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In a previous post – Conversion Rate Optimization: Scent Trail or Primrose Path – I talked about the wrong way to increase conversions in terms of leads and sales. In this post, I want to provide some guidelines about how to get it right through the use of landing pages.
The Marketing Communication Feedback Loop
Before we dig down into how to use landing pages, we first need to realize that communication, especially marketing communication, is a two-way street. It’s not uncommon for marketers to think that if we broadcast a message, we have effectively communicated. That is not the case.
Communication takes place when a feedback loop has been established. A simple version works like this:
- An information source produces a message and encodes it for transmission using one or more channels.
- The recipient decodes (interprets) the message received from the transmission, and then sends a response to the sender.
When that happens, the communication loop comes full cycle, and it’s the sender’s turn to continue communicating.
Let’s apply that to a marketing campaign.
1. We formulate the message, adapt it for transmission through various channels – video, email, social media and so on – and then send.
2. The recipients – our customers and prospects – see the message and respond.
For the sake of example, let’s say that we send an email broadcast announcing a new product or service designed to get the recipients, many of whom will be current customers, interested in learning more or, even better, making a purchase. Contained within that message is a call-to-action, which is consistent with the action we want the respondent to take.
What happens following the click-through is critical because it will either lead a person down the “scent trail” or along a primrose path.
Does it take the respondent to a page on our website that features the product or service? Or, does it take them to a special landing page that contains the means by which the person can take the desired action?
Landing Pages Defined
For clarification, here’s how Wikipedia defines the term:
“In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a ‘lead capture page’ is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement (or, in our example, an email message). The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link.”
In one sense, every web page is a “landing page” because it happens to be the one the person lands on. What I’m suggesting is that you create a page expressly designed to inspire action and continue the communication that will lead to the ultimate action – making a purchase.
Landing Page Examples
To give you a better idea about how landing pages work, here are some helpful examples.
The homepage of the Thinbox website is designed to elicit action in the form of registration or sign up.
This is the top section of a more extensive landing page advertising a cyber security product called Predictive Shield. It contains two calls to action: “Learn More,” and a phone number.
When you click the Learn More button, another page pops up containing a form to download the product brochure.
This landing page, from landing page software provider Unbounce, invites people to take a free course on, what else, landing page conversion.
Landing Page Best Practices
What makes for a landing page that increases conversions? Here are a list of best practices gleaned from the Unbounce website:
1. Ensure the primary headline of your landing page matches the source (ad, email, link) visitors clicked to get there.
2. Make your call to action (CTA) big and position it above the fold.
3. Make sure the landing page has a single focus.
4. Use video. It’s been shown to improve conversion by up to 80%.
5. Use real testimonials for authenticity.
6. Use A/B split testing to determine the version that receives the highest conversion rate.
7. Simplify your copy using bullets.
8. Segment by traffic source. Send your PPC, email, social media, organic and banner traffic to separate landing pages for better message match and to do determine which channel performs best.
9. Show your phone number so people know you are real and can interact with you on a personal level.
10. Finally, don’t send inbound traffic to your homepage. Use a landing page!
Landing Page Platform Providers
By now, I hope I have convinced you to incorporate the use of landing pages into your email marketing and other marketing channels, as well. Here is a list of companies that make landing page creation easy:
Finally, here are some related resources where you can learn more about increasing conversion rates using landing pages, especially as it applies to email marketing:
One more resource…an infographic that describes how to build the perfect landing page: