One number that every e-mail, conversion optimization and search engine marketer knows: 8. That is the number of seconds before about half of all surfers that were directed to a landing page, leave this page again. The number has been there for a while (since 2005 to be precise) and may require some revision; nevertheless it is engraved in our minds.
Whether it is 8, 5 or 12 seconds: the important thing is that landing pages form a crucial part of your global online marketing conversion optimization processes and strategy, that you can never make enough adjustments and have to continue testing how effective - or rather: relevant - they are. According to Econsultancy's Conversion Report, testing and of course improving landing pages is one of the most important exercises performed by companies to improve conversion.
Relevance is the basis for landing page conversion
A landing page is relevant when it complies with the expectations of the surfer. Actually this means that it is consistent with the message in the referring source such as an email marketing campaign and complies with the expectations of people before and when they click. It also follows seamlessly on this referring message, with regard to look and feel, messaging as well as tone-of-voice. People have to feel at home immediately and shouldn't have to think too long.
From your business's perspective relevance means that the landing page does what it is required to do: fulfilling a business objective, whatever this may be.
Focus on that objective and this one specific goal for the particular target group. Limit the content and functions on the landing page to everything encouraging action or providing trust: the directly intended action is naturally central, but be sure to offer alternatives. Emphasize the most important alternatives without drawing attention away from the main call-to-action.
The content: repeat, avoid overload and experiment
Never send a surfer to the homepage with an online campaign, but send them to a page specifically customized for the campaign. What content does this landing page contain? It depends on the objectives. But make sure you have a clear title, ideally repeating the source message and naturally short, powerful and "compelling".
It doesn't necessarily mean that someone is entirely convinced simply because he responded to the call-to-action in your e-mail, PPC add, banner etc. You are therefore advised to repeat this call-to-action and briefly repeat the most important message from the referring message.
Be careful with the amount of content and other elements on the landing page (you don't want to confuse visitors) and write your content so that people know at a single glance that they have arrived where they wanted to be. Wherever this may come in handy also experiment with other content formats than simply written content. But that depends on your objectives.
There is a big difference between a landing page that has to encourage someone to download a white page and a landing page in the context of a viral campaign or cross-channel marketing campaign.
Make different landing pages
Make sure that you have different landing pages for conversion directed actions. This is done either way in the context of A/B and MVT-testing, but there is more. Even though you will often aim at one specific user segment or a group of "buyer personas" in an online campaign, you will probably like to address different segments at the same time. In that case the best thing would be to use different landing pages.
Naturally you also have to be able to implement segmentation in the referring campaign. You will therefore segment - and ideally personalize - your mailings in an e-mail campaign and thereby supply a specific landing page for every segment. But even if that is not possible or if your landing page is for example less related to a single campaign, you could personalize your landing page, on condition that the necessary tools are used, depending on amongst others the origin of the visitor.
Try to be as effective, to-the-point and relevant as possible. And don't forget to test!
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