Landing pages are valuable tools in your nonprofit’s online marketing tool box.

Using a landing page lets you direct your website traffic to the places you want them to go, and encourages your site visitors to take the actions you want them to take.

If you’re not already using them, this post will show you how (and why).

But first…

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a special website page dedicated to a program, event, or campaign. It may help to think of it as a one page mini-site.

It’s designed to get your visitor to take a specific action (register for an event, sign up for a program, download a resource, etc…)

In the same way you don’t talk about volunteer opportunities or announce new employees in a fundraising appeal – because it would distract the reader from your main goal – you keep your landing page focused as well.

A landing page should not contain any outbound links to other areas of your website. You don’t want visitors reading ‘about’ you. You don’t want them checking out your programs and services.

If they click away to other parts of your site, there’s a good chance they’ll never come back.

Why would you need a landing page?

Using landing pages makes it much more likely that your website traffic will take the actions you want them to take.

Rather than having all your incoming traffic head to the home page, landing pages allow you to sort your visitors by what they’re most interested in.

Say someone clicks on a social media post for your event. Instead of linking to your home page, the post links to a landing page for that event.

Someone looking for more information on your big event doesn’t want to have to sift through your entire site to find the right info.

A landing page will have all of that info in one convenient location presented in a way that makes them want to register, sign-up, buy tickets, etc..

This keeps your visitors from getting distracted and clicking away somewhere else.

In general, use a landing page if you want your website visitor to take action of some kind. Click To Tweet

Reasons to use a landing page

Consider using a landing page any time you want incoming web visitors to take a specific action.

Things you might consider having a landing page for:

  • Events – A well-crafted event landing page should tell your visitors what the event is, why they’ll want to attend, and provide them the means to register all on the same page.

The above is part of a landing page for the 2018 International Fundraising Conference in New Orleans offered by the AFP. It does contain links to other pages, but those pages are other training programs associated with the same event.

AFP has set up a mini-site dedicated to this event. The links only go to descriptions of specific programs for the event, and a registration screen.

You can use this same idea to promote your special events (though you’ll likely only need a single landing page, rather than a unique multi-page site.)

  • Program sign ups – Landing pages are great for encouraging special program sign ups. All the information your readers would need can be fit onto the page.
    • What’s the program?
    • What’s the value for me?
    • Where do I sign up?

A sign-up form right on the landing page streamlines the conversion process.

  • Special campaigns – If you’re promoting a special campaign through email or social media, having a landing page for the campaign makes sense. Why link to your general site, where prospects can get distracted, or might have to search for the information they want. Linking to a landing page specifically for that campaign makes things simpler, and keeps your prospect interested.

This is a landing page for a Salvation Army campaign dedicated to Hurricane Harvey relief. I arrived here through a Facebook post on the Salvation Army page.

It does not link to their main site.

Notice how the copy is targeted on Hurricane Harvey. This is a special campaign designed to raise funds from people looking to help the hurricane victims. They may not even be regular Salvation Army donors.

In general, using a landing page makes sense if you want your website visitor to take action of some kind.

Your website is informative. People can jump around looking at whatever interests them, and that’s good.

But sometimes you’ll want people to “go here, do this.” That’s when you should set up a landing page.

But how do you create an effective landing page?

Why your nonprofit needs a landing page (and how to write a great one) #NPMC Click To Tweet

How to write nonprofit landing pages

1. Establish your goal for the page.

Before you write a word, you need to know what your goal for the page is.

What’s your call to action (CTA)?

The CTA is a short statement telling your reader to do something:

  • “Sign up for the program!”
  • “Donate now!”
  • “Register today!”

The whole point of the landing page is to get your visitors to take a single, specific action. You will build the page around convincing them to ‘sign-up’, ‘register’, or ‘donate’.

If you want them to register for your event, then that’s what the landing page copy will be designed to do. (Likewise if you’re looking to push program sign-ups or bring in donations to a special cause.)

The reason you need to decide this first is that your writing will be different depending on what you want your visitors to do.

For example, you likely won’t be pulling on heart strings to get people to sign up for your event or training. But if you want them to donate? You need to use lots of emotion.

But figuring out your CTA is only the first step. Once you know what you want them to do, you have to figure out why they’ll want to do it.

2. Identify a compelling reason.

What’s in it for them?

You need to give them a reason to do what you’re asking them to do. Why should they register? Why should they donate now?

Your landing page has to answer this question.

And it needs to do it in a way that compels them to act immediately. Once your visitors leave your page, they aren’t coming back. A great way to do this is to use the concept of ‘scarcity’.

Scarcity is the idea that there isn’t enough of whatever-it-is to go around. Demand exceeds supply. Common phrases employing the use of scarcity include:

  • Register now! Seating is limited.
  • Tickets available to the first X respondents.
  • While supplies last

But scarcity alone isn’t enough to get your visitors to act. They need information, and your landing page must provide it.

What's in it for them? Your #landingpage has to answer this question. #nonprofit #marketing Click To Tweet

3. Collect and clearly organize all necessary information.

We don’t want your visitors to leave.

Make sure your headline tells them they’re in the right place. Whatever promise you made to get them to click to your landing page, have your headline repeat it.

Think of every question they could have before signing up, and then answer those questions somewhere on the page. (Easy, right?)

Make sure you have all the relevant info of who, what, where, when, and how.

Remind them why they’re signing up. What’s so special about your event? Why do they want to go? Why is your program a “can’t miss”?

Why should they give to your special campaign? If they already gave to your annual appeal, what makes this donation different?

Once you have collected all of the necessary information, the next step is much easier.

4. Write like you talk.

Be conversational. You want to get a reaction from visitors, to prompt a response.

Use short sentences and short paragraphs. If your paragraph is more than 3 sentences, split it up into two.

People have a hard time reading big blocks of text. If it’s hard to read, they won’t read it.

The same goes for your word choice. Try to avoid jargon or buzz words.

And keep it simple. If it’s not directly relevant to the focus of your landing page, don’t write about it. Your visitors don’t need to know your mission statement. Really, they don’t.

Try this simple test: Read what you’ve written out loud. If it sounds like something you would say to another person during a conversation, then you’re doing fine. If it sounds awkward, rewrite it.

Don’t worry too much about how you write. The information you convey, and how you organize that information are much more important than the words you use.

And that brings us to…

5. Make your content scannable.

Many people will skim the page for relevant information.

As demoralizing as this may be for you writer types out there, it’s true. Most of the copy you write won’t get read.

But you still need to get the important information to those speed-reading jerks. How do you do it?

Try to include things that will grab your reader’s attention. Things like:

  • Headlines and subheads
  • Pictures and other graphics
  • Image captions
  • CTA buttons

Make sure your most important points are contained in these places.

But don’t take this to mean you can skip out on good copy in the rest of the page. There are a select (wonderful) few who will read it – and they are your best prospects.

What makes them the best? They’re interested in what you’re promoting. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be reading so carefully.

6. Craft your CTA.

As mentioned earlier, you need to know what your CTA is. (What do you want your readers to do?)

The final part of the landing page is putting the CTA in the page.

Usually, this will take the form of a button with short commands like “sign up here!” or “Register now!”

If that’s all you do (assuming you got the rest of the landing page right), you’ll be fine. But if you really want to knock it out of the park, include a little reminder of why they should sign up, register, or donate before the button.

Let’s use the Salvation Army example from earlier.

Notice their final CTA doesn’t have the words in the button. Their CTA is a command to ‘select gift amount’ and then you choose from an array of giving options.

Now look at the top of the page. See the “donate now” underlined in big red letters? That’s also a CTA. They placed it at the top of the page for those people who might not want to spend the few seconds scanning the rest of the page.

It makes sense to include multiple CTA’s in your landing page. Some people will be ready to convert as soon as they hit your page. Others may need more convincing.

Placing CTA’s both near the beginning of the page and at the end will allow you to reach all of them.

And that’s it!

Creating an effective landing page isn’t rocket science. Just make sure to follow the steps we talked about in this post.

If you have any questions, thoughts, tips, or ways you’ve used landing pages for your nonprofit, please drop them in the comments!

Nonprofit landing pages: why you need them and how to write them #NPMC Click To Tweet
Andy Duchow

Andy Duchow

Freelance copywriter at Green Bay Copywriting
Andy Duchow is a freelance writer on a mission to help non-profits communicate better.
Andy Duchow
Andy Duchow
Andy Duchow

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