Destination Unknown: Landing Page or Website?

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Should I send my campaign traffic to a Landing Page or Website? If you’ve been running online campaigns for a while or even just starting out you may have come across the term ‘Landing Page‘, you might even have a few of your own. While a powerful tool in a marketers arsenal it’s often mis-understood when actually send traffic to a Landing Page instead of your website.

landing page or website cartoon visibly confused

What is the difference between a Landing Page and a Website?

Put simply a Landing Page is a is a standalone web page designed to specifically promote a single produce or a single defined service, with services this is usually within a specific location.

A landing page will (mostly) separated from the main website and provide no additional navigation, just the content and an action for the user to undertake. These pages primary focus is to convert the traffic by offering one or two simple actions. (call, fill in a form, subscribe, purchase, register, etc…)

Some examples:

law firm landing page screenshot
See the full page at: Just Answer
mechanic landing page screenshot
See the full page at: Alltyres.com
accounting software landing page screenshot
See the full page at: Xero

A website is, … well a website, usually for a business it contains the companies brand messaging, an organised navigation of services or products along with information about the business as a whole.

So, Landing Page or Website?

Here are 3 examples of when you definitely should be using a Landing Page..

1. You are targeting a search keyword with ‘commercial intent’

People typing a term like ’emergency after hours locksmith Austin’ are not exactly on the internet to have fun. A good rule of thumb is if the urgency and commercial nature of the search term is very high. Then use a Landing Page that is very targeted to the users keyword.

2. You are targeting a search keywords with a high Cost Per Click

If you are running search campaigns that have a high cost per click then conversion rate and return on investment are paramount to the campaigns success.

A landing page can be honed, tested and tweaked to optimise the performance on high cost per click keywords much easier than a website can.

3. You have a time limited proposition

For competitions and events Landing Pages are an extremely effective way of creating a simple user journey that gets the message across quickly and create a very clear path for the user to follow.

When to use your Website

There is a lot of information online that makes Landing Pages seem like the best option always, unfortunately this simply isn’t true. There are cases where you should use an existing page or add a page to your website to get the best performance. Here are 3 examples.

1. Your focus is on brand awareness

If the key metric is branding for your campaigns you should definitely send traffic to a page that contains additional navigation and information for the user. What you are going for here is recall, the user needs to have an engaging experience and that can be difficult to achieve in one conversion focused Landing Page.

2. Your campaign is targeting users at the research stage

When running campaigns that are designed to influence your users choice in the future a page on your Website is always preferable.

If you are promoting a car brand, home build, travel, tourism then your users are going to be a percentage ‘ready to go’ and the rest are going to need to browse a lot of options.

Landing Pages really only outperform Web Pages when the value proposition is razor sharp. Industries that offer a wide range of choices should offer their users as much information as possible to make a researched and informed decision.

In some cases (for example tourism) a micro-site can be deployed instead of a Landing Page but that’s a post for another time.

3. Ecommerce and Online Stores

If your online store doesn’t perform well under campaigns the investment is always better spent improving your online store instead of creating specific ‘no navigation’ Landing Pages.

There may be edge cases but it has been proven over and over again that the best way to improve campaign performance of an online store is to improve the Navigation, Filtering and Speed of the main website.

Landing Page or Website: Conclusion

In general Landing Pages are best for short-term and highly targeted campaigns and promotions. Your Website is better for long-term promotions and branding. There are exceptions to every rule so when in doubt, test it out and see what works best for your business.

Additional Resources

Here are some great additional ready and pretty definitive guides on landing pages.

  1. Hubspots Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages
  2. Unbounce’s Anatomy of a Landing Page
  3. Instapage’s Massive 110 Landing Page Examples for 2022

Enjoy this article? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to check back at Legion Pages as this resource continues to develop.


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