Landing Pages That Get Results
The Right Landing Page Can Convert Tire-Kickers Into Solid Leads
By Tracy A. Gill
You've just made a compelling offer to a targeted list of potential customers. You spent weeks fine-tuning the message, the offer, the creative, the list. The mailing directs readers to a special URL, a landing page or microsite designed just for this promotion. But whether the site can convert interested visitors into solid leads depends on what kind of experience users have when they get there. If your landing page does not deliver the offer or experience promised, chances are your potential customer will click away, taking his potential with him. But, if you get it right, both you and your prospects will walk away with exactly what you wanted, and it just may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
A great offer and stunning creative might drive people to your landing page, but a confusing microsite with unclear navigation and broken links will certainly drive them away. "If I had to sum it all up in one sentence," says Dina Peck, managing partner/creative director of CDMiConnect, an interactive and relationship marketing agency in New York City, "at the end of the day, creative and usability get married and have a long and wonderful life together."
Beyond the basics of Web design, a successful landing page needs to be more targeted and concise than a regular site; the latter may include a number of products and provide top-line content. A landing page needs to fulfill its goalsfor you that means capturing visitor data and for the visitor that means delivering on your offerquickly and effectively, and it should guide users through the fulfillment process. "When you send the reader to a landing page, you're in control. Which is where a direct-response writer always wants to be," says Ivan Levison, freelance direct response copywriter and publisher
of The Levison Letter, available at www.levison.com.
In order to create this concise landing page, first you need to determine exactly what you want it to do:
* What is your main goal?
* What information do you want to capture and what do you want to use it for?
* Are you developing sales leads? Are you preparing for a direct mail campaign? A telemarketing campaign?
* What information will your sales people need to know?
* Do you want to introduce your company and learn a little more about potential customers?
* Are you simply using the landing page to test an offer or mailing?
Once you determine your top-line goals, you can structure the elements you need to include and what information you want to ask for.
Next, turn your attention to the users. In the same way you determine your audience when creating a direct mail piece, you should leverage what you know about the audience of your landing page. You know who received this mailing, what they already know about your company and what kind of offer they responded to. In a recent mailing for Motley Fool Stock Advisor, the reply card directs readers to "enroll online immediately at www.fooladvisor. com/stocks11." Knowing that visitors already understood the product and would come to this site specifically to order the magazine allowed Motley Fool to skip the sell and jump right into registration.
Knowing what information users will expect and need is key to developing an optimal user experience. "You need to satisfy your goals, but it all comes down to customer need," says Peck. "Creative that doesn't work [happens] when companies or agencies put what the company wants ahead of what the customer needs." And what your customer expects is to get what he came for, not 20 additional copy points or a cross-sell. Help him by creating a site that is simple, motivating and relevant. If you can incorporate these criteria into an engaging site that also meets your needs, you'll have met the ultimate goal: creating an experience that is satisfying for you and the user.
Keep It Simple
By the time a visitor gets to your landing page, he is already interested, that's why he's there. Reward him for that interest by skipping the hard sell and giving him what he really came for: fulfillment. Whether he is on your site to register for a trial offer, redeem a prize, or download a white paper, keep your copy simple, short and well organized so that he knows exactly what steps he needs to take. "Scanability is hugely important," says Peck. "What are the key points you want to make? On the Web, we are writing for people who are
Those key points should reinforce why the visitor is there in the first place and motivate him to continue down the path. "The bottom line," says Levison, "is to motivate him. Keep pushing him to the end point."
Thank him for coming, reiterate your offer, remind him why he is there, answer his questionsWhat will I get for registering? Will you contact me again? What are you going to do with my information?and then get down to business. Levison recommends a straightforward approach like this when asking for user data:
On behalf of everyone on our team, thank you for your interest.
And now ... you're just a few mouse-clicks away from vital information that can help you eliminate the mistakes, high costs and headaches of _____!
We'd like to get to know you better. (Please fill in the three fields below. It only takes a moment. Thanks!)
Your questionnaire should be as simple as possible; the amount of information you ask for should be a balance between how much you need and how much the prospect is willing to give.
"Yes, you want to capture information," states Levison, "but you want to capture as little information as you can get away with. The more information you ask for, the more you'll turn people off." Remember, this is a solicitation, not a test.
That's Great, But Is It Relevant?
You sent out an offer, and potential customers responded by visiting your URL. So now that you have their attention, don't spoil it by trying to be too many things: Make sure your landing page is consistent with the ad or direct mail piece that drove them there in the first place. "If the site doesn't look, feel and reiterate the piece that [the customer] just responded to, it's a bad
experience," says Peck. "Completely different creative or a bait and switch is not the way to acquire or retain customers." Reiterating your offer clearly and matching the message and creative of the driving ad reassures customers that they are in the right place and that their needs are about to be met; varying these elements gives users cause to hesitate, which may mean the difference between an aborted transaction and a fulfilled one.
Another mistake that many marketers make, according to Levison is "feeling that because a person is on your landing page or microsite that you have another crack at them." Don't muddy your message with an additional sales pitch; keep it relevant to the offer, get pros-pects' information and let them be on their way. "Once you capture the data," says Levison, "they are yours, they are in the sales funnel." And that is the whole point.