The More Things Change, The More Important It Is To Bring Them In For A Landing Page

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landing-page-optimization21Imagine the year is 1985.  You own a small book distribution company. Let’s say you distribute on behalf of three separate publishers, each with over 100 book titles, and you have three departments within your company; one to handle each publisher. Your advertising encourages customers to phone in their orders.  So, which would you do? Would you advertise one general phone number, or three different phone numbers/extensions, one per publisher, so that each customer who calls in speaks with a representative who is there to help him or her with a specific book request?  The answer, of course, is the latter.  Getting customers to their specific purchase destinations as quickly as possible is the best way to secure and increase sales.
The point of this time travel exercise is that regardless of which decade we’re talking about, marketing always has been about directing your customers or clients to the specific product or service you offer in as little time as possible. The less people have to work to find you, the more business you take in.
Fast forward to 2009 – That’s why landing pages are a necessity for anyone doing business online.  They direct your customer/client to the page that immediately addresses their needs and relates to the email message or ad you sent them.
Many online businesses mistakenly believe that the homepage should be the first page respondents see. Here’s an example of why that is not always the case.
I Want You to Make a Donation . . .
A small nonprofit company created an email campaign to boost contributions.  They were careful in segmenting their messages to three different levels of potential donors.  The messages were forceful and designed to illicit emotional responses that were “sure” to result in money flowing in.  However, when respondents clicked on the link in the emails, they all were taken to the company’s homepage.  Donations totaled 30% less than anticipated.
What Went Wrong?
In a word – inconvenience.  Regardless of how compelling a message, the company did not make it easy for their respondents to make donations.  By sending them to the homepage rather them directing them to a custom-tailored landing page, respondents were forced to waste valuable time.  And, when it comes to marketing, on or off-line, time is enemy number-one.  Time gives people a chance to reconsider their purchasing decisions – that’s never good.
What Makes An Effective Landing Page?
Here’s my list: Gratitude, Clarity, Convenience, Curiosity, Confidence, Delivery and then, more Gratitude, in this order.
Gratitude – Make sure to welcome respondents to your landing page with a prominent “thank-you for coming.”  Times may change, but good manners always are in style and a necessity when marketing anything.
Clarity – Your landing page needs to be well written; interesting, but to the point.  Errors, misspellings, repetition or poor grammar will turn people away in utter disgust.
Convenience – Your landing page should give them all the information they need to make a decision – period.  If you want your respondents to be aware of other opportunities or offers on your site, you do have the option of listing “other products or services you also might be interested in” on the landing page.  But keep the experience easy for them.
Curiosity – This is an important one – remember to ask for your respondents’ information!
Confidence – When people give you their personal information, they want to make sure it is secure.  Reassure them that their privacy is protected on your site.
Delivery – So, your marketing has worked.  Now, make sure you follow through on your promises.  If you don’t deliver on your product or service, not only will you lose the people you’ve disappointed, but you also will lose future business.  Bad news travels fast.
And finally, show more gratitude!  After the order or inquiry, after you’ve captured the information you need, thank your respondents again.  Your appreciation for their time and/or dollar commitment should be the last thing people remember about your business.

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