In the digital marketing industry of today, we often come across the term “Landing Page.” But what exactly is a landing page? And how does it differ from a full-fledged website? Also, what is most suitable for your purposes—a landing page, a website or both? All of these questions are important and a good understanding of these different options is crucial for the success of any digital marketing campaign.
So what is the difference between a landing page and a website? A landing page is basically a stand-alone page and it serves one function only: conversion. You may have one or more landing pages for your business, but each will be geared towards a specific product or service and will be sourced from specific keywords, for example, ‘glass window repair (in your city).’ A website or company site, on the other hand, is more informative in nature. It provides the visitor all the relevant information on your business so they can have a good knowledge of what is in offer, who you are, and so on…
That said, let’s now delve a little deeper into the subject.
Landing Pages and Websites: What Are They?
What is a Landing Page and how does it work?
A landing page is normally used to promote a specific offer, service or product and is targeted to a specific set of audience. As such, a landing page will always include some sort of form where you fill in personal information such as name, e-mail, etc. and in exchange of this, you get access to the offer (a discount coupon, a free e-book, and so on).
And although this is still rare, sometimes you can also buy a product or service directly from the landing page itself. More commonly however, the aim of the landing page is to generate leads.
Since PPC ads are the most common way to bring visitors to your landing page (although there are other ways in digital marketing as well, such as: email marketing, email signature blocks, social media marketing, brochures and flyers, and more), you know what search terms and ads brought someone to your landing page. As such, you will design your landing page around those search categories only.
For example, you are a business that offers various do-it-yourself courses. Now, someone searches for “make your own boat” and clicks your advertisement. Here obviously you won’t want the visitor to “land” on the homepage of your company site which will possibly have an overview of all the different types or categories of self-learning courses it has in offer.
So, of course, in this landing page you will only include information about your boat-building course. And the page content should be designed in a manner that will help spark the interest of the visitor.
How can you make your landing page work?
As mentioned, a landing page should first of all be devoid of all information that is not of primary interest of the visitor. Also, you must be careful about showcasing the worthiness of your product. For example, you may be tempted to put in that you have 50k followers on Facebook. However, a rule of thumb is to never insert a link into a landing page.
For this is what normally happens. You link to your Facebook and Instagram account on your landing page. The visitor accordingly moves to check your Facebook page and finds 30 notifications on his own profile. And in no time at all, he is browsing his newsfeed and you’ve lost your lead!
So, if you want to advertise your social media followings, use stickers instead of links. And if you must insert one or more links, at least make sure that they open in new tabs or better even, in new windows. Still another option is to use the lightbox function.
Finally, a landing page should be always accompanied with a Call-To-Action or CTA function (subscribing to your newsletter or calling up your company, etc.)
And do offer incentives to the visitor for the “action” he takes, such as ‘Call Today for a 20% Discount’ or ‘Fill Up the Form to Receive Your Free E-Book,’… and so on.
Also, when investing on landing pages, it is necessary to know which search or keyword terms to bid for. Otherwise, you may end up spending a lot of unnecessary dollars on your ad spend which, of course, will increase your cost per conversion rate.
What Is A Website?
A website is meant to provide a detailed account of a business. It describes the business, the products and services the business offers, contact details, online order or purchase options, etc. Normally, a website will contain several web pages that can be accessed through navigational tabs or menus. The chief purpose of a website is to explain and describe an organization.
Visitors normally come to a website through organic search and more often than not, they will land on your homepage. This is why it is crucial that you design the homepage properly with all the customary links easily visible to the audience. There should also be a search option, preferably on top or at the side of the navigation bar. This enables the visitor to easily find out specific products or any other information he is looking for.
Of course, certain web pages within a particular website often work as landing pages, whether sourced from organic search or otherwise. For example, a jewelry company may have a dedicated page for “gold pendants” and if the website of the company ranks high enough in search engines, people can land directly on to that page when they are searching that specific keyword.
A website may also contain a separate blog or a discussion forum. These latter help build the credibility of a business and improve its reach and reputation. In short, the scope of a website is much broader than that of a landing page and it is designed to fulfill multiple functions for a business.
What Are the Main Differences Between The Two?
So, what is the difference between a landing page and a website?
As mentioned above, a website is a set of several web pages that together fulfill a variety of functions for a business. Its main purpose, however, is to provide the potential customers with plenty of useful resources and information.
In contrast, a landing page is more tightly focused, carries a specific message and serves a more immediate function which is to convert, be it through encouraging sign-ups or phone calls; initiating a conversation with the potential customer; or simply through generating leads.
Also, unlike mostly organic traffic of the websites, landing pages get their visitors chiefly through paid ads. As for the content, a landing page has no room for any additional info or content that is not directly relevant to the purpose at hand. In other words, once you entice a visitor to your landing page, you must make sure that he gets all the necessary information from the landing page itself and that there is nothing that can distract him or make him take off from the landing page.
Do I need a website or just a landing page?
There is no one-off answer to this. Whether you need a landing page or a website or both will depend on the nature of your business. Also, there are two sides to the question.
Do you need a landing page if you already have a website?
Do you need a website if you already have a landing page?
When To Use Just A Landing Page
Normally, landing pages are preferred by small entrepreneurs who only have a limited number of products or services (usually, one or two) to sell. Putting up a fully functional website is a costly affair and if someone finds that landing pages are working fine for him, there is no reason to make that extra investment on a website.
When To Use A Website
Things however take a different shape when we are talking big businesses. The latter generally need both, a full-fledged website and also a good number of landing pages. Take Amazon, for example. Of course, one can go directly to the Amazon website and search for a particular product. But the business has also created thousands of landing pages via affiliate programs and the like. Think about all those “Buy at Amazon” links that you come across in so many product description or review websites.
Now, Amazon of course is an extreme example, but the principle holds true for all big businesses. If a business has the purse to invest in landing page creation, the latter will almost always yield rich returns for the business.
In the Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO industry, the landing pages are gaining in importance by the day. Properly planned and installed, a landing page can be hugely beneficial to all businesses, big or small. A website is what presents and explains a company and its activities and helps build reputation and familiarity. And of course, SEO initiatives can help boost sales.
But so can landing pages. In other words, a landing page is another highly effective weapon to make your sales figures go up.