Creating web content that’s tactical and engaging can be tricky. Understanding how to build the right content can make all the difference in driving engagement and delivering the content your visitors need to see. So, how can you create targeted content? If your answer was your website, you may want to consider using a landing page. What’s the difference between the two, you may ask? We’re here to help! In this article, we’ll show you how a landing page and website compare to one another and the best times to use either.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is a stand-alone destination that a site visitor ends up on. These are generally linked throughout a website, such as through a drop-down menu, linked page headers, or hyperlinks embedded in the text bodies.
Landing pages serve a specific purpose and generally have a focused goal with limited coverage. The goal of the landing page is a call to action (CTA). The purpose is usually to generate business or capture leads, but they can also be used for presenting engaging experimental content.
What is a website?
Unlike a landing page, a website is more general. If you think of Russian nesting dolls, a website is the biggest doll that things like landing pages and funnel pages fit inside of! A website is generally the first thing a visitor comes across if they are looking for your web content on their own. Generally, you want to send links to landing or funnel pages because they’ll move visitors just a little bit closer to action.
Your website will have as many or as few subpages as you like. Typically, they’ll also include some sort of search tool and the main page that helps direct site visitors to where they need to be with things like header buttons, drop-down menus, or CTA buttons.
Differences between a landing page and a website
Number of pages
Not to be too obvious, but a landing page is a single destination while a website houses more than one place a site visitor can go. On a sliding scale, landing pages fall on one side of the spectrum and websites on the other, with microsites landing somewhere in between.
Depending on the goal you are trying to achieve, each of these formats can be helpful.
The number of pages you are hosting can affect the way information is delivered and received by your visitors. For example, if you’re directing folks to a website that is filled with different pages for them to click through, they may spend less time on each page and more time working through every aspect of the site linked to them.
On the other hand, a single landing page has a hyper-focused approach. While this may be optimal if you are certain that the destination you are linking visitors to is the end of their engagement journey, it could be a dead-end if they end up being uninterested in what they immediately see.
Something in between these two experiences is a microsite, which offers visitors the structure they need for a tailored experience without limiting them to what can feel like a pushy hard sell.
A website is a general hub that your site visitor will end up on for non-specific information searches. It could be that their relationship with your content at this point is purely exploratory. You may also gauge what sort of experience they‘re looking for so you can offer a more focused experience later on.
Landing pages are very specific. The information on a landing page is funneled toward the call to action. With only 54 seconds to impress your site visitors, landing pages need to be delivered to the right audience at a very precise spot in the sales funnel. Otherwise, sharing that information with them is useless.
However, if you’ve got a firm grasp on who is visiting your landing page and why, they are the perfect place for you to capture lead information. Landing pages will generally ask visitors for contact information, offer promotional information, or redirect action with a CTA.
Directing traffic to the appropriate destination ultimately boils down to an understanding of your target audience and where they are in your sales funnel. A sales funnel has four levels: awareness, interest, decision, and action.
At the awareness stage, your audience is just noticing your product or services. Generally, this will come from word-of-mouth recommendations, advertisements, or consumer research. Typically, this stage will lead consumers to your website (though advertisements may direct them straight to a landing page).
At this point, visitors are exploring who you are and what you have to offer. A website is a great tool here because it works for new and existing customers. It’ll give visitors a holistic view of your brand, from your back story to how they can receive quotes.
It’s important to offer consumers the space to explore, as it can help them make a decision and move farther down that funnel into decision-making.
Landing pages work well here. At this point, it’s likely you also have some insight into who your consumer is and how to best develop a relationship with them. Unlike your website, you can incorporate focused, specialized content that demonstrates an understanding of your site visitor, their interests, and the problems they are hoping to solve.
A microsite is a little bit different than both because it takes the best elements of websites (the ability to explore) and landing pages (targeted information sharing) to give visitors the ultimate content experience.
Microsites are tailored sites that can feature multiple subpages with the caveat that they are more specific than general websites. The information on these subpages answers lingering questions that your visitor may have, even if they’ve moved beyond a preliminary exploration of your brand.
They offer visitors the opportunity to engage with multiple aspects of your content without pigeonholing them into one targeted action or another. It’s a flexible approach to web-based marketing content.
Landing page vs. website: when to use each
Now that you’ve got a little bit of a broader view of what landing pages and websites do, you may be wondering when it is most appropriate to use either. Here’s how you can use landing pages and websites to serve your brand.
Landing page use cases
Because of how targeted landing pages are, they’ll generally focus on action-oriented behavior. As such, these sorts of site destinations are effective in the following capacities:
If you run a robust campaign that shares content across multiple outlets, landing pages are the perfect way to fast-track your market’s movement down the sales funnel. By linking landing pages to your advertisements on social media, banner ads, or PPC ads you can move them straight to the content they were drawn to so they can take action.
The goal isn’t just to get your content out in front of people, you also want to maintain some avenue for communication with your target audience. Landing pages are the perfect place for you to host lead magnets that encourage leads to share contact information with you. Sometimes this comes in the form of a “transaction,” like inputting email information to gain access to a free white page or ebook.
Communicate important information
Landing pages also serve a functional purpose. They can let your visitors know you have new products or services launching soon, they can be used to redirect visitors back to your website or serve as a login portal.
Website use cases
The general nature of a website allows you to be flexible and creative with the information you are including. Since this is where your visitors will turn for exploration, providing a wide range of information they’ll be interested in is important. Here’s what you might include or emphasize throughout your website:
Brand values and mission statements
As they weigh their options, your site visitor is likely looking to learn about more than just the products and services you offer. Consumers are four times more likely to purchase from brands that are purpose-driven!
A space to explore what you have to offer
Include lists, descriptions, and images of what you have to offer visitors. You should provide opportunities for them to easily navigate the pages and quickly find exactly what they are looking for.
Expanding an online presence
Because they’re heftier than landing pages, websites are the way to go if you want to increase SEO or make yourself more searchable. There are often more opportunities to include a broader range of keywords and content.
What about microsites? Zoomforth has the answer
One more option remains if you want to reap the benefits of both without doing a lot of extra work: a microsite.
Microsites can help you do the same legwork that landing pages do, offering your visitors tailored content that drives them to action, but with the same robust content opportunities as a website. They’re more flexible than both in nature and can serve temporary or permanent functions! You can create a unique and immersive content experience without sacrificing a larger branding scheme.
Zoomforth makes it easy to create microsites that are information-rich and highly engaging. The drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to create content and incorporate your branding in every aspect of your microsite!
Request a demo of Zoomforth today!
Photo by Fabian Irsara on Unsplash