As with any new marketing or SEO tool, there is always the potential for misunderstanding and misuse. Such is the case with landing pages. There are lots of cluttered pages, overstuffed with keywords. There are landing pages that don’t really tell you what they want you to do. Landing pages that, quite simply, don’t do their jobs.
Never fear. here’s some help for thinking through how to build smarter landing pages that actually serve the purpose of getting a visitor to take action.
Why You Need Landing Pages
Before we dive into the tips, let’s look at why landing pages should be an important component of your marketing plan.
We know that we want to attract new visitors to our site using keywords, but what happens when there’s more than one keyword that means the same thing? Enter landing pages.
Landing pages allow us to optimize for closely related keywords without having to create duplicate content. “Press release” and “news release” mean the same thing. And in this case, Google treats them the same. When you search for “how to create a news release,” you also get results using “press release”:
But what happens when, from a keyword perspective, Google doesn’t know that your keyword is a synonym for another? In this case you should put in a little extra effort to show up in those results – and that’s where landing pages come in.
You can create a landing page for each long-tail keyword synonym you have with the goal of getting a visitor to take action. With a landing page focused on a single idea, product, or category, you can provide searchers exactly what they’re looking for.
A World Without Landing Pages…
If you’re searching for “fly to New Orleans,” you probably want to find a page that’s specific to what you want, not a general travel site. If you visit Expedia.com, you still have to search for a flight to New Orleans, but if you click on this link from a search, you’ll land here:
Now that we have the capability to deliver exactly what searchers want, why would we continue to use static, generic pages to try to attract customers?
You’re already a step closer to converting more of your web traffic to sales simply by building landing pages for each keyword you want to be found for. Still, if you’re not seeing the conversion numbers you want, read on.
1. Focus on one keyword phrase
The secret is simplicity. By centering a landing page around one keyword or phrase, you maximize your efforts to appear in search results for that keyword. If you try to fit in two, three, or even ten keywords, you’ll overgeneralize and won’t even make a dent in search results.
Not only that, but you have to remember that a web search is an “expression of intent.” In other words, you have to give people exactly what they are looking for. Remember the frustrating early days of the web when you would search for “kittens” and end up on a sex site? Thank Google for taking us out of the dark days!
Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs still try to bait and switch with keyword stuffing to get you to click on the link. But guess what, if a potential customer comes to your site on one pretense and you give them something unrelated, bye bye customer.
Make sure the keyword flows naturally in the text. You can’t fool Google by stuffing keywords in a sentence like this:
If you’re looking for dog flea treatment, our dog flea treatment solutions are perfect for you! We have a large selection of dog flea treatment products at every price range.
You get the point. Keep it simple.
2. Have a clear call to action
The point of your landing pages is to get visitors to do something. What is that “something?” Make a purchase? Sign up for your newsletter? Subscribe to your blog? Whatever it is, make sure it’s dummy-apparent on your landing page.
Make visitors feel like they have to move now to take advantage of the incredible offer you’ve got:
– Sign up today!
– Start generating more leads for your business immediately!
– Get instant access to our free report by clicking here
Stay away from yawn-inducing text like “Submit” on a button. Use words that are engaging.
Not only should you use appropriate wording for your CTA (call to action), but you should also ensure that it’s highly visible on the page. Use a distinct color for buttons or CTA text so that it stands out from the rest. Place it in a highly visible spot, like the upper right-hand corner of the page.
3. Make your value proposition clear
What do you want visitors to do or know when visiting this page? What value are you offering? That might include product information, a useful blog post, or related resources. Whatever your value proposition, make sure it’s evident. People shouldn’t scratch their heads when visiting your landing page. They’ll only leave and look elsewhere for what they need.
Your value proposition should also make it easy to understand what visitors should do once they find value in the page. Should they click to add an item to their cart? Subscribe to your emails? Read another blog post?
You won’t even know what your conversion is if you don’t measure. You don’t simply create a landing page and send it out into the ether. You’ve got to pay attention to what results it’s getting for you. How many visitors does the site generate on a daily basis? How many of those visitors make a purchase or sign up for your email? How many return?
This information is a goldmine when it comes to helping you find ways to improve your conversion rate. If you’re not getting the results you want, make some changes and keep measuring.
5. Limit choices
Your landing page is a mini sales funnel in that you want it to have a clear entrance path, a clear hook, and a clear exit path. Offering too much information or too many options will cloud the mind of your potential customer, and provide “analysis paralysis.”
Keep the choices limited. If you’re highlighting a product on your landing page, show just that product and no other. If there are decisions to be made about what color or size a shopper wants, include those on the next step of the purchase process.
If you’re measuring properly, you know when a landing page isn’t meeting your expectations. Try different things:
– Tweak the CTA
– Change colors or images
– Change the keyword
Just don’t make multiple changes at once, otherwise you won’t know which one helped you improve conversion. Try A/B testing and publish multiple landing pages with slightly different copy or design. See which generates better results.
The purpose of a landing page doesn’t always have to be about making a sale. What you should focus on is building trust and credibility with your potential customers. Give them what they’re looking for, and don’t ask for anything else in return.
This is your opportunity to start building a relationship rather than pushing a transaction. Maybe the conversion doesn’t happen at this stage. But many times, the landing page is the funnel that leads to the place where conversion happens.
8. Use an appealing, simplified look
A landing page should have a simple design with minimal text and images. White space is your friend. Always use quality images, and bold headlines. Walls of text should be verboten.
Also match the look and feel of your landing page to the rest of your website for consistent branding. This helps connect the dots for your visitors so that they know this landing page is affiliated with your band.
9. Redefine conversion
Most people assume conversion is always about making a sale, but that’s not the case. Sometimes it’s converting visitors into email subscribers. Or to blog readers. Consider what your conversion goals are, as well as what methods you have through those channels to help facilitate conversion to a sale. Changing your viewpoint of conversion can help you better serve your audience with your landing pages.
10. Don’t be afraid of landing pages
You’re not limited in the number of landing pages you can publish. Expedia has millions of pages, all tailored to specific travel searches. If you have plenty of keywords (and keyword synonyms) you want to be found for, it’s fairly easy to duplicate a landing page and tweak the content for the specific keyword.
By matching your customers’ expectations with what you offer on your landing page, you can greatly increase your conversion rate.
Chris is an online marketing and content strategist here at iSpionage building awareness and engagement within our target markets. Connect with Chris on Google+ or on Twitter.