Landing Page Essentials – Part 1
2006, Susan Sweeney / Connex Network Inc.

This is part 1 in a 5 part series on the importance of landing pages.

When you promote an offer online, whether it be a banner ad, newsletter promotion, or pay-to-play campaign you want to maximize the results of your effort. When done properly, creating a targeted landing page for an ad can greatly increase conversions, or the number of customers who act on your offer.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a Web page created for the specific purpose of driving the target market towards some intended action based on the offer presented in an online ad. The action you want the target market to take might be to fill out a quote request form, a form to view a live online demo, a form to download a white paper, participate in a survey, purchase your goods online, and so on. The key is that the landing page is geared towards racking up conversions; to convert browsers to buyers.

The way your landing page shapes up depends entirely on your business objectives, your target market, and your offer itself. A complex product or service will likely require a lead generation form, while a simple product such as a book or standard cruise package would benefit from providing the target market with immediate access to purchase process. The landing page should focus on only what needs to be present to get the job done – keep it focused.

The presentation and the content, or copy, of your landing page has a huge impact on the ability of the landing page to close the offer. We begin with a look at content for your landing page. There are a number of points to make note of when preparing content for a landing page:

Tips & Techniques

Creating Landing Page Content

1. Your landing page should repeat and expand on the offer. The job of the ad is to generate interest in the offer while the job of the landing page is to close the loop. The volume of content on your landing page depends entirely on what you are selling and the objective you are trying to accomplish. If you are promoting a particular gift basket for Valentine’s Day then you will not need a lot of copy to close the sale; however, if you are selling an expensive, complex point of sale system your target market will likely want to know additional details about the product.

2. Your landing page should clearly define the benefits of your offer. The benefits the target market receives from the product or service you are promoting is what justifies the purchase.

3. Your landing page should deliver on the promise made in your advertisement. If your ad was focused around getting the target market to sign-up for an online demo then when they follow through to the landing page they should be given the opportunity to do so. Do not send the target market on a wild goose hunt for the information or product offering they requested.

4. Your landing page should speak to your target market. What tone, or personality, works best with your target market? If your offer was in the form of a newsletter then the same style should extend to the landing page to create a natural linkage. Little things make a difference.

5. Your landing page should have a killer header statement. The header statement is what keeps the target market’s interest peaked when they click through on your advertisement. You need to keep the momentum going.

6. Your landing page should be easy to read, or better yet – skim. It is a well known fact that your typical Internet user does not read all of the information on the page. People also tend to have more difficulty reading online than they do on print, so it takes them longer to review material. Knowing this information be sure to keep your content concise and to the point, as well as written at a grade level suitable for your entire target market.

7. Your landing page content should minimize risk. If your target market hesitates then you are likely to lose the sale. If you have a money back guarantee, emphasize it! Anything that helps de-stress your target market and close the deal should prominently displayed.

8. Your landing page should promote the “value add” portion of the offer that will help with your objectives. Free shipping, free gift with purchase, received coupon or discount towards a future purchase, the number of reward points earned with purchase, etc. all add to the value of the offer.

9. Your landing page should create a sense of urgency. Asking the target market to “Act Now!,” telling the target market that “there are limited quantities” or “limited space available,” and techniques like time stamping the offer with an expiry date creates a sense of urgency that encourages the target market to take immediate advantage of the offer. If the target market does not feel as though there is a reason to act on an offer now then your chances of converting them decreases significantly.

10. Your landing page should include content that increases your credibility such as client testimonials or product/service reviews. For example, a hotel that has a AAA 4 Diamond Rating can leverage its status on the landing page by including mention of it on the page – this could be as simple as including the logo on the landing page. Content that helps establish credibility also helps build trust, which is key to doing business online.

11. Your landing page should ask for the sale. You presented the target market with an offer you want to capitalize on, so take advantage of that and ask for the sale. You put too much effort into getting them to your Web site. Make it absolutely clear what the next step is that you want the target market to take. An action button that says “register for your live demo now” is much more effective that a button that says “submit.”

12. Your landing page should be optimized for the search engines. If you are only running a promotion for a couple of days then odds are you do not want your landing page indexed by the search engines. In this case you would use your robots exclusion protocol in your robots.txt file to tell the search engines not to index the page. For the rest of you, optimizing your landing page for the major search engines is important. In fact, if the exact keyword phrase the target market searched for is found on your homepage on average your conversions will be higher.

Be sure to take the time to work relevant keyword phrases into your landing page. With your pay-to-play campaigns you can purchase a number of targeted phrases, but with the bidding prices for keywords on the rise, taking some of the pressure off with natural search engine listings can help generate addition sales through phrases you may not want to purchase and increase your bottom line because you’re benefiting from traffic you did not have to pay for. What have you got to lose?

You know your target market best and what information they want to know before making a purchase. When it comes down to you it your content should speak your target market’s language, complete the pitch made in the ad, build trust, and close the sale. Test different lengths, tones, and formatting of copy to find the right balance to best sell your offer.

Keep in mind that great content helps build trust and it is trust that drives online sales and builds lifetime customer relationships.

In the 2nd part of this series we will look at various tips for laying out your landing page to maximize conversions.