This essay originally was published on April 22, 2021, with the email subject line CT No. 78: "Landing page islands and design-forward websites," alongside a review of visual website builder Webflow.

Freelance content strategy gigs cover a multitude of tasks, a good percentage more accurately described as "writing sales automation collateral" than anything remotely related to strategy. Too many "content strategy" or "digital strategy" job descriptions read:

"Create landing pages and drip campaigns* for marketing initiatives"

From Fortune 500s to side gig start-ups, business folks who have listened to one podcast on digital growth marketing or the creator economy think, "All we need is a best-in-class landing page and some emails and we'll get thousands of subscribers/leads/clients."

Landing pages are the calling card of the growth hacker, positioned as "all you need" to grow your digital business. "Drive traffic to the landing page" is the most time-worn of hastily considered digital marketing tactics: pay for the ad placement on your search engine or social network of choice, then watch the form fills roll in.

Great landing pages absolutely exist, and success stories like Morning Brew prove that a landing page customer acquisition strategy can work if you have a promising product, a robust referral network, and a chunk of venture capital to spend on PPC and paid social.

*"Drip campaign" is the grossest phrase in marketing.

What is a landing page and how is it best used?

I'm discussing single-use landing pages created through software (i.e., LeadPages, ConvertKit, Unbounce, Instapage, there are a million of 'em) that stand alone from your existing website. I'm not talking about "category" or "pillar" landing pages built into a website, often a collection of related content carefully optimized to attract traffic on certain topics.

Landing pages are fantastic for certain types of products, including:

  • Events of all shapes and sizes
  • Giveaways
  • Rewards/referrals
  • Single-use PDFs, exclusive videos or other gated content "moments"
  • Awards submissions
  • Single-use quizzes or calculators
  • Courses, email or otherwise

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