If you have been with Creative and Coffee from the very beginning (ie you are a totally awesome person 😉 ) then you might remember the landing page that Creative and Coffee had for about two weeks before this website launched. For a relatively unknown entity at the time, I got quite a few subscribers through that landing page before the website launched, which was awesome.
Therefore, in my mind, landing pages (or coming soon pages) are definitely a worthwhile investment.
So, as I will be designing another landing page soon, I thought I would share some helpful tips that I picked up on during my research, as well as what worked for me and my first landing page way back in December.
What Is a Landing Page?
So, in the intro you may have noticed that I used ‘coming soon’ page and ‘landing page’ fairly interchangeable. It sounds like one of those riddles from the SATs test right?
If all coming soon pages are landing pages, are all landing pages coming soon pages?
Yes or No?
Man I hated those tests.
A Landing Page Is….
Basically a landing page is a page that you have designed which is very distinctive from the rest of your site, or maybe even stand alone. The purpose of which is to convert people.
So, perhaps, to encourage people to sign up to your new course, your lead generation magnet or to be notified when your new website launches.
This is why most landing pages don’t have a header or footer, because its single purpose is to capture an email and NOT to direct that person to another part of your website. Once they have signed up, you might have a link re-directing that person to your main site. However, the purpose of a landing page is very singular.
The reason being is that the visitor is presented with two options: sign up or leave.
If there is a menu on that page, suddenly they have a lot more options and might choose simply to visit your archive page or one of your blog posts.
A Landing Page Is Not…
Now, you might have an option for readers to sign up to your newsletter, or buy a product within the blog post. However, your blog post is not a landing page. It’s sole purpose is not to convert people, but to share information with them, build authority and to probably encourage them to read other posts on your site as well.
Example of Landing Page
A landing page is simply a page with one purpose in mind. The purpose will determine what kind of landing page you are building. So, in this respect the types of landing page are pretty infinite. The most common landing page that you have probably encountered is the ‘product landing page’.
For example, you have probably seen landing pages for eBooks, free or paid, like this one:
This is an example of a Book Landing Page from the very aptly named buylandingpagedesign.com
Coming Soon Page
So, if your website or shop is not up and running yet then you are unlikely to be selling a product, although you might offer a free incentive to sign up. However, a coming soon page is more about creating a buzz, awareness of your new project and probably collecting some emails in the process then selling at this stage.
Why Have a Coming Soon Page?
If you are not trying to sell a product, or you haven’t got your MailChimp set up yet, should you even bother with a coming soon page? Isn’t it better to just put all your effort into getting your website up and running?
Sure, you don’t want to spend months agonizing over your coming soon page and neglecting your site. This is part of the reason that many coming soon pages are very simplistic and minimal in layout. So you shouldn’t be needing to spend a great deal of time on them anyway.
When I was working on the website launch, I got a ton of client work through at the same time (which was fantastic, don’t get me wrong) but it meant that the Creative and Coffee site got pushed back time wise. So, when it came to a coming soon page I thought to myself, well I just don’t really have the time to do this.
Don’t Waste Your Social Following
Although the website hadn’t launched, my Instagram account was growing. By popping a little link into my Instagram bio to a coming soon page, it meant that I had somewhere ‘solid’ to direct my followers and tell them all about my new website, instead of harping on about it to them all the time.
The moral of the story being, that if you have a following on social media already, then you can begin converting followers into readers before the site launches, helping to build up your community of awesome business friends super quickly.
Sharing Is Caring
Sort of linked to the above point, if you want to get the word out to people about your new site launch, it’s much easier if you have something to actually share. For example, it is much easier to ask your followers to share the link to your coming soon page, rather than ask them to tell their followers that a website of some girl/dude is launching soon.
“Coming Soon” pages usually have three goals in mind: to announce the actual website’s impending launch, offer some explanation of the site’s purpose, and to persuade visitors to return once the site is officially launched. Remember, effectively-designed landing pages should not only be visually appealing, but at their best they should also create “buzz” and anticipation.
Launching Is More Rewarding
When you launch your website, it is likely to be at the end of many months, maybe years of planning, fiddling, tweaking, celebrating, dreaming and sobbing into your tea. But mostly excitement.
However, if you launch your website to the sound of crickets and the occasional traffic of lost tumbleweed it can be pretty traumatic. And God help anyone who says to you ‘build it and they will come is NOT relevant any more’.
I mean, that is very true, but we know that right? However, if you have had a coming soon page which you have been directing people to, then people will be aware of your website. When you announce it on social media, people will already know where to go and what to expect.
If you have done a really good job on your coming soon promotions then people will be super excited to finally see the unveiling of your site.
Trust me, even if it is only two or three people coming to the comments to say how they love your new site, it will make your year.
(PS for those of you who did visit the site and comment on it when I first launched, you guys did actually make my year, rock on)
The Purpose Of Your Coming Soon Page
If any of you are taking the ‘Design a Profitable Blog Course’ right now, then you will probably shudder when you hear me say the phrase: what is your purpose?
Yes, everything must be designed with a specific purpose in mind and this is specifically true in the case of landing pages. As we said above, what differentiates landing pages from other pages on your site is the fact they have a single goal.
So what is your goal with your coming soon page? Typically you will want to do three things and keep these in mind when designing.
- What is your site about
- Encourage readers to return when site launches
- Generate excitement
What Your Site Is About
When you write your About page, it’s smart to start with what your blog is about, who it is for and why it is relevant to them. Whilst people want to know more about you, they first want to establish that they are in the right place and that this blog was made for them.
Of course, lots of other factors will influence this feeling, from design to content, but your About page is certainly a big player in letting people know what you are all about.
Similarly, with coming soon pages, you can have the most beautifully designed coming soon page in the world but if people look at it and go, ‘no idea what that’s about’ you are probably not having your intended effect.
However, that is not to say mystery can’t be effective. For, example you might have scene those guerrilla marketing tactics where, for example, they insert a 5 second clip saying ‘the jungle is coming’ in between adverts and you’re are left wondering ‘what is the jungle?’ ‘I have to know what this jungle thing is all about, I keep seeing it everywhere’.
It’s all about purpose. If you are ‘purposefully’ making it all about mystery then great, but if not, make sure your purpose is clear so people can decide whether or not they might be interested. You can still have an element of surprise and mystery to this, by perhaps keeping some things back, but make sure you are getting attention from the right audience.
Encourage Readers To Return
Chances are that you probably expended a lot of time and effort in getting readers to your coming soon page. So, of course, once they are there you will want to make sure they actually stick around and visit the website when it launches. Otherwise, what are we doing this for?
The best way of ensuring a readers return, of course, if to ask them for their email address to add to your subscriber list. Not only can you send them updates about the site to gently remind them of your existence, you can start building relationships with your followers before your site launch. Of course, when the site launches, you can let them know straight away that it is live.
So, at this point I wanted to talk a little bit more about my experience with my ‘coming soon’ page for Creative and Coffee. For those who didn’t see it, the page offered three sign up forms. One at the top, which was a simple bar, like the top of this website.
The second was the copy describing the benefits of our ‘lead magnet’, which was this eBook on increasing traffic to your site.
Finally, there was a more in depth paragraph about Creative and Coffee with another option to subscribe for updates.
Which one did you think got the most sign ups?
I’m assuming most of you are thinking that it was the option next to the free eBook. I would of thought so too, but we would be both be wrong. The highest converting call to action was actually the sign up bar at the very top. This call to action was specifically offering subscribers updates on the site launch.
Also, just FYI, the subscription bar at the top of this site has, by far, the most subscribers to its name.
But what does this mean?
Well, of course, this is a very small case study, involving a small number of participants. However, from my perspective, it goes to show that you don’t necessarily need a lead magnet on your coming soon page in order to convert subscribers. However, I should point out, that the percentage of subscribers that choose this option were almost exclusively people who I had cultivated a relationship with on Instagram previously.
ie the awesome first members of the Creative and Coffee community, super high five to you guys!
This was just my personal experience, but for me I learnt a valuable lesson:There is no marketing substitute for proper engagement and relationships with followers.Click To Tweet
That being said….
How often do you give your email address to a site that offers nothing in return? Not very often. Never, probably.
People like to know what exactly it is that they are signing up for.
For truly interested fans, updates and behind the scenes might be exactly what they want. I mean, anyone on the VIP list for the new Ban.do agendas right now? I get ridiculously excited when I get an update on the new planners.
If you are less well known, or haven’t got a big social media following you might consider giving away a promotional item, a chance to enter a give away competition or a free download of something relevant to your audience.
PS I know it’s super daunting and when you are busy trying to launch a site, time (or lack thereof) can be an issue but do try and keep in touch with your mailing list.
Generic marketing term much? I know, what exactly does ‘buzz’ mean?
Well, for me at least, it’s getting your website and name out there.
In practical terms, this is going to mean getting your audience to help share your message.
To go back to the ban.do example (because I’m legit obsessed, sorry) I only came across them because a number of bloggers I followed could not stop talking about them. To put this clearly, I had never heard of ban.do, I have never seen them on any of my social media channels, I had never been to their blog, I had never seen a Facebook ad for them.
ie I had never encountered any of their direct marketing.
So when I did check them out I was pleasantly surprised to find that someone had invented a shop filled with all my favorite things that I didn’t even know I needed yet.
The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t underestimate word of mouth. It can reach places that you, as a single person, could never reach.
So what does this mean in a practical sense as it relates to coming soon pages?
I think encouraging people to share is what it boils down to.
If you have registered for a webinar recently, you have probably seen the landing page that you are taken to sometimes has those sharing buttons, where the host thanks you for signing up and encourages you to share with your audience.
This is usually done through LeadPages, but there is nothing to stop you encouraging your visitor to share your page by coding in your own buttons at the bottom of your page as well if you haven’t got access to LeadPages.
So, why should you invest your time into creating a coming soon page? It will help:
- Make sure there are people to visit your site on launch day;
- Utilize your current social media following more effectively;
- Help spread your influence beyond your own social media channels and
- Jump start your email list
Have you ever tried having a coming soon page? Did it help you before your launch? Let us know your secrets below!