Imagine that you are on a ship on the stormy seas of the internet, and suddenly you see – out of the corner of your squinting eye (you have to squint because of the wind and water in your face, and because it makes you look tougher) – a lighthouse (which we are using here as a metaphor for “advertisement”). This lighthouse promises to save you from the storm, welcomes you onto its lands, which are indeed pleasant and abound in sweet fruits and lotus flowers, and promises you competitive prices and a towel; but as you near the shore, you suddenly scrape the bottom of your ship on the rocks and drown. This is NOT what you want your landing page to be like.
Your landing page, by definition the first page of your site that a web navigator sees, needs to be free of those rocks because unfortunately, in the real internet, people don’t drown once they hit a rock – they simply sail away, quite possibly to your competitors. Technically, any page on your site can act as a landing page – it’s just a matter of the route the navigator takes. So what are those rocks? And how can one clear them away?
Okay, Number 1 on the list: the rock of Irrelevance. Simply enough, your landing page should be immediately relevant to the navigator. So, for example, if you are in the business of selling clothing, and have an ad up on the web saying you’ve got the best shoes at the best price, make sure that clicking on that ad will take them to the “Shoes” section. And make sure that both the ad and your page have enough common features that it is clear they are from the same source: You. Otherwise, if they are taken to the main page, and the “Shoes” section is difficult to find, or the page looks like it has nothing to do with the ad, or that dealing with your site is going to be a hassle, the potential customer is likely to be unwilling to even stick around and have a look. In fact, it is estimated that the average internet user decides whether to stay or go within just two to three seconds of landing on a page.
At this point, one might be forgiven for thinking that they have two different options for their landing page: either make different ads linking to different landing pages; or, probably the default for many companies, make one main landing page on which all relevant sections are easy to find (a home page). Which option is better depends on the particulars of your site, of course; but it is unlikely that it is going to be Option Two. Why? Simply because, if you are searching for shoes, you are probably going to do so by entering something about “shoes” into Google – not some company’s name. Heck, you’re probably not even going to care about which company you get them from, as long as you get the best value you can. Surprisingly enough, less than ten percent of internet surfers are going to come to a site via the home page. That is to say, the home page is unlikely to be the landing page. This is not to say that you should neglect your home page; it is to say that you should not neglect the rest of your pages.
So we’ve got that straight. On to Number 2: the rock of Distraction. This one is a little more difficult to comment on, but most marketing experts will agree: point to your other products/services/offers as little as possible. Whether a potential customer arrived at your site through a PPC ad or through a search engine search, it is likely that they are looking for something in particular (think of the shoes again). You might think, “Well, great! They can come searching for shoes, but also see that we offer some pretty nifty Panama hats, so let’s put a little ad for that here, too!”
NO! Don’t do it! (Sorry, didn’t mean to yell. But this is important.) By leading the customer away to your Panama hats, you increase your chances of losing them as a shoe buyer. Not only that, but if they didn’t want the Panama hat in the first place, they are unlikely to want to buy it now.
After we’ve gotten our navigators past the rocks, it is important to reinforce the potential buyer’s desire to buy what they came for. Encourage them to buy shoes with something like, “Buy now!” or whatever clever slogan you might come up with. And don’t forget to cleverly link your clever slogan to your clever order page.
This above “Call to Action” is well supplemented with some sort of extra incentive; for example, enticing the consumer with a free sample or a little gift. “Free shipping” might also work, especially alongside “Limited Time”. Convince the consumer that your offer is the best, and do it clearly and concisely, putting special emphasis on the biggest reasons (bigger reasons merit bigger type; and contrasting colors and images also help).
Keep in mind that your potential customer may desire more information on a particular product. If you don’t provide it, it is likely they will go away. But conversely, if you put too much information up front, it may have the same effect on a different customer. There are ways to give the user an option of how much information they see on the same page: employ them. The last thing you want to do is send them off to a different page to view information and have them forget about actually buying your product. Again: be concise. Get right to the point.
There is no magic formula for success but the design and internet marketing professionals at TheeDigital can provide your business with the best opportunity to succeed. We will work with you to produce an effective landing page – or optimize an existing one – and combine it with successful pay-per-click account set-up and management. Just give us a call at our Raleigh office at 919-341-8901 or fill out our contact form and we can get started today!
And when the weary sailors of the internet come upon your shores, make sure to offer them tea and crumpets. Or just a wonderful, wonderful landing page from the team at TheeDigital!