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How to turn Webflow CMS into a powerful landing page design engine

Learn how Webflow CMS's rapid landing page production capabilities changed everything for Minneapolis web design agency SWEOR.

Luke Ball
May 3, 2016
Web design

There’s nothing like coming to a realization that redefines your company — in the middle of a client meeting. A few months ago, halfway through a routine CMS demo with a potential client, that’s exactly what happened to us at SWEOR Web Design.

The problem

We were referred to an IT consulting company that needed a new website. Like most of our referral clients, their current site suffered from:

  1. Outdated aesthetics
  2. Lack of a clear, strong CTA
  3. A canned, ineffective, templated design

Besides that, our client was having trouble boosting their AdWords campaigns’ conversion rates. Specifically, they were seeing high bounce rates because their ads sent users to their homepage, which lacked both a strong call to action and a specific value proposition with targeted content to match.

As we showed them a few sites we’d built — demonstrating the power of the CMS, the ability to easily add content, and its on-page editing capabilities — we realized these clients didn’t just need a better website.

They needed a powerful marketing tool.

The solution

We were walking through the CMS’ Collections tab, showing the clients how easy it was to add a new element or blog post to the website, when the magic moment happened. One of us said:

“This same concept could be used to create specific product-, service- or promotion-geared landing pages for your Google AdWords campaigns.”

Minds = Blown.

The “Landing Page Engine” was born.

We won the business, and so began the process of comprehending the power of this tool at our disposal.

A great website nobody sees is like a great restaurant where nobody eats

Since we launched SWEOR, we’ve focused on building beautiful, modern websites with high-quality UX and great lead conversion rates.

But when we developed the Landing Page Engine idea, we realized that even the most beautiful, well-designed website is useless if nobody sees it.

There’s only so much on-page SEO work you can do to set clients up for success. Our goal now is to give them the tools that will take them to the next level.

Now, we’re not a marketing strategy or distribution company. We’re very transparent about that. But we’ve noticed that if a company chooses not to work with a large, full-service agency, the disconnect between web development and marketing strategy can be colossal.

Our use of Webflow CMS and the Landing Page Engine aims to bridge this gap.

We want to understand our clients’ goals and make it easy for them to achieve those goals. We don’t want to build a beautiful restaurant only to have it sit empty.

Why use landing pages for marketing and SEO?

The Landing Page Engine is here to stay. Why? Well, for starters, it’s 2016, and people can have what they want. That’s good enough a reason for me.

If it’s lunchtime and I’m craving a burrito, I’m probably going to drive by at least one McDonald’s and one Subway on my way to Chipotle. The operative term here is “drive by,” because I’m hungry for a burrito, I can have a burrito, and the burrito’s availability gives me no reason to settle for the 5 Dollar Footlong I don’t want.

The internet works the same way. In 2016, people who Google a service are looking for something specific. If they don’t get it on your page, they’ll drive by.

Setting expectations

How many times has a client asked you if they’d make the first page of Google after you built them a shiny new website?

Wait, wait: Stop counting. Nobody can count that high.

We used to run into this question all the time. We’d explain the concepts of on-page and off-page SEO. We’d let them know SEO isn’t a magic formula. We’d inform them that a developer promising a first-page ranking is like a weatherman promising tonight that it’ll rain on March 22nd, 2093.

The Landing Page Engine helps you empower your clients (or their inbound marketing agency) to take control of their own SEO. Giving clients tools to rock their off-page SEO goes over much better than the usual “You should blog more.”

So, what is the landing page engine?

Just a few of SWEOR's landing pages

Using landing pages to amp up a company’s marketing and SEO efforts is nothing new.

But the ability to create a virtually unlimited number of landing pages almost effortlessly, within your website’s CMS? That’s revolutionary.

Tell your clients they can do this without reaching out to their developer and their heads will explode (in a good way).

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How to set up your landing page engine

The CMS’ core functionality comes from the Collections tab. Your landing pages are simply another Collection. It behaves just like your blog. The only difference is that it isn’t accessible from your website, but points people to it.

And it only takes 3 steps to get started:

  1. Think about what you want a new series of landing pages to do
  2. Build a new Collection for them
  3. Create a Collection Template for it

That’s it. Insanely easy.

Some common uses for the landing page engine

Using Webflow CMS as a landing page engine offers near-endless opportunities.

Ultimately, the applications of the landing page engine depend on your client’s business model and industry.

Geotargeted landing pages for location-based companies

Let’s say you’re working with a realtor in the Minneapolis area. Due to the immense saturation of the industry, the realtor knows (hopefully) that a Google search for “Minneapolis Realtor” probably won’t turn him up.

But what if that realtor got more specific, and built an actionable, landing page–backed plan for how to target specific neighborhoods within the Minneapolis metro area?

I’m willing to bet a landing page for “Powderhorn Park Minneapolis Realtor for First-Time Home Buyers” will have a lower bounce rate, higher conversion rate, and better SEO rankings than a page titled “Minneapolis Realtor.”

Check out Kissmetric’s “Increase Conversions with Geo Targeting” for more on that.

Promotional landing pages … for almost any business

Creating a conversion-driven landing page to advertise a new promotion can be a great way to get clients to opt in.

For example, a clothing store shouldn’t dedicate its entire homepage to advertising a promotion. But it could benefit from landing pages that advertise limited-time sales on specific types of products.

Custom landing page for each client or referral partner

A company that gets a lot of business through referrals should always be looking for ways to differentiate itself through its level of service to those who are referred.

So what if that company built a custom page, welcoming the new referral and leading them to a form or contact number?

Then Mr. and Mrs. Johnson could go to a page that says:

“Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. We can’t wait to work with you! Fill out the form below to get started!”

Chances are, they’d be pretty excited. It excites me and my last name isn’t even Johnson.

Customized product or service offerings for specific searches

There’s nothing quite like landing on a page that covers exactly what you’re looking for.

Remember when we talked about burritos earlier? People don’t have time to search for something on Google and then do it again on someone’s website. They need to get to hot yoga on time, and their kombucha is running low, along with their patience.

Whatever you can come up with

Another incredible perk of the landing page engine is ... it’s already built into your own Webflow website. You can start using it today!

How to sell the landing page engine

At this point, you may be thinking:

“This is great and all, but what’s my incentive for selling this? Giving clients the ability to create landing pages in the CMS doesn’t cost any more than the monthly cost of CMS access!”

Well … so what?

Imagine this scenario: You’ve spent 3 days stranded in the desert with nothing but $1,000, and you’re hundreds of miles from civilization. Suddenly, you come across a lone vending machine, selling water for $1,000/bottle.

You’re not going to think about how expensive the water is and comment obnoxiously on how tap water is free. You’re going to buy it, because it’s the most logical choice for your survival.

Same goes for the CMS’ landing page engine. It’s a no-brainer for companies that want to take their digital presence to the next level.

Charge what it’s worth, not what it costs.

You succeed when your clients succeed

Happy clients mean more referrals for you, and better work to show off to the new clients you’re trying to engage. A client with the ability to create unlimited landing pages is a happy client, and probably a successful one at that.

“Demo” arigato (don’t be a boring roboto)

If I were to make a list of the things that make the average person’s eyes glaze over with boredom, HTML, CSS, and website development processes would probably crack the top 5.

We noticed this pretty early on when describing the landing page engine to clients. We were so excited about it. But our excitement wasn’t always met with the same enthusiasm.

Sometimes it’s tough to remember that not everyone is a web developer. That most people have trouble grasping the concept of a CMS and landing page engine without seeing it in action.

Our clients whenever we try to explain the landing page engine without demoing it.

So show, don’t tell.

When we decided to shut up and do more CMS demos, creating a new landing page in seconds before our clients’ eyes, they started to understand the power they could have at their fingertips.

It got even better when we started prepping for client meetings with specific landing page ideas that could apply to their business. Giving a client a specific, implementable idea and then bringing this idea to life, right before their eyes, is pretty darn compelling.

Get your partners on board

We started doing demos for our referral and strategic partners with the goal of giving them an understanding of the CMS and getting them on board with mentioning and describing it to their clients.

Why not have your partners direct their referrals to a landing page about the landing page engine, like the one we created?

At the end of the day, strategic partners are just like clients. They’ll refer you if they see your value proposition is compelling and original.

Why landing pages work: specificity, immediate gratification, convenience

It all comes down to this: If you can offer your clients something they can’t find anywhere else, not only are they more likely to buy it, but they’re also more likely to be thankful you sold it to them. Not to mention, excited to share your genius with the world.

When we think about the future of marketing and SEO, we see a big push for specificity, immediate gratification, and convenience. Giving clients the opportunity to provide this to their target audience is priceless. Ultimately, the world’s best invisible website is still invisible.

Using the CMS to develop landing pages beefs up your service offering with minimal up-front cost and work. It gives your clients a bigger opportunity at success, and gives you evidence of the success you’ve brought to your clients.

Most importantly, understanding the many implications of this powerful tool makes it easier for you to sell websites. 

Pretty exciting, huh?

Want to build your own landing page engine?

Try Webflow for free—it'll transform the way you build websites for clients.

Luke Ball

Luke Ball is Sweor’s founder and Creative Director. At 16 he secured his first client, a nationally recognized author, his Grandma. He hasn’t looked back since.

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