I’ve built several landing pages over the last year, some successful and some not. In my experience, the most successful attempts were those in which I ignored my desire to do what I want to do. As a marketer with a designers background, it’s often difficult for me to do what I know works because it goes against my natural desire to make things pretty and consistent. If you aren’t a marketer or you’re just getting started, designers background or not, it’s still often difficult finding the right recipe for a successful landing page. I want to share 5 things that I have learned so that you might have better success with building landing pages for your business.
1 – Before You Build It, Determine Your Goals. This is obviously the most important step for doing anything, but if you want to create a successful campaign that points to a landing page, you have to pay extra attention to this step. What is the goal of your landing page and how do you plan on achieving it? My guess is that you wish to boost visitor conversions and get more “leads”, right? If this is the case, you better be prepared to offer the right content and in the right amount and at the right time. If you do all the advertising right and you get visitors to your landing page, you have to know how to get them to convert. Most of the time, the only way to do this is by offering them something of value in exchange for their information. The most successful of these attempts is most always in the form of a white paper. If you’re building a landing page within your Facebook page, I’ve seen a video or a contest be successful in exchange for “Likes”. Either way, if you want conversions you have to have something the visitors will want bad enough to give you their information. A good example would be for me to create a white paper with 10 more detailed tips on building landing pages and ask for your name and email address in exchange for the download link to the document. I could use this information I collected and add you to my email newsletter list. Whatever you do, just plan accordingly and offer something of value because we all know the old saying, you don’t get something for nothing.
2 – Stop Designing & Start Deploying. This is the hardest part for me. I always tend to want to make my landing page it’s own mini-website with lots of neat information and links. However, this is where I usually build a landing page that fails. Like anything else with the web, you have to design a clear path for visitor conversion, you have to be sure your visitors aren’t distracted and go somewhere else. My first landing page was full of links and pretty clickable images, you know what this did? It got me a bunch of page views on every other page that wasn’t my landing page. It’s like I landed the plane and skipped it right off the runway. Whatever you do, make your landing page as plain as possible. This does not mean it can’t be pretty, it just means it needs to get right to the point with very few options for exit. You spent all your time, effort and money getting them there… so do what you can to keep them there and get them converted. Most importantly, spend more time deploying and less time designing.
3 – Unique URLs FTW. You’ll get mixed results here as the typical IT geek will tell you that unique URL’s that point to a page on your core website will only serve to screw up your analytics. However, I will tell you that they are wrong. If you are using Google Analytics, you know that you can create goals and conversion paths within this to properly segment your visitor data. This is not hard to do, but for the sake of time and subject matter, if you don’t know how to do it I suggest leaning how to do so if you are up against an IT army at your organization. Unique URLs really help in your print advertising as they are typically more memorable and can really be the icing on the cake for an interesting campaign. Several years ago I designed a campaign that had this very objective… get people to our landing page. However, our problem was that our target audience wasn’t really on the web that much (I know, who isn’t?), so our primary medium for reaching them was print. The entire campaign was designed around a character named Joe. Joe represented the people we were trying to reach, he was their average Joe. We bought the domain “MeetJoeNow.com” and linked it to our landing page. It was easy for people to identify the campaign and remember the URL, which made it easier for us to boost conversions. Remember that the success of your landing page rests in making it easy for people to get there and if they aren’t all on the web, you have to get creative. However, for the sake of making it easy, if you are targeting people only on the web, you can just point to another page on your main domain (ex: http://yoursite.com/landingpage) and still get the same results. It doesn’t work as well in print because chances are you don’t own a memorable and short domain like http://nike.com.
4 – Bullet Points – They’re What Counts. OK so you’ve got the visitors to your landing page and you’ve done everything correctly up until this point, why would you need to give them more information to get them to convert? Because they haven’t really made up their minds yet and when faced with a contact form, even if it’s a simple one, they begin to second guess and ask themselves if submitting their information is really worth it. Think about how you feel when you’re asked to give up your information. There are several things you can do to reassure them that they need this information and that it is worth their time, but remember not to overwhelm them at the point of conversion. This is where bullet points come in handy – they can convey some of the reasons they found themselves at your landing page and reassure them that whatever information they will be getting is a must have. I would even go as far as making sure you make it clear that you won’t sell their information or use it for anything other than sending the information they have requested. Be careful though, if you do that you have to stick by it! So, be sure you add a check box for subscribing to your email newsletter and make sure you let them know you won’t spam them. In summary, put the information in bullet points because even though the visitors made it to your landing page, it doesn’t mean they’ll convert… you have to convince them again and again that they need what you have.
5 – Leverage Your Brand, But Keep It Simple. As always, you need to be sure you incorporate your branding into your landing page. However, there is a balance between leveraging your brand and drowning your visitors in it. Believe it or not, this is sometimes quite difficult for most to get a hang of. At times, you may want the landing page to appear as if it’s part of your core website, but this can be a bag of tricks. If this is the case, you’ll naturally want to put the same header/navigation and footer on the page as you would any page, but remember… these are outbound links that only serve to pull your visitors away from the conversion. I suggest a minimalistic approach, incorporate your brand with a logo and tagline as well as some of the things that serve as conversion points on your core website. So for example, if a visitor were to start on your homepage, you may have a page for information about the company followed by information about the product that they were interested in followed by a testimonial followed by the contact page. Think about your landing page as a mini-version of your website, build in some of these things from your website… they still serve as part of the conversion path. In that scenario, you would add one line about the company, a testimonial about the product and/or item you are giving to them in exchange for their information, and the small contact form. If you build your landing page to fit in with your website, match the brand with your logo, colors and formatting. If it’s independent you’ll need to ask yourself if your brand is important here… which I promise you that it most likely is. Your logo doesn’t have to be huge, but it should still be present. In short, compliment your landing page with your brand… don’t compliment your brand with your landing page.
If you follow these simple steps and do what you do best, you’ll put together a very effective landing page. As simple as landing pages sound, you’ll learn something new with every one. Learn from the successes and the failures, work out a formula that works best for you and work to continually tweak it until you reach your end goal. Whatever you do, have fun! Landing pages can be as valuable to you as they are to your organization, they’ll serve as a refreshing way to serve up some new business. Enjoy!