As an email marketer, there is one page on your website that is at the epicenter of your entire business.
It’s not your home page. It’s certainly not your contact or support pages. It isn’t even the pages where you sell your products…
The critical page I’m referring to is your landing page, or squeeze page as it’s called in the Internet marketing circles.
Today, I’m going to walk you through what you’ll need to get a landing page set up, with or without a website…
If you’re following along in order, your landing page is going to tie directly into your email marketing service and autoresponder that we talked about in the last lesson here…
Does Ugly Still Work?
Now, over the years, landing pages have gotten a tad bit more sophisticated because of the ‘user experience’ that certain ad networks force on us… For the most part though, they’re pretty straightforward.
Sure, best practices change from time to time… Do we put up ugly pages with a big headline? Do we need graphical pages that look pretty? Does a double-click optin work better than a straight up form…
In the next few days, I’ll share some of our best practices for generating leads and the nuts and bolts of setting up landing pages. For the time being though, we’re going to take baby steps… We’re going to start our conversation talking about the psychology and the tools you’ll need to start getting leads!
The first thing we need to get through is where your landing page will be located online…
Self-Hosted vs. App-Hosted
There are two different ways to set up a landing page – on your own domain with your own web hosting (AKA. self-hosted)… Or are you planning on using a service that takes care of that for you (AKA. app-hosted).
There are advantages and disadvantages to each, and you’ll have to decide for yourself which you’re more comfortable with. After all, the leads that you get will be going into your own email marketing software, so those are yours for good…
First, let’s talk about self-hosted landing pages, or setting up and maintaining your own website….
Self-Hosted Landing Pages
To create and host your own website, you absolutely need two things:
- A domain name
- Website hosting
The easiest and fastest way to get set up is to go through HostGator. Choose the domain that you want for your website, pick a hosting package, and then install WordPress.
(We’ll have tutorial on doing all of this in the not too distant future).
Let’s talk for a minute about a theme that you can use to set up your landing pages.
From there, we install a WordPress theme like OptimizePress; which lets us create incredible landing pages quickly, and ties in our email marketing platform. Plus, it'll do sales pages, membership site pages, webinar registration pages, and tons of other stuff.
Want Something Different?
If, for whatever reason, you want something else to collect leads on your site, there are plenty of other options out there as well.
- Create landing pages with a plugin like Lead Rocket (these convert really, really well!) or theme like OptimizePress.
- Put a ‘bar’ at the top of every page on your website getting email leads with OptinBar (really cool technology!)
- Add an email collection box in the sidebar of your site, either with the form code that your marketing software gives you or with a plugin like Optin Skin.
- Add a ‘sign up for more’ box at the bottom of your articles, also with Optin Skin.
Each of those have their own specialties, but you might first something that'll work better for your specific application.
Now, I know that I just glossed over everything here… We’ll be looking at each of these individual elements in more detail pretty soon…
First though, I have to get through the non-hosted landing pages :0)
App-Hosted Landing Pages
At the end of the day, the software industry understands that setting up and maintaining a website is difficult (albeit a very valuable skill if you take the time to learn it!)…
So, they’ve created software that makes setting up landing pages and sales pages much easier, and you can get to them through a subdomain.
And example is this…
One of the biggest software tools for landing pages is LeadPages. It’s a great service. If you go to LeadPages.net, you’ll see their marketing site. However, if you go to:
You’ll see a landing page of mine, even though it’s on a ‘subdomain’ of LeadPages.
I don’t own that domain, nor do I control the web server… I do pay the monthly service which allows me to create and publish pages on there site :0)
So, let’s look at a few services that’ll allow you to create and maintain landing pages easily, using their software…
If there was a software tool that's solved a lot of problems and taken the industry by storm this year, it's ClickFunnels. They've single handedly turned everyone into a 'sales funnel expert.'
It's my #1 hosted solution for landing pages. I'd still rather set up my own domain and use OptimizePress, but ClickFunnels serves a fantastic purpose...
That's not the point of this story though... This story is about setting up landing pages. With ClickFunnels, you can set up landing pages easily, use your own domain or theirs, and tie it into your memberships, sales offers, and everything other page of your business.
It's pretty easy to use the first time out, and they have all kinds of training videos and a big knowledgeable to help you out.
I like LeadPages. I really do. Last year, everyone was talking about LeadPages and they were getting big investments...
This year, they seem to have fallen a little short.
LeadPages is drag and drop, cut and paste list building pages at its finest. Every single part of their templates are easy to edit - you just click and type in what you want to see... And you're done!
I honestly put off buying LeadPages forever because I have tons of websites and plugins and themes to help out with list building, but it’s so easy… Pick a template. Fill in a few fields. Hook it to Aweber or whatever you’re using. Hit Publish. That's it.
They’ve got hundreds of great, high(er) converting templates that you can just hook into and start using without any weird set up at all. It’s good stuff.
(LeadPage, or ClickFunnels for that matter, won't ever out convert an OptimizePress page on your own domain with some good split testing...)
(NOTE: There are a number of Lead Magnet Plugins that’ll do the job too, for all the places that landing pages just don’t work!)
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Each…
At the end of the day, there is no one “best choice.” Whether you build your own landing pages or rely on a service that you pay monthly for is up to you… There are some points to consider though.
Self Hosted Landing Pages:
- Having everything set up on your own website, with your own web server is the absolute safest option in terms of data backups and having complete control over your data.
- You can do things on your own website that will increase conversion of your pages, that App-Hosted Pages might not allow.
- It'll take some time to get set up, as learning to build, maintain and manipulate WordPress and WordPress Pages takes some time...
App Hosted Landing Pages:
- It's much faster to deploy your first landing page, using a piece of software like ClickFunnels or LeadPages.
- You get proven templates and designs right off the bat, so you spend less time testing.
- You end up spending more per month for both the software and the hosting than if you were just paying for a domain and your own hosting.
- Your hands are tied when it comes to creativity of your landing pages. If you want something outside of their chosen templates, you're out of luck...
I, personally, do both. Most of the campaigns that I spend a lot of money on every month are self hosted… For quick tests though, I’ll usually use LeadPages or ClickFunnels. That’s just my preference though!
The next thing we’re going to do is talk about lead magnets, including how to create them, distribute them, and find an interested group of folks who will sign up for them.
The idea with a lead magnet is to give something (of value!) away for free in exchange for their email address. And yes, this strategy has been around for ever.
Think about the last infomercial or commercial you watched that offered a ‘Free DVD’ or ‘Free Brochure’ for signing up?
That’s a lead magnet.
Well, in the next post, we’re going to talk about how to create them for free or for cheap, so you can start getting some leads in your front door!
Tell us, do you run your own website? Or does a hosted software tool for your landing pages sound like a better option for you?