This a bullshit-free guide detailing how to plan, design, execute, measure and refine your SaaS's landing page 💩❌
Who are you?
Hi, my name is Olly and I am a SaaS, ecommerce and B2B landing page expert who has worked in digital marketing and conversion-rate optimisation for 15 years. Put simply I help SaaS startups turn more visitors into customers.
In this guide, my focus is to walk you through my process of creating a high-converting SaaS landing page, as simply and quickly possible.
Who is this guide for?
Founders, marketers, developers, makers, and indie hackers, this jargon-free guide will walk you through the fundamentals of building a landing page for your startup, and optimising its performance.
For beginners, you'll discover simple, step-by-step instructions to plan, publish and measure the performance of your first landing page. For experts, you'll explore new conversion philosophies and optimisation processes to add to your CRO (conversion rate optimisation) toolkit.
Before you start
Tip! Landing page conversion optimisation is a continuous exercise, not do it and done. My recommendation is to work through each stage of this guide as quickly (lean) as possible, to get to the measuring part of the cycle. Measuring is the first stage in which you are learning what works for your audience and business - and these insights power the next steps for your business. Make sure you read this guide's final chapter which explores this theme in more detail.
- Chapter 1: Landing page basics
- Chapter 2: High-converting SaaS landing page examples
- Chapter 3: The philosophy of conversion
- Chapter 4: The anatomy of a SaaS landing age
- Chapter 5: What landing page builder to use
- Chapter 6: How to find a landing page designer
- Chapter 7: Expected SaaS landing page conversion rates
- Chapter 8: What to measure and tools to use
- Chapter 9: The landing page optimisation process
- Chapter 10: Landing page experiments
- Chapter 11: You're Done
Chapter 1: Landing page basics
What is a SaaS landing page?
A SaaS landing page is a website page that is focused on persuading visitors to perform a specific action - usually known as a call to action (conversion event).
What are conversion events?
A conversion rate can be a sign up, free download, free trial registration, purchase, or link click.
We can also look at other conversion events that might not be our ultimate goal, but indicate interest. These could include:
- Visitor views pricing page
- Visitor spends over 60 seconds on the page
- Visitor watches a video
- Visitor starts (but doesn't finish) the sign up flow
What is conversion rate?
The percentage of visitors to the landing page who complete the desired action. If 100 people visit the page, and 5 people complete the action, the conversion rate is 5%.
What is conversion rate optimisation?
The mysterious art of getting more of those visitors to complete the desired action. You are trying to use all the tools at your disposal to increase the conversion rate.
What impacts landing page conversion rate?
- The landing page - the page the visitor lands on
- The channel - where the visitor came from eg Facebook, Google, Referral
- The buyer - are they a good fit for your product or service ie are they within your buyer persona?
- The buyer stage - where is the visitor is in the buying cycle?
This guide focuses on the landing page itself. For that reason we should assume for the purposes of this guide, that your marketing channels are delivering relevant buyers who are ready to buy.
What is a SaaS landing page?
A SaaS landing is a website page used by a software as a service business built with the intention of getting visitors to complete an action.
What is the difference between a homepage and a landing page?
A landing page is different to a homepage in that it is focused on exclusively persuading the visitor to convert. Your homepage may have this goal but also has to answer other visitor needs.
Tip! People use the terms landing page and homepage interchangeably. For most early stage startups your homepage will also be your landing page. However, once you have the resources and skills you should be building multiple landing pages focused on different buyers and objectives.
Chapter 2: High converting SaaS landing page examples
Here are some example of high-converting SaaS landing pages annotated with the unique things they are doing to increase conversion. I'll explore the ideas highlighted throughout this guide.
See more high converting landing page examples.
Chapter 3: The philosophy of conversion
Desire vs friction
There are two parts to the anatomy of a SAAS landing page. The first is the philosophy that underpins visitor conversion. This is two conflicting drivers of user behaviour: desire and friction. When constructing your landing page, your job is to:
- increase desire
- reduce friction
We can assume visitors to your landing page have some desire to explore your product, because they have clicked an advertisement or comment, or searched for your business. How can we increase that desire to get them to convert, and also reduce any friction that might prevent it? Simple, use my visual guide:
Chapter 4: The anatomy of a SAAS landing page
Now that you've reviewed various high-converting landing page examples and understand the philosophies, it's time to deconstruct a high-converting landing page. Here's the anatomy of most landing pages.
Common sections of a SaaS landing page
Nearly all landing pages consistent of the following key sections and elements
- CTA, examples
- Sign up form
- Download form
- Buy product
- Read more link
- Product walk through
- Product video
Now let's talk about the what and why of each section.
Tip! It will be tempting to try something new. Before you try and break the rules, understand and test the established design patterns used on SaaS landing pages. Visitors are familiar with the standard format - and this familiarity helps reduce friction. Nailed it? Now you can experiment.
Chapter 5: What landing page builders to use
Why use a landing page builder for your SaaS?
I always recommend the use of landing page builders - even if you're a developer or technical team. Decoupling app and marketing site development is key. Your company's development should focus on building proprietary tech, not replicating that of the leading landing page tools.
Using landing page tools empowers your whole team to experiment and execute within their own work cycles, without dev intervention.
Landing page tools combine setup, hosting, function and design.
Tip! There are 10,000s of publicly available, free landing page templates that you can implement into landing page builders. They allow you to rapidly setup a landing page, which is critical if you want to optimise. However, they're not custom built for your buyer or objectives. You may find yourself struggling to match your goals and the template.
Chapter 6: How to find a landing page designer
A high quality and considered landing page design can give your landing page authority, ensure that the elements are gracefully structured, and the user journeys are clear. If you have the budget, and want to customise your landing page's design, this chapter is for you.
Some landing page tools do not allow you to implement your own custom designs, but Webflow, Unbounce, Instapage and Wordpress do.
Where can I find a landing page designer?
Here are some places you can commission a landing page designer:
- Find someone on Dribble
- Post on design job boards
- Find landing pages you like and find out who designed it
- Check your network or communities for designer recommendations
- Use a productised design service:
- Post a job for a designer on a platform like YunoJuno or Kandidate
- Search LinkedIn for 'freelance digital designer' in your city, or worldwide
- Post a brief on Fiverr [I recommend using Fiverr Pro]
- Ask me to do it for you
How much does a landing page designer cost?
Landing page design can cost anywhere from £100s to £1000s - depending on the experience of the designer, the length and complexity of the design, and whether you're also looking for advanced work like animation, custom illustration, or product and logo design.
Chapter 7: Expected SaaS landing page conversion rates
Your landing page conversion will depend on your industry, audience and paid performance campaigns ie this is an impossible question to answer. But, that's the the boring answer. Thanks to our friends at Unbounce, who measured millions landing page interactions we do have an indicative starting point.
In their 2020 survey, they discovered that the average conversion rate of a SaaS landing page is currently 2.9%. They also found that the very best SaaS landing pages convert at a whopping 24.2%.
Read more on SaaS landing page conversion rates.
Chapter 8: What to measure and tools to use
Obviously with one key call-t0-action on your landing page, conversion rate is going to be your most important metric.
But, if your page is new or your your traffic is low, there are other indicators to focus on. These metrics will allow you to understand what is happing. As follows:
The following metrics can help signpost how your landing page is performing if it's not yet driving conversions, for example if traffic is low, or the page recently launched. Use these indicators to understand to review early landing page performance.
Time on site
What: How long did the average visitor stay on your website?
Tool: Use Google Analytics.
Time on sections
What: How long did visitors spend on different elements of your landing page? Which elements did they spend most their time on?
Tool: Use HotJar.
What: What % of visitors landed on a page and left? A high bounce rate may suggest your copy isn't engaging.
Tool: Use Google Analytics.
What: How deep down your page did the visitor scroll?
Tool: Use the heatmaps feature in HotJar.
Other page metrics to watch
The following are things you should check each time you change your landing page.
- Page load time - how long does your page take to load. Use Pingdom to constantly measure
- Reading age - what is the reading age of your site copy. Use this tool.
- Qualitative feedback - what does customer feedback through your chatbot or exit intent tell you?
Tip! Remember to segment your reporting to understand how users from different channels (known as Mediums in Google Analytics) perform. This helps you understand what channels are performing best.
Popular landing page tools can be split into mainly quantitive (numbers) and qualitative (words / feedback). Here are some of the most popular tools to use.
- Full Story
- Google Analytics
- Get Site Control
Chapter 9: The landing page optimisation process
If there is one thing you take away from this guide, it should be this.
You should now have a good grounding in landing page fundamentals. But what to do with this information? The key is to execute often. As mentioned multiple times already, you should consider your landing pages an ongoing marketing experiment.
When running any marketing experiment the key is to get to insights as quickly as possible. Use these to inform frequent changes and refinements to constantly improve your landing conversion.
Here is a lean cycle of work you should follow:
- Create - build your landing page V1, fast
- Launch - get it online and send traffic to it
- Measure - this is the good stuff, what are we learning?
- Refine - define and put actions into place, and start again
The quicker your speed through this cycle, the faster you'll gather insights, and the quicker your conversion rate will improve.
Tip! As the saying goes, if you're not at least a little bit embarrassed by your first landing page version, you've spent too long on it. Get it live and start learning.
This is my complete guide to landing page optimisation.
Chapter 10: Landing Page Experiments
Chapter 11: You're Done
Landing pages are your opportunity to relay what makes you great to the people who you can help most. They're easy to build but almost impossible to get right. Key is to understand the fundamentals, and experiment, experiment, experiment. If you can do that you'll out-perform most founders who are yet to realise the importance of a high-converting landing page.
Your understanding of the work is complete, now it's time to ship. Good luck!