Landing pages are an important tool in any online marketing campaign. They are one of the best ways to convert web clicks into clients, and can help to maximize your online performance. Here are some tips for getting started and building an effective landing page that meets the needs of your clients.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a web page that a visitor reaches after clicking an online ad or a link, and contains detailed information about the specific product or service that is mentioned. The landing page should be considered part of the marketing campaign and shouldn’t just be another page on your website.

When you start developing a landing page you should really consider its purpose. What are you hoping visitors will do when they get there? Is your goal to sell a product, help visitors learn more about a service, or do you want them to provide you feedback? All of these goals would need different landing pages.

An effective landing page makes your visitors’ lives easier by providing them all the information that they need without having to scour your site or the web for answers. Using landing pages can significantly impact your conversion rate. A survey by Atlas OnePoint found that the average conversion rate when companies used their homepage as the destination for an advertisement or link was only 6 percent. However, companies that used targeted landing pages had almost double the conversion rate, with 12 percent of their visitors converting.

Landing pages can also improve your search engine optimization because they are filled with keywords about your business or product. Search engines want to provide the most relevant results, so these keyword-rich pages can improve your rank.

How to make a superior landing page

Content is an important part of a landing page, but knowing what to include and what to omit is very important. Your landing page should do one of three things—give your prospect reason to convert, enable them to do so, or resolve any concerns the prospect may have about converting. If any of the information on your page does not accomplish this, then it shouldn’t be there.

The site should provide relevant, focused, and detailed information about a specific product or service. It is most beneficial if this can be included on a single page. According to website optimization firm, Interactive Marketing Inc., this can increase conversion by 55 percent. This information should also be visible “above the fold,” or without the need to scroll down.

It is important to keep in mind who your audience is and make sure that the information you provide is relevant to them. This may mean you need to develop multiple landing pages for a single product. This will allow you to target your message to each specific audience.

Landing pages, as mentioned earlier, have a purpose, either to ask people to buy or to provide them more information—to meet that goal, your page needs to have a call to action. This can be a simple button asking people to purchase a product or click to read a free report. The button should be clearly labeled and should explain what you want customers to do.

Having a well designed page can heavily impact your conversion rate. Eye-tracking studies and other research have given online marketers new information about how users interact with websites.

People tend to look at the upper left hand side first, then at the headline and then at the left side of the page. To maximize your success, the most important information should be in these positions.

Additionally, the look and feel of your page should be consistent with your other marketing materials, and it should appear trustworthy. Users want to see a design that is consistent with the advertisement or link that brought them to your page so they know they’re in the right place. If you change your advertising campaign, you should change your landing page as well.

The impression your site gives visitors is crucial. A Stanford study found that 46 percent of web sales are lost on sites lacking the critical elements to build trust. The number one reason people indicated they don’t buy from a site is because it had an unprofessional look and feel that lacked credibility. Building this trust is crucial if you’re trying to gather personal information about your website’s users. The most common answer submitted on personal information forms online is Mickey Mouse. If you want fewer “Mickey Mouses” on your prospect list, this key is building trust.

The headline and page title on your landing page are very important. The page title is in the bar at the top of your web browser, and the headline is the biggest piece of text on the page. These two items have the greatest potential to impact your conversion rate. Include the keywords or phrases you used in the advertisement to get visitors to the site. Position these items where your eye travels first—the top left of the screen.

You now know the key to developing an effective design and helpful content, but what if you don’t have an in-house web designer or the resources to hire someone to design a landing page for every online marketing campaign? Luckily, there are online sites that help you create your own landing pages relatively easily and inexpensively. These sites don’t require that you know HTML, and designing a landing page can be as easy as creating a PowerPoint slide. For example, Marketo.com offers landing page creation tools and hosting.

Landing page optimization

To improve your landing page—test and test again. There are a few elements that are very important, including load time and headline.

Try to keep load time under 5 seconds. Cater your page to the slowest dial-up connection so as not to lose these visitors. Web analytics software can tell you how many of your visitors are using a slow connection, and a variety of sites, such as iWebTool, offer free tools to test your page load time.

Headlines can alter conversion times, so test a variety of them to see which is most effective. Headlines should tell the benefit to the customer, not necessarily the product features.

A landing page is also a good place to test different prices for your product if you display them online. An Allbusiness.com article about the psychology of pricing noted that prices that end with odd numbers, especially 7s or 9s, tend to be associated with lower prices than even numbers.

Finally, test the call to action to find one that delivers the highest conversion rates. This includes the buttons themselves. Large, red buttons tend to have the best conversion.

Tuning your landing page

Just building a landing page isn’t enough; to be effective, the page must be routinely updated. Updated content can boost your search engine optimization, it can help you track what content generates the best conversion, and it can improve traffic. The more you update, the more reason people have to visit your page. A Marketing Sherpa eye-tracking study showed that consistently updating and tweaking content can increase traffic by 40 percent.

One of the most important things to update is pricing changes. A landing page that misquotes a price will frustrate and most likely turn off a prospect. In a recent survey, Enquiro found that users of B2B websites preferred to see pricing information but it is often unavailable. Supplying a price range may help customers determine if you are within their budget, without requiring you to list specific prices.

Finally, make sure that none of the links are broken and remove any outdated links.

Landing pages are a great way to provide your customers the information they need in one convenient location, and they can help you convert web clicks into clients. While they may take some work to set up and maintain, they can drastically improve your online marketing efforts.

Julie Mason is general manager of Kellysearch.com. The Back To Basics column appears periodically at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Back To Basics | Channel: Analytics | Search Marketing: Landing Pages | SEO: Writing & Body Copy

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