The Key to Landing Page Success

May 16, 2012 by

Landing pages are terrific tools for generating leads online.

The great thing about landing pages, compared to your company website, is that you know so much more about your visitors. You not only know who they are – their beliefs, their fears, their desires – you also know precisely what's on their mind… at the exact moment they arrive.

How do you know that?

You know, because you control the source of the traffic to your landing page. You know the exact wording of the message that brought the visitor there.

That's a very powerful thing. If you take advantage of it.

Why a Landing Page is Different

To be sure we're all "on the same page," I think it's best we discuss how a landing page is different from a website sales page or registration page.

Online copywriting expert Nick Usborne, author of Net Words, defines a landing page as:

"A tightly-focused web page [written] with a particular audience in mind, designed to sell a product or service, or capture information. A visitor arrives from a specific source such as a banner ad, an email, or a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ad."

The most important point, here, is that the visitor arrives from a single specific source, i.e., one banner ad, email or PPC ad. This is a much different situation than with a sales or registration page which resides permanently on your website.

Visitors to a sales or registration page may arrive from a variety of different pages on your site, through either normal navigation or in-page links. If the page is well optimized, it may also get traffic from search engines. It's impossible to know exactly what brought the visitor there. So the page has to be written to the general needs and concerns of the target audience.

Landing pages are different. Website visitors should not be able to access landing pages through normal site navigation. In fact, your landing page may not even be a part of your company site. It may have its own URL. A landing page gets traffic from a single, specific source which targets a highly specific audience.

So, a landing page can be much more finely targeted than a website page. And it should be. It should be optimized for the intentions of the visitor. In other words, a landing page should be optimized for the traffic source – the campaign – that brought the visitor to it.

Where Many Marketers Go Wrong

Let's look at an example.

Let's say you're about to launch a highly innovative software product – a new data analysis tool. You've already introduced beta versions to existing customers, and they love it. They've all raved about the enormous productivity boost it has given them. And from your customers' participation in your beta trials, you've been able to produce a pair of case studies and a new white paper.

So, as a part of your product launch, you've put together an information kit that includes those case studies and white paper, along with a demo version of the software, and a brochure. And you're going to offer this kit through a series of PPC and email campaigns.

Of course, not every piece in the kit will be of interest to every buying influence in your target market. Nor will the kit as a whole. You've recognized this. You've designed the kit to appeal to different interests. You're hoping that some part of the kit will impress someone enough that they'll pass the other pieces along to the right people in their organization. You're providing these "champions" with tools to influence their colleagues.

And what you've decided to do in your PPC and email campaigns is not to focus on the entire information kit. Instead, you're going to run a series of different campaigns, each focused on a single piece of the kit, and the target audience for that piece – a very sound strategy.

But here's where many marketers go wrong. They would use all of those campaigns to drive traffic to a single landing page offering their information kit. And they would get a poor conversion rate from that landing page.

Why?

Lack of continuity.

Match Your Landing Pages to Your Visitors' Intentions

When a prospect clicks on an email link, PPC ad or banner ad, they expect to arrive at a page that will give them just what they had in mind when they decided to click. They don't want surprises. They want reassurance that they've arrived at exactly the place they intended to go. In other words, there has to be a high degree of continuity between your landing page and the ad or email that brought the visitor there.

Continuity between traffic source and landing page is the most important factor in landing page conversion rates. Thousands of tests have proven it. It's a matter of relevance to the visitor's intentions.

Luckily, you have a pretty good idea of what your visitors' intentions are – from your traffic source. You know what got their attention. All you have to do, then, is match the headline and the content of your landing page to your email or ad campaign.

For example, if your PPC ad reads, "How XYZ Technology saved 42% on data analysis costs," your landing page headline should include the phrase, "How XYZ Technology saved 42% on data analysis costs." You want your visitors to immediately think "Yes, this is the right place." when your landing page opens in their browser.

I hope you can see where I'm going with this.

If your visitor came to your B2B landing page from an ad or email that touted one of your case studies, it makes no sense to start your landing page by talking about your new software program, your information kit, or any part of that kit other than that case study. The headline and opening of your landing page have to immediately address the idea that brought the visitor there.

Don't make your visitor wade through any extraneous material before they get to what they came for. If you do, they're likely to become confused or annoyed… and simply go away without ever registering for your offer.

A Plan for Higher Conversion Rates

So here's a step-by-step plan for maximizing the conversion rate and lead-generating power of your landing pages.

1. Write your campaigns (emails, PPC ads, etc.) first – before you write your landing pages.

2. Write a different landing page for each campaign. In other words, give every traffic source its own, specific landing page.

3. Focus each landing page tightly on the intentions of the visitor, based on the content of traffic source. Focus on what brought the visitor to your landing page.

What about the rest of the kit? Mention the other pieces only in closing, just before your call to action. Use them to sweeten the deal – to give fence-sitters an additional nudge – by increasing the perceived value of your offer.

More Conventional Applications

I used the example of an information kit to make the concept of traffic-source-to-landing-page continuity easy to grasp. But the same principles apply when you write landing pages for more conventional offers.

Your product or service offers many benefits. And most of your free information offers will cover a number of those benefits. But your PPC ads, banner ads and email campaigns will, of necessity, be short. They'll probably touch on a single benefit. Your landing page has to focus on that single benefit. If you want to run different campaigns focusing on different benefits, you need to write a unique landing page for each.

Remember, always write your landing page to the intentions of the visitor who arrives there.

Take-away Points

1. Focus your landing page tightly on the intentions of your visitor (based on the traffic source).

2. Write a different landing page for every campaign.

3. Write your campaigns first. Then write your landing pages to match your campaigns.

1 Comment

  1. […] consider creating a new landing page for each email promotion you send out. There are two reasons for this. First, having a specific landing page for each email promotion […]

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