Landing Page vs Homepage: Battle Royale

Alex Minchin
Alex Minchin

If your business still only relies on a website to generate and convert leads, then you’re fighting an uphill battle. In this post, I’ll explain why. When the internet was first introduced, the solution was quite simple – get a website, get on the map.

Without a doubt, investing in a beautifully designed website that could flesh out every aspect of a brand’s personality was a prerequisite to gaining trust and credibility from customers. However, times have changed and the digital realm where businesses operate is becoming more competitive, more saturated and more difficult to get noticed in.

Having a website just to tick all of the boxes won’t cut the mustard. When people approach your firm online, you want them to convert to improve sales, increase profits, and spread the word of your amazing business.

In particular, if you’re still hoping and relying on your homepage, you should read on because this is where landing pages come into play.

Landing pages add a new dynamic to online marketing with their ability to convert viewers through their laser-like approach. Opting not to have one is an unnecessary risk that will leave your business trudging in the mud as your competitors race on ahead.

Now, understandably, you may have a few questions regarding the functionality of landing pages and the limitations of websites. But the great news is that we have done a lot of the hard work for you.

Below we’ll unpack everything about landing pages and how they can benefit your business.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a separate page from your website whose single function is to generate conversions. It is designed to be fantastically simple with minimal distractions to point viewers to a single and clear call to action (CTA). Websites are laced with pillars of information used to inform users on an array of topics. Landing pages aren’t.

Landing pages are simple in their approach and lucid in their instructions. There are rarely headers, pop-ups, navigation, or anything else that takes the focus away from the call to action. The content should be focused and consistent in its messaging, with the sole purpose of converting a single product or service.

For instance, a business using a landing page to sell an e-book will design the layout to make readers focused on one thing – the message. This can simply be a small paragraph highlighting how this product can benefit customers, with a clear call to action. Nothing else.

This very simple and narrow approach is highly effective in getting your viewers to the next stage of the sales funnel.

Let’s take a gym, for example, looking to expand its personal training services to the public.

It spends £500 per month on Google Ads with the intention of directing people to its website to then sign up with one of its highly-qualified personal trainers. Its website is what you’d expect of a modern gym, offering premium services: glitzy, sleek, and highly interactive through its background visuals.

What do you think is going to happen?

With so many different avenues for viewers to go down, the chances are that the amount of information presented to them will shift their focus. Annoying pop-ups, enticing background visuals, flashy sponsorships, peripheral articles and scattered call-to-actions are only examples of the relentless bombardment of information coming their way.

A mere whim and a scent of intrigue is all it takes to detract a user away from the personal training page.

This is not a winning formula. Let’s have a look at the maths to prove this.

Homepage Example

  • Your Google Ad budget is £500
  • At £2 per click you receive 250 visitors to land on your homepage
  • A reasonable expected conversion rate would be 2% (250 x 0.02), which would generate 5 leads 

Landing Page Example

  • Your Google Ad budget is £500
  • At £2 per click you receive 250 visitors to land on your landing page specifically about your 2-stone weight loss challenge.
  • A reasonable expected conversion rate for a landing page would be 5% (250 x 0.05), which would generate 13 leads

The landing page is more targeted at a 1-1 conversation, which is what makes it more effective.

This simple approach is one that designers actually follow, which stems from Hick’s Law, where more choice leads to increased decision time. For the purpose of getting new leads via landing pages, less is more and simple is better.

Landing Page A/B Testing
Test more effectively with landing pages.

Why should my business have a landing page?

All of the heavyweights in their respective industries use landing pages as a key component of an overarching strategy to achieving end goals. When it comes to Landing Page vs Homepage, both are heavyweights. But whilst the former is devastatingly accurate, the latter suffers from unpredictability.

Whether your objective is to increase profits, sales or reputation, your landing page will help your brand get over the finish line.

Here’s why:

Your customers are unique

Your website is a jack of all trades and a master of none. This one-size-fits-all approach lacks any sort of individuality to really hit a target at 100%. Landing pages are unique and tailored to your audience persona, allowing you to do this with greater accuracy.

Online users are impatient

Science says that it only takes a tenth of a second for people to make a judgement of a person and websites are no different. The reality is that first impressions count and that you don’t have time to make one. Users want their answers given to them instantly without having to trudge through mountains of information. A good landing page will serve it all on a silver platter.

There is very little risk

It doesn’t take long to make a landing page nor will it be anywhere near as expensive as building a fully-optimised SEO website. There really isn’t anything to lose here.

You can use it to promote specific aspects of your business

For whatever reason that may be, businesses will prioritise the relative importance of their products or services. If you find that there is an area of your business that is lagging, a landing page will give it the attention and necessary investment to bring it back up to a level of your liking.

Performance is easier to measure

There are a myriad of variables to take into account when reviewing a website’s performance. Landing pages don’t have these. This makes it easier to experiment with and see what works until you find a landing page that converts

You don’t have to worry about SEO

SEO has been seen as the holy grail of digital marketing, with businesses feeling obliged to invest heavily in this field to compete. The reality is that SEO is getting harder, making it increasingly more difficult for SMEs to excel. Landing pages come with no such worry since they follow a different set of rules, giving you the luxury of making sure that your landing page is entirely user-focused.

Characteristics of a landing page vs homepage

Your landing page should be about only one thing: either a service, a product, an offering or a download.

Here are some important features to look out for:

A clear call to action

All of your efforts on a landing page are focused on getting users to click on your CTA. Users should not have to think twice about its location. Make it crystal clear.

Minimise or eliminate navigation

A navigation bar is just a magnet that will pull users away from your goal. Excluding it completely massively reduces distractions. Think about your homepage for a second – how many links are on it? One link equals one distraction.

Landing page vs Homepage

Content should be consistent with the copy from the ad

The desired outcome is to achieve ‘message match’. This is where the messaging on the ad matches the messaging on the landing page, so that consistency is achieved and the user knows that they’re in the right place.

The page is focused on one goal

We want to achieve true measurability. This means limiting conversion paths down as much as possible, and ideally to one single measurable conversion.

What about homepages then?

So far, we’ve lambasted homepages and websites for their lack of focus and inability to convert but that doesn’t mean that they don’t serve any purpose.

Of course, running a business without a website would be a folly and a cardinal sin within the marketing realm, but if we’re talking about their ability to convert then they’re fairly limited. Websites are used to fully reveal the make-up of your business, your story, where you came from, everything that you offer, your credentials and so on.

The whole layout is designed to be a labyrinth of information where users can freely dig deeper to learn more about your brand. It’s supposed to encourage deeper engagement.

Did you ever notice that your website talks about YOU, and what YOU do? Well, your customers care about themselves, and landing pages give you an opportunity to hone in one your customers’ specific challenges or desires.

A website is a book about your business whereas a landing page is a poster about something specific.

One is only better than the other if we’re talking about achieving certain goals. Instead, view these two as important tools that complement one another.

If there is a single product or service that you want to focus on generating growth, then that’s when a landing page comes into play.

When should I use landing pages?

Generally speaking, landing pages are used for marketing campaigns with the intention of promoting a single product or service. You would use landing pages in the following instances:

Pay per click campaigns (PPC)

Google measures how effective your landing page by judging the user’s experience. For example, if there is a high bounce rate, then you will have to pay more for your PPC ads. Landing pages operate harmoniously with PPC ads because of their focus on gaining higher conversions. You can constantly tweak and refine your page to a point where it becomes highly convertible.

More leads for less cost.

Launching something new

A new product or service needs attention to gain any sort of purpose in the marketplace and a landing page will put the spotlight on it.

Lead magnets

Your landing page can be used as a simple form for users to enter their personal information and email address to become a lead. These sign-ups guide users to the next stage of the sales funnel, which clearly indicates their interest in your product or service. This is a simple and clever way of generating a pool of leads for you to capitalise on.

Concentrating on a single product or service

You might have a product or service that generates the most profits and quite naturally you would want to prioritise your marketing of this aspect of your business.

Message matching using PPC and landing pages
Ad-to-page messaging consistency = Winning

How to optimise a landing page vs homepage

Businesses which have taken the time out to craft a highly convertible landing page have reaped the rewards. But despite their simplicity, landing pages are not always so easy to design. The challenge is communicating as much as possible with as little as possible.

Making every word count and combining the right design with compelling content is the objective.

Reduce distractions

Removing the navigation bar would be a good start but if you feel like it’s absolutely mandatory to keep it in there, then do so with the intention of not making it obvious. Unless it’s part of a social media campaign, do not even think about including any social media links. Cut out any sections that would be deemed to be an important pillar of content on a normal website, such as blogs or articles. If you don’t, then you are wasting your time and might as well stick to your original website.

Make the content short but compelling

If it’s short but not compelling, or vice versa, then you’ve fallen over the hurdle. Make sure that the content on the landing page is aligned with the ad copy. If your PPC ad is about kitchen design, then make the content specific to that and nothing more general, such as interior design. Remember that consistency is key. Make your copy as specific as possible to include key buzzwords, offers, and relevant features of whatever you’re advertising.

Instil trust

Without trust, your landing page isn’t worth a penny. Thankfully, trying to achieve transparency on your landing page isn’t overly complicated, with it more being a process of ticking all of the right boxes.

Ensuring that your page has the following is a good start:

  1. Displays brand logo and licensing numbers
  2. Uses security icons such as the SSL certificate
  3. Is able to follow through on promises
  4. Is relevant to the ad
  5. Professional and attractive design – anything primitive will make it look like a relic dug up from the past
  6. Lucidly elicits company values and guarantees
  7. The tone of voice of the content adequately reflects the brand’s personality
  8. Use A/B testing

Landing pages are much more suited to this than websites because they have fewer variables to be considered. Test the waters, make small tweaks, and see which landing pages convert best. Sometimes you will have to go through several landing pages until you find which one resonates best with your target market, however, the rewards are worth it.

A Landing Page enables you to run much cleaner experiments with more measurable outcomes – something that is very difficult to achieve with a standard website.

Final thoughts

The overreliance on websites to convert users into customers is costly. Websites serve a broader purpose: to engage, to inform and to build trust with users. Websites are a sporadic layout of distractions intended to lure online viewers away and explore more about your business. Effective in building rapport, they are ineffective when it comes to converting.

Homepages are the rabbit hole – your business’s Netflix home screen where anything can happen and any path can be chosen.

Landing pages on the other hand are magnificently simple since they have only one objective. Investing in them demonstrates your understanding that not all of your customers are the same and that you need to cater to specific audiences within your target market in order for your products and services to resonate effectively.

So what’s it to be now that we’ve broken down the landing page vs homepage battle? If your business is relying on a traditional website to generate leads, then now is the time to step into the new decade. Simply start up a conversation and one of our team will be happy to help you.

Alternatively you can head over to our Growth Calculator to calculate your revenue growth potential and to discover the two key objectives that you need to achieve to send your revenue skywards.

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