SaaS Landing Page Best Practices

How to build SaaS landing pages that actually convert

Mike Northfield
May 17, 2020

Well crafted landing pages pay dividends. They’re often made out to be an enigma but don’t need to be complicated. Here is the process I use to create B2B SaaS landing pages that work.

There are six core elements that every landing page should have. Beyond these elements there are a ton of optional “ingredients” or “toppings” you can layer on to make them even better. For this article, I’m just going to focus on the core elements. Let’s start with the pillars:

  1. The audience
  2. The headline and hook
  3. The offer
  4. Conversion point(s)
  5. Social proof
  6. Examples
Landing Page Booklet Mockup Landing page

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The audience

Your audience should be at the core of everything you create as a marketer. Before you start building anything, you need to dial in on who you’re talking to. Don’t lose sight of this as you’re building. As you work through the process, check in with yourself and your team – is what we’re creating going to speak to our intended audience? If it doesn’t, make adjustments.

Your page should be lean – it should speak to as few audiences as possible. Pick one group (or persona) and get hyper-focused with your copy. Compile the “pains” and “gains” of this audience. What causes friction in their day-to-day job? What keeps them up at night? What matters to them? What problems do you solve for them?  

Questions to answer:

  • Who is this for? Who is the audience?
  • What are their pains?
  • How would they describe the problem and the solution in their own words?

The headline (hook)

The headline is the most important part of your landing page. It’s worth about 70% of your page’s value because its job is to creatively convince readers that it’s worth taking action and converting, or continuing on to read more of the page. The subheading and every sentence after that should be used in the same way – to convince your viewer to take action, or at least to keep reading. Writing a strong headline isn’t easy. But there are a few basic guidelines you can follow to get started.

  • Write 3–5 versions
    Don’t settle for your first take. Writing a few options forces you to get creative and think about the offer from different angles.
  • Be specific
    Being specific builds a frame of reference for the audience and helps them connect to your offer. Think about the two following examples. Which one is more compelling? Yes, the second option is much longer – that’s ok. Because it’s also much more specific. Assume we’re running an ABM campaign and our audience is Accounts Payable Directors in fortune 500 companies. The second headline is much more likely to capture the attention of that audience.  

1. See how to automate your invoice processing and reduce your touchpoints
2. See how 30+ fortune 500 companies reduced invoice processing touchpoints from 10 to 1 and increased no-touch throughput by 75%

  • Use a framework or formula
    Here’s a basic headline framework I learned from Dave Gerhardt, CMO at Privvy. It doesn’t work for everything, but it can help you get to a “version one” in most cases.

How to (get some amazing thing/result/success/etc.) Without (something that is hard/takes time/frustrating)

  • Put it in their words
    Use your audience’s pains or gains to write the headline. Use their voice. What words and phrases do they use to describe the problem and solution? How can you echo that language and meet them where they are in the conversation going on in their head?

Questions to answer:

  • What will stop the reader in their tracks and convince them to keep reading?
  • What’s the hook that will convince the reader that your offer (see next section) is worth signing up for? Why should they care? 
  • What’s the significance to them?

The offer(s)

The offer is the purpose of the page – your call to action. To get to the offer, you need to ask yourself: what’s in it for your audience? Why should someone covert on your page? What do they get from the exchange? The offer needs to be valuable.

A great landing page won’t solve for a product that doesn’t add value, a poorly planned webinar, an underwhelming offer, or low-value template. In other words, you need to start with something worth selling.

Examples of offers:

  • A free consultation with a(n) [your industry/solution category] expert
  • A free guide to [solving some big problem for your customer], developed by industry experts
  • A template to help your target audience do their job better or faster 
  • A playbook for _______________
  • A learning session

Questions to answer:

  • What’s your offer? 
  • What value are you bringing to the table?
  • How does it help them (your audience)?
  • Why should someone care – what’s the benefit to them?

Conversion point(s)

If you want people to convert, you need to make it easy. Forms should be short and sweet. Reduce the amount of friction it takes to convert. Collecting information for the sales team is great, but not if the extra fields prevent someone from converting. For downloads, a name and email address are usually plenty. 

Putting multiple CTA buttons on the page that anchor back to the primary form you want visitors to complete helps guide a viewer to that particular action.

I also like to include conversion points on the page that target viewers at different stages of the marketing funnel. Nobody wants to schedule a demo unless they’re in the consideration or decision stage. Are there other lower-risk offers you can use to capture visitors at other points of the buyer’s journey? If your offer is a free consultation with an expert from your team, consider adding a section to the bottom of the page where related ebooks, templates, or guides are available for download. Or set up a pop-up banner to display on exit intent that offers your most valuable piece of content.

Questions to answer:

  • What are your conversion points?
  • What stage of the buyer’s journey are you targeting with each one?
  • What’s the minimum amount of information you need from a lead? 

Social proof

Word of mouth and testimonials are the most powerful form of proof. Social proof shows that your product does what you say it does. Leverage customer quotes from testimonials, case studies, and interviews. Ideally, you can align the job titles and industries with those from your target audience. Aim for 2–3.

If you don’t have any good quotes to use, it’s probably time to do a few interviews with your evangelists. In the meantime, consider scraping review sites (Capterra, G2 Crowd, etc.) for nice things your customers have said about your product. 

Using real pictures of your quoted customers (check their LinkedIn profile) adds tons of credibility to the quote – along with their job title and company name or industry. If you don’t have permission to use their name or company, anonymize the quote. Only use their job title and industry. For example, instead of “Kalungi”, say “B2B SaaS Marketing Agency”. 

Are there any high-profile customers whose logos you can use to show credibility or build trust? What companies will your target audience be familiar with?

Questions to answer:

  • Do you have quotes to use (if not, it’s time to do some interviews and write a case study)
  • What quotes will resonate best with your page’s target audience
  • Do you have permission from your customers to use their quotes?

Examples

Talking about your product is great, but showing it is better. Screenshots, GIF recordings, battle cards, etc. Does your product automate a process for your target audience? Show how it works. Take screenshots of the user interface, put them in device mockups. Turn screen recordings of processes into GIFs. Can’t show the product for competitive reasons? Have your designer make an illustration to represent the solution graphically. Are you comparing your product to a dying competitor? Create a feature-comparison battle card to show how much better your product is.

Examples strengthen your message. They say what your words can’t. They don’t give you a “get out of jail free card” for writing great copy. You still need that. But examples mean you don’t only need to rely on your copy to deliver the message.

A note of caution: be careful not to fall into the trap of listing features. Try to make your examples show more. Instead of selling the shovel, sell the holes your customers can dig with the shovel. 

Questions to answer:

  • What are your examples? 
  • What process or job-to-be-done are you showing?
  • How can you illustrate the gains?

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