May 21, 2008

Importance of Landing Pages

If you set yourself up properly, when users click through an ad for your product or company on another site, they end up on a landing page. This is your sales pitch to convince them to convert. You’ll find plenty of tips for building, testing, and improving your landing pages, but it all boils down to one word: focus.

Time and again I encountered this point in my research. Lisa Barone made the point in a blog for Bruce Clay. She was covering a MarketingSherpa seminar about its updated book on landing pages. The sentence that leaped out at me was “What makes a landing page effective is its focus around a single topic.” She wrote that in the context of fine-tuning the eye flow for a landing page, but it’s really what brings a landing page together: everything on the page focuses on one topic, with one goal: convincing your visitors to convert.

Hard selling belongs on your landing page, but it’s a special kind of hard sell. You must take your visitors by the hand and guide them to what you want them to do. Matthew Roche shared some insight as to the necessity for this in a February 2007 post in his blog. In the days before the web, consumers simply read and/or watched ads, which marketers could at least imagine led smoothly and directly to a sale. But it’s quite rare for a person to “go online, type a URL into a browser, visit that single site, accomplish a task, and leave the web completely,” Roche notes. “More often, we search, we dither, we explore, we lose track, we gain focus, we complete an action, we get bored, we get called for dinner, we log off.”

This is what you’re up against when you create your landing page. Your landing page needs to grab your visitors’ attention, hold onto that attention while giving them what they want and expect, and persuade them to do what you want them to do: buy the product, sign up for the newsletter, what have you. In marketing, this is sometimes referred to as the three Cs: capture their attention, communicate the value of your offering, and close the deal. In this article I’ll go over each of these points and what you can do to make sure your landing pages successfully carry them through.

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