landing page tips for science marketers

Science Marketing Basics: 4 Steps to a Landing Page that Converts

By C&EN Media Group

A well-executed landing page is a golden opportunity. It allows you to direct the attention of a specific subset of your audience, while amplifying a key message or call-to-action. It’s a separate page because it seeks to make a focused impact. It also seeks to convert.

A conversion can be many things: It might be the successful download of a new piece of content – in exchange for the reader’s email and company name. It might be a product or service transaction, or an RSVP to an event you’re hosting during an upcoming conference. At the end of the day, a conversion is the overarching goal for both your advertisement and landing page, and ultimately what you craft your message around.

With this thought in mind, you need a purposeful destination that covers digital, marketing and creative basics. To help you craft a winning science-focused landing page, we’ve pulled together top considerations from key fields, plus some insider tips around these elements:

1. Location
2. Structure
3. Design
4. Advanced tactics: the bells and whistles

First off: Location, location, location…

Whether it’s a new URL or an addition to your current website, your promotion’s landing destination has to be specific. Most existing pages, such as a home page, will have far too many competing messages and too little content specific to the product, service or resource you’re discussing. If a visitor has clicked on an ad promising best-in-class cell culture media, and you direct them to your home page featuring your entire bioprocessing line, calendar, image carousel and more, it will completely overwhelm them. Just that sentence is overwhelming. It creates a lot of work for the viewer who has a specific goal in mind – a goal that you set out for them in the first place. Chances are, they’re going to exit the site.

So where should you land your leads? There are pros and cons when it comes to building separate microsites or simply adding a fresh page to your company website. Your digital team should have sound advice, as they understand the organization of your current sitemap and how straightforward it would be to add a new page. Your input is important too, as you need to take into account the primary campaign aim.

As an example: A landing page built within your main site can offer brand consistency and allows you to easily link to existing pages when more information is pertinent to the end goal. For this reason it’s often used. But if you’re advertising a non-promotional buyer’s guide, you’ll want the destination page and downloading process to be similarly neutral. The same might be said for a novel partnership with an academic institute or non-profit. Goodwill can be promoted more credibly if it’s detached from your digital HQ. How do you decide? Determine the best option with your digital team based on what it is you’re offering.

A user-friendly page structure

Once traffic reaches your landing page, the leads are yours to lose. If there’s too much complexity or work required, the user will back right out of the page.

Keep this in mind as you build the landing page structure. The aim is to design a layout that’s intuitive and effortless. Try to avoid incorporating links to new pages: with every redirect you lose a percentage of your leads. This simplicity will need to be balanced with the amount of content you provide. You only get one shot with a landing page, so it all needs to be there. The best approach is to offer progressive stages of information.

  • At the top of the landing page, keep your copy light and to the point. Some customers will arrive ready to convert. If they’re greeted by excessive amounts of content they may decide it’s too much work.
  • Have a call-to-action readily available and then get progressively more involved with information as you scroll down the page, for customers that need more convincing. Once again, insert a form or call-to-action button between sections to ensure the customer’s conversion is always within reach.
  • For landing pages that require a lot of content, (perhaps a user manual, or consumer disclaimers) you may need to establish a second or even a third page that houses your contact form. But resist the urge to build a bustling microsite; you’ll want the focus as narrow and specific as possible. That includes a call-to-action that is planned and unambiguous. Think beyond a “Read More Here” button and compel the customer to commit to a solid action.

[alert type=white ]A landing page’s best friend: content marketing. Create an educational piece of content that offers value to your customers (e.g. a white paper or buyer’s guide).
Customers that read this content will be subtly persuaded towards the expertise and merits of your brand. And while they’re there, why not collect leads? Gated material makes the content more exclusive and allows you to collect emails, names, and a profile of your audience.[/alert]

Designing the right look and feel

Landing pages are a great opportunity to move outside the scope of your traditional colors and design. It needs to feel fresh to convey the unique messaging of your campaign. They should always be distinct, but as referenced earlier, unbranded or non-promotional campaigns can move even further outside the box. So let’s talk specifics.

Make images extra large. Time and time again research shows readers are more engaged when graphics and images lead a page. A landing page is promoting one unique message; you can complement that simplicity with clean, large images that communicate that focus precisely.

Hello headline! Spend time crafting a high-impact headline that gets to the heart of your landing page’s purpose. Follow up with a great subhead that lets the reader know immediately what problems this page will solve.

Copy in general should be short and sweet. It also needs to be to the point. If a potential customer clicks a banner ad, they need to be immediately greeted with the same language and cues. In terms of style, make statements active and drop the options. Instead of “you can bring your lab into the 21st Century today,” simply rally the reader to “bring your lab into the 21st Century today!”

Finally, position calls-to-action on every page and avoid links that will take the user off the page. Everything they need should be in this one location.

Advanced tactics for a top-notch landing page

• An additional consideration is search engine optimization (SEO). Make sure there’s a healthy number of your designated keywords scattered throughout your headlines, subheads and main text body – even the landing page URL. This helps with organic rankings and lets the search engines know they are linking to a purpose-built page. The algorithms reward websites and landing pages that align their keyword bid, ad copy, URL and page text. It makes your ad more likely to appear and reduces the cost of each pay-per-click bid.

• Stay away from obvious stock images. It’s tempting to cut and paste some images of researchers in lab coats or a double helix depiction of DNA, but scientists are increasingly cynical toward mass-produced images. We’re dealing with smart people. Your image should be a standout feature, communicating the landing page story in an original way.

• Include an approved testimonial from a happy customer or company representative and don’t be afraid to name-drop, sharing logos and quotes from trusted partners and clients.

• Draw on the popularity of your offering and use a little adult peer-pressure. As an example, “Download the guide that over 1,000 agricultural scientists are learning from today.”

• Include an incentive. Most people ¬– including scientists – love to get a deal. Offer special promotions found only on your landing page. A “Get 20% more with this daily code” might be the final push to make a conversion. It might also encourage readers to direct their friends and coworkers to the site.

• Finally, don’t waste your ‘thank you’ page – what the reader sees after they’ve taken up your call-to-action. Acquire more information or compel the reader to further explore your offerings: “Thank you for your RSVP. Now check out our official welcome from CEO Joe Blog.”

A landing page is a true destination that unites the customer with your campaign, ultimately driving lead generation and contributing to sales. To secure the best results, consider the experience from the customer’s perspective. Is the information clearly laid out? Is there a clear path to follow, with calls-to-action accessible on each page? Landing pages will be part of science marketing for the foreseeable future; master the tactics now to enhance your new campaigns, time and time again.

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