Categories: Web Design, Web Marketing, Website Content
You’ve likely heard about landing pages, but just in case you haven’t, or were wondering about what they’re for & how they might work for you, this post will outline what they’re for, what they do, and how to make them work for you.
What is a landing page anyway?: A landing page can be a single page tied to a domain name that is created for the purposes of converting a site visit into something profitable, like a sale or event signup. It can also be one of many pages in a site that is dedicated to a specific conversion. For example, if you’re an author, you might already have a website that introduces you and your work; but if you’re about to publish a new book you’ll likely want to dedicate a page on your existing site to that book as well as create a whole new site just for that book. This allows you to use targeted marketing for the book specifically, which can then direct traffic back to your larger author, but not give up any potential sales from your author website either. And on your author site, you may have multiple landing pages, not just one for each book you’ve written, but your Press page and your Articles page are also landing pages. They each serve a specific purpose, and they’re each there asking the visitor to do something specific with that information (eg: pass it on -or- contact you). Landing pages are often arrived at via an ad, or a featured link, but also through search engines.
2. What’s in it for me?: This is the question you need to be asking as if you are the visitor. They’re there because they think there will be something of value they can gain because of their visit. People are very busy, with short attention spans, so make sure it’s crystal clear and very easy to get to. For example, if you’re offering a free tutorial in exchange for an email address, make your offer front-and-center, and be sure it explains how it will benefit the visitor. It needs to be attractive both in terms of the pitch, but also the aesthetics. Remember that it’s critical to instill confidence in someone giving you their email address, and if your signup looks like something your 7-year-old nephew put together you may be shooting yourself in the foot. First and foremost it’s functional, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t also be attractive, and in being attractive it may benefit you. Also, keep the bar very low – if you’re asking for their email address, only ask for their email address – not their first name, last name and home town. The more you ask of them, the less likely it is that they’ll participate. And keep your language above board – consumers are smart and have caught on to the fact that things that say, “no risk!” or “limited time offer!” are commonly a hoax, so be genuine when you explain what you’re offering in return for their contact info.
3. Fine tune site content over time: Like with any website, it’s not something you create and are finished. You need to check on its success rate based on your goals and tune it to meet them. Make sure you’re using Google Analytics (or whatever statistics analysis engine you choose) and try out a few different headlines to see which one works the best. Play with the language used throughout the site to make the most of your potential conversions. Make sure all the information someone wants is there, but keep the critical information easily available and featured by the design. And don’t lose focus – be sure the site content isn’t taking the user in too many directions – you want it all to lead to the same destination. The length of your page isn’t that important as long as all of the important information is there, and the actionable information is featured above the fold. And don’t just make the hard sell – your landing page content should be simple, engaging, interesting and easy to relate to. And the language you use to kick-start a conversion should not be vague, including on buttons – for example, “Sign up for a free tutorial!” is better than “Sign up!”
4. If your landing page is an island, it is lost: No matter how functional and beautiful it is, if you’re not pounding the pavement (so to speak) to get links into your landing page, it won’t be considered important enough by search engines to show up in search results where you want it to be. So, get out there and write articles that point back to it – link to it from your other website(s) and blog. Tweet about it or create a page for it on Facebook. Identify your key words and make sure links pointing to the site are using them.
There is no magic bullet here – the landing page is powerful tool in your toolbox for connecting with your market, but it is only one of many. And you need to hustle to make it work; you need to care about your audience for them to care about you; and you need to make sure your efforts are paying off by tracking them. Don’t give up! It does take time.
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