By Kalena Jordan (c) 2008
In the field of online marketíng, a landing page is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search engine result link. It is sometimes known as a lead capture page and usually displays content that reinforces the message contained in the ad or search snippet.
Types of Landing Pages
There are two main types of landing page:
1) Reference Landing Page
Reference landing pages deliver information relevant to the visitor. This could include text, images, links or other elements not requiring interaction.
What are the Goals of a Landing Page?
Transactional landing pages ask visitors to complete a transaction such as clicking on an advertisement, filling out a form or downloading a file with the aim being immediate or eventual conversion of that prospect to a sale. To aid the capturing of new leads, transactional pages generally seek visitor contact details such as a name, email address and/or a telephone number.
A visitor taking the desired action on a transactional landing page is known as a conversion. Landing page quality can be measured by the percentage of visitors who complete the desired action (the conversion rate). Since the Return on Investment (ROI) of pay per clíck (PPC) campaigns is often determined by the conversion rate, advertisers should be constantly testing, tweaking and improving their landing pages. We will discuss testing methods available, such as A/B testing and multivariate testing, in a later lesson.
Why Are Landing Pages Important?
In PPC and search marketing campaigns, the landing page is usually customized very closely to the advertisement which triggered it. In PPC campaigns, landing pages are vital in order to "close the sale" and encourage visitors to take the action you want them to take. By adding a parameter to the landing page URL (and therefore forming a tracking URL), advertisers can measure the ROI on their PPC ads based on relative clíck-through rates.
While enticing ad copy is very important in order to attract clicks, effective landing pages are vital in order to "close the sale" and encourage your visitors to take the action you want them to take.
Landing pages often determine whether you make a conversion or not. Using landing pages on your site also means that some visitors won't ever see your home page. First impressions haven't ever been so important, so you need your landing pages to represent your business, product or service in the best possible light.
Many marketers make the mistake of assuming that a conversion is the main goal of an effective landing page. But attracting and capturing qualified leads is an easier and more important goal. Why? Because you can always "sell" to visitors later. Grabbing their contact details ensures you have captured them at the height of their interest.
So the main goals of a landing page are:
1) To Attract Prospects (primary goal) - grab email address and/or phone number
2) To Produce Conversions (secondary goal)
Features of an Effective Landing Page:
The ingredients for an effective landing page include:
- Reinforced Ad Message
- Punchy Headings
- Short Paragraphs
- Enticing Copy
- Few Distractions
- Value Proposition
- Compelling Images
- Little or No Navigation
- Calls to Action
- Few choices
- Simple Language and Concepts
- Important Content "Above the Fold"
- Establish Visitor Trust
- Foolproof Conversion Process
- Test, Tweak and Test Again
The company had originally been directing persons who clicked on their ads to a lead generation form offering a free sample math video tutorial. They had some success with this, but sensed that more tailored landing pages would result in more leads being generated. So the company hired landing page design experts to custom-build pages designed to encourage more consumers to request a free sample and boost the number of leads for the company's call center to approach.
The result? The revised landing pages converted 139% more consumers into sales leads than the original landing page. You can see why if you view the pages below:
Original Landing Page
New Landing Page
New Landing Page Targeting Algebra
New Landing Page Targeting Geometry
You can see that the new pages include many of the features of an effective landing page that we described above.
More About Calls to Action
When it comes to encouraging your visitors to take the action you want them to take, focus on one primary action per screen. Don't stuff too many products onto one screen. Make your call-to-action button clearly visible without having to scroll, don't bury it under pages of information. Consider using tabs or a pop-up box to consolidate information.
Taking Prospects by the Hand
When visitors are on your landing page, you need to make it easy and painless for them to take the next steps. In a virtual sense, you need to take them by the hand and lead them through the process. How do you do that? Tell visitors why they should purchase from you. According to the Marketing Experiments Journal the "Clarity of your value proposition is the most important factor in determining whether a customer buys from you or not."
To evaluate your value proposition, ask yourself the question: Why should I purchase from this site?
Tracking and Tweaking is key
With PPC campaigns, you have so much more control than you do with SEO campaigns. Why? Because you have nearly full control over how your listing appears, what keywords trigger it, where on the page it appears, how much you pay per lead and what page your ad links to.
Don't waste this knowledge! You need to consistently track results from your campaign, track clíck-throughs, ad quality, conversions and ROI. If you want your campaign to succeed, you can't have a "set and forget" mentality that (unfortunately) many advertisers have. PPC campaigns require constant tracking and tweaking. Later in this course we discuss ways of testing your landing pages and ads to consistently improve your conversions.
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.