As a business, one of your main marketing channels is paid advertising. As you know, nowadays much of this advertising takes place over the internet, whether through Google or Bing, Facebook, or one of the many other major advertising networks. One major purpose behind your ads is to persuade the targeted web searcher to visit your website by clicking on the provided link. But, having the person click on the link is only the first step, because the page on which that person lands on — i.e. the landing page — has to convince the reader that you offer exactly what he or she, the potential patient, customer, or client, is looking for. If your landing pages aren’t doing a good job at this, if they haven’t been conversion optimized, you are losing money.
What is a Landing Page?
Whenever your website appears on a search engine results page, whether in an organic spot or as a paid advertisement, it provides a link that the visitor can click on to reach it. The link sends the user to a specific page, called a landing page. Whether this landing page is your home page or it’s a more specific page, it serves as an introduction to your site. The visitor’s experience on that landing page will dictate what else he or she does on your website. A good landing page will help induce the visitor to explore your site and contact you. A bad landing page, on the other hand, may only persuade the reader to leave and never return.
Making sure that your landing pages are successfully converting the leads you earn through paid or organic search is critical to getting the full return on your investment. Any leads that your site isn’t converting are opportunities, and money, lost
Five Tips for Optimizing Your Landing Pages
Here are some concrete steps you can take to improve your site’s landing pages:
Make the landing page relevant.
When potential customers or patients use a search engine, they do so with the intent of finding information on a specific product or service. If you invest in paid advertisement, the way your ads are organized should reflect this fact. If you’re a dentist, for example, you might have an ad targeting those looking for an implant provider, and that ad will target keywords relevant to that service. Or, you might be a construction company and you may be targeting persons looking to add a new bedroom. The ad will have a link to your website. To maximize the probability of a conversion — to increase the likelihood of getting a call from that visitor — the landing page the link takes that person to should be specific to the service being searched for.
Using the same examples, if you are targeting prospective dental implant patients, your ad is better off linking to a landing page that specifically deals with dental implants. Likewise, if you are targeting potential clients looking to add a new room to their house, the ad should link to a page on that service.
A common mistake I see again and again is indiscriminate home page linking. What I mean by this are ads which link to the home page, regardless of what search term triggered the ad. Put yourself in the shoes of a web searcher who finds your ad and then clicks-through only to wind up on your home page, with no clear path to getting the information she’s looking for. More likely than not, that lead will simply leave without giving your business a second thought. However, if she lands on a page that makes what she’s looking for easy to access, then she’s more likely to stay and read about what your business has to offer.
All landing pages should have strategic intent.
What’s strategic intent? See: “Five SEO Terms You Need to Know for 2015”
Do your landing pages have a conversion path? A conversion path refers to the journey your visitors take from the second they land on your website to the second they leave. A well-optimized website takes control of this path by making it easier for the visitor to follow the path you want him or her to take. As it concerns your landing page, the conversion path should guide the visitor through the information being sought in such a way that it persuaded him or her to call your business, fill out a contact form, or preform whatever conversion action you want that person to perform.
A landing page with no clear conversion path will leave that path wholly up to the interpretation of the visitor. When the options are many and the right option is unclear, that path will not be the one you want it to be. Instead, the visitor might instead move on to an unrelated page, fail to find what she was looking for, and then leave. A good landing page makes the right choice easy to make, it nudges the visitor in the right direction.
Narrow the range of choice.
This point is related to #2. Too much choice can overwhelm the visitor. If you have many different links, each sending the visitor to a different corner of your site, it might confuse that person. If that visitor clicks on the wrong link — wrong being a page not containing information relevant to the visitor’s intent —, that person may decide to exit out from the website and just try another one. Your readers are busy people and they don’t want to put a lot of work into figuring where to go after they reach your landing page. Narrowing down the range of choice reduces the visitor’s workload and makes it easier for them to follow the conversion path that best satisfies their demands.
Make your landing page appetizing.
A good landing page should be easy to get through. It provides the information the visitor is looking for in a way that minimizes the amount of work the reader needs to do to access what he or she needs. Stated another way, a good landing pages incentivizes the visitor to continue navigating the page, by making the process appealing. One thing you can do to make your landing page more appetizing is to use images and/or icons to convey information more efficiently and to make the page more aesthetically attractive. You can also condense the information in other ways, such as using lists rather than full-on paragraphs, or by including too-long, didn’t read (TL;DR) sections that summarize large blocks of text.
Here is an excellent example, from Google itself, of how to use a TL;DR section to make your landing page more consumable:
Track your visitors’ behavior.
Conversion optimization is not guesswork. There are tools, some of them free, that you can use to gauge your landing pages’ work rate. One of these is Google Analytics, a free tool provided to everyone and anyone by Google. With Analytics you can track a variety of your websites’ different performance measurements. One measure, that’s less used than it ought to be, is User Flow. With User Flow you can track the conversion path(s) your visitors are taking through your website, and you can see how many are leaving before completing their journey (termed the drop-off rate). You can also segment the data, to track conversion paths for different categories of visitors — e.g. mobile vs. desktop, or AdWords vs. organic.
This information provides you a more concrete idea of which pages need to be further fine-tuned to better guide the visitor through the right conversion path.
Are You Getting the Most From Your Landing Pages?
A bad landing page is a leak in your investment. It negatively offsets the positive effects of your paid advertising, it hurts whatever traffic you’ve gained through your search engine optimization, and it reduces the amount of leads you’re converting. If your landing pages aren’t performing as well as they should be, call your Now Media Group consultant today and ask how we can help you increase the return on your investment: 858-333-8950.