Landing pages: your secret conversion weapon

I’m glad Duct Tape Marketing wrote about this because it saved me the trouble. I was just having a conversation today about the very topic of landing pages, how they affect conversion, and how important (and easy!) it is to at least do A/B testing to see what works.

By way of example, I have one client who excels at landing page refinement. He constantly tests and refines, tests and refines. His landing page strategy is to marketing what the instructions “rinse, lather, repeat” are to increased shampoo usage. He’s even tested and proven which font colors work best.

If I seem to be gushing, it’s because I admire people who take advantage of the science of marketing. Sure, there’s an art to it, too. (I’m a creative, after all.) But when it comes to things like landing page conversion, you don’t have to guess. With a click of a mouse, the market will tell you whether it prefers Landing Page A to Landing Page B. All you have to do is ask.

Landing Pages Are Your Secret Conversion Weapon

There lots of ways to attract visitors to your web site, but the true measure of success is always conversion. When it comes to converting those visitors to subscribers, enrollments and buyers, one of the most effective tools is what is commonly referred to as a landing page.

A landing page is essentially the page someone lands on first after clicking a link in an ad or email newsletter. It can be any page really, but the idea is that it’s a page designed for a specific purpose. Internet marketers have used this tactic forever, but done correctly, it’s become a standard marketing practice for anyone attempting to increase conversion. I guess landing pages aren’t really that secret, but not enough small business marketers use the awesome power they bring.

Any page you create for a web site can be a landing page, including a specific blog post, but there are services, such as Unbounce and SiteTuners, that can help you automate, design, test and track your landing page campaigns and conversions. These specialized services may well be worth the cost when it comes to creating the most effective landing pages.

There’s a bit of art and science to what makes a landing page work, so testing and tweaking will always be required, but the following tips should be used to get started optimizing your landing pages.

Only one thing – Your landing page is to do one thing and one thing only – ie: get a subscriber, offer an ebook, or create an enrollment for an event. Use every bit of the real estate to sell that call to action. Don’t try to introduce other possible options or you will find your pages will simply confuse.

Test variations – You must test multiple variations of your page elements at all times. One of the easiest ways to do this is using Google’s Website Optimizer tool that offers simple A/B testing. If you are using Google AdWords, or any other online advertising platform, make sure you are tracking individual ad conversions as well.

Message and ad – It may prove to be a good idea to have specific landing pages for each ad you are running. It can really help conversions when the landing page copy specifically matches the ad copy that brought them there. Tweaking your ads is just another part of the testing too.

Use video – It’s been proven in many studies that video on landing pages increases conversion. This is do to the fact that your call to action can be explained, you build trust when the visitors sees and hears a real person, and video is simply more engaging and harder to ignore. (Make sure you test you videos too!)

Make it easy – Make sure that’s it is obvious what you want the visitor to do and even more obvious how to do it. (This is where the use of video, audio, arrows and buttons can be effective.) Limit any data collection to name and email or your conversions will drop unless what you are offering is so valuable people will give more information.

Offer sharing – These days you’ll want to make it easy for a visitor to tweet, share and forward your page and their actions on your page. Add as much social networking functionality as possible. This is where the landing page services can come in handy.

Make thank you pay – After your visitor takes the prescribed action you should direct them to a conversion or thank you page, but don’t waste that space, use it to create even more engagement by offering an unexpected freebie ebook or download of some sort.

For more info on this topic, here are three books to consider. Landing Page Optimization: Tim Ash, Always Be Testing: Bryan Eisenberg, and Web Analytics 2.0: Avinash Kaushik

Source: Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing