By John Eberhard

A landing page is a page on your web site where you have someone arrive, or land, when they click on some kind of online promotion. This promotion could be an email with a link at the bottom, a pay per click ad, a banner ad, a press release, or any other promotional action online that offers a link to your web site.

Typically it is a good idea to create a customized landing page to have your visitors land on, rather than have them land on your home page. This is pretty much considered common knowledge in the Internet marketing community. Yet I still often see Google AdWords campaigns, for example, that have the visitor land on the company’s web site home page.

The reasons that it is important to have visitors land on a customized landing page are:

a. Having a customized landing page allows you to tailor the content of the page to exactly what the person is responding to and looking for.

b. Landing the person on your home page forces him to search around on your home page for the link to exactly what he is looking for. A customized landing page saves him the time and trouble.

c. A customized landing page can be coded in such a way that when your visitor responds, you know exactly where that reach came from.

What Goes on the Page?

There are some definite do’s and don’ts regarding what should be on a customized landing page. These are things that affect the percentage of people that respond, which we of course want to be as high as possible.

1. Sales copy: You want to have sales copy on that page. Some people say to make the sales copy short and sweet. Others say that long copy sells. The only way to know for sure for your product or service is to test it both ways. Make sure what you talk about in your copy matches the ad or email.

2. Pictures: Include several pictures on the landing page that illustrate what the sales copy is talking about.

3. Branding: Be sure to include a header at the top of the page showing your company logo. Since this is potentially the first contact the person will have with you, the branding shows him that you are legitimate.

4. Testimonials: Putting one or two testimonials on the landing page is always good, as it gives you more credibility.

5. No navigation: I nearly always have a hard time getting clients to accept this, but I have found over 12+ years of experience in both email and pay per click landing pages, that it works better to not have navigational buttons on a landing page. When I say it works better, I mean that in roughly 90% of cases a landing page with no navigation, where the visitor’s only choices are to read your copy and respond to your offer, gets higher percentage of response than when you give him the option to navigate around your site. When you give them navigation buttons, they wander around your site and then leave. Keeping them on the one page focuses and better controls the experience and process. The only exception I have found to this is with home improvement companies with a highly visual and aesthetic product, where the visitor will want to see a photo gallery. In all other cases, I have found that the response percentage is higher when the landing page does not have navigation buttons.

6. Call to action and offer: It’s important to have a clear call to action, i.e. telling the prospect to respond, and to put this prominently at the bottom of your page, or in the right sidebar. Lately I have been testing putting the call to action in the right sidebar rather than at the bottom of the page and this has been working well. It is always helpful to offer something specific, and if you can offer something free, usually information that can be sent electronically and cost you nothing, that usually increases response.

7. Response form: It is vital to put both a response form and a phone number on your landing page.

8. Coding: You can code the response form so that the subject line of the email that arrives in your inbox will include a name or code that tells you where that person came from. I favor doing separate landing pages for each campaign so you know that the person came from your Campaign #1 on Google or whatever.

9. Multimedia: I have extensively tested putting video clips or audio clips on landing pages, and have found that in most cases it increases response to have multimedia on the page. You can set your audio clip, for instance, to start playing as soon as the person lands on the page. But make sure to put a button there for the person to turn off the clip if they want.

Testing and Tracking

Testing different copy, pictures, multimedia, testimonials, offers and other elements on your landing page is very important. Every time you make a change, make sure that you code the new campaign or landing page in some way, so you can track the response and compare it to earlier versions. I use 4-digit codes on all my landing pages and find this works well.

Testing and carefully tracking the results has been a vital part of direct marketing actions for over 20 years. It’s no different with the Internet and if anything, it is easier to track things with the Internet.

I now favor using some sort of phone tracking system, where you use different phone numbers for your different campaigns, the calls are all recorded in an online system, and the call is then bounced to your main number. This eliminates a notoriously weakness of most companies, where they are bad at tracking where phone call leads came from.

Good luck with your landing page and website marketing efforts.