Recently, a book coaching client asked me about the difference between list-building sign-up forms and landing pages.
It’s a valid question. Both are intended to capture your blog or website visitor’s name and email address.
Sign-up forms and landing pages are usually associated with an incentive, or gift or bonus, to encourage the visitor to share their contact information and permission for you to recontact them later via email.
The list-building incentive can be an ebook, report, or white paper, delivered as a downloadable PDF, or access to online audio or videos that are only available to those who sign-up.
A form can be very simple, as you can see by looking at the box at the upper right titled: Enter your email address.
In many cases, these forms are accompanied by a graphic displaying the incentive. Often, there forms contain two text fields, one for the recipient’s name–often, just the first name–and the other for the email address.
The last item in a form is the Subscribe button which, when pressed, adds the visitor’s information to your email newsletter database and–in most cases–triggers an autoresponder which sends an email containing a link where the incentive can be downloaded or viewed.
Forms are often placed at the top of the sidebar area of your blog. This means they will always be visible, regardless which blog post visitors are reading. Sign-up forms are also frequently loaded within the header graphic that’s always at the top of your blog or website.
In contrast to forms, which are usually always visible, landing pages are dedicated pages that optimized for conversions. The primary purpose of the landing page is to persuade visitors to sign-up for your incentive and mailing list.
Landing pages not only include a sign-up form, but they contain more information, more persuasive details, about the benefits of signing up for the incentive and the information you will be providing in your newsletter.
Landing pages typically contain social proof, or testimonials from experts in your field or those who liked your incentive and recommend your newsletter.
Flexibility and targeting
Landing pages may, or may not be, accessible through menu and text links in your blog or website’s navigation.
The ability to create multiple unlinked landing pages targeting different markets, specific keywords, or different referral sources offers many benefits:
- Personalization. You can target your headline and description of the incentive to appeal to specific market segments. In my case, I could create landing pages addressing the different needs of published authors, executives who want to write a book, or health professionals interested in writing a book to promote their practice. See this landing page created for a specific market.
- Tracking referrals. By creating different versions of a landing page, I can track the traffic and downloads associated with guest posts on other blogs, specific advertising campaigns, or compare the conversions associated with different keywords or key phrases.
- Testing. By creating different landing pages with different headlines, offers, and graphics, I can find out which words, appeals, and colors generate the best results.
Many of the above techniques were difficult when Seth Godin wrote his influential, and still popular, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers. You needed the help of experienced web professionals. Permission Marketing is a book that still bears careful reading. You may also like my Streetwise Guide to Relationship Marketing on the Internet, which contains suggestions for creating targeted incentives.
Now, with the expanded capability of WordPress blogs that make it easy to create and customize multiple landing pages for personalization, tracking, and testing, it’s far easier for authors and small business owners to create and administer landing pages.
Click the graphic to examine a landing page I created to encourage authors and small business owners to download my free 99 Questions to Ask Before You Write and Self-publish a Brand-building Book.
It’s a workbook that takes you, step-by-step, through the questions you must address to save time and wasted effort.
When you’ve finished answering the questions, you’ll have a personalized guide to planning, writing, marketing, and profiting from your book.
Share your comments and questions about list-building incentives, forms, and landing pages, below. They’re essential tools for authors!