Landing Page Essentials Part 2

This is part 2 in a 5 part series on the importance of landing pages.

When you promote an offer online, whether it be a banner ad, newsletter promotion, or pay-to-play campaign you want to maximize the results of your effort. When done properly, creating a targeted landing page for an ad can greatly increase conversions, or the number of customers who act on your offer.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a Web page created for the specific purpose of driving the target market towards some intended action based on the offer presented in an online ad. The action you want the target market to take might be to fill out a quote request form, a form to view a live online demo, a form to download a white paper, participate in a survey, purchase your goods online, and so on. The key is that the landing page is geared towards racking up conversions; to convert browsers to buyers.

The way your landing page shapes up depends entirely on your business objectives, your target market, and your offer itself. A complex product or service will likely require a lead generation form, while a simple product such as a book or standard cruise package would benefit from providing the target market with immediate access to purchase process. The landing page should focus on only what needs to be present to get the job done – keep it focused.

The layout of your landing page is essential. Let’s look at a selection of tips that can have a big impact on your conversion rates.

Tips & Techniques

Creating the Layout of your Landing Page

1. Keep the most important information above the fold. The fold is where the bottom there bottom of the browser window sits and additional scrolling is required to view the remaining content. For about half of the Internet population their preferred screen resolution is 800x600, while the majority of the remaining population uses a resolution that is higher. Standard practice is to include all information that is critical to the sale above the fold for a typical 800x600 user. On average, the higher information rests on a page the more important it is assumed to be.

2. Be wary of “banner blindness.” People have become so used to viewing Web pages with banner ads that run along the very top of the page that they naturally dismiss that area. Make sure you do not post any mission critical information at the very top of the page, but if you do happen to so much sure it stands out. Likewise, people tend to ignore content that looks and smells like an ad in shape, size, and color. Be careful not avoid giving this impression with key content on your landing page.

3. Watch out for triggers that cause the target market to lose interest or stop viewing. If your content runs more than a single page make sure you make it obvious that there is more to view. Avoid using line breaks and excessive white space to separate content because this can give the impression to the target market that they have viewed everything worthwhile.

4. If your initial promotion went out in the form of a newsletter then it is beneficial to extend the “look and feel” of the newsletter over to the landing page to maintain a bridge. The target market is always familiar with your newsletter and you want to maintain that familiarity.

5. Your landing page should eliminate anything that might distract the target market from their original goal. The last thing you want is the target market getting distracted and wandering off, disregarding the original offer. You should only focus on what is necessary to close the sale, which means getting rid of excess clutter such as your Web site navigation. Your landing page could include a link back to the homepage of your Web site so that your target market does have access to your full site. A common approach here is to make your company logo clickable. You can also include a link in the footer area of the landing page back to your homepage.

6. Subtly cross-promote features that will help you market your business down the road. You want to give the target market the option to sign up for your permission marketing based newsletter and make use of the viral marketing tell-a-friend function, but you do not want these elements to take over the page and distract the user. Careful placement and presentation of value add calls to action can help you promote your business without taking away from the primary message.

7. Include navigation options that add value to the target market. Your target market will want access to privacy information, security information, shipping information, warranty/returns/exchanges information, access to ‘help’ content if there are likely to be questions, and contact information. Ensure that this information is readily accessible.

8. Make good use of font types and styles, color, as well as photography to sell your product or service offering. If photography is going to help sell your offer, make sure you use good quality images. Images that look cheap extend to your offer as well, which may damage the ability of your landing page to successfully convert customers.

9. Your landing page should prominently display alternative purchase/registration options. In fact, anything you want the target market to act on, make it stand out. Your target might very extremely interested in your offer, but not so enthused about making a purchase online, or your target might need a little help and want to talk to someone. You can make your target market’s life easier by making your phone number very visible on the page along with posting additional contact information in the footer of the Web page, such as a customer service email address, fax number, Web site address, and postal address.

10. If the purpose of your landing page is to collect customer information then you need to provide your target market with a reason, or incentive, to do so to increase your response rate. Reward your target market for taking the time to fill out your form with a free whitepaper, option to join your newsletter, a discount off a future purchase or the like. The incentive has to relate directly to what you are asking of the target market.

11. Make the actual purchase process or registration form as simple as possible. People like things that are clear and easy to do. If you have a registration form for a downloadable demo on your landing page, be sure you only ask the questions you need at the time. You do not need the target market’s mailing address at this stage; it only over complicates the matter, which decreases the chances of the individual completing the form. I remember hearing somewhere that for every additional step or question asked that does not pertain directly to the target market’s initial intent you lose 10% of your audience.

In line with keeping the buying/registration process as simple as possible make sure you always downplay the effort involved to complete the transaction. For example, if you have a registration form that spans 2 pages then offer visual cues such as “Step 1 of 2” so that the target market knows what to expect at all times.

12. All of the best practice techniques that go into building a Web site apply to your landing page as well. The landing page still has to be cross browser compatible, easy to use, quick to load, have clean code, effectively brand your business, etc.

Arming yourself with the right message and the right presentation of the message is essential to making your landing page work for you. In part 3 of this newsletter series we will look tips for successfully executing a landing page.

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