If you have ever run any paid campaigns for your business, you probably realise the importance of landing pages in your conversion. They have a critical role to play in your users’ journey and always have a spotlight trained on them because of their importance in stimulating a predetermined conversion path.
But, they are not crucial just for your performance marketing channels. Rather, they play a crucial role across the spectrum and with a little bit of consideration and forethought, you can ensure your landing pages playing a pivotal role across all marketing channels.
The basics: What exactly is a landing page? And why you should avoid using your homepage as your ‘landing page’
The fundamental definition is quite simple. A landing page is a dedicated page on your website that an external link (from your ad, emails, text messages etc.) points to. When a user clicks on your ad, or a link in your emails and text messages, they come to this specific page on your website.
Due to the nature of this transition (from a marketing communique to here), it is imperative that this page is an extension of the communique the user was exposed to before making the decision to check it out further. The best performing landing pages are highly targeted and are extremely focused on driving a very particular and specific outcome. The goal is simple. To stimulate in its visitors a predetermined action and set of behaviors by using crisp and targeted content to help the users relate to the message and get persuaded on act on it.
It is because of this definition that landing pages seem important to be deployed across all marketing channels and not just paid campaigns. While most landing pages are mapped with paid ads only, you can leverage different landing pages to improve your conversion from organic traffic, social traffic and even traffic generated by your content marketing efforts.
Also, it is this definition that necessitates avoiding the use of your homepage as your landing page. As we saw earlier, landing pages are highly targeted and have singular focus. Your website (or your homepage) on the other hand casts a wide net to capture a variety of traffic and audience segments. So the relatability of a homepage will always be lower than what you can achieve by using targeted landing pages. You can craft a landing page around a certain type of customer, or a particular usecase your product helps them with and use that particular landing page to bring an extremely niche subset of your audience to convert as many of them as possible. While your homepage focuses on showing its usefulness to a wider audience, your landing pages remain focused on showing their criticality to your users achieving a particular outcome.
What makes a landing page crucial to your conversion and growth?
Have you ever noticed the ad format where the ad expands when you hover on it? Think of the pre-expanded view as the entry point for your landing page (your ad, for example), and the landing page as the actual expanded view. Once you have visualized your ad and your landing pages in that setting, you would understand why the landing pages need to be an extension and a natural progression of and from your ads.
With the expanding ad format, the condensed view offers content to entice the users to know more about it, and the expansive view adds some more details to the initial brief. They are related to each other. And your ad and your landing page need to play the same role.
If you have ever tried to optimise the performance of your paid ads, you would have realised that majority of the scope of improvement in your ad’s performance lies not within the ad, but with the landing page. You can have great ad copy and compelling graphics, but if you landing page is sub-par, your performance would always be low with more and more clicks dropping off without taking the intended action. And the more this continues to happen, the worse the ad networks consider the quality of your ad to be, which ultimately drives your CPC up. Again, and again. And since your landing page would still suck, even with these higher cost per click, your conversion numbers will remain low, and the vicious cycle would continue. The result? You would think that your ads are not performing and therefore probably your audience selection is wrong, when in reality, it is the landing page that’s dropping the ball at converting these clicks.
Your ad is supposed to just pique the users’ interest and entice them into wanting to know more about it, it is your landing page that’s supposed to deliver additional information about the initial message. Information that’s targeted to make the user want to take the action you were hoping to drive. The more targeted and focused your content flow is on this page, the better are your chances of converting that user. If you offer unrelated information in here, you would end up distracting the user from the early messaging and risk him dropping off.
Consider a simple example. You click on an ad that was promoting a particular shoe, but the ad took you to a category page that had 200 shoes - with the shoe from the ad nowhere to be found. Will you be disappointed?
What kind of landing pages can (or should) you have?
…driving a very particular and specific outcome.
That’s what the focus of a landing page is. So, the kind of landing pages and the different types would depend on the outcomes you are looking to achieve. Are you looking to generate leads? Are you interested in racking up free trial activations? Are you interested in selling a particular product? Are you interested in increasing the sales of a particular category from your catalog?
Your landing page and its content are tied closely to your business objectives, just as the campaigns you run.
Take the shoe-ad example from the last section. That ad could point to three possible locations:
#1. The product page for the shoe
#2. A category listing page
#3. A dedicated page for the particular shoe
Which one do you think would perform the best - if you were the consumer coming across a related ad and from there to these landing pages? My guess is, you would choose one of the three options listed in location #3.
Why? Because it focused on building up on the excitement, the emotion that your initial ad evoked to make you want to click on it. #2 would perform the worst since from the get go it is offering a ton of distraction to the user, rendering a waste to all the hard work that went behind creating a well performing ad. You can, however, improve the performance of #2 a little bit by ensuring that the product image the user was exposed to in the ad features right at the top of that product grid. But its performance will still be subpar as compared to #3, or even #1.
In this particular example, our goal was to drive the sales of the product. So we focused on the product and nothing else. If I am an ecommerce brand about to get the newest Air Jordan, I would want to capitalize on the buzz it can create and drive immediate sales of the product.
If my intent was to improve the sales of a particular segment of my catalogue, my landing page design and flow would be quite different. While in case of a singular product, I would be focused on the product, in this particular case, I would be focused on highlighting themes that can help me drive visitors and sales to smaller sub-segments of this segment I am trying to drive sales for. If the products are more casual, my theme would probably be centered around you having a fun filled day. If they are more formal, my theme would be staying comfortable during an otherwise taxing day at work.
How your landing pages will look and feel, what message would they be communicating, and how they would be communicating that would always depend on my objectives. So, always start from there. Do not get distracted by good landing page designs you found on a website. Focus on what’s important, and work backwards from there.
How to approach the process of landing page creation?
As I said, work backwards. Start with your core business objectives and work from there. It is your business objectives that decide the kind of campaigns you would be running - paid or otherwise. Your business objectives decide what your content marketing strategy is going to be like. So as long as your landing page design process starts with your business objectives, you would find yourself moving in the right direction.
To make things simpler, start by answering a few questions for each landing page:
- How would you be driving visitors to this page?
Is this page going to be linked to an ad, or some contextual key phrases in a story/article on your blog? Where your visitors come from will help you determine the state of mind you would have your visitors in when they come across your landing page anchor.
- Who is going to visit the page?
What are the key traits of your visitors? Are there some defining characteristic in your audience selection - whether in their demographic attributes or their product usecase? This would help you zero down on the actual content that needs to be present on the landing page.
- What do you want your visitors to do?
Landing pages are all about helping users fulfil a particular goal. What is that? Are you looking at driving a sale? Generating leads? Now, depending on what this objective is, you will be able to assess if the flow of information on your landing page driving the visitors in the right direction.
- Is the page on point?
As we have seen, landing pages are the next step - the first step being the hook. So, is the landing page doing what a visitor would expect it to do? If I clicked on that shoe ad, I am expressing an initial interest in that shoe. So the landing page should offer me enough information to convert that initial interest to an actual intent. Does your landing page do that?
How does your web analytics data help you in creating the right landing pages?
There is a reason we keep on harping about actionable insights. We believe the goal of your web analytics platform is not to just throw at you charts and raw data, but help you improve your marketing approach and improve your growth curve further.
Your web analytics and traffic data plays a crucial role in helping you decipher what landing pages need to be created. If you see a bulk of your organic traffic coming in to pages that follow a certain theme, it would be prudent to create a new page on your website that is centered around that central premise. Let us assume a scenario where we are getting 30% of our organic traffic to articles about email marketing. If that is the case, I would want to direct all this organic traffic to a page that serves as an ‘academy’ to master the art of email marketing. It would be a landing page that will help us present ourselves as an ideal destination to learn how to supercharge their email marketing processes. We would be clubbing our stories about email marketing into smaller sub-segments that could act as progression levels through the course. This would not only help us in getting more visitors to this one condensed page around an email marketing academy, it would also help us increase our conversion rates in generating leads.
Similarly, if a business sees a pattern where visitors from different parts of the world are coming onto it by making searches that contain a specific parameter, it makes sense to have landing pages that would be meaningful to those users. For example, “Trains to London”, “Weekend getaways from Glasgow”, “Weekend getaways from Glasgow”.
Some of these landing pages can be created dynamically as well. We will talk about dynamic landing pages some other time, but for now, you can know more about Dynamic Landing Pages and how to create them here: https://www.wordstream.com/dynamic-landing-pages
The thought of creating an endless barrage of landing pages - it can often be overwhelming. But, it is worth the effort. Since a well designed landing page is highly contextual, they tend to rank higher than generic pages for specific search queries, and given the focused approach, they witness quite healthy conversion rates, thereby adding value to every step of your marketing funnel.
Are you creating landing pages for your business? Or do you point every single link to the same generic location? How do you decide on how to create your landing pages? Are your landing pages performing well? Do you use analytics to help you with creating the right landing pages? There are a lot of questions when it comes to creating the right landing pages. I would love to answer them for you. Hit me up and lets talk about it.
That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.
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