Last updated on: July 10, 2015
Like an alligator compared to a crocodile or a rectangle compared to a square, landing pages and coming soon pages are very similar, yet not exactly the same thing.
It’s not immediately apparent right away what the difference is. After all, don’t these two types of pages share the goal of attracting the interest of visitors?
Well, yes, but so does nearly every other page on the Internet! There are a few critical points that you need to understand about the differences between landing pages and coming soon pages. Let’s dive in and explore them.
A Landing Page is Permanent; But a Coming Soon Page is Always Temporary
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s still something that some marketers fail to consider. After a certain length of time, every coming soon page will be deleted or changed into a different kind of page. That’s not to say that they should be neglected: just because they are a temporary part of your marketing efforts doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to carefully plan and design them.
On the other hand, once you decide on its goal and target audience, a landing page rarely changes. Unless something happens that causes a large-scale shift in the makeup of your audience, or you decide to stop offering the particular product or service that it is dedicated to, your landing page probably isn’t going anywhere.
Listen to Neil Patel’s advice and make sure your landing page only has ONE goal
A Landing Page Has One Specific Goal; a Coming Soon Page Can Have Multiple
Neil Patel put it best in a blog post for Crazy Egg: a landing page is about one thing. It’s one of the first rules of creating landing pages. Sure, you can include multiple calls-to-action in different formats in a variety of locations on the page, but your landing page is still only in existence to achieve that one goal, whether it is building your email list or selling a specific type of product or service.
On the other hand, coming soon pages don’t necessarily need to have one single goal. There are many different kinds of great coming soon pages that are all good for different reasons.
One company might use a coming soon page simply to show off a cool design or a tantalizing picture of their upcoming product. Another business might decide that they want to use their coming soon page as a way to build their email list. Still other companies with a coming soon page might want to direct visitors to a different website, often their main company page.
All of these options can be correct. Don’t feel like you have to restrict your coming soon page to one specific function (although that’s not necessarily a bad thing). But your landing page should most definitely have only one goal to achieve.
A Coming Soon Page Can Have Many Target Audiences; a Landing Page Should Have One
Just like your coming soon page can be used for more than one goal or conversion objective, it can also be used to speak to different audiences. Looking to generate interest in your upcoming product or service among potential customers? It’s easy to do that with a coming soon page.
Trying to get attention from investors who might be able to provide funding for your idea in its early stages? Yes, a coming soon page can do this too. You can also use a coming soon page to generate attention from stores or resellers, who you’ll need to have strong alliances with if you are not selling your product directly to the consumer.
A landing page, on the other hand, shouldn’t be talking to more than one person. In fact, often the entire point of using landing pages is to gain attention from multiple personas. It’s a very common tactic: companies will start by asking the visitor about the kind of job they have and the kind of solution they are looking for.
Once the user makes a selection, they are directed to a landing page that is customized based on the profile they selected. An excellent example of this is the way that IBM has segmented its landing pages for its Watson Analytics platform.
As you see, many different types of business professionals would be well-suited for Watson, so IBM has decided to allow visitors to choose their job function and be directed to a customized landing page that has information specifically for them. This is a great approach to designing landing pages, because it allows you to target multiple types of customers yet still abide by the one-audience-per-page rule.
A Coming Soon Page Should Be Updated Often; a Landing Page’s Message Should Remain Static
Sure, you might not need to update a coming soon page every day, and many people never update them at all. But these types of coming soon pages miss out on a good opportunity to keep people updated about the progress you are making on your new service or product.
HubSpot provides us a great example of this technique in their blog about their annual marketing conference, INBOUND. Although it’s not exactly a landing page, the company creates a dedicated blog that is designed to share information about the upcoming conference in the months leading up to it.
Why does HubSpot do this? The same reason that you should share updates and new information on your coming soon page: to stir up excitement, share information with people who are already attending the event, and convince people who are on the fence that it’s a good investment to go to the conference.
When we look at landing pages, however, their message doesn’t change much. Why is it so important to understand that only the message should remain static? Because one of the big principles of quality landing page design is A/B testing. You should always be running tests on the content of your landing page so that you can make minor tweaks to it.
But these tweaks are just that: minor. They might be things like trying a new color for a button, or placing a CTA in a different location on the page. Changes like this are fine on landing pages, and in fact you should be making these changes relatively often to help improve your conversion rate. But once you know the message that your landing page is trying to convey, and who it is trying to convey it to, that message should remain relatively unchanged.
While there are similarities, and both kinds of pages have an ultimate goal of attracting interest in a brand, marketers would do well to understand these differences and stay conscious of them as they work to create either kind of page.