Digital Ads and Landing Pages: Designing the Landing Page (pt 2)

By: Spencer Brooks

Want to raise more funds? You need to grow your email list. In this three-part series, you'll learn how to drive visitors to custom landing pages on your website, where they can easily subscribe to your email list. Read Part 1 and Part 3.

Designing your opt-in bonus

Okay, so you’re on board with the landing page idea. How do you get started?

The first step is to create your opt-in bonus -- the piece of content that people will be receiving in exchange for giving you their email address.

Here’s a few categories of opt-in bonuses to help give you an idea of what you can create:

  • Informational PDFs or ebooks
  • Video or audio recordings
  • Worksheets
  • Printable graphics or quick reference materials

There are tons of other ideas out there, but the categories above are a few good starting points.

To help you design your opt-in bonus, here are 3 important qualities to keep in mind:

  1. It needs to be compelling. Spend time to make sure you’re offering something that people really want to access. The more compelling it is, the more people will sign up. If your opt-in bonus is lackluster, even the best-designed landing page will be ineffective.
  2. It has to be related to your ad. (Either that, or you need to change your ad to reflect your opt-in bonus.) Nobody wants to land on a page that isn’t related to the ad they just clicked. If your ad, landing page, and opt-in bonus don’t work together, you’ll cause a lot of people to hit the back button and never return.
  3. It should be instantly deliverable. Don’t design an opt-in bonus that needs to be physically delivered or requires some sort of manual process. Once someone enters their email, give them instant gratification by automatically delivering what they signed up for.

Don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel here, either. Most organizations have useful, time-tested materials they distribute on a routine basis. Simply packaging these into a downloadable format and using them as your opt-in bonus may only take a few minutes of your time!

Creating your landing page

Once you have an opt-in bonus, the next step is to create a dedicated page on your website where people can sign up to download it.

There are many examples available to get you started, but here are the basics you’ll need to consider:

  1. Don’t give people the option to navigate away or really do anything but submit your form. It seems silly, but if you do things like remove your site’s navigation you’ll see a greater percentage of form submissions. You can still encourage people to browse your site by redirecting them to your home page after they’ve submitted the form, but keep them focused on the primary task when they first arrive at your site.
  2. You need to capture their email before you give them the opt-in bonus. Ideally, email addresses should be automatically synced to your database or email software. You can make an email address optional, but don’t make the opt-in bonus accessible without first submitting the form. People who would have otherwise given you their email address will sidestep your subscription box if you give them the choice.
  3. Choose a solution that lets you configure and test your landing pages without IT support. If you remove barriers to administering your landing pages, you’ll find yourself testing and tweaking them more often, which will lead to better results.

While your website or database software might have the tools you need to create a landing page right now, there are a number of third-party tools also available for a small monthly fee. Options include:

These tools allow you to build and test landing pages without outside help, and many of them can be integrated into your website, database, or email marketing software in some form. (For nonprofits using Drupal, our team developed a free Leadpages integration to get you started.)

Here’s a typical workflow for a landing page, to illustrate the different components you might want to create:

  1. A visitor submits their email address
  2. They are redirected to a thank you page
  3. The opt-in bonus is either made available as a link on the thank you page, or delivered straight to their email inbox
  4. The visitor is signed up for a welcome email series to introduce them to your organization

This isn’t the only workflow, of course, but hopefully it helps you think about the different elements that need to be in place to facilitate a successful interaction with your landing page.

In Part 3, we’ll discuss how to nurture leads with a series of welcome emails, as well as how testing can help you optimize your landing page strategy.


Author Bio

Spencer Brooks is the founder of Brooks Digital, a long-term Drupal support firm built for nonprofits. He enjoys teaching organizations how to maximize their online results by using data-driven strategies to constantly improve their website. In his free time, Spencer volunteers as a drummer for his local church and experiments with different ways of hand-brewing insanely delicious coffee.