design
Landing Page Design types can vary depending on the goods or services you are making available, but there are several elements that a high quality converting Landing Page should have.
- Your Brand Logo. Include your website logo in the top header that links back to your site. Some experts advise against a link back to your main site because it gives your visitor one more option which they say in not advisable. But I’d rather keep a visitor than have them leave completely so I like to have my logo link back to my blog.
- Headline. The headline must be straight to the point and reflect the message that brought the visitor to the landing page. Make your headline H1
- Sub Headline. The sub-headline further elaborates on the main headline and provides further clarification on the subject. Make the sub-headline H3
- Introduction. The introduction is typically a short paragraph that explains in further detail what the product is about, in terms of benefits, not features! Story type copy works well here as it creates a more personal connection between you and your visitor. Make the introduction standard paragraph text size.
- Product Image. Sometimes this is referred to as the “Hero Image”. Make this an image of your product or a video of you introducing your product. You can also make it an image of you if you wish, as long as it’s relevant.
- Benefit Bullet Points. Bullet point the benefits the visitor will receive from buying your product, opting into your list, or downloading your pdf. Showing the benefits in bullet points allows your visitor to scan your copy and make a decision.
- Call-To-Action Form. In the case of this landing page, the form input fields appear as a pop-up when the yellow button is clicked. This is called a Two-Step Optin Form and has been found to be more successful at converting visitors than a one-step form. A one-step form is where the email field is found directly on the landing page and not in a pop up.
- Outro. You may choose not to use the outro but I used it in this case just to give a final prompt to get the download.
Tips For Successful Landing Page Design
People are weird, that’s you and me too! I mean we seem to make some quite irrational decisions sometimes. As such, when your trying to build your online business and figure out what makes your buyers tick it can be very tricky.
It takes many years to perfect the ability to create compelling copy that converts. Creating great landing pages that convert visitors into buyers is a skill that combines both science and art.
Luckily for you and me there are resources like this that can help us get better at it.
I’ve been working with Landing pages for a short while, and through many many hours of research I’ve managed to boil down all I’ve studied to the following tips for successful landing page design.
- Keep a 4:1 or 3:1 layout ratio. These ratios are popular and are effective, so when you’re building your pages make sure to use them. Tools like LeadPages have this already built in to the templates which means we don’t have to start from scratch.
- Leave Plenty of White Space. Plenty of white space makes the elements of your page stand out better. Keep it simple, don’t add too many elements overcrowding the page. Overcrowding with too much info creates indecisiveness on the part of your visitor.
- Don’t use a busy Homepage as a Landing Page. Busy blog or homepages don’t work as landing pages and are very poor at converting for the very reason stated above. Create a homepage like this one which has only two options- subscribe, or go to the blog.
- Remove Site Navigation. Keep your visitors options to a minimum. Remember, you want them to give you their email address, not navigate all over your site. Remove the any navigation from your landing page and leave only 1 or 2 options.
- Keep CTA Form info to a Minimum. Use a name field and an email field only where possible. This is the most effective CTA combination. The more info you ask for in your CTA Form, the more likely your visitor will leave without converting. Keep it simple.
- Redirect to a Thank You page. This is an opportunity that lots of people may be missing. Redirect your user to a thank you page after they convert. Apart from simply being courteous, you are placing yourself way ahead of your competition when you do this. My thank you pages get shared and present another opportunity to grab subscribers.
- Include Social Share options on thank you page. Include social share buttons to allow your converted visitor to share your landing page with their network as I mentioned above. Make it easy for subscribers to share your content. Trust me it works, and gives you a real lift when you get a mention on Twitter.
- Include an image of you on Thank You Page. If you are your brand then include an image of you in the thank you page. An image of you makes it personal and shows your subscriber you are a real person. It helps you make a further connection with your subscriber.
- Keep your CTA above the fold. In other words, don’t make your visitor have to scroll down the page to take action. Make the call-to-action (CTA) visible immediately they arrive to the page so they can see exactly what they need to do next.
- Test Your Landing Page! Test the landing page and download delivery flow. If there is an error anywhere you want to find it! Holes in your flow will lose conversions.
- Give Away A Free Resource. Creating a free resource, often referred to as “a lead magnet” is a great way to attract subscriptions. Compile a checklist and use a tool like Canva to create a tasty looking pdf.
If you use LeadPages it will do all of the above for you. I use LeadPages and It takes care of all the design and coding so I never have to trick with my WordPress code. I built all my Landing Pages here on the site with LeadPages.
Landing Pages Solutions
There are many Landing Page solutions out there for WordPress so you should thoroughly research before deciding. I’m going to introduce you to the two providers I’ve had experience with and you can try them out for yourself.
I had been using Inbound Now Landing Pages solution on this site and another site but I always seemed to have some difficulty with it.
I’m sure Inbound Now have many users who find it very good but I just couldn’t get it to do what I wanted. Maybe it was a plugin conflict or something.
Every element of Inbound Now landing pages is handled inside your WordPress editor and it’s there you will customise the templates.
Templates are downloaded from their site and uploaded to your WordPress back end which is a bit clumsy. Also the plugin config has too many elements and it can get a bit confusing, even for a tech-head like me.
Another problem is, if you happen to upload an extension to the plugin section (or is that a plugin to the extension section…?) you can break your site. It didn’t happen to me but I’m certain it must have happened to others before me.
It certainly shouldn’t be that easy to mess things up.
A/B testing is available but again it’s a bit clumsy. I experienced difficulty making changes to A /B test pages and regularly lost my edits. I got a work around eventually but needless to say it wrecked my head!
Anyway, I wouldn’t suggest you go for Inbound Now. That is unless they’ve simplified their system and fixed the bugs.
I’ve left the best to last. LeadPages Rocks! That’s all there is to it.
They have loads of templates available and editing them couldn’t be simpler. All their pages are hosted on their servers so all you have to do once you’ve built your landing page is to direct it to one of your own urls via the WordPress plugin.
I’m not going to go into an entire tutorial or even a comprehensive review here because they do a better job at detailing the features themselves.
Check out the LeadPages Features here
I use it, I love it, you need to get it. That’s all there is to it.
LeadPages is really cool, I love it, but if there is one thing I don’t like about using a popular services like LeadPages, it’s that your site begins to look like everyone elses.
As services like this become increasingly popular they begin to look a little tired. Sumome is another very popular sharing and optin tool that is really good, but is kind of suffering a bit from this samey disease.
And that’s because everyone uses it straight out of the box without any customisation.
I try to get around this by customising where I can, so I’d suggest if you’re going to use these services then you should customise as much as possible so you don’t end up looking the same as everyone else.
Figuring out how to build an email list to a significant level is something everyone online, no matter how advanced, is trying to master.
You might strike gold one day and do something that lands you 5,000 or 10,000 subscribers from a single campaign, but it’s unlikely. So for most of us mere mortal we have to be content with the slow and steady as she goes approach.
Here’s the first three parts of the series if you missed them
- Part 1; How To Go From Zero to 10,000 in 12 Months
- Part 2; Defining A Target Market
- Part 3; Creating A Content Strategy Using Guest Posting