How to create the winning landing page for a startup

27 November 2020
Do you want to create a landing page for a startup but you don't know where to start? Here is the complete guide that you absolutely need to read and share.

Resource created by Mirko Ciesco - Web Performer
www.mirkociesco.it

Those who work in the field know this well: understanding how to create a landing page for startups is important. Because it is the very model of these companies that requires the existence of high-performance, effective web pages. I would say they might even need to be aggressive,. But never cheeky and, above all, never casual. 

Landing pages are resources designed to transform any user, interested in a product/service, into a lead. And maybe into a client. If the sales funnel is rather long and articulated - typical in B2B - we can talk about prospects. But in the end the synthesis is this. A website must have landing pages to be performing. Better if we say it like this: every product or service must be served by a landing page.

Sometimes the same home page becomes a resource to convert. And all this works well in the logic of a rapidly growing reality where everything is conceived in terms of growth hacking. 

This has great value in terms of potential growth, but there is the technical aspect to evaluate. So let's go back to the question we used to open the dances: how to create a winning landing page for startups that are able to reflect their true colors? Here's what you need to know.

What are the reasons that push you towards the landing page?

Simple: it's the best solution to get quick results. Many entrepreneurs, not used to the logic of web marketing and performance optimization, ask why create a landing page. A legitimate question if you think that the necessary investment is not always easy to deal with. In reality without a landing page you create a series of bottlenecks.

The most important: people will leave the website without understanding the value of your offer. The landing page is primarily for this: to make clear who you are and what you do on the internet. 

But above all, how the customer's life will change after choosing your product or service. This is a step that you have to make clear immediately, I would say in the area above the fold. 

Where the user's attention is still alive and well. Those who work in the world of web performance know that - as Jakob Nielsen suggests - we have a few seconds to capture the audience's attention. And that in the area above the fold of the web page there must be all the benefits.

This is to let the user know that he is in the right place. Hero shot, headline, payoff, unique selling proposition, main promise: everything is here, in a few pixels. How to get the result? Simple, with a landing page. And this is enough to understand why it is so fundamental for your idea.

How to create a landing page for startups

Now you know why to work in this direction, you just need to understand how to make a landing page specifically for a startup. That is to say, an emerging, rapidly growing company with an innovative idea. Sounds easy, but it's not. It is not enough to add the Elementor plugin to your WordPress website to have a winning landing page. You need a strategy.

Market and competitors analysis

You can't create a landing page if you don't know who it is aimed at, which are the competitors and how they position themselves (on the market but also on Google) and which features you can/have to highlight to make your landing page really effective. Do you know what this means? Two words: SWOT analysis. You have to matrix the strengths of your reality, but also weaknesses and potential threats. Such a chart (image source) can help you define how to develop your landing page in order to touch the points that are truly important.

Do not forget the opportunities that could be in your favor. As you can easily guess, we have two aspects related to the nature of the startup itself (strengths and weaknesses) but also elements that come from outside in the form of possible threats and opportunities. All this must be carefully evaluated in order to create a web page capable of achieving good results.

Define the unique selling proposition

This is one of the essential points that must be evaluated immediately, before starting the creation of the landing page itself. The point in question takes the name of USP, meaning unique selling proposition. I am talking about the benefit that only the product or service you are proposing can deliver. The concept is to find the competitive advantage (precisely, the USP) and use it to articulate the copy of the page. In particular the area above the fold (i.e. the visualization of the first contents of a page) where headline, payoff and visual concur to create a direct, simple and effective communicative experience in favor of the call to action. Always remember this: it is the first part of the page that catches your attention.

One of the best combinations: combine the strength of the copy with that of the visual without ever forgetting the gift of synthesis. Take as an example the home page (also landing) of Evernote: in a few steps you know what the app does and what is its unique selling proposition. That is? Improve your productivity with a note system that allows you to retain the best ideas and content.

The landing page structure

The time has come to shape your resource. How to structure the web page for a startup? We have already defined the starting point by identifying the USP, but you need to follow an effective combination to shape your specific layout for conversions.

One of the best solutions: follow the classic AIDA model composed by four points: attention, interest, desire and action. This means that the user's path within the page can follow these points, thanks to a landing page structure composed of elements able to attract the user before leading him to turn on the desire and then to the action.

In some cases, however, it can be limiting to think only on the basis of this model, which is why we often approach the work on landing pages thinking about the concept of BAIFDASV. An advanced model that introduces, in the first place, the need for a specific good or service. 

Then you always proceed with attention and interest in order to achieve trust. Everything ends with customer satisfaction and evaluation. Obviously we are talking about theoretical models that in reality are difficult to find a concrete application, the important thing is to contextualize also in accordance with your needs. And with the opportunities to apply the various points of neuromarketing.

Leverage the principles of neuromarketing

These activities are able to work on a different level than communication based on simple information. Neuromarketing, in fact, points towards the channels of communication able to develop elements to influence the decisional processes of purchase.

A practical example is the use of testimonials to activate the processes of social rehearsal that suggest the possibility of reinforcing a message if the latter is suggested by people (testimonials) who are recognizable and who can boast experience in a certain sector.

Another fundamental aspect: the coherence of form and substance. Andrea Saletti, in his famous book dedicated to Neuromarketing, gives a concrete example: a picture with a slice of cake and a fork. Where to put the cutlery? On the right or left side? 

The solution is the first because it maintains a superior kinetic linearity for those who use this hand in everyday life. It will look like a simple and immediate action, facilitating the action. 

A similar approach is handled from a conceptual point of view and not only manual. This happens, for example, with the rule of scarcity: if a good that interests us is scarce we are inclined to seize the offer to grab our share.

How to improve the landing page: A / B test

Once the landing page is created, can you start monetizing, selling, converting and generating leads? It depends. In principle yes but not always everything works right away. In fact, let's face it: it almost never does. Here's why: a fundamental piece of the strategy is missing.

I'm talking about A/B tests, that is a process that compares, in public use, two versions of the same page. One remains as it was designed, the other has a variation. 

To make this empirical experiment work you have to respect a set of rules. First of all it is necessary to test the two versions making minimal modifications. To be precise one: the color of a button, the text of a call to action, the length of the body copy, the type of image. Testing multiple elements is a waste of time because you will never know which one influenced the conversions. Instead, if you isolate a change you know that it was the one that negatively or positively influenced the result.

Then you have to work on big numbers: does it make sense to propose this test to 10 people? No, according to Mailchimp you have to work on at least 5,000 contacts, no less.

But you have to make sure (as it suggests cxl.com) that the traffic is divided equally, 50% on the A version and 50% on the B version. Only in this way you can have a scientific and valid result to understand what works and what doesn't. Managing all these aspects is not easy, so I suggest to take a look at these tools to do A/B tests: cxl.com/ab-testing-tools.

How to promote a landing page for startups

Once a landing page has been created and optimized, it must be brought up to speed. So it must be accessed by the right people to start the famous funnel that leads users to become lead, then prospect, customer and ambassador. Just as the classic inbound marketing scheme suggests. In this process landing pages are decisive but you need quality traffic.

How do you get it? The first solution is to make the landing page visible on the website: each product or service has its own landing and can be reached from the navigation menu. 

Or maybe from some banner or pop-up. But to get people on your website the first strategy to put in place is that of blogging. Writing articles with informative intent is essential to position yourself on Google for queries that meet the need of the public to get practical answers to problems that revolve around your business. This solution, however, works in the medium and long term, we know that startups need to grow quickly. 

For this reason it is useful to combine blogging (which remains fundamental) with advertising. You can bet on different solutions but the most convenient is the one that allows you to insert your landing page for startups in the two most populated and virtuous web ecosystems: Google and Facebook.

In both cases you can count on programs able to create and manage ads that can reach the right people as and when you want. Of course, there are technical rules to follow, such as the need to insert the tracking pixel.

This step is essential to have more precision in terms of target creation and create retargeting campaigns. In any case both circuits have the possibility to diversify according to individual needs, even for those who have to do lead generation with landing pages. Without forgetting the needs of those who need direct sales.

Don't forget tracking and data analysis

Ever heard of the Deming cycle? This principle is based on one essential point: everything is based on data. Especially the improvement that must be continuous, constant, scientific. There is no perfect landing page for startups from the first day it goes online.

The improvement is aimed at perfection - the one that in the logic of lean production takes the Japanese name of kaizen - but it is achieved only by observing the data and improving what has been done before. Not once but in an infinite number of cycles composed by 

  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

This also applies to your landing page and anyone working with growth hacking and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) knows this well. But is this known also from those who take care of startups’ websites? Is there such awareness in the universe of emerging companies?

Author

Mirko Ciesco
Web performer

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