Gone are the days when you needed to learn HTML coding to create web pages. Software available today is both easy to use and affordable to buy for the majority of small business owners and self-employed consultants.
And, in particular, landing page software has exploded over the past couple of years.
You – a non-techy person – can now create, design and publish a stand-alone web page to use in your promotions or lead generation in a matter of minutes.
But with this growth surge and tempting offers from brands such as LeadPages, Clickfunnels, Instapages and Unbounce, what are the advantages and the disadvantages of using them in your online marketing?
Are they really the right way to go when promoting yourself on the world wide web?
First of all, I should confess to being very much in the “Pro Camp”. I’m a huge fan of using landing page software as I believe they can give you the quickest and easiest way of creating marketing systems and generating leads for you.
Landing page software is part of what I teach in Clicks To Clients, my step by step programme that shows you how to turn your digital marketing into qualified leads and paying clients.
In a nutshell, there’s simply no better time to get your digital marketing working for you because tech tools such as landing page software make it super easy and very affordable for you now.
But there are downsides to be aware of. And this is what I want to explore in this article.
What is Landing Page Software?
Landing page software gives you the ability to create stand-alone web pages that can either be added to your main website menu or work independently as part of a marketing campaign.
Why have a Landing Page?
You can use them for Lead Offers – opt-in offers, ethical bribes, lead magnets – information or products that you give away for free in exchange for an email address and contact information.
You can use them for sales pages, special offer pages, registration pages for events such as webinars or virtual summits.
The list of use is limited only by your imagination and creativity.
In fact, Clickfunnels is one such landing page software that even allows you to create a whole website and integrated marketing and sales funnel if you consider yourself to be an advanced internet marketer!
But coming back to Landing Pages and their “normal” use for regular business owners such as you, the concept is that a single page that gives your visitor just 2 options – to take action (either to buy or sign up) or leave.
Overwhelm your visitor with too many choices (which often happens on a regular website), and it’s easier to leave, never to return. When you give a simple yes or no choice, it makes the buying decision easier and thus you are more likely to see results from your marketing efforts.
And if you find it a challenge to update or add new pages to your website – which frankly is the case for most people running their own businesses – then creating specific landing pages, separate from your main site, means that you can quickly and easily create promotions and marketing campaigns without disturbing your web master.
What Landing Page Software choices are they?
There’s a stack to choose from right now but my favourites are:
Each one has it’s own merits but today I want to focus on the pros and cons on Landing Pages as a concept.
The Advantages of Using Landing Page Software
1) Quick & Easy
Back in the olden days (pre-2012) you either had to learn HTML coding or hire the services of a web designer to create nice looking sales pages and opt-in forms. There were wordpress themes that started to offer specific landing page options, but they were still often clunky.
If you were trying to get your opt-in form to sit next to a video, for example, I would often find WordPress showing me one version in preview and then spitting out something completely off centre when published. It was a challenge to add HTML code inside a regular wordpress page or post, because, well, that wasn’t what wordpress was designed to do.
Being able to use Landing Page software and their pre-designed templates, it has now become a simple process of “fill-in-the-blanks” to create beautifully and elegantly designed pages.
2) Specific tools to do specific jobs
Your website is one marketing tool that you may be using more like an online brochure. It’s a place that visitors come to find out more about you, read your blog and check out what you have to offer.
But when it comes to specific marketing campaigns or offers, trying to get them to fit into your website can be a challenge.
If you’ve ever clicked a link from Twitter or Facebook and then got lost because you’ve been sent to a page on a website that gives you too much choice, you’ll know how easy it is to click and leave straight away.
If you are running Facebook ads or a LinkedIn promotion, you need a specific tool to do a specific job. And that landing page where someone clicks to, needs to give the person what they wanted when they saw your ad or post.
Keep the choice to a yes or a no and you’ll see better results.
3) Mobile friendliness
Landing page software is just so clever now in it’s ability to automatically give you mobile friendly pages. And if you are using social media to point people in your direction, your landing page absolutely has to be mobile friendly.
Now I am sure you’ve checked the mobile friendliness of your website and got that sorted (you have, haven’t you?!) but when it comes to sign-up pages for webinars, events or your various lead offers, adding a page to your website may just not cut it.
Landing page software does the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.
4) Focus on using higher converting templates
One of the reasons why I love Leadpages so much is that you can search for landing page templates by category, date of release as well as conversion rates.
They base these conversion rates on all their customers so although it’s not specific to your industry or sector, being able to see which template works better across a huge number of users, gives you better information on which template to select.
And it’s always more effective to go with a template that converts better than one with the pretty colours or layout that you prefer. Your personal preference means very little when it comes to marketing results because after all, it’s not what you think that matters … it’s what your potential clients think that gets you results.
So being able to select a template with a high conversion rate sets you up for a good response yourself. Why make marketing harder than you need to?
5) Easy split testing
Again, landing page software such as LeadPages takes the heavy lifting out of split testing. What used to be a dull and boring job best left to hardened internet marketers, can now be set up with a couple of clicks.
Duplicating pages is easy and the software will automatically split your visitors and send them through to both pages. The dashboards within your landing page software will then show which page is ranking higher than the other to help you increase your conversions and build on your campaign.
Unless you have some fancy website built for you, then you just can’t do this from your WordPress dashboard.
The Disadvantages of Using Landing Page Software
Yes, there are always cheaper versions available but with landing page software, you do pay for what you get. As Leadpages and Clickfunnels provide plenty of bolt-on features that they know give you a great return on investment if you use them properly, the monthly or annual fees can mount up.
And especially if you aren’t using them on a regular basis!
So if you are just starting out and you’re only going to be using one or two landing pages, start with the cheaper options. You can always upgrade to Leadpages or Clickfunnels as you start to create multiple marketing systems and lead offers.
If you are like me who uses about 20 landing pages at any one time (lead offer pages, thank you pages, webinar sign up pages, etc, etc) then Leadpages more than pays for itself. But the monthly fees can mount up if you aren’t using it on a regular basis.
2) Think carefully before cancelling
The reason why software companies do so well with products like landing pages, is that they know they’ve got a customer almost for life. Cancel your subscription and you’ll lose access to all your landing pages. Thus moving from one software company to another can be a real pain – not as bad as changing broadband suppliers, but still a headache if you have multiple landing pages set up in your marketing campaigns.
So remember, you don’t own these pages.
Stop paying and you’ll lose access to them.
3) Lose of Google juice
Because these kind of landing pages are not hosted on your website, you are essentially sending traffic away from your site. Now this may not be an issue for you. And I know every time I consider this point, the advantages of using Leadpages far exceeds the disadvantages of losing Google juice for me.
But that may not be the case for you and your business. If you rely on being found on Google and work hard at getting natural search traffic, using a hosted software for your landing pages could mean that you are missing out.
Yes, you can use plugins for your WordPress website so that the landing pages look as if they are part of your website, but they aren’t in hosting and SEO terms.
Of course, if you are an SEO expert and you wish to comment further on this, I would love to hear from you in the comments.
4) Keeping on the right side of Facebook & Google ads
If you use Facebook or Google ads as a traffic strategy, then using landing page software may not get your ads approved.
Google doesn’t like stand-alone pages because of they favour sites that are trusted. And sites that are trusted will have multiple pages, links coming in and out and get updated content either on a blog or new pages. All these signs show Google that a site is “real”.
A landing page gives visitors two options: take action or go. By their very nature, they don’t have links in and out, they don’t get updated content and they don’t have multiple pages. Even though you are a reputable business with a reputable product or service to buy, landing pages don’t give Google much confidence in you.
And, although Facebook is not as harsh, they can disapprove your ads based on these facts too.
So keep this in mind when planning pay-per-click campaigns. Quite often, all that’s needed is a list of 2 or 3 links either at the top or the bottom of the page, such as “Main Website”, “Terms & Conditions”, “Contact Us” or “About Us”. Have these linked to pages on your main website and when these links are checked by either Facebook or Google, they will hopefully be reassured that you are a real, law-abiding, reputable business.
What comments do you have?
So there you have it. There may be more that I’ve not thought of as I was writing so if you have any more pros or cons to add, please leave them below in the comments. I’ll happily add more and credit you in the process (especially if I’ve missed any bloody obvious ones!)
Have fun and if this is your first venture in landing page software, may the marketing force be with you.
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