We've spent an extraordinary amount of time and dedication over the past few weeks to determine the best landing page software on the market, and our investigation concludes that InstaPage is currently the best landing page software, seeing as how it has impressive landing page building tools for teams, the pricing is reasonable, and you receive features such as conversion-ready templates, heatmapping a lead generation system and various integrations.
Overall, this is a landing page creator that has consistently beat out the competition on multiple fronts. That isn't to say that others aren't viable as well, but InstaPage is currently number one in our book.
Our research started after noticing that the average user has a wide range of choices when looking for a landing page. Although it's nice to have competition and options, it makes things a little more difficult for people to decide on which one is going to deliver the most overall conversions and features.
The evaluation began with trying to understand what people want out of landing pages. For example, most folks would like to capture data from customers or make a sale. This means that conversions are paramount. We've also noticed that integrations come into play as well, allowing users to connect with other apps like email subscription services and social media.
User-friendliness plays a large role as well, since even the most experienced developers don't want to spend all the time in the world getting a landing page launched. The whole point of a landing page is to quickly design it, make it look absolutely professional and get it out to the public. After all, many ecommerce sites utilize landing pages for hundreds of new products and offerings. If you needed to develop a brand new landing page for each one, it would take a long time, and the margin for error would be greater, as opposed to working with proven templates.
Therefore, we discovered that users interested in landing pages generally want to achieve the following things:
- High conversion rates
- Quickly created landing pages
- Templating to duplicate landing pages used in the past
- Testing to see which landing pages are working the best
- Connections with other apps like email marketing tools
- Lead generation possibilities
- An interface that creates urgency
- Built-in features so they don't have to go out and find plugins
It's also worthwhile to examine the tasks companies and individuals are trying to accomplish with landing pages. This gives us an idea of how you might be able to use landing pages, seeing as how they have proven to be one of the most effective ways of converting customers.
So, what can you sell (or give out) more effectively with a landing page?
- Notifications for a future product or service
- A physical gift for everyone who signs up
- A free trial to your software
- An entry to a contest
- An eBook or some sort of document to help customers
- A ticket to watch a webinar
- A free consultation for your services
- A coupon or promotional code
Because the internet is filled with software testing tools like Inflectra, this is a shortened list of the many possibilities, but it should give you a solid idea as to how landing pages can become strong tools for your customers.
InstaPage supports the majority of the objectives listed above, making it the top candidate. For instance, let's say a key feature you need is the ability to create landing pages fast. InstaPage has a stunning landing page builder that works with thousands of images, fonts and themes. And it doesn't matter what type of product or service you're trying to sell (or maybe you just want to collect email addresses,) since you can give out coupons, eBooks, tickets, entries and all of the other items we talked about above.
Next I want to show you the methodology we took to land on this decision. We'll also explore who landing pages are best for, along with examples of good landing pages and other competitors you can choose from. Keep reading to learn more!
Table of Contents
- Why You Should Trust Us
- Who is This Software For?
- How I Chose and Tested
- Our Pick: InstaPage
- The Runner-up: Wishpond
- How the Competitors Compare
- Tips for Making Your Own Landing Pages
- Some Final Thoughts and Things to Remember
Why You Should Trust Us
I've spent several years as the master researcher at Ecommerce Platforms. Even before that I was an expert in understanding ecommerce systems and the tools required to establish a viable brand online.
When starting out, I had no idea how made a solid online store. If you were to ask me then, I would tell you to go find a platform like Shopify or Volusion and upload your products. This wasn't a bad start, but there's far more to it. As many of you will understand, marketing tools like landing pages are the true lifeblood of an ecommerce shop.
Therefore, an expert in online business must take the time to test out the tools necessary and make decisions on the ones to use and the ones that are only going to waste time and money.
My research and writing quickly led me to the conclusion that conversions matter most with ecommerce. An expert needs to now about customers and where they go on a site. An expert needs to test different elements on a site to understand which parts are working and which are not. Finally, an expert needs to locate the tools that can make all of this happen.
For instance, my first few ecommerce sites had no help from landing pages. I built a hardware store ecommerce shop for a client and posted ads to Google and Facebook. I then linked all of these targeted ads to the online store's homepage. It sounded right to me at the time.
However, after a couple more years of research I found that landing pages were the key to higher ad conversions, seeing as how customers are expecting to go to the product pages they clicked through for. And that's where my expertise comes into play. Most ecommerce professionals would make a realization like that, where they choose a landing page builder, then move on.
Since I also work for Ecommerce Platforms, I take it a step further. I ask why each landing page platform does what it does. Then I test and study each option to decide on the ones that have the top UXs, conversion rates and templates. This methodology goes for each of the ecommerce tools I research, whether it be mailing list modules, product receipt apps or taxes calculators.
With my testing there's always several extra steps, breaking down the marketplace and ranking the top solutions. Therefore, I've done the research and tested hundreds of online solutions.
Who is Landing Page Software For?
The short answer to this question is every business that wants to make more sales. I do, however, understand that many brick and mortar stores don't have ecommerce shops, making landing pages a little less intriguing for them. What am I saying, of course they're useful! Everyone needs to strongly consider landing page software, especially brick and mortar shops that are trying to compete in a digital world.
Think about it. A hair salon in Chicago believes that most of its customer base comes from people who live in the area, and maybe those who walk by the storefront. What could a landing page possibly do for them? Well, I would assume that Yelp and Google pages are actually two of the main reasons customers stop by for a new hair style. That's all digital right there. Not only that, but the salon definitely needs a website to move up in the local search engine rankings. Finally, a prudent hair salon owner would deliver targeted Google ads for certain cuts, styles and treatments, all of them leading to unique landing pages.
All in all, you don't need to be running an ecommerce shop to successfully utilize the landing page.
However, landing pages are also essential for the ecommerce world, particularly when releasing new products, sharing promotions, trying to collect email addresses and introducing an event. It doesn't matter about the industry either, seeing as how a small online jewelry store would have just as much success with a landing page as a giant like Zappos.
What's interesting is that small businesses actually stand to gain more with a landing page. The big brands like Zappos, Amazon, Macy's, Home Depot, Walmart and Target have their brand recognition set in stone. Sure, they probably spend millions of dollars to post Google Ads that link to landing pages, but this is where small businesses can put themselves on an even playing field.
A small hardware store can't compete with Home Depot or Lowe's in the search engine department. Local SEO? Absolutely. But someone not in your neighborhood searching for a hammer or drill online is most likely going to end up on the Home Depot site.
Here's where landing pages come into play. If you're paying money for a Google or Facebook ad, the big dogs can't box you out. Your money is just as good as theirs, so your ad results are going to be delivered high as well. The big question is whether or not you link those ads to landing pages. If not, you're bound to waste your money on ads and have no chance at competing.
The final area we want to look at involves informational businesses and individuals. Some of these people are bloggers, while others are online marketers trying to gain followings. These folks might occasionally sell physical products, but in general, you're going to find free blogs, webinars, eBooks and other similar items.
All of these can be sold effectively using landing pages. In fact, even someone only attempting to build an email list can make a landing page to boost conversions. Whether it be a webinar registration or eBook sales page, the smaller guys are once again in need of beautiful landing pages.
How I Chose and Tested the Best Landing Page Software
Now that it's clear who should think about getting landing page software, let's take a look at the finalists we landed on when completing our research over the past few weeks:
Throughout my analysis, I actually started with dozens of landing page solutions. This way, I was able to whittle down the playing field and uncover the true outliers. I acted as if I had never seen any of the tools before, therefore, making my views more unbiased. I wanted to come into the review as a new customer, only taking in the features as I would use them for my own personal use.
This approach allows me to play around with the features I believe are most valuable to me, and other users for that matter. As an example, a template library is a must-have for a landing page software. There's not a single part of me that wants to construct landing pages from scratch, whether it be with a drag and drop editor or with coding. I would assume that most developers, regardless of experience level, agree with me.
Similar to my template requirement, I uncovered a total of three primary features that I need to have with a landing page software. This gave me the opportunity to cut out some of the less powerful landing page options.
The three must-have features are:
- Beautiful, conversion-ready templates with lots of choices – It doesn't matter what type of campaign you're creating because your landing page software should give you enough options to quickly grab a template and make things happen. I would expect to have hundreds of templates to choose from, and I also want them to look modern and colorful. Media support comes in handy, and we obviously all want the templates to have been tested for optimal conversion rates. This means that you can rest easy knowing that the designs are going to work, even if you opt out of A/B testing.
- A landing page builder that doesn't take an experienced pro to use – Although I do enjoy drag and drop page builders, it's not really a necessity for me. Why? Because many of them don't work that well, and all you need is a beautiful builder that presents the design elements clearly. For example, we want to be able to see where you can upload images, and the ability to change around things like colors and text should be right in front of your nose. It's also impressive when you get items like fonts and images built into the system. This way, you don't have to take your own pictures or worry about finding a font that fits your brand.
- A lead generation system – It doesn't matter if you're trying to collect registrations for a webinar or you're selling a new product, each of your landing pages should have a lead generation system. This way, you can go back and try to sell those people again in the future. Many landing page platforms only offer the templates and designers. This is no good, since we want to be able to instantly insert a form for people to punch in their information. I also like it when there's an integration with email subscription tools like MailChimp. Regardless of your objectives, landing page software should route your leads to where you want them to go, whether it's into a spreadsheet, into a another software or into an email list. Oh yeah, it's also nice when you see a landing page tool that supports receipts, thank you messages and digital asset delivery (like if you wanted to send out an eBook after someone signs up).
After looking at the features above, many of my test subjects failed to make the cut. However, these ones still stuck around:
That's a pretty nice selection you have there, but quite a few other features are needed when looking for a landing page software. As you read at the beginning of this article, I eventually decided that InstaPage is my number one choice. I came upon this decision by evaluating the three solutions with some other requirements I would like to see in a landing page solution.
The following features focus mainly on optimization, client management and integrations.
The additional features that mean quite a bit for a landing page software include:
- A heatmapping system for viewing customer behavior – Heatmapping can be provided in real-time or as a snapshot of what users have been doing over a period of time. A heatmap shows your landing page, then it has different “heat” colors scattered throughout the page to show where users are more likely to click and interact with your page. So, you might find that your primary call to action button is more of a blue than a red (red means that lots of people are clicking,) so you need to figure out ways to improve that. Heatmapping combines well with A/B testing since you can see where you need to improve, then test out your solutions to see if they work.
- Lots of useful integrations – The main integration I would look for involves email subscriptions. For example, you would want a service like MailChimp to integrate directly into the landing page so that all of the emails drop into your list. However, various other integrations come in handy when constructing your landing pages. for example, many companies will need the landing pages to connect to SalesForce, bringing in the client management aspect of things. I also like integrations with office products like Zuhu, along with tools like Google Analytics and Facebook. After all, you're going to want users to share your landing page on social media.
- Support for large enterprises – This has a lot to do with support, speed and up-time. Some of the less reputable landing page companies can't guarantee quality support for clients, and they end up leaving you with the task of speeding up your landing pages and making sure they are up at all times. That's not the case with the best software, since you can call or email to speak with a rep, and they have tools in place for ensuring that your pages are fast and powerful. Enterprises don't need to worry about whether or not a landing page is coming up since they probably have thousands of pages running at one time. In addition, they will most likely want to call a support team when something goes wrong. A simple landing page plugin won't give you any of this.
- Support for multiple users, along with powerful client management – I want my landing page software to support multiple users because I'm not going to be the only one creating and managing the pages. In addition, I might want to send the designs to other people who shouldn't be doing any editing. That's where a “read-only” version comes into play. You may have stakeholders in your company who only need the read-only version. Finally, it's essential to have some sort of client management module, where the leads get sent to relevant departments. This ties into the integrations we talked about above, seeing as how you might want some leads to be sent to your SalesForce program, but only to one department.
- A/B split testing and other optimization items – Look for real-time reporting when seeking out a landing page. This way you only get the most up-to-date information regarding your landing pages. We also like the idea of reports and analytics on your mobile phone. Pixel tracking allows you to see where people are coming from and why they might not be sticking around. Finally, the A/B testing feature is the most important of all when it comes to optimization. Generating a landing page only goes so far. You'll need to make multiple versions to see which ones are the most effective. For example, a simple button color, or location change might be enough to boost your conversions by 10 or 20%.
- Tools for adjusting your copy based on what people search for – Since many landing pages achieve clicks from people searching through Google and Bing ads, it makes sense to cater to these services. Let's say a user searches for women's basketball shoes and your Google Ad comes up as a result. They click through and are redirected to one of your landing pages. Sounds great, right? In theory, yes, but wouldn't it be better if the text on your landing page actually changed depending on the search keywords used by the user? This is a fairly advanced tool that you can't find in many landing page software options. It's not the first feature I would go hunting for, but it empowers you to utilize testing with dynamic test and campaign management. This way, you can adjust your campaigns automatically.
- Audit logs – An audit log stores information about users, transactions, movements and any other history that might have occurred on your landing pages. The entire goal of a landing page is to acquire more customers, but if someone is having trouble signing up or if they didn't receive a message after going through your landing page you may need to provide some technical support and troubleshoot the problem. The only way to do this is to have access to the audit logs, with information on what the customer has done on your site.
Our Pick for Best Landing Page Software: InstaPage
Although we certainly like the other two options, InstaPage gets our vote as the clear leader for landing page software. This doesn't mean you should immediately choose InstaPage, but if you were to opt for a tool that covers the majority of the features we talked about above, it's certainly going to give you a good value.
We know InstaPage has wonderful templates, a nice theme builder and a lead generation system. But let's see how it stacks up with some of the other features we crave for a landing page software:
- A heatmapping system for viewing customer behavior – Instapage takes heatmapping to a whole new level, with three tracking options: Mouse movements, clicks and scroll depth. The mouse movement is all about where regular visitors are moving around on the page. Are they noticing a part of your design first that shouldn't be happening? Are they getting distracted by an item on your page? The clicks are the main part of heatmapping, with colorful blobs that reveal exactly what parts of your landing page are receiving the most clicks. Finally, the scroll depth gives you an idea of whether or not users are seeing the content you have located further down your page. There's a chance that either people aren't that interested in it or they never get past the call to action button (which could be a good indication of the button's effectiveness).
- Lots of useful integrations – InstaPage does a wonderful job of letting you create instant landing pages. However, it also takes a strong stance on providing integrations for you to take your landing pages a little further. For example, you can integrate with solutions like SalesForce, Facebook, Google Analytics and Constant Contact. More email marketing tools are available through the MailChimp connection, and WuFoo Forms improves the way you make forms (although the InstaPage tools are pretty darn good). Crazy Egg and ClickTale both merge with InstaPage, making it much easier to manage analytics and email automation. What's more is that you can publish landing pages on a WordPress site, all with the help of a simple extension.
- Support for large enterprises – The server up-time is managed with an Amazon + Google cloud server redundancy. Basically, this means that large and small businesses will have their landing pages running all the time. You can create unlimited pages, and there's no limit to the number of visitors that come to your pages. Furthermore, InstaPage utilizes a worldwide CDN, along with a dual cloud infrastructure on Amazon and Google. In short, you're not going to have any problems with speed. Finally, chat, email and phone support are all available 24/7, so an enterprise can get problems solved quickly.
- Support for multiple users, along with powerful client management – Control is the key for client management, and InstaPage lets you send clients to certain departments, all depending on the landing pages those clients are acquired through. Also, you can invite whoever you want to become a user. Contractors and freelancers can see what your landing pages look like, and you have the ability to allow people to edit or get a read-only version.
- A/B split testing and other optimization items – InstaPage provides A/B testing, where it lets you create multiple versions of a landing page. It automatically decides on the best version based on the results. You can also track user behavior when they get on your page. A tracking pixel improves how you view where people go to buy your items, and real-time reports can be accessed through just about any device.
- Tools for adjusting your copy based on what people search for – InstaPage is one of the few landing page software options that offer this feature. It basically taps into the search results to see what people are searching for before they come to your landing page. If you have a variation of your landing page, the system may realize that this customer is more likely to buy if they see one of the variations. It's all done automatically, so the text dynamically adjusts based on what the user searches.
- Audit logs – Instapage provides a beautiful audit log area that doesn't look nearly as technical as most audit logs you might stumble upon. This module shows a list of your users along with information about their history. You can adjust the date range to troubleshoot situations that may have occurred in those ranges. You also have the option to scroll through actions from a particular user if they're having problems signing up or if they think something didn't work properly.
How the Competitors Compare
Wishpond is the runner-up, seeing as how it offers some of the many must-have features we like to see in a landing page software.
It's in the middle of the road in terms of pricing, and it offers more of a suite than just landing pages. For instance, the landing pages are great, but you also gain access to a full system for contests and promotions. The website popups and online forms are included with the suite, and you get marketing automation, email marketing and a lead database.
Unbounce is the most expensive, but it has a few elements that make it perfect for folks who want a drag and drop editor, or those who wouldn't mind the ability to make lightboxes or popup forms. It has a strong set of features for placing target overlays on your webpages, and the templates are beautiful.
The agency and client tools seem to be a strong-suit as well, seeing as how you can set multi-user permissions, and it lets you group campaigns to keep track of clients much easier.
Tips for Making Your Own Landing Pages
A landing page software is only half the battle. Yes, you get to start with templates, but what about adjusting those designs for your own company? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Kill the filler by getting to the point as quickly as possible.
- Remove elements that don't contribute to getting leads.
- Contrast works great for conversions. Therefore, use contrasting colors, designs and text to grab attention.
- Every color you choose arouses a different emotion. Choose them wisely.
- You must have images and videos on your landing page.
- Pictures of smiling people are known to convert well.
Some Final Thoughts and Things to Remember
If you're looking for the best value in a landing page software, InstaPage is, without a doubt, the best way to go. InstaPage is also the most well-rounded solution, seeing as how it provides stunning templates, powerful integrations and unique features like dynamic text changes.
I would recommend Wishpond if you'd like to get into contests and promotions, or true marketing automation. Yes, InstaPage has some features for this, but Wishpond's are stronger. Unbounce comes in strong on the lightbox and popup front, so if that's your style, consider Unbounce.
My personal recommendation is to test out InstaPage first. It's the cheapest, and I believe it has the widest feature-set. If you decide that it's not for you, move onto one of the other options.
If you have any questions about the best landing page software, let us know in the comments section below.