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Health and wellness businesses often complain that they never get new customers from their websites. Landing pages are your secret weapon in this quest.

1. What’s a landing page and how is it different from your home page?

Remember when your family went to Disney World? As you neared the entrance, you saw sign posts. This way to the Magic Kingdom. That way to Epcot. And so on.

You decide to go to Epcot. What’s the first thing you see? Ticket booths. You’ve made the decision and now it’s time to buy something.

Successful home pages accomplish two goals: they reassure site visitors that they’ve come to the right place (“The Happiest Place On Earth”, in Disney-speak). And they have sign posts that direct site visitors to the content they’re looking for. Women’s weight programs? Click here. Family membership info? Click there. Nutrition myths? Click over here.

It’s rare that a home page itself contains the content that most interests the site visitor, nor should it. It’s about establishing an instant connection and pointing visitors towards the content they need. That content might be an informational page with more links to product information. Or it might be a landing page whose purpose is to help visitors accomplish a specific transaction.

On the other hand, a landing page has a single purpose: to convert a site visitor to a customer by persuading them to complete a specific transaction. That transaction might be a sale – for example, the purchase of nutritional supplements. Or it might simply be lead generation – for example, signing up for a newsletter.

2. When should we use landing pages?

A landing page can help your wellness business generate leads or make actual sales.

Ask yourself: Is it realistic to expect people to actually buy this product or service based on a single online visit to your site? If yes, then it’s a good candidate for a landing page intended to actually sell the product on the spot. If no, create a landing page designed to generate leads for that product instead.

For example, a yoga studio might create a landing page specifically for buying a gift card or class card, another page for the organic mat you recommend, and yet another where site visitors can buy your e-book of fitness routines for pregnant women. These are all examples of landing pages designed to convert site visitors to paying customers based entirely on the content of the landing page.

On the other hand, landing pages designed to persuade site visitors to attend a health club’s open house (a lead-generating activity) are usually more effective than a landing page designed to get a new site visitor to go ahead and actually buy a membership.

Most people won’t buy personal training without meeting the trainer first. So a personal training studio might create a landing page specifically to persuade people to sign up for a free weekly fitness tip. To receive the tip, they must provide their email address and agree to receive occasional marketing emails from you. You’d then use those marketing emails to promote your personal training packages to the leads generated by your weekly tip landing page.

3. What makes a landing page successful?

A successful landing page persuades visitors to complete the transaction you’ve built the landing page around. Start with these fundamentals:

  • Include elements that increase your visitor’s confidence in your business and make it easy to do business with you. For example, it’s usually smart to include full contact info, your About link, and multiple ways to complete the transaction – email or an online form, telephone, and in-person if appropriate. Elements like a privacy policy, money-back guarantee, free trial offer, easy unsubscribe options, or a clear return policy help reduce possible anxiety about making a purchase.
  • If you’re just doing lead generation, ask for the smallest amount of personal information possible – usually just an email address. Don’t ask for all their personal information in exchange for a weekly health tip!
  • Testimonials and customer reviews (both positive and negative) also increase buyer confidence.
  • Choose a headline that will allow site visitors to tell immediately whether this page is what they’re looking for. People scan – they don’t read closely. So make the page easy to scan by using easy-to-read fonts, plenty of white space and bulleted or numbered text.

Remember to place the call to action, like the “Add To Cart” or “Subscribe” button at the top of the page (“above the fold”) so that it can be seen quickly, without scrolling. If your landing page is lengthy, duplicate the call to action at several points on the page and at the bottom.

And as always, spell out the features, benefits, and advantages of your offer for the site visitor.

4. What mistakes should we avoid?

Our top don’ts:

  • Don’t load up your landing page with multiple product offers. Focus on one, and only one, offer. Really. Omit all your other calls to action on this page.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of including unnecessary navigation and links “just in case”. Drop all navigation except for your main site navigation like Home, About, Contact, etc.
  • Don’t use irrelevant or distracting stock photos and graphics. “Hero shots” of the product or service are usually a great idea, however.
  • Don’t use pop-ups, pop-unders, or other distracting elements. Use audio and video only if they directly illustrate your product or service.
  • Don’t include general information about you, your company, or your products and services. That goes on your home page or other informational pages.
  • Don’t ask for your visitor’s autobiography (hobbies, employer, occupation, number of kids, household income, etc.) if you’re doing lead generation.

5. Tips, tricks and traps

If you use direct mail, email marketing or pay-per-click advertising, provide a link that goes straight to a special landing page tailored to the offer you’re promoting. A very common mistake is to use the web address for your home page rather than providing a page that’s customized for that promotion.

Test different versions of your landing page with a tool like Google’s free Content Experiments tool and then check your site statistics to see which versions get the highest conversion rates. Experiment with the headline, graphics and descriptions of graphics, the Submit button, and the length of the page itself.

After your site visitor completes the transaction, you should take them to a “thank you” page. You can include yet another marketing message on that page, or share other information about your business.

Does your offer expire? Once the deadline is past, redesign the page for an updated promotion or use a 301 redirect to a suitable replacement page. Don’t just delete the page. Otherwise, anyone who tries to visit that page later will get a “page not found” message.