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Landing Pages

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An important element of your web presence is the Landing Page (yep, that's cap L and cap P. Its that important.).

What is a landing page?
Its a standalone page on your web site that discusses one product or service and is aimed at visitors you have targeted. It is different from ordinary web pages that work together. The landing page may or may not be connected to the rest of the site. 

Home page, no. Landing page, yes!
The landing page is THE place you want to send qualified prospects. In fact, I'll just say it. You want to avoid sending your valued prospects to the home page if at all possible. Send them to the landing page instead.

Why? Because the prospect, prepped to find out about your company and your product (the one that you are discussing on the phone with him right now), may get totally lost on the home page. And once you lose them, its hard to get them back. They think they have seen it all.

So forget that home page. That's for uninvited guests or surfers. Show your special customers a customized portal: the landing page made just for them.

Now that you know you need a landing page, you need to know that its hard work to create a good one.

Here are some things to think about:

  1. The majority of your visitors will stick around about 10 seconds to see if you have something interesting.
  2. A landing page must have everything the prospect needs to make a buying decision. That means you must write, edit, and design that page to delivery all information in a very short period of time.
  3. Even when the prospect decides to ask for additional information through the on-page form, a large number of them bolt prior to submitting because the form is just too overwhelming.
  4. Only a small amount of these visitors will eventually become customers.

You need to work hard to create a compelling landing page in order to close sales.

Compelling? How?
First, focus! Do you market a widget to a private and a government audience? If both, then you need two landing pages. Does your one product appeal to three different demographics? That's three landing pages. See what I mean?

You need to focus each page to a precise audience. Keep the offer very clean and simple. No shotgun marketing here!

Woodrow Wilson once said "I would have written you a shorter letter but I didn't have the time." Of course, we all know that we can condense a paragraph and make it more precise if we had the time. Take the time. Eliminate any extraneous information that isn't relevant to this precise audience.

This takes discipline to tear away the extra words and paragraphs but it keeps the reader headed down your sales funnel.

Keep the Look and Feel
I know I said you should make the landing page "compelling" but its also important to keep the design and feel of your corporate web site. So you say there's nothing compelling about your web site. A good designer can help here. They can craft a landing page with some color and magic and still leave it looking like one of the family.

Keep the form simple and stupid
When you have actually convinced them to fill in the contact form, Its tempting to ask for lots of prospecting data that you really need to know. But that may be a show stopper for some (i.e., "When are you expecting to make a buying decision?). What you really want at this point is a name, an e-mail, and phone number so that you can follow-up. Then, during follow-up, you can glean additional needed information.

This doesn't apply, of course, if you are fortunate enough to achieve an on-line sale right there, but they will expect to provide needed information at that point to complete the transaction.

Don't worry about linkage
There are plenty of advisors out there who say that it is optional, even harmful, to link your landing page to the rest of your site. That's because you want to keep the visitor on that page as long as you can. Don't make it too easy to shop around, even on your own site. That invariably distracts from your goal of closing the sale with the landing page.

To that point, make sure you have everything on this page that is needed to help them make a buying decision (or at least move them as the sales cycle). Here is a good list:

  1. Product features and benefits
  2. Models, sizes, colors (if appropriate)
  3. A graphic (photo or diagram) that cuts through the clutter and illustrates a benefit
  4. Delivery methods and dates
  5. Price (or at least a reasonable, quick way to get one)
  6. Testimonial of a satisfied customer
  7. Competitive persuaders and comparisons
  8. Response vehicle (most likely a form but at least a phone number)
  9. Contact information (without leaving the page)

On-page chat with a "live" representative is a wonderful device for engaging and answering questions in "real time" but this solution may be beyond the capability of a small company. That said, a phone number with a helpful agent (you?) on the other end is just as good.

Pay off price-per-click with an extra incentive
If your prospects clicks on a link on the landing page to get more information, give them more than they bargained for. If they ask for a certain white paper, give it to them plus access to several other related documents. Make them happy that they came to your site.

Happy landing!



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