A “landing” page is any page on your web-site where you are specifically sending visitors. When people first try online marketing they often direct traffic from their online campaigns to their home page. This is a mistake because there are too many distractions on most home pages – graphic panels, menu options, rolling banners – so the visitor wanders off without completing your desired action.
Instead you should bring visitors from your Google ad or email campaign to a dedicated web page – the landing page – that is designed to encourage an action – for example, to get the visitor to register for a download or ‘buy now’.
The main factors in improving the performance of the typical landing page include:
1. Clear linkage between keyword, ad and landing page: For Google ad campaigns, make sure there is a clear link between your keyword choice, the Google ad you show and the subsequent landing page to which you are bringing visitors. If these are all consistent then you’re off to a good start. If they’re not, then messing around with other issues will be a waste of time. So, for example, if the keyword phrase someone searches on is “CRM systems” then make sure that the ad you show in response refers to CRM systems and that your landing page also refers to CRM systems. This seems pretty obvious but it is not unusual to have a keyword trigger an ad and then clicking on the ad brings the visitor to a page that seems unrelated. Don’t confuse people by showing a page that is not clearly related to their search term and your ad.
2. Clear value proposition – make sure you articulate a clear value proposition for the item you are offering on the landing page. This is not the same as stating the overall value proposition for your company. For example, if I’m offering a white paper then my value proposition on the landing page should sell how great the white paperis, not how great my company is. (You can tell them about how great your company is in the white paper or in a follow-up email). Likewise a landing page that offers an online product demonstration should sell how great and beneficial the demo is, before selling how great the product is.
3. Brevity, benefits and bullet-points – don’t be too long winded, sell the benefits of your offer and use bulletpoints rather than big blocks of text.
4. Address perceived risk – is there anything about the landing page design or layout that could cause concern for the visitor? Show a few people outside your company the keywords, ads and landing pages you plan to use and ask for their feedback. List any of the issues or concerns they raise and test different ways to address those concerns. For example, a typical concern could be “I don’t know this company, I don’t recognize their logo, they are asking for my email in exchange for a document, am I going to get spammed with a lot of unwanted email after this?” You could address this by (a) adding a clear privacy statement explaning how visitor’s email addresses will be used, (b) stamping some well known logos or security badges on the landing page to increase trust (these are called ‘trust anchors’).
Aside from these 4 areas, there are lots of other elements to consider, including your headline text, your call to action, the design of your call to action button, the use of images of your product, the amount of product information you need to provide etc. I’ll cover these in a separate note.
Bear in mind that while there are lots of things you can change and test on your landing page, if you change too many things at once you may not be able to tell which change has made a difference. So when you first start improving your landing page don’t make ad hoc changes in the hope that they’ll produce a result – instead try to be systematic in your approach. Develop some ideas on what might improve your page (your ‘hypotheses’) and then methodically test 2 versions of your landing page to test those ideas (this is called A/B testing). When you get more sophisticated you can try multi-variate testing (MVT) where you test multiple elements of a landing page together.
There are a lot of great resources that provide advice on landing page design, testing and conversion rate optimization, including:
- MarketingExperiments – www.marketingexperiments.com
- Wider Funnel – www.widerfunnel.com/blog
- KissMetrics blog – https://blog.kissmetrics.com/
- Ion Interactive Marketing blog – https://www.ioninteractive.com/post-click-marketing-blog/
- The Unbounce blog – www.unbounce.com
- WhichTestWon – https://whichtestwon.com
- The Conversion Scientist – www.conversionscientist.com
In addition to those links, you should also monitor the hash tag #cro (for conversion rate optimization) on Twitter.