Within the online marketing space, a standard rule I have heard about landing pages is to limit choice. Ideally you have one page, with your sales pitch and they can either take your desired action or leave.
Sometimes this is a stripped down subpage of a site:
http://www.sherpastore.com/EmailMKTReport2010.html Or sometimes just a squeeze page:
http://www.internetmarketingmind.com/pics/squeezepage/dydsqueezepage.jpg Of course these pages often are not the prettiest but people supposedly in the know claim that they work better than anything else when you are using PPC adverting and don't care about things like SEO.
In the startup space and B-to-B space however, I don't see landing pages like this. I see multipage sites. Usually they look something like 37signals site: http://basecamphq.com/ with lots of ways to navigate around the site.
If I'm going to be building a landing page for a product I'm selling to SMB should i try to do the primarily one page option or the mulitpage option.
I found that startuptodo.com is an interesting example, where its all one page, but has a couple link to about us and such at the bottom.
Let me offer some insight as someone who was "brought up" in the information marketing industry.
Ultimately, as the others have said, you're going to need to test (never stop!). However, let me offer some guidelines you might consider, so you can shortcut your path to success.
On the topic of multi-page versus one long page, the long page almost always wins. Every time you make the user click, you're going to have a percentage of them drop out of your funnel. You can feel free to test it, but I am pretty confident the long page will win. This has been proven time after time after time, even though people always tell me they'd never read it. You know who wants to read your info in an uninterrupted fashion? The most interested prospects - the people who are going to buy from you. If the info is important enough to affect their buying decision, get it on that page.
On the topic of simple vs rich page, as Jason said, in B2B you're still selling to another human. No different than selling to a consumer, no matter what "they" will have you think. As such, don't let useless graphics and designery get in the way of your sales message. It took years for that doubleyourdating.com page to get beaten by a different design, and I'm pretty certain they changed it due to Google quality score meddling, rather than conversion issues.
Additionally, the landing is really just a piece of the overall funnel. It's the front door to your sales funnel, and the good info marketers are pros at what happens once someone steps inside. The quickest way to get conceptually up to speed with what to do next is read "Influence" by Cialdini, then think how you can apply his 8 psychological triggers in your follow up sales.
I see a lot of software companies miss the mark because they never follow up with any sales messages once you sign up. If you subscribe to the idea that you will maximize sales only by letting us use your software, then you'll be missing your potential.
In the end, I'm assuming you want to maximize signups or sales, so you'd do best by making that the only option. Eliminate any other distractions. Focus on what the prospect would need to learn to feel a fire under their ass to sign up.
There is more, but I don't want to blow hot air without knowing more about the situation. Hope this helps!
I'll start out by saying that nearly all cases are different, and the most effective way to optimize your site/page for conversions is going to be testing. I've run many of these campaigns and have found that there's no clear answer. It all depends on the user base, what you are promoting, what the call to action is, and what perceived benefit there is to the user for converting. How you drive traffic to the site can have a huge impact to, so make sure if you're driving traffic from different sources that you look at each one individually.
That said, to answer your question I've found that in most cases multiple pages don't hurt you as long as you have a clear call-to-action on each page, preferably shown in a consistent manner. Conventional thinking would tell us that we don't want users to get distracted, so it's best to steer them down a predefined path. I disagree with this, I think the web users today are savvy enough to know how to navigate. In addition, different users might want different information, and forcing a user down a path where they see information that they don't find relevant can be harmful.
But it's all going to depend on your users, so run a series of A/B and multivariate tests to find what works the best in your case.
Nathan's answer a good one for it covers all the basics: Every audience is different and the only way to know for sure is testing.
I'd just like to add a possible rule-of-thumb: It depends on your product.
Startuptodo, Sherpa's Email Report, and also the "Double your Dating" guide are all information products.
But there's a special economic problem with information, as I already mentioned it in a different post: Your willingness-to-pay for information drops to (nearly) zero as soon as you got it. That's Arrow's information paradox.
Additionally, info products are so-called "experience" goods, for you can't determine the value (or utility) of the product before the purchase. In general, consumers are risk-averse, thus they are reluctant to buy experience goods. The usual way to overcome this is by providing a demo, a free trial, a test drive, etc.
But info products can't do this, for their customers would simply read it and then not purchase. After all, they already would have gotten the main benefit -- namely the wanted information.
BaseCamp, on the other hand, is no info product. It's also an experience good, yes, but they can simply offer a 30-day free trial to overcome any objection.
In other words: Info products operate in a rather critical economic "environment", if I may say so. Then, there are some additional point to consider.
But if your product is a typical web app -- ie, rather high frequenzy of need, the possibility to establish a brand and offer a demo or trial, etc. -- , use the multipage option.
I used to think like you did about the difference with B2B -- that you need a richer landing page and not just a squeeze.
However at Smart Bear when we put up a squeeze page for downloading a trial from a Google Ad, conversions went up 500% !
So in the end I agree with Nathan -- test, and absolutely test the usual squeeze cases because they can indeed work in B2B.
(Remember, just because you're selling "to a business" doesn't mean you're not still selling to humans.)
It's not about B2B, but I wrote about http://www.ashmaurya.com/2009/11/from-minimum-viable-product-to-landing-pages/ at http://www.47hats.com/2009/11/a-tale-of-disappointment-betrayal-and-ultimate-vindication/ because it was an extremely well documented account of how to do A/B testing right, with some surprises along the way.