I have been been reading Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash. It's a good read with lots of great info on how to optimize your web pages to increase conversion rates from web visitors. A topic that I've been spending a lot of time on. My favorite phrase in the book is 'your baby is ugly'. Tim uses the phrase as a blunt way of letting you know your current landing pages are not working and that it's time to start optimizing.
Landing Page Defined
Let's talk about landing pages. A landing page is a page on your website that targets a specific phrase. This targeting can be done through pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimization, there are pros and cons to each of these. We'll discuss this in a separate blog post. For now though, a landing page is a page designed to get traffic targeting a certain keyword or phrase. The goal of a landing page is to get an actionable result.
Come on, click it. You know you want to.
The actionable result can vary quite a bit depending on the type of business you operate. Some examples of actionable events include: newsletter signup, quote form submission, purchase or whitepaper download. The point of this is to move a web visitor into the process of making a sale. A landing page conversion is when a web visitor takes that first step into the sales process and completes the actionable event available on the page. The art of landing page optimization is in improving this conversion rate.
Know Your Customer
For you to successfully market your business online, you need to have some landing pages. But first you must know what your customers are likely to search for to find you. You do know how your customers find you... don't you? If not, it's time to start asking. And when they say 'the Web' or 'Google', don't leave it at that. Ask specifically which search engine did they use, what keywords or phrases did they use, how many pages of results did they have to go through before finding you. This will give you an idea of what words and phrases you should target.
Figure Out Your Action
Do you sell a product, a service or both. If you sell a relatively inexpensive item, try to sell the item as the action of your landing page. If you sell a car, or a more expensive item or service, maybe the action should be to sign up for your newsletter, get a quote or request more info.
Make Some Pages
Once you have figured out the keywords and phrases and know what your action is, it's time to start making the pages. The key to a good landing page is giving visitors the information they are looking for in a clear and concise way. The actionable element (quote form, order form, etc.) should be highlighted on the page. Keep the pages simple. If you have an order form and a quote form and big links to other sections of your website, the next step is no longer clear to the visitor and you will lose them. Make it clear about what is supposed to happen next. Your visitors are not going to take the time to figure it out, you have to tell them!
Track and Tweak
I hope you do this step with every marketing campaign. If you don't, you're throwing money out the window. Don't be surprised if you see me outside with a basket! The great thing about the Web is our ability to track everything. Use Google Analytics to track how many clicks your landing page is receiving, if are you getting traffic from the keywords you are targeting and how many people are completing the action. Use this information and tweak. Compare results. Keep the content, layouts and images that work. Throw the rest away! Repeat.