Your ‘landing page’ is the first step a visitor takes into your online universe. But that page is actually the last step in your strategic plan to attract those visitors.
You see, a lot more goes into the planning process of your Web traffic strategy than just the design of your landing page. And while it is certainly true that you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, it’s practically worthless to impress the wrong audience!
That’s why what comes before the landing page matters more than what’s on it.
Can You Read Your Prospect’s Mind?
Let’s say you own a hotel and are looking for clients like Tim, a busy businessman with a young wife whom he’s been ignoring lately because of pressure at work. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Tim has been thinking of making up to his beloved by taking her for a romantic evening out.
How can you make your hotel’s landing page appeal to him?
Obviously not by showcasing your hotel’s history, the state of art conference room for meetings, or even the well-equipped gym and Olympic size swimming pool. And most definitely not by using words like ‘cheap’, ‘affordable’ and ‘economy’ – terms that are singularly UN-romantic!
By reading your ideal prospect’s mind, you can tailor your landing page to speak directly to his or her deepest desires and passionate longings. A great SEO strategy for your business would factor in keyword research and analysis, but be driven by buyer psychology.
You’ll figure out your audience’s needs and urges, challenges and problems, and their heartfelt wishes that your business can help solve. You’ll also understand buying cycles and how potential buyers research things. You will analyze the intent and motivation centered around solving a problem that is inherent in every keyword and search phrase they use while looking for your business.
When you get this right, you’ll be able to skyrocket your conversion rates.
Speak Their Language, Feel Their Pain
Tim feels guilty. He’s been totally focused on his career. He knows he must make amends for not paying enough attention to his life partner. So he’s on the Web, searching for an answer.
- Will he find your hotel?
- Will your landing page convert him into a customer?
- Will you answer his biggest questions of the moment?
It all depends upon your SEO strategy.
If you rightly concluded that keyword phrases like “romantic weekend” and “romantic holiday” (with high search volumes) are what you must target to appeal to clients like Tim, then you’ll plan your landing page to focus on people looking for ideas on how to make their loved one happy.
You may reinforce Tim’s guilty conscience to easily convince him that your sinfully delightful ‘dinner and spa’ luxury package is a great way to make it up to his sweetheart.
By explaining the hotel’s “exclusive weekend for two” in terms that make Tim feel good about himself, you shift the decision making from a perspective of price or quality to one of emotional fulfillment, subtly shifting things to a higher plane on the Maslowian hierarchy of needs.
Interestingly enough, it also makes it easier to close the sale!
Give Them What They Want
Indeed, the right strategy for your landing page may even lead you to craft package deals that fits customers’ needs like a glove. But doing this requires detailed insight into your market’s desires, and clarity about the market segment that you serve.
Nothing about this process is static. While an approach that pushes Tim’s emotional triggers may work well ahead of Valentine’s Day, it must be modified to suit the analytical and logical part of his brain when he’s searching a week later for a hotel to host his company’s next annual convention.
Keyword research and SEO can help estimate the volume of prospective buyers or people in search of a solution, so that it is possible to create compelling content for landing pages targeted directly at buyers searching with generic keyword phrases.
These can work so well that even prospects who haven’t heard of your brand before, or aren’t sure if they even want the solution you offer, are converted into buyers through the near-magical resonance created by a landing page tailored to their emotional needs.
The trick, then, is finding the right generic search phrases to target – and knowing your prospect’s mind well enough to persuade visitors into taking the action you want. This will boost earnings massively.
Only A Poor Craftsman Blames His Tools
The tools today’s SEO experts have access to are powerful enough to blow any competition out of the water, especially when combined with strategic insight into the psychology of one’s ideal prospects.
Keyword research is important to assess the size of your market and find the exact search phrases around which to craft content. Excellent software and tools are available to help with this.
But what makes a 1% to 2% conversion rate get much higher, and transforms the impact of your landing pages, is a deep understanding of the psychology of your prospective customers.
Web analytics help you track the actions visitors take on your site, so that you can see what they do and then try to find out why they do it – and whether or not they behave in the manner you expected them to.
This is what makes analytics data valuable. When this information is anchored in business strategy and viewed in the backdrop of economic end-points, it helps fine tune the online selling process in a reliable and well-informed manner, instead of playing costly guessing games.
The pity is that most businesses merely employ Google Analytics as a traffic counter. Don’t limit yourself to that.
Focus on the right key performance indicators (KPIs) and critically examine the data against the metrics you expect to see when you build a process based on the SOSTAC marketing framework (Situation analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action and Control).
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Try again. And again. Eventually, you’ll get it right.
Conversion rate optimization involves constant testing and tweaking.
At each stage, you measure what works and keep doing more of it, dropping the tweaks that didn’t work as well. Blindly directing more traffic at a process that doesn’t convert well, or worse, fails to target the visitor correctly, is wasteful and frustrating.
If your search phrase analysis confirms a huge demand for the solution you’re providing, then there’s often a good reason why people don’t buy – you are not mirroring their needs.
It is your responsibility, through the adoption of an intelligent SEO strategy, to provide the specific solution to their needs by laser focusing your landing page on the exact issues and problems that the keyword phrase tells you they have.
Even after you’re certain this has been fixed, you still have room for improvement. Say you’re buying traffic through a pay-per-click system like Google Adwords. When you measure conversion strength for the different keywords you are targeting, you’ll find not all of them are equally effective.
Investing some money on a quality check like this will point you to the best keywords that are most likely to convert. These terms can then become the target of your comprehensive (and long lasting) SEO strategy for organic traffic.
And last – but not least – your copy on the landing page can make a big difference in converting visitors into buyers.
A professional SEO copywriter may cost you more money upfront. But if the copy raises your conversion rate from 1% to 6%, wouldn’t it be worthwhile? Ask yourself what a 3% increase in sales will mean to your bottom-line and you’ll quickly be able to rationalize the higher expense.
In almost every case, good SEO is not a cost but an investment. An investment in the future growth of your business. And one of the most cost effective options among all marketing methods we know today.
SEO lasts for a long time. No one pulls the plug on a great SEO strategy. And even when you look at it from a purely economic perspective, you’ll see that it’s an investment that will gain value for years to come.
So that’s what goes on behind the scenes when you engineer your landing page design.
As a business owner, you cannot indulge in the luxury of deciding what your people should like. Your customers are in control. You must give them what they want.
Keyword research and strategic SEO will tell you exactly what they want. Before wasting your money on something that won’t work, ask your SEO strategist to safeguard and secure your investments by integrating SEO into other components of your digital marketing strategy.
Always keep in mind the important fact that your landing page should not just be ‘search engine friendly’… it needs to be buyer friendly if it is to deliver the highest value to your business, in the present and far into the future.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.