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A landing page can technically describe any page visitors arrive at when they visit your site. It’s essential to understand that these landing pages are your first impression, and a valuable opportunity to convert leads. Doing so has been our focus for a few weeks now.
Today, we’re going to look at a question raised in our comments section – how long should a landing page be? This is a good question with no one-size-fits-all answer. I’m going to analyze the pros and cons of each format, and give some insights and advice (including effective landing pages examples) as to when short landing page and long landing page are most appropriate.
Because landing pages help to sell the value of your company’s products, services, and content, it’s important to understand what these mean to people arriving at your site, and how you can shift that impression through your landing page in order to encourage increased conversions from your web traffic.
For some, this can be done in no time at all. For others, a longer, more extensive landing page allows for a richer sales case. It really depends on your audience and what they want from your website.
HubSpot conducted typically in-depth research into landing pages. The take-home insights were that businesses with over 40 landing pages generated 12 times as many leads as those that only had one to five landing pages.
Already, I’m opening you up to a new world – a multiverse of landing pages. You need to have more than one, and preferably more than forty. Why? Because then you can break down your audience and target them with surgical precision to increase your conversion rates.
Here’s another one for you – only 52% of people using landing pages test them to see what could perform better. This is the other big mistake – in the world of online marketing everything is a draft, and there’s always room for improvement.
So, what kind of factors do you need to be taking into account in order to target audiences more effectively with landing pages?
This introduction is simply meant to break open the world of landing pages, so you can understand this is a complex and nuanced discipline where no easy answer will present itself.
Instead, you need to gird yourself to evaluate all of these considerations when debating the simpler question of long vs short. So, let’s dive in and consider when each might be appropriate.
With more space to fill with high quality content, detailed insights, supported claims and convincing arguments, longer landing pages naturally create a better impression of the company as an expert authority, and one to be trusted. This increased credibility can only come from the details – the first thing to be cut in a short landing page. More space also offers more opportunities to convince visitors to perform an action.
A long landing page can have a big impact on your search engine ranking. For this to be the case, you need to make sure you have high-quality text, properly optimized visuals, and even multimedia on your landing page. Longer landing pages perform better for SEO over the long term.
Because products have a story, a process, unique features and advantages, pricing and more to include, long landing pages generally perform better for products than short. People need to be courted and convinced of the value of a product precisely because there will be so much competition out there.
General Assembly has a long landing page with several sections covering their product offer. That said, a “sign up now” button follows you down the page, so the call to action is constantly by your side, ready for you to click.
This creates a kind of hybrid landing page, which has all the advantages of the best landing page length while being broken down into discrete sections. If you get to the bottom and you haven’t click, a pop-up registration page promises even more in-depth resources to help you commit to a decision. A great win for explanation fiends.
Crazy Egg decided to go all out and test the extremes, creating a landing page for their product that offered more information than anyone could need, and one that had only the bare essentials.
This offers a potentially interesting insight into customer behavior. Where there is an abundance of information, individuals can scan and select highlights relevant to their needs, disregarding the rest – especially when the design is clear and the sections are obvious. In a short landing page, if the information isn’t there, there’s nothing the consumer can do about it except disengage.
Even though long landing pages can outperform shorter ones in conversions, they do reduce the number of leads you get. Many people just passing by won’t invest the effort necessary to analyze all the information you present, so they’ll simply navigate away. If you need these impulsive leads to make your business work, then long landing pages aren’t for you.
Those leads that do stick around will be more engaged, but is this engagement in the right things? It’s always a difficult balance between providing real value and creating a compelling sales case. Long landing pages can disguise your intention to sell too well, and leave people feeling satisfied with what they found out on the page without any real desire to buy the product. You need to make sure you can maintain focus and drive across the length.
So, what about the competition?
Your readers will be receiving a lot less information, which removes potential barriers to action. Assuming that your readers will have a critical eye, more information means more questions and potentially more confusion. Short landing pages force you to be focused with your messaging.
Get What You Want
If all you want is contact details to establish a relationship, a shorter landing page can actually work better. Convincing someone to buy a product requires more work, but starting a relationship requires less. Imagine being at a bar and talking to someone for 30 minutes before asking for their number.
Enough is Enough
If everything that does make it onto the page is enough to convince someone to do the action you require, why include more? The only way to know this for sure is through testing, but honing down your most active difference makers, 80/20 style (the notion that 80 percent of your outcomes come from your top-performing 20 percent of input) could mean a more emphatic.
KISS – Keep It Simple and Short
More age-old wisdom that has become a cliché only thanks to the fact keeps being true. In a competitive environment where time is at a premium, audiences will appreciate you keeping it simple.
Salesforce has a landing page that is 56 words in total.
This kind of landing page does little more than creating a curiosity gap that requires your information to resolve. It entices people to download the premium content in order to get any value. It says ‘well, you’ve come this far… why not go the final step?’ This works perfectly for free resources or free trials, getting that all-important foot in the door.
Crazy Egg built on their previous experiment to see what would happen if they went the other way. Experimenting with several different shorter versions of their landing page, they created version D, which concentrated the most effective content and eschewed the more contextual information, with more CTA.
Prioritizing features and testimonials was an important part of this performance boost – using only what works, and putting what works best first and last, giving a compelling initial and final impression.
Quantity over Quality
While you’ll get more leads, the leads you get won’t be very high quality. If you are looking for landing pages that do most of the work for you, then short landing page isn’t for you. These low-quality leads may develop into prospects and even subscribers, but are far less likely to become customers. What’s more, they are even less likely to become loyal customers. This kind of landing pages work for instant gratification.
As we’ve seen, different products, different circumstances, different audiences can all affect the answer to this question.
We’ve also seen that landing pages need to be many and varied, which opens up the possibilities to move beyond this question. Why have one or the other when you can have twenty of both?
Why would you want twenty of both? So you can get testing.
Anything you’re uncertain of, create a version with and without a feature, or with things in a different order. Time and insights will tell you the answer.
You can even test the length of the sign-up form itself, adding and reducing the number of fields that need to be filled out to see what effect it has.
Really, this is a lesson in the importance of being comfortable saying “I don’t know”. If you know what you don’t know, you can begin to find out. You’ll notice that I used Crazy Egg as an example in both columns – that’s because they found out the ideal formula through testing.
With the resources from this blog, you should have a good idea how to start that process, and where to start it based on your particular products or services. The best landing pages are ultimately the landing pages that are proven to work.
Have you found success using long or short landing pages to capture leads? Tell us in the comments below!
Updated: 22 October 2018