How To Optimize Your Landing Page
Landing pages are the foundation of great inbound marketing strategies. These pages literally serve as the location of your prospect “landing” on your website. If you are trying to generate new leads or sell products online, landing pages are the place to that happen.
In a world where the average attention span online is about eight seconds, it is critical that your landing pages are optimized for instant conversion.
With such a short time to make a great first impression, you need to ensure every piece of your landing page is well-planned and working correctly. In addition to that, many repeat visitors will come across your landing page. Optimizing your landing page will ensure these folks continuously see the information they expect, helping them become your brand advocates!
What is a Landing Page?
Even in an intermediate guide such as this, it is best to start with the basics. Let’s begin with a quick review of some core concepts in landing page optimization.
A landing page (also called a squeeze page, or lead capture page), is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form. It is where your visitor “land” after clicking on some type of call-to-action, either from an ad you placed, a banner that was clicked, etc.
- This is the crux of your inbound marketing strategy.
- It is the point on your conversion path where you collect the information that generates a lead.
As a rule of thumb, a landing page usually includes:
- a compelling header
- interesting copy
- minimal navigation
- a opt-in form
The above is in addition to good design and a good landing page that employs great strategy. The best landing pages target a particular audience, such as traffic from an email campaign to promote a particular offer, or visitor who clicked on a pay-per-click ad to promote a specific campaign.
It is important to build a unique landing page for each offer you create.
You can build landing pages that allow visitors to download or opt-in to receive your content offer such as coupons, ebooks, other gifts or sign up for offers further down the funnel such as free trials and product demos.
Why Are Landing Pages Important?
As I explained above, a landing page is where you capture your leads or sell your products. Therefore, designing an outstanding landing page experience is critical to effectively converting a higher percentage of your visitors into leads and sales.
Landing pages make it much easy for your website visitors to receive an offer, since they are taken directly to the offer itself rather than having to navigate around your website to find it. Landing pages also help to clarify what visitors must do to receive your offer.
The best marketing is about delivering the right information, to the right person, at the right time.
That’s how you create marketing that people love. By directing your visitors to a landing page, the exact page with the offer and the form they must complete to get it, you increase the likelihood that they will complete your form and convert into leads.
Types of Landing Pages
Since landing pages play such a critical role in driving leads and consequently, revenue, many online marketing firms are building entire consulting arms with the sole aim of optimizing company landing pages. However, there is one thing you need to know. You need to know the type of your landing page that suits your website.
Landing pages come in three main flavors.
This landing page might be part of your main website. Such pages have the same navigation and page layout as all of the other pages on your site. The specific landing page might be buried several layers deep within your site, or it might be your home page.
This landing page is part of a microsite specifically designed for a single audience or purpose. A microsite usually has one main call to action and all of the information on the site funnels the visitor back to this desired conversion action.
A microsite usually contains a few pages of supporting information that allow a visitor to make an educated decision about the topic in question, and request further information or buy something.
Such information includes:
- a detailed description of your product or service
- buying guides or wizards
- downloadable whitepapers (PDF’s or reports)
- a comparison to similar products or services
- case studies
- and other validation
Microsites can be branded as part of your main company or can have their own stand-alone brand.
Some landing pages are specifically designed for a particular marketing campaign. Such pages usually have specific information related only to the offer or action that you would like your visitor to take. Usually there is a clear, single call-to-action. If the desired action is not taken, stand-alone landing pages may employ an exit pop-up window with a secondary desired action, or a repeat of the original call-to-action.
The type of landing page that you deploy is largely dictated by your traffic source, as well as the type of product or service that you offer.
Ideally your traffic can be specifically directed to a particular page and tracked in significant detail. For example, a PPC campaign allows you to specify the exact landing page for each keyword. This information can be tracked through the conversion process, and allows you to calculate the ROI at the keyword level.
Such traffic should generally be directed at goal-oriented, stand-alone landing page.
The advantage of stand-alone landing pages is that they are targeted. They do not overwhelm your visitor or distract them with irrelevant information. This usually result in the best bang for the buck and highest conversion rates.
Understanding Your Landing Pages
So what parts of your site are mission critical? Mission critical activities on your site can easily be identified. All you have to do is ask yourself the following question:
Does the content create a meaningful transaction or deepen your relationship with the visitor?
- A meaningful transaction does not have to be your ultimate conversion goal.
- It can be a small incremental step that creates psychological momentum toward that goal.
Deepening your relationship means that you have been given a higher level of trust by the visitor. Tangible evidence of this includes spending more time on important parts of your site. So does increased page views of key content.
Of course, the most important indicators are:
- the sharing of information by filling out forms, calling or chatting
- downloading written materials or computer programs
- signing up for free trials and promotions
- or actually buying something
This includes advertising online, such as banners, text ads and sponsor links. Measuring advertising effectiveness usually involves tracking the number of times that an ad was seen or clicked on. Another measure is the average advertising revenue per page view for alternative ad page layouts.
Some websites have ultimate conversion steps that require a lot of up-front education. They provide resources and online guides to fully explain their products and services. If education of visitors is your primary goal, the key metrics are the time spent on your educational pages and the number of page views.
Many companies measure sales efficiency by looking at their sales conversion rate, or their shopping cart abandonment rate. In many circumstances, the revenue per visitor and profit per visitor are more useful metrics.
For example: if you sell multiple products at widely varying prices, you can bias the mix of products that you sell intentionally. This may mean that you choose to lower your sale conversion rate to focus on higher-ticket items. Conversely, you may seemingly raise your sales conversion rate by emphasizing smaller-ticket items. The merit of the trade-offs involved in such situations can be evaluated by focusing on the revenue per visitor metric.
Understanding Your Audience
We are all familiar with the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This ethical guidepost exists in many variants across the world’s major philosophies and religions. But it is missing an essential component by presupposing that everyone is the same. Moreover, it makes your behaviour and beliefs the standard by which all conduct should be judged and measured.
“Treat others the way they want to be treated.” The Platinum Rule, by Dr. Tony Alessandra.
I ran across this powerful formulation at a sales training workshop many years ago and it resonated deeply for me. Here was the missing component: empathy. People are not all the same. If we want to understand them, we should try to step outside of our own needs and experience the world from their perspective.
Like a solid news report, you must understand the basics of the story and be able to articulate the following particulars about your audience. Let me further explain…
Who Is Your Audience?
The who of your audience is defined by their demographics and segmentation. Because you can’t meet every visitor to your site in person, you’re limited to use aggregated information.
You understand the traffic source hitting your website and the specific landing pages.
Exclusive information is also available about these visitors and their behaviour. From a landing page optimization perspective, it is important to exactly determine what subset of your traffic will be used for the test. You should pay particular attention to its stability and consistency over time.
Where On Your Website Does The Interaction Occur?
As you learned above, the “where” of your landing page optimization test should occur on your previously identified mission-critical landing pages. Sometimes the where may be an offline call-to-action such as a phone call or an in-store sale, but the mechanism for it (e.g., displaying a special dedicated toll-free number, or creating a printable coupon for redemption in a store) is still part of the website.
When Do Your Visitors Make Their Decision?
The when should be seen not as a specific time event, but more generally as a position in a decision process. Some visitors feel a vague unease about a concern that they may have, but have just begun to look around and try to formulate a response to their problem. Others know exactly what they want, and may only be concerned with completing whatever transaction is required to obtain their specific product.
Why Do Visitors Behave The Way They Do?
You do not have intimate and accurate information about your individual visitors. The “why” can be understood by imagining the categories of behavioural styles.
What Is The Task That You Are Asking Them To Complete?
The “what” is the specific task that your visitor is trying to complete on your website.
How Does Your Site Operate In Order For Visitors To Complete Their Tasks?
The “how” is the actual design of your website or landing pages. It is medium through which each task must be accomplished. Specific page elements include:
- emphasis of key information
- text copy
- the call-to-action
- and dozens of other factors
All of the above is combined to influence the effectiveness of your landing page.
Information about your site visitors comes in two main flavors: objective and subjective.
Because almost everything on the Internet can be logged or recorded, it provides a wealth of objective information. The goal of the effective online marketer is to determine which specific metrics are good predictors of success, and to monitor them properly to focus your programs in the right direction. As with all numeric information, you should treat demographics with proper respect and be aware of the following issues:
Data-gathering Methods And Limitations
Depending on the exact technology used, software packages will track the activities of your visitors differently and come up with different numbers for the same metrics. Be aware of the limitations of the software that you choose.
Gathering Enough Data
Many online marketers do not wait to gather enough data before making decisions. Just because one out of the first four visitors to your website bought from you, it does not mean that you have a 25% conversion rate to sale. Wait to gather enough data to get statistically valid answers.