Landing pages baffle and confuse us. There are a dozens of components that could be used on them: testimonials, trust symbols, long-form copy, video, Johnson boxes, risk reversal, and more.
One of the biggest problems is that we believe that they are Web pages first and foremost. This implies that they have our company logo, our Web site navigation, footer links, and that they are designed like our corporate Web site. This creates the wrong context for our landing pages that make them complex, confusing and ineffective.
If you’re new to the term, a landing page is a page with singular focus. It serves traffic from a single source generally and asks for one action to be completed: complete a form, buy a product, etc.
What if we started with the call to action and grew a page from there? Which components would we add and why?
This is the topic of my DFWSEM presentation The Chemistry of the Landing Page in Dallas. I hope you will come.
We’ll start with this:
image
and built our landing page from there. We might find things less baffling.
Register for the event if you’re in or near Dallas on August 10. You won’t leave baffled.

bang head hereI believe so strongly in the power of targeted, focused landing pages, that I’m going to prepare you for the inevitable battles that will ensue. It is inevitable that forces of darkness will swoop down on you as you prepare a page designed for high conversion rates.
They are not cunning enemies, and this is why they are dangerous. You must get good at playing their game.
Here are some tactics for beating gatekeepers at their own game.

1. Data is only useful to confuse and disorient

You must come to terms with the fact that data will not sway your enemies. It can be used as a weapon.
I recommend printing out random graphs and hanging them around your office. Anyone who comes in to say that the company logo on the page is too small will be instantly dazzled.
When your enemy is trying to get you to add the corporate site navigation bar to your landing page, you can point to one of the graphs at random and simply shake your head.

2. Bureaucracy is Your Friend

Take a lesson from your IT department when it is suggested that the page needs some stock photography on it. Say, “That is a great idea. We’ll add that to the testing schedule right away!”
If they go over your head, you should invoke the “No changes without a test plan!” rule even if such a rule is not written anywhere.
I know it is despicable to use a valuable tool like testing as a delaying tactic. It is actually supposed to do the opposite. But, this is war.

3. Use the Competition to Counter Old Habits

If you’re competition is enlightened, they may be implementing things like landing pages and doing it well.
Not likely. However, you should do some searches for the keywords that are important to your business and see if you can find a competitor doing things right.
Then, when IT delivers a form with the standard “Submit” button, you can point to your competition and say, “They’re going to take our prospects if we don’t do it my way!”

4. Invent Your Own Budget

When you encounter pushback to creating unique landing pages for each channel and ad, invoke an imaginary budget. “We’re taking the extra cost from the Incremental Revenue Budget,” or “We’ll cover it with the Conversion Premium Budget.”
While these budgets don’t actually exist, we all know that higher conversion rates should result in more leads, more sales and more revenue. We’re just borrowing from the increased future value of our conversion genius.

5. Resist the Dark Side

It is important that you not become your enemy. There are “lies, damn lies and then there are analytics,” to paraphrase Mark Twain.
We know we can draw just about any conclusion we want from analytics to support any position we want, but we can’t do bad science.
For example, if our manager was adding corporate-speak to our crafted persuasive copy, it would be ingenuous to point out the bounce rates for the pages she’d edited in the past. It may not be her copy that did the damage.
Instead, invoke the “Great copy. We’ll add that to the test schedule right away!”
Fight hard, my friends, but don’t compromise the science.

Ezytire landing page markup Content marketers sometimes focus on the content and forget about the marketing.
Yes, we want to inform.
Yes, we want to educate.
Yes, we want to be seen as the thought leader in our space.
But, we also want more traffic to our Web site, more leads and more sales. Don’t let your content go out without a strategy to draw readers back to your site and a landing page to get them to take action – even if that action is to get your next content offering.
In Landing Page Basics: Making Your Content Marketing Convert I show you an example of how content can drive a reader to action.
I also talk about these five important landing page strategies:

Pitch the offer, not your company
Remove distractions
Let the visitor know where they are in the process
Make forms the right length
Only ask for information you will use

Do you know the things that could make your landing pages really sing?

image of SEM PDX logoThere are marketers out there conducting experiments online to find out what works best; what turns more visitors into prospects and customers. These are bare-teeth marketers who sometimes cross the line of propriety. Some even cross legal lines.
Don’t throw the things they’ve learned out entirely. Even the most conservative brand can use one or more of these well-tested techniques to make their landing pages perform at peak levels.
I’ll be sharing with you fifteen components of high-performing landing pages that you can use in your online marketing.
Join me and with hosts SEMpdx and Online Marketing Summit for “What We Can Learn from the Bad Boys of Conversion.”

  • Overcome your fear of long-form copy
  • Understand the incredible importance of the headline
  • Properly employ the use of bolding, highlighting and the Johnson Box
  • Explore the magic of testimonials and guarantees
  • Behold one of the most tested calls to action on the Internet

I’ll take you through a couple of examples used in B2B marketing including one that even Apple might design.
Register now. It’s free, and I’ll be answering your questions as well.
Contact Brian Massey

You wouldn’t play tennis without a racquet, would you?

The machine hurtled fuzzy green balls at me with a “fwoom, fwoom” sound every 10 seconds or so. I dodged most of them, but  occasionally got pegged in the chest, stomach, or some place worse.
“Fwoom, fwoom.” I was on the court. I was dressed in snazzy tennis gear worthy of Wimbledon. I had top-of-the-line footwear. I kept my feet moving.
I just didn’t have a racquet.
The only ball I was able to return across the net bounced off my head. Not only was I missing every shot, but I was experiencing bodily injury.

RANT WARNING – If you are already using landing pages for your targeted banner advertising, you can proceed to my article about landing pages for dynamic display ads on ClickZ. Everyone else, pay attention.

You don’t have to be a tennis pro to know that this is insanity. Yet thousands of businesses across the Web are using targeted banner advertising to drive traffic to their home page. Smart marketers with effective email campaigns are sending clicks to pages that don’t call the visitor to take action; to buy, call or download.

Landing Page?

Landing pages are pages that are specially designed to catch visitors, taking them directly to information that they are interested in, and asking them to become a prospect or a customer.
We can use a landing page anytime we know why someone clicked through to our site. If we know what they expect, it makes sense that we would create a page to specifically address their needs.

How do we know what the landing page should say?

We know exactly what a visitor is looking for when they click on an ad or link that we created because we wrote it. If we wrote the ad, and it caused them to click, wouldn’t you assume that the page they come to should address the offer made by the ad copy?
This shouldn’t even be a question in your mind (and for most of my readers it isn’t).

Pardon my exasperation

I don’t like to be rude, but can you imagine what my tennis instructor would have said if they’d seen me getting pummeled by a ball machine because I forgot my tennis racquet?
If you want to score points, you need to have all of the basic equipment. In the game of online advertising landing pages are basic equipment.

Your Home Page Won’t Do

The primary job of the home page is not to convert visitors into leads or sales. It’s job is to funnel buyers to pages that either provide information or call the visitor to take some action… or both.
Your home page has a lot of work to do, and as a result, it will probably contain the most links of any page on your site.
Paying for an ad that promises “Software that will improve your business,” and then asking them to sift through a page full of links (About Us, Contact, Our Products, Home, News, etc.) is conversion suicide.
Why not bring them to a page that says “Our software will improve your business, and here’s how.” Then explain why it is good for them and how it works. Then tell them how to get more information, or invite them to purchase.

Why Landing Pages are Important

1. Landing Pages will make you more successful by generating more leads, sales and business.
2. Landing Pages will make your visitors love you more. There is no better brand experience that finding what you’re looking for.
3. Landing Pages will cut the cost of your advertising by increasing your conversion rates. As the cost of generating new clients, you can put more into your advertising.
4. Landing Pages will keep me from ranting about landing pages

Technique and Practice Are Important

In tennis, how you swing your racquet will determine how many times you score. It is the same with landing pages.
How would you like to learn almost everything you need to know about landing pages in just two days?
The first ever Conversion Conference is happening May 4 and 5, and I can get you $100 off of the price of admission.
I know of no other opportunity to learn from the best conversion experts and Web site optimizers in the industry.
The Keynote is being given by Jakob Nielsen, the champion of fast and cheap ways of improving user interfaces.
Use the promo code CCW510 when you register for Conversion Conference 2010 to get your $100 discount. Early bird rates end April 10.
This is one of those shows that should pay for itself quickly. Think of it as tennis lessons with a profit.