Landing Page Essentials Part 3

This is part 3 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.

In the 3rd part of this newsletter series we look at additional tips for designing and executing a landing page that converts.

Tips & Techniques

Executing your Landing Page

1. If your landing page reads like and ancient scrolls and runs on for pages and pages in length it is time to seriously consider two things.

  • Do you really need all that content? If not, get rid of it.
  • If all of the content if necessary to selling your product or service then expanding the landing page into a mini-site comprised of a few pages is worth consideration.

Just like a landing page, the mini site should be solely focused on the single offer you are promoting; however, the pages within can be allocated to address the specific content you need across logical categories. It might be that your mini-site contains comprehensive product information that covers different variations of the offering on individual pages, a features comparison page, access to a demo, a frequently asked questions page, and a quote request page, as a high level example. The structure of your mini-site depends entirely on the offer you are promoting.

2. In some cases you may not need a landing page at all. For example, if you are introducing a new clothing line it is probably not cost effective to develop individual landing pages for each article of clothing. Instead, you would be more apt to include the new clothing line on your Web site. You would use your newsletter to promote the clothing line and include links directly to the articles of clothing within your online storefront or catalogue where the target market can make their purchase on the spot.

Jcrew is a good example of a retailer that uses the Internet to promote and sell their products. Below is a screenshot of a recent email promotion they sent out to subscribers:

The email promotion present a number of product offers to the target market. Clicking on any product took the target market directly to the page on the Jcrew Web site where he/she could purchase the selection. The entire process was very simple.

This approach works well for standardized products that can be sold in bulk quantities, such as clothing, books, DVDs, crafts, chocolates, gift baskets, boxed software, video games, and the list goes on and on. With these articles the target market is generally sold before they come to your site and they are looking to simply make the purchase. When they get to your Web site you might offer them a few different alternatives, such as different color sweaters or different options for a Valentine’s day gift basket, but not a lot of explaining needs to be done to sell the product – the target market knows what they’re getting and they just want to buy it.

3. Depending on your business it might be necessary to have landing pages that speak to different market segments – demographic, geographic, and psychographic. For example, if you are doing business internationally the language and cultural considerations come into play. The English page that worked for your market in the U.S.A. will not work for your market in China. You need tailor your landing pages to speak directly to your target market segments.

4. If you can personalize your landing page with customer information you have on record you should do so. Anything you can do to make the experience more pleasant and the purchase/request process easier for your target you should take into consideration.

For example, you might have a welcome message aimed directly at the individual who clicks through to the landing page or you might pull known information from your customer database to automatically populate fields of order form such as the customer’s name, shipping address, and credit card information. In this case all the target market has to do is review their order and hit the “buy” button to complete the process – quick and simple.

If you are running an affiliate program you might look at carrying a level of personalization over from the affiliate Web site to your landing page. The target market was browsing your affiliate’s Web site, took an interest in your offering, and clicked through to give you an opportunity to seal the deal. If the target market hits your landing page and sees a message stating “as seen on…” they are able to link the relationship between your business and the affiliate, which can help you get the sale.

The level of personalization you employ depends entirely on your budget, objectives, and current business systems. The personalization functionality might be driven dynamically by your content management tool, CRM package, or affiliate program. If you are sending out an email promotion, then ideally the promotion would be tagged to individual customer accounts to dynamically create customized landing pages when the target market clicks through.

5. Be sure to leave your landing page accessible well after the fact. Because a landing page is built around a specific offer it typically has a limited intended lifespan. The landing page will be useful for you until the offer has ended.

It is important to understand that online offers tend to have a good half life. A friend might pass a newsletter onto another friend who passes it on to another friend and so forth. You may have people trickling to your landing page through the offer well pass the intended run. Rather than present them with an error page saying a page no longer exists it is best to leave the page active if you have no qualms about accepting business based on the offer down the road. You may leave the landing page up for several weeks or a few months, depending on the typical lifespan of your campaigns.

If the campaign has a limited lifespan and the offer cannot extend over a period of time, then be sure to leave a message on the landing page to explain that the offer is over and direct them to other opportunities that they might have an interest in. Always make the best of every opportunity.

6. It is not just about having the right landing page. What you do to follow up after the target market makes their purchase or submits their request reflects directly on how the customer perceives your business. You want your customer to feel appreciated and to trust you so that they continue to be your customer in the future.

When your target market completes the action on your landing page make sure you have a “Thank You” page that displays following completion of the process. This thank you page might thank the customer for their interest or purchase, offer them contact information should they want to reach you, and include any other pertinent information such as details on how to track their purchase. If it makes sense to do so for your business you might also send out an email receipt or confirmation to the target market.

If the purpose of your landing page was to collect leads then follow up with a phone call, email, or mail out immediately while your lead is hot!

If you design your landing page in line with your target market’s expectations, ask them to take a specific action, and make it easy for them to do so you should see great success with your landing pages.

Perhaps you find you are getting a lot of click-throughs, but your sales are disappointing. This is likely because your landing page is not up to par, which is why it is so important to your monitor your results, continually test your pages, and make improvements over time. In the next issue we testing your landing pages followed by measuring performance.

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