So what do you think are the most important pages on your website? The home page? The ‘About us’ page? Your product pages?
No. The most important pages on your website are landing pages. And the chances are, you probably haven’t got any.
I talk a lot about landing pages in my marketing workshops, purely because they are so important, and it is my delegates’ responses that has prompted me to write this blog.
What’s a landing page?
Many people ask me ‘What is a landing page?’
Landing pages are simply pages on your website that have been designed to capture visitors to make a conversion. A conversion can be a sale, an enquiry, a download, or a mailing list signup, for instance. They are the pages that ‘do what it says on the tin’, in that they click a link which interested them, and your content meets their expectations.
An example might be a jeweller with a (fictitious) site at myjewellerywebsite.com and the home page may have details of watches, necklaces, wedding rings, bracelets, special offers etc. They might have sections for precious metals or precious stones and so you see the home page becomes a battle for your customers attention.
Let’s say you have identified customers who buy watches, but don’t care so much about the other stuff. You would create a landing page for watches at myjewellerywebsite.com/watches that acts as a home page for watches only.
There would be navigation to the rest of the site, but anyone landing on the page would not need to go back to the home page if they were looking for watches. The page acts as an entry page for watch customers, and so they are happy, consciously or not, that the page you have sent them to is entirely appropriate for their needs.
The bus stops of your website
These customers would be driven to the site from links on search engines, emails, printed or online adverts where it was certain that customers would benefit from that niche focus.
For example, if you were advertising in a watch magazine, you might choose to divert customers straight into your watch section, because that is sure to be their interest. The rest of the site is accessible. You’re just removing elements of distraction.
Quite often, these pages would form a natural part of your website architecture, so that this entry page has links and products relating to your customers intent, but has just fast-tracked them into the right part of the website.
It’s a bit like a bus service that terminates in the centre of town. Before it gets there, people get off at the most relevant stop for them. Your landing pages are ‘bus stops’ on your website.
[tweet “‘Landing pages are the bus stops of your website, taking visitors to the parts most relevant.’ #landingpages”]
Landing that sale
Another type of landing page is the campaign, or transactional, landing page.
This is a much more focussed page, usually associated with a marketing campaign or specific conversion goal.
On the same website, for example, you might be running a marketing campaign for Valentine’s Day, and you have a lovely piece of jewellery that makes a perfect gift for your customers to give to their valentine. A campaign landing page would be a sales-optimised page for that single product. A nice picture, compelling sales propositon, and a button to buy it.
You might even remove the site navigation on this type of landing page, because distractions will remove the focus from buying the campaign product, The result is that there is only one thing to do on that page and that’s buy your jewellery.
Learning by numbers
With this type of page, if you are selling high volumes, it is likely that you would test different wording or layouts. By analysing numbers from a landing page campaign, you can then set about trying to optimise your landing page to get more sales of the same product.
These tests are potentially dangerous because you could lose sales if you make a change which doesn’t convert as well.
A technique known as A/B split testing helps you makes changes without losing sales. By sampling a small audience with alternative designs, you can easily see which one works best and choose the top performer. You can keep testing new designs until you have a landing page that converts incredibly well.
[tweet “‘Keep testing until you have a landing page that converts incredibly well.’ #landingpages #CRO”]
You may already get emails or follow links to pages like this. That’s a landing page, and their ability to sell a product, or make another type of conversion such as a newsletter signup or file download is well-known in the marketing world.
The problem for small businesses running their own website is either that they don’t know how to create one, how to optimise it or how to measure it, or don’t have the marketing support in place for someone else to be able to do it for them.
Either way, if you’re not creating landing pages, you’re missing out.