Any online marketing campaign is a candidate for the use of a landing page. On Day 6 of our 7 Days to a Better Landing Page series, I’ll explain the benefits you can expect to see by incorporating a landing page into your marketing process.
Here are the 7 reasons why landing pages make your eMarketing more effective:
Note: For the purposes of this list we are talking about standalone landing pages, which are separate pages that aren’t part of the regular website architecture (i.e. they are only reached via external advertising (email, PPC etc.) – not internal site links or navigation.
According to statistical research by Omniture, the act of using a landing page to target your campaign traffic results in an average increase in conversion rate of 25%. This underscores the fact that it’s simply a smart practice to follow. When you consider that many paid search campaigns send visitors to either the homepage or a registration form, often without any Message Match to follow up the original offer, a focused and targeted message will automatically product better results. This brings me to point 2.
When you only have to worry about a single message, the focus of your page will be stronger. It requires discipline, but don’t try to say too many things at once.
Contrast a homepage – that can have multiple messages or products – with a landing page with one headline, one unique selling proposition (USP), one call to action (CTA) and a single product photo and you can see how a landing page can remove a lot of the user confusion that produces poor conversion.
Your campaign may have multiple traffic sources: email, AdWords, affiliate links and general banner placements. By using landing pages as the target of these campaigns, you could quite easily produce a separate page for each – enabling you to fine tune each custom user path via A/B testing – to find the optimum messaging and design.
With only one possible action on the page (and sometimes a second safety net CTA), your analytics becomes easier. A user either completes your desired action or they don’t. If they don’t, you can massage the page until they do.
If you send someone to a homepage containing 40 other links, you can lose the ability to measure the reasons for conversion success. You also run the risk of having your conversions affected by changes you might not be aware of. Website homepages are often updated with information from a variety of sources around the company, and not all of them will be in concert with your paid advertising message.
With a standalone landing page, once you have fine tuned the success of your ad and page, you can leave it alone with the knowledge that it functions and performs as desired.
Message match and trust can be enhanced for affiliate traffic by using co-branding. Co-branding commonly involves the use of logos from both parties on a destination page. It allows a visitor to feel confident that the offer presented to them on the affiliate website is being honored on the target website. This isn’t as easily achieved when using your homepage or internal site page as it requires that you include code to differentiate the source, and alter the design to include the affiliate logo.
Using a standalone landing page is easier as you aren’t hampered by existing design considerations.
When you are designing a standalone landing page, you have a higher degree of freedom to design for the campaign. This is a big key to success, as you don’t have to conform to the architectural restrictions imposed by your website design.
You also have more visual freedom to experiment. Something as simple as a black background vs. a white background may help you communicate your vision more effectively but a stylistic 180 such as this is unlikely to be permissible on your corporate website.
Websites often have multiple owners throughout the organization – a mix of different functional departments – who all need to have a say when something is changed. By separating your campaign marketing to operate through standalone landing pages, you are essentially orphaning them from the rest of the site and will enjoy greater freedom to experiment with your A/B testing.
Once you have established a base conversion rate, start testing changes to the page. Using an iterative approach you will be able to learn what your customers respond to. Then, once you have a solid theory about customer behavior you can bring it to the table for inclusion as a direction for other areas of the site – armed with the data necessary to quell the naysayers.
When you separate your campaigns from your main website, you can assign responsibility more easily. With simple single-goal landing page experiences, your reporting will be able to show who and what is performing the best. If you have 5 people in the team all sending traffic to your homepage, you’ll never be able to accommodate the needs of everyone when it comes to changes for testing. With standalone landing pages, you can institute a culture of accountability where individuals can own a campaign.