Landing pages, the Backbone to Your Online Marketing Campaign

Updated: May 29, 2009

If you read any articles on online marketing, it won't be long before you meet the term "landing page." So what does it mean? And why is it the backbone of any online marketing campaign?

When a visitor first arrives at your site, he or she sees a web page. That first page is the landing page. It's where the visitor initially "landed" on your website. Landing pages are even more important today because, whether from a Google Adwords or an Email creative offer, users/visitors expect their experience to be consistent.

A landing page (in fact, every page) can only cause one of five actions:

  • Get a visitor to click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else's)
  • Get a visitor to buy
  • Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc.). This includes registration of course.
  • Get a visitor to tell a friend
  • (and the more subtle) Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback
  • Leave your page (but we don't want to discuss that one)

The 'landing page' concept has plenty of applications and implications, but it's particularly important in marketing and advertising. Why? Because you can often dictate exactly where people enter your website: you can control the identity of the landing page.

So, if you're going to invest time and money to get people to visit it, it makes sense to optimize that page to accomplish just one of the things above. Perhaps two, but no more.

When you review a landing page, the thing to ask yourself is, "What does the person who built this page want me to do?" If you can optimize for that, you should. If there are two versions of a landing page and one performs better than the other, use that one! This sounds obvious, but how often are you doing the test? How long does a landing page last in your shop before it gets toppled by a better one? And do you have a different landing page for every single ad, every single offer? Why not?

Imagine you send out an email to a thousand customers telling them they can get 20% off your newest product. You naturally provide a link to your website in that email. Any recipient interested in that offer is likely to use that link to visit your website. So the destination page becomes the landing page for that email promotion. The offer messaging in that email must be consistent with the message on the landing page. Seamless integration is crucial to optimal campaign performance.

Landing pages are not wandering generalities. They are specific, measurable offers. You can tell if they're working or not. You can improve the metrics and make them work better. Landing pages are the new direct marketing, and everyone with a website is a direct marketer.

If we can dictate the landing page, then we can put specific content on this page that encourages the visitor to do what we want them to do. We can custom-design the landing page to fit with the goals of whatever advertising or marketing effort got the visitor to land there in the first place.

Custom landing pages for different promotions or communications can make an astonishing difference to results. So they're a critical tool for marketers: choosing and designing a suitable landing page simply gets more people to take the desired action.

Of course, the big issue is how you actually use and design landing pages to elicit that desired action, whether it be a click, a purchase, a download, a read, or whatever.

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