Lucio Ribeiro

Who Else Wants a Higher ROI?

In the online marketing world, a lot of time and resources are spent buying media, tracking campaigns, working on SEO, installing and customizing Web analytics software to properly track all online marketing activities. However one of most important steps is most of the time forgotten - Landing pages. This "little" detail may be the main reason you are losing money on your campaigns.

Landing PageOne of the most underutilised tactics in Internet Marketing is landing pages.

Landing pages have been discussed since Internet marketing started with emails and display ads. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that people talk about and write about more than they actually do.

For the sake of this article, a landing page is defined as the web page that a prospect "lands" on after clicking on a link - any link - from an email, a CPC campaign, search engine result, inbound link from another website, newsletter; you get the idea.

In essence, every landing page you develop (in fact, every website page) should have a specific goal (inspired by Seth Godin):

-          Get a visitor to click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else's).

-          Get a visitor to buy.

-          Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc.). This includes registration of course.

-          Get a visitor to tell a friend.

-          Improve your Market Position in the visitor's mind.

-          (and the more subtle) Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback

As Gavin Heaton once wrote - "Every page is sacred, EVERY page. You always need to consider the upstream and the downstream"

A great competitive advantage.

I cannot understand why marketers don't spend enough time and energy in building the last, and probably most important, step in the Internet marketing process. Most websites create their landing pages as their campaigns launch, and they leave them alone until they collapse under their own weight.

As more companies find out about the advantages of Internet marketing, and fighting for places on SERP's or a better position on PPC campaigns increase in competitiveness, testing and improving your landing pages help you to optimise your ROI converting more visitors for less cost.

Loveday and Niehaus, the authors of Web Design for ROI, discuss some unique issues for landing pages, which I've summarised below:

  • They have to essentially perform the entire sales process. The landing page (remember what Gavin says) must offer a product, service, or information, capture your visitor's attention long enough to pique his or her interest and ultimately want to convert, and entice the user to take action (fill out a form, provide payment, etc). Basically, your landing page has to act as your best salesperson. That's a lot to ask of one little page.

  • They have to capture attention very quickly. People skim, scan, and scoot. Your landing page has only a few precious seconds to keep your visitor from hitting the back button. 

  • They're viewed by a lot of new eyeballs. A lot of new visitors see your landing page compared to your built-in audience. These new people probably aren't going to know what your site's about or whether it's representing a reputable company.

Below you can find a list for guidelines:

  1. Establish credibility. 

  2. Make sure your design looks professional to your audience and is industry-appropriate. 

  3. Include positive resources and testimonials when necessary or useful 

  4. Make sure nothing's broken eg. links to a YouTube video. 

  5. Simplify and separate.

  6.  Reduce or eliminate navigation.

  7. Minimise your branding. 

  8. Think of your landing page as a continuation of your ad.

  9. Don't make promises you can't (or won't) keep. 

  10. Re-iterate your ad's call to action.

  11. Use consistent graphics and images. 

  12. Keep the language consistent. 

  13. Segment for different audiences/customers.

  14. Personalise for your visitor.

  15. User fewer but better graphics. 

  16. Make sure the medium is what's best for your offer. 

  17. Speak the customer's language, not yours. 

  18. Emphasis benefits, not features.

  19. Weed out all but the most essential points. 

  20. Cover all your bases. 

  21. Be intelligent about how you display your information. 

  22. Provide a clear call to action. 

  23. Consider providing a secondary call to action (don't overdue it - it can cause a paradox of choice)

  24. Provide offline alternatives.

  25. Don't request more than the minimum information necessary. 

  26. Make your buttons look like buttons.

There are different tools available (Google optimizer is a great free one) that help you to test.

Before releasing Internet Marketing Academy, my team ran more than seven variations of landing pages. There were variations with and without clients testimonials, videos and other combinations. We learnt a lot!

One of the combinations gave us around 200% more conversions, just by changing few key elements.

Only testing will tell what is better for your website. The more you test, the more profitable (useful) your website will become.

Once you have evolved a combination producing profitable results, you then have your new "control" level and you can start testing new ways to beat it. It will cost you more time, but it will also increase your ROI. In this case more is more.

 


COMMENTS

Posted by Lucio Ribeiro, 13 May 2009

Hey guys, wanted to give heads up for a group on linkedin discussing this article.

group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=44140&trk=anet_ug_grppro

Comments on group
-----------------------
Langston Richardson
Langston Richardson

Executive Creative Director, VP at infuz

Good article. Many a CPG will not optimize their campaign landing pages appropriately to drive conversion.
-----------------------
Mohammed Obaid Khan
Mohammed Obaid Khan

Sr. Manager - Online / Internet Channel at Aptech
Like media planning, ad copy and all effort you put in to get more and more clicks, Landing page also require equal attention,
because a landing page is actually the final make or break point if the campaign is focused for lead generation.

-------------------------

Nadia Rusenova
Marketing Executive
Useful article. I'm studying for the Google Advertising Professional Certification exam and at the same time
running a couple of campaigns on Google AdWords.
I realised that the high bounce rate of the website visits is due to usability problems with our landing pages.
I completely agree that landing pages require more attention!

-------------------------


David Soxman
Internet Marketing Specialist
You briefly touch on the uniqueness of the landing page. There are resources available to help you with the segmentation and therefore the presentation of a unique landing page experience.
Consider the searcher that is looking at 2:00 a.m.
They may respond better to a page that contains more information because they have more time, versus the person who is on their lunch break and needs things to happen very fast.
These variances will alter the design.
Age, ethnicity, time of day, the point in the sales cycle, all require subtle differences in landing page design even though the key phrase or link is the same.
So as you test, consider carefully the demographic segmentation as it will have significant effects on your conversion rates.



--------------------------


Ademola Abimbola

Owner, Mauco Enterprises (Mauco Internet Consultants)


I enjoyed the article and I must admit landing pages ought to be given more attention in the entire process. Great comments given so far.

@David Soxman I like your views on the issue.


---------------------------

Charlie Cole

EVP, Online Marketing at Direct Marketing Advertising Agency

Landing Pages are amazingly valueable, and one that people tend to underthink.
The archaic thought that needs to be dismissed with now is that you need -a- landing page.
If you are driving one type of person to one product, that's one thing.
However, the majority of businesses sell more than one thing...

Take a Safeway, QFC, Von's, whatever - pick a grocery store.
If they were trying to generate account sign ups based on keywords such as "Buy ____ Online" (Bacon, Salami, Broccoli),
it would be in their best interest to literally have a landing page dedicated to that ____ for every food they wanted to focus on. With increased keyword frequency/relevance - they are going to benefit from a perception of quality from search engines...

Is that realistic? No, probably not - but's important to think idealistically, and then scale to realistically.


CHAMPION IN FOCUS

Lucio Ribeiro Online Circle Digital Lucio Ribeiro
Company: Online Circle Digital
Position: Founder
Lucio Ribeiro is founder of www.theonlinecircle.com and co-founder of Social Media Club Melbourne. He is one of Australia's leading Social Media and Online Reputation professionals, and was recently elected one of top 10 most trusted SEO/SEM professionals in the world by Marketing Today.

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