Undertaking any new advertising campaign should also entail the optimization of your landing pages. These pages need to be set up primarily to convert the visitors that your advertising generates. No matter the method of marketing or advertising you use, even offline advertising, you should have a clear understanding of the visitors that it will produce.
- What keywords, if any, led a visitor to your page?
- Are your visitors looking for information or products?
- Where are your visitors likely to be from?
The first step to landing page optimization is getting to know the resulting visitors. With paid search and even organic search you should have a good level of knowledge of the keywords that those visitors have used to visit your site. Consider whether the keywords and your campaign in general is geographically targeted, whether it will lead to visitors that want more information or are ready to start the buying process, and their general demographics. The more information you can determine about your new visitors, the more effective your landing page can be.
- Have you included the most relevant keywords in your page?
- Are the images relevant to the topic your visitors want?
- Are ALL of your page elements relevant?
The landing page should be optimized so that it is relevant to these visitors. Page relevancy is always a popular topic. The more relevant a page is to its visitors, the more targeted those visitors will be, and the more targeted a visit is, the more likely they will convert and perform your desired action. Including keywords is a part of page relevancy but generally matching all of the page content to the needs of your visitors is vital.
- Why did a visitor choose to visit your site?
- What did you promise or infer in your advertisement?
- Do your visitors want information or do they want to buy straight away?
If you promise information in the advertising link then you should provide that information. In contrast, if an advertisement implies that your visitor will be taken to a purchase page, then that is where they should be taken. Most searches are done by surfers looking for information on a topic - this may or may not lead to an immediate purchase. By providing the information that a visitor is looking for it provides you with the opportunity to increase brand awareness, and even make an immediate sale.
- What makes your product better than your competitors' products?
- Why should visitors use your website rather than the next one?
- What do you have to offer that no other service, or very few services, also offer?
A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what makes you stand out from your competition. It's the reason that your visitors should choose you over any other site. It's also one of the most powerful conversion tools you have available to you. Many websites do not include their USP because they have yet to identify it - virtually every website and every company has a USP and promoting it early or prominently in the content of your site will help to increase conversion rates.
- Does the first paragraph of content include a summary?
- Have you got all of the important information on the page before the fold?
- Have you used an appropriate web content writing format?
Reading from a computer screen is very different to reading from paper based media. We can't read as quickly, we digest less information, and we comprehend fewer facts and less information. As such, it is good practice to write differently for the Internet than we would for a magazine or other publication. The very first paragraph needs to be a concise and informative summary of the rest of the page. Sentences and paragraphs should be shorter in length and, therefore, simpler in their reading. Headlines and titles, as well as other formatting, should be well employed in the relevant areas.
- Have you removed any unnecessary links?
- Is advertising kept to less visible sections of the page?
- Have you moved distracting page elements below the fold?
The more external links that appear at or near the top of the page, the more likely that your visitors will leave your site. Similarly, distracting advertisements that aren't a part of your CTA (Call To Action) need to be placed somewhere less distracting, along with other potential diversions. While these page elements all have a place on websites, they shouldn't detract from a well optimized landing page.
- What do you want your visitors to do next?
- What will your visitors want to do next?
- Have you clearly defined and implemented your CTA?
The Call To Action, or CTA, is the online vehicle that will drive your visitors to take the next step in the process. What this step is will differ according to various factors. If you sell your own products then the next step for your visitors could be to make the purchase. Alternatively, the desired action could be to sign up for a free newsletter, click an affiliate link, or download a free ebook. Identify what it is that you want your visitors to do next as well as what you believe they will want to do next. Once you've identified your CTA you need to implement it on your page so that visitors recognize what they are expected to do.
- Do you have any special offers, reductions, or discounts?
- Do you have any promotional giveaways or other incentives to offer?
- Have you pushed these incentives above the fold?
Incentives are a great way to persuade undecided visitors to take the plunge and move on to the next step. Either have a creative ad made that is relevant to the incentive, or at the very least ensure that it is mentioned in or around the first paragraph of your page. It should also be considered one of your USPs so it is a critical part of optimizing your landing pages.
- Is there any way you can make improvements?
- Are you tracking results?
- Are you prepared to make changes according to those results?
Your landing page is all about getting results. This means you need a powerful analytic package so that you can track the performance of these pages. You should have this software installed on your site anyway, in order that you can track the results of the advertising campaign itself, determine your most successful and least successful pages, and gather important data. Make small changes in a bid to improve page performance, and ascertain the success of those changes before making any others. Keep monitoring and optimizing until you get the best possible results.
About the Author: The landing page is as important as the advertising itself. Poor landing page performance essentially means wasted advertising revenue while optimized pages can mean excellent sales levels and highly profitable marketing campaigns. Matt Jackson, of WebWiseWords, creates compelling web site content, and also specializes in a range of other web site content writing services.