Studies show that the global average conversion rate for a website is between 1% and 3%, which means that businesses convert only a small portion of their traffic. So why would you want to rely on your homepage?

A landing page (or a lead-capture page) is crucial for any type of website as it provides a targeted platform for converting higher percentages of visitors into leads. Unlike homepages, landing pages have an average conversion rate of 5-15%!

Before I get to landing page must haves, I think it’s important to explain what a landing page is.

What is a landing page?

Nowadays, we use email marketing, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and other online channels to direct traffic to our websites. And not just anywhere on our website, but to specific locations (landing pages) that contain the right message for each audience.

A landing page’s job is to tell visitors what you want them to do and why they should do it. A landing page’s goal is to increase conversion rates so you reach your marketing or business growth goals.

Landing page vs. homepage

The main difference between a homepage and a landing page is that people can find your homepage through word-of-mouth or social media. Landing pages, on the other hand, are found organically, using keywords and high-ranking search results.

Although a landing page can be your homepage (if you set it up to increase conversions, for example), it’s better to have a dedicated page created for a specific campaign, sale, or product.

Why are landing pages important

“Landing pages are the new direct marketing, and everyone with a website is a direct marketer.” -Seth Godin

Despite the fact that landing pages perform better than homepages, they could perform even better if you keep in mind the landing page must haves listed below.

To put things into perspective, if your website has 2000 visitors per month and 3% of them are converting (supposing you use your homepage as your landing page), this means you get about 60 leads per month.

Simply having a dedicated landing page could increase that number to 300 leads per month (15%)! Transforming your landing page into a high-converting landing page could increase that number even further, to 30-45% (900 leads per month). I bet that caught your attention!

But high-converting landing pages come with other benefits as well, not just increased conversions.

1. Compelling landing pages increase SEO ranking

Because landing pages are designed with a specific buyer persona in mind, the keywords used are also chosen carefully. Moreover, landing pages are often promoted via Google Adwords or other paid advertisement platforms. This means that they go up and ranking and get closer to the people you want to target.

2. Effective landing pages compel users to focus on one thing

A landing page focuses on one thing at a time. It exists solely to get one message across. This means effective landing pages move specific sales or marketing goals forefront and allow you to track the success of a particular product, goal, or set of keywords.

3. Persuasive landing pages make the buying process more efficient

Landing pages can also move visitors down the sales funnel. On homepages, users may or may not find your CTA. On a landing page, they should be able to find the CTA right away as this is a landing page’s job.

6 landing page must haves

Before I get started, I want to note that there’s no standard, one-size-fits-all method to create the perfect landing page. With that out of the way, what you need to do next is set a goal you want to achieve.

Once you set your goal, you need to determine your marketing message. After that, you can proceed to find the keywords you want to rank for.

If you have a goal, a key marketing message, and a list of keywords you want to use in your copy, it’s time to get started with your landing page. Here are 9 landing page must haves that any business should implement, regardless of the industry.

1. The headline

This also doubles as your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). The headline should:

  • Grab visitors’ attention;
  • Tell visitors what the product does;
  • Be short. Around 5 words would be best, but you could also use up to 20 words if you have a headline and a short description under it.

2. The subheading

If the headline’s goal is to grab visitors’ attention, the subheading’s goal is to keep them on the landing page. An effective subheading:

  • Is positioned directly underneath the headline
  • Should be persuasive
  • Should go into (slightly) more details about what the product does than the headline.

Here’s an example of a good headline + subheading from Revolut.


3. The pictures

Humans process visual information 60,000-times faster than text. This means images grab visitors’ attention even before they get to read your copy, so the images you choose for your landing page are extremely important. When selecting them, keep in mind that pictures should be:

  • Large;
  • High-quality;
  • Relevant to your product (no stock photos).

For software products like tools and apps, screenshots with the product are a great choice. Here’s an example from Lyft:


The image is attention-grabbing and it gives potential customers a sense of what using the app is like, it highlights its user-friendliness.

4. The description

To convert, your landing page needs to make your offer very clear. A straightforward explanation is crucial because if potential customers don’t understand what your product or service is about, you’ve lost them. That doesn’t mean your description should be boring; you can still have fun with your copy as long as your message is clear. And you can also use images to help with your explanation; instead of relying on just one element to do the work, all elements combined should pass along your message.

For some products, having only a headline and a subheading is enough (see the example above, with Lyft). But most products would require a more comprehensive description, so here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Your explanation can be integrated with your headline and subheading or completely separated;
  • Your description should be benefit-oriented. It’s not about how great your product is, but about how your product can help the customer.

Pain vs. pleasure

Here’s another thing to keep in mind when writing your description. Humans are wired to avoid pain. If you make visitors think about their pain when reading your copy, they are more likely to convert (because they will subconsciously try to relieve their pain). To do this, you need to:

  • Mention what they will lose. Humans are more receptive to loss compared to gain. Winning $100 makes you feel great, but losing $100 will make you feel the pain twice as intensely.
  • Include pain references in testimonials. Real-human testimonials are usually more effective at conveying pain in a trustworthy way.
  • Provide a solution. Simply mentioning the pain isn’t enough; you need to also help visitors relieve that pain by providing a solution (your product is the solution).

At the opposite end, we have pleasure. Humans are also pleasure-seekers; we are motivated by our desire to gain pleasure. You can incorporate pleasure in your copy by:

  • Showing visitors pleasure is the effect of using your product/service;
  • Showing how your product fills an emotional need. We all want to be accepted, loved, appreciated, recognized, honored, compensated, admired, etc., so figure out which emotional craving your product can help to satisfy.

5. The contact details

Lack of trust is a serious matter when purchasing products over the Internet. So your landing page needs to inspire trust; your business needs to seem legit.

You might not have thought about this but having multiple methods of contact on your landing page (phone number, physical address, email address, contact form) helps increase a landing page’s effectiveness. You might even go as far as implementing a chat on your page so customer representatives can have live discussions with visitors.

Speaking of trust, customers also love guarantees. This helps them feel reassured and simply mentioning the word can boost conversions. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Choose a type of guarantee that best fits your business type;
  • Position your guarantee close to the call to action.

6. The call to action (CTA)

Last but not least, you need to have a powerful call to action. That’s the most important element of a high-converting landing page because everything else is designed to drive visitors’ attention to it.

To make sure you convert your visitors into customers you need to:

  • Make your CTA big;
  • Use a contrasting color (the CTA needs to stand out from the rest of the elements on the landing page);
  • Use a button (people expect the CTA to be a button);
  • Make the CTA copy compelling (don’t just use words like “Submit”, “Register”, “Download”, etc.);
  • Use graphics to draw visitors’ attention to your CTA.

How do you know your landing page is effective

Now, you’ve put so much effort into creating a landing page for your business, but how do you know whether its effectiveness is just so and so or if you have actually created a high-converting landing page?

You may think that this is a stupid question as you can clearly judge a landing page’s effectiveness by the number of sales it brings you. Well, that’s quite true, but without some benchmarks, you can’t really tell how you stand compared to your competitors. So here are four things you should keep in mind when judging your landing page’s effectiveness:

1. The conversion rate

The conversion rate varies from industry to industry, so it’s very hard to say what a “great” conversion rate is. However, if your conversion rate is lower than 2%, you might need to make some changes. The average conversion rate across industries is 2.35%, but the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher.

Also, you should not just compare yourself to your competitors, but also to yourself. Think about it this way: if your homepage converted 3.5% of your traffic, your landing page should convert at least 3.6%, otherwise your effort to create it was for nothing. Dedicated landing pages should always have a higher conversion rate than homepages or any other pages of your website.

2. The persuasiveness of your landing page

Whether you use emotional persuasion techniques or rational persuasion techniques, your landing page needs to be persuasive, otherwise it won’t convert your visitors. Ideally, you should use both techniques; it’s a mistake to assume that one person is totally data-driven, while another person is entirely persuaded by emotional techniques.

Elements that indicate emotional persuasiveness:

  • stories (or testimonials as they can mimic the effect of stories);
  • images (especially images of people);
  • trigger words (here you can find a list);
  • videos (ideally with people).

Elements that indicate rational persuasiveness:

  • statistics and numbers;
  • facts;
  • testimonials and reviews;
  • comparison charts.

3. The CTA (call to action)

There is no such thing as a landing page without a CTA. But for a landing page to be effective, it needs to have a single, powerful CTA. If you have more than one CTA on your landing page or if your CTA is not obvious enough, your landing page won’t perform as good as it should.

The bottom line is effective landing pages are characterized by high conversion rates, the presence of emotional and rational persuasion, and a compelling CTA. So which elements of your landing page need optimization?