Landing Page Essentials – Part 5 of 5
This is part 5 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 last part of this newsletter series we look at measuring the results of your landing page and what to watch for. Measuring the results of your landing page is necessary for understanding the success rate of your online marketing campaigns and is essential to improving your landing pages in the future.
Tips & Techniques
The first thing you need to do is establish what Web analytics metrics are important to your business model. What are questions about your online customers that you want answer too? What happens on your Web site that you want to know about to improve business decisions down the road that relate to online marketing? To run an online advertising campaign and not look back on the results would be ridiculous – you would have no idea whether you are making money or losing money. Here are some of the more common measurements for you to evaluate:
Click Through Rate(CTR) – Your click through rate pertains to how many people actual followed your online advertisement to your Web site or landing page out of the total number of advertising impressions delivered. This measurement is very basic and cannot tell you a whole lot except for an approximate on how much overall interest there is in a particular online marketing campaign you are running. Think of this as a general measure of popularity. This measure is general in scope because it could contain hits by search engine spiders, a single potential customer who makes multiple visits, and competitors who decide they want to exhaust your click-through budget.
- Unique Visitors – Unique visitors pertains to how many individual people came to your Web site or landing page from a current marketing promotion over a specific period of time. This is a very basic measurement as well, but it offers a more accurate look at just who has taken an interest in your offer by filtering out double data and irrelevant visits. Make sure you remove the search engine spiders and crawlers from your statistics so that they do not get mistaken as potential customers.
- Time Spent – With your Web site you might want people to stay for a while, to have a “sticky” Web site. In contrast your landing page’s job is to get people through to the end objective as efficiently as possible. Monitor your statistics to see if that is the case. Is your target market able to reach their objective with ease or are they getting hung up somewhere?
You can look at time spent per page or during an overall visit. If a lot of people are leaving within a matter of seconds of hitting your landing page they are likely dissatisfied with what they see. On the other hand if the target market is spending an inordinate amount of time your landing page they are likely confused, or having a good time, or maybe they got up to go to the kitchen to make lunch. Time is only an indicator. You need to take monitor the click stream of your visitors.
Click Stream Analysis – What paths does the target market follow when they hit your Web site or landing page? Are they going right to the “buy” button or are they getting distracted by a link to some other section on your Web site? Is the target marketing hitting a particular page and then leaving your site? Monitor the behaviour of your target market on your Web site enables you to refine the navigation of your landing page and lay out a simple trail of breadcrumbs to lead your customer down the intended path.
Single Page Access – Look at the number of one page visits to your Web site or landing page. This is where the visitor comes to your page, but takes no action other than to leave. If that is happening on a frequent basis you undoubtedly have a problem. It could be that your landing page is not effective at converting, that the page the customer hits does not show a direct relationship to the ad or link the target clicked on to reach you, or it could be a shady competitor trying to exhaust your ad campaign. Understand what percentage of your visitors are coming to your site and are immediately taking off. If you have a very low percentage of single page accesses then you are fine; however, if you see a lot that throws up an immediate red flag that you need to do some further research.
Total Sales, Leads Generated, or Desired Action Taken – Everyone wants to know how many sales or leads a particular advertising campaign generated over a specified period of time. This is also a very basic measurement. How many sales did your online marketing campaign generate through your landing page? Maybe you have other objectives for your campaign - how many people signed up for that online demo or downloaded that White Paper? If you are using your Web site to captured qualified leads, then how many leads did you get through your landing page? When tracking the number of leads generated through your landing page or Web site then you should also look at the number of those leads who become customers down the road.
Customer Conversion Ratio (CCR) – Of all the potential customers who came to your landing page, how many followed through on the action you wanted them to take? This differs from total sales because you are looking at the effectiveness of your ability to convert customers, not just a bulk number. Make sure you are looking unique visitors so that you are not counting the person who came back 10 times as 10 different people. The higher your customer conversion ratio, the better. How many browsers do you have to convert to buyers to make a return on your investment?
Cost per Customer or Customer Acquisition Cost – You need to look at how much your marketing campaign is costing you per customer to be able to determine your profitability. This entails taking your total marketing expenses (including all costs behind the campaign itself and the landing page) and comparing it against your new customer sales over the course of a single online marketing campaign.
If you are running a campaign and you are losing $100 on every customer you capture then you know you need to rethink your campaign approach. As a quick note; the higher your customer conversion ratio above, then on average the lower your customer acquisition cost will be. What does that tell you? Refine your landing page to increase its ability to convert browsers to customers.
Net Dollar per Visitor – This is simply a look at how much each visitor is worth to your business. How much money, on average, is each Web visitor worth to your bottom line?
Cost per Visitor (CPV) – This information pertains to all visitors to your Web site or landing page, not just customers who make a purchase. It is important to understand how much each visitor to your Web site costs you so that you can work towards bringing that cost down to maximize profits. This information is also useful for forecasting and budgeting.
Average Order Size (AOS) – This measurement boils down to the total dollar value of an average sale. When a customer hits your landing page, how much do they spend on average? Take this knowledge and think about ways to increase it and compare it to historical information over time to get a feel for what works best.
Does your target market just go with the immediate offer or do they take advantage of the add-ons to increase the average sale size? Monitoring this information over time can tell you if the average customer purchase is going up or down, and it can be used watching the success of different product cross-promotions so see which generates the best over sales size.
Items per Order (IPO) – This measurement is closely related to average order size, but the focus here is on how many items is your target market purchasing with each order on average. Watch this number to see if it goes up or down over time. It is helpful for determining if your cross-selling techniques (“If you like this, we also recommend this…”) are working.
Shopping Cart and Form Abandonment – How many people gave up somewhere along the line in the payment process or on the second page of a three page information request form? You have to know where the process fails in order to improve it. Do everything in your power to understand your market and make the intended objective as easy as possible to accomplish.
Recognize that a typical purchase process consists of more than one step. Do not just look at the number of people who gave up, but be sure to look at where they gave up so that you can pinpoint where the potential issue lies and fix it.
Perhaps your customer wants your product, but they do not want to have to create a permanent customer profile before they can complete the customer profile. If that is the case, give your customer the option to buy the product without creating a permanent user account. On the other hand, maybe your lead got to the second page of your order form, saw another continue button and got scared off because there was no end to process in sight so they decided it wasn’t worth it and gave up. This can easily be rectified by offering the target market visual cues (e.g. “Step 1 of 2”).
Customer Satisfaction – Ask your customer about the experience on your Web site as a part of the site itself or in a follow up. You can employ surveys to ask customers a simple question about their experience on your Web site, landing page, or the offer itself. If your target market likes what you’re doing, great, but if not then follow up again to find out what you can do better. Most people will appreciate that you took the time to hear their concerns and know that you want to improve their experience in the future.
Impact on Offline Sales – Do not neglect the impact your online marketing campaigns have in the offline environment. Your landing page might be converting customers and you do not even know it, unless you are watching for it. How? Your Web site or landing page will likely include other methods of contact the target market can use to do business with your company.
This can be a difficult thing to track; however, you can make it manageable. You might consider setting up a phone number that is only available from your Web site, so that when a call comes through you know it is because of the phone number that rests on your landing page. Likewise, you can give the customer the option to print an order form so that they can take it into your physical location where your staff can process the request. In both scenarios you know the lead came from your online marketing efforts.
Ultimately the most relevant metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), for your business depends entirely on what you are trying to accomplish with your Web site or landing page. Now that you know what you want to monitor you need to ensure you have the right tools for the job.
To measure the key performance indicators for your Web site or landing page you are going to rely on a number of assistive tools and old fashioned statistical analysis. Many email marketing solution providers, pay-to-play search engine sites, and companies offering ad placement services offer detailed reports and self-service tools for monitoring your campaigns. Google, for example, has a conversion tool it offers to its AdWords customers for free.
The following is a list of recognized Web site analysis and metrics packages:
ClickTracks and Urchin have been receiving a lot of positive press lately, but all of the tools noted above are valuable to monitoring the success of your Web site and individual online marketing campaigns that filter through a landing page. You need to determine what analytics make sense for your business and marketing objectives then select a tool is compatible with your budget.
There are statistics packages available that can track everything from click-throughs, your ROI, the lifetime value of a customer, the pay-off between organic and paid search engine marketing campaigns, whether your static ad or flash ad is performing better, and even the effectiveness of a link positioned at the top of a page versus one near the bottom. If you are running a search engine marketing campaign that directs to your landing page then it is important to know if your efforts are justified.
When measuring your performance online with Web metrics compare and contrast the information you gather with historical information. By looking at historical information you can see the results of your current efforts against the past to identify trends and variations in the results. If you notice a new landing page has not performed as well as your last landing page then you know that little tweak you made did not benefit you can you can eliminate from your next online marketing effort. If the little tweak you made to your landing page paid off, then you keep it, and try something else to further improve your conversions and return on investment.
It helps to track the differences in behaviour between first time buyers and repeat customers. What motivates a first time buyer in comparison to what motivates a return customer is different. With repeat customers you have less convincing to do in most cases. You can use the knowledge you learn about new customers and repeat customers to tailor the experience to each market segment’s needs.
Monitoring your Web site statistics informs you of your online marketing success rate, your return on investment (ROI), and offers insight into areas needing performance. Web metrics is an essential aspect of any online marketing endeavour.
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