In the Weeds – Landing Page Tips

Guest post by Chris Frank, TreeHouse Interactive Director of Marketing

Looking at the big picture is a good thing. It’s what helps marketers make sense of the work in front of them, their results and what they want to do from a strategic standpoint. But if you aren’t willing and able to roll up your sleeves, take out the scythe and cut through some weeds every once in a while, no birds-eye view will actually get you to your destination. This post is deep in the weeds… It’s about helping you improve campaign landing pages.

You may create landing pages for a lot of different things—email campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns, events, etc. They all involve the basic notion of capturing prospect data. Some marketers do it a lot better than others. Recently, I’ve seen a large technology company convert less than 1% of pay-per-click traffic to a landing page. This is far from ideal because you always pay for traffic to landing pages, whether directly or indirectly.

Below are some tips for improving landing page conversion. They are not exhaustive, but cover what I consider to be most important in conversion after you have solidified a good reason for people to fill out your form.

Tip 1: Affinity

Here I’m talking about the inherent resemblance between all your campaign elements. If the pay-per-click words you are bidding on aren’t in your ad copy, and that ad isn’t reinforced in the landing page that follows, you have issues. The copy, branding and promise you make are all part of campaign affinity. This means the tone, look and what prospects are getting should not change as they travel between campaign elements. If they do, you will lose them. This may seem simple, but I’ve seen marketer after marketer have 300+ keywords that are tied to an unrelated ad, that leads to a landing page, which has nothing to do with what they just clicked on.

Why does this happen? Simple: Marketers get lazy. Make sure the 1-to-1 relationships work between all your campaign elements—from email or ad, to landing page, to thank you page, to follow-up. If the relationships aren’t there, don’t cut corners. Your results and how prospects perceive your company are at stake.

Tip 2: Perspective

Okay, this is a brief, but important point. Marketing is not your English class. Copy from first and third person perspectives have their place, but my belief is you are much better off addressing the prospect directly (2nd person) if you want them to convert. Why? In marketing you have a small amount of time to capture attention and make your offer relevant. “What’s-in-it-for-me” is a concept you should embrace in your campaigns for relevancy and if you want more leads. The fastest way to do this on a copy level without sounding cheesy or downright boring is to quickly change from authoritative 3rd person to 2nd person. See the first paragraph of this post. Did it work? Do your benefit bullets on your landing pages look more like a laundry list of features? You have to connect with people, and you can’t do that if you separate yourself from them with language.

Tip 3: Layout and Graphics

Typical B2B landing pages have a headline, intro copy, bullet points of benefits, a hero image, form, and call to action. You may have more or less depending on what you are marketing. Because this is an area where content differs greatly, I’ll give some general tips:

Try placing the hero or main image of what the prospect is getting in a more prominent position—further up the page and possibly in the header. You always want it “above the fold” or visible without having to scroll down the page. Images with people in them engage and draw prospects in, your dull white paper cover on its own likely will not.

Placement for your call to action, which includes a button, is important too. And whatever you do, this should not be a “submit” or “register” button if you can help it. Make it related to your promise. For example: “Download Whitepaper” or “Reserve Your Spot.” Experiment with different colors, shapes and sizes for the button too.

Use different background colors and graphic treatments behind bullet lists and forms to make them pop. Bullet lists on landing pages should include the value proposition for downloading/registering and should stand out.

Use fewer fields. You can’t expect someone to give you that much information unless you’re literally paying them. If the gate is perceived as being locked, your prospect will find somewhere else to go. Once in your database, you should be progressively profiling them as you move them from campaign to campaign. You don’t need their blood type up front. 

Links can be a huge issue. If there are links to webpages or content from your landing page that are not directly related to the conversion, remove them. You are bleeding traffic. On the other hand, you should be adding social media sharing links. Make it easy for prospects to connect you with other prospects.

Tip 4: Technology

The biggest obstacle for marketers in creating good landing pages is time. They’re usually an afterthought. That’s why I’d suggest building landing pages first and emails second. You should also be automating landing page creation. This means using form creation technology that is tied into email capabilities and a centralized marketing database. Demand generation systems are very good at this and offer a lot of extras that help you create more sophisticated campaigns. If you are stuck going through an IT department for creating forms or hand coding these forms with limited resources, you will never execute fast enough. Demand generation technology helps you create the forms quickly, set behaviors like how long the form will be active, and then automates what happens with the information that’s submitted (alerts, leads sent to a CRM system, nurturing communication launched, etc.).

Tip 5: Follow-up

Follow-up is the bane of many a marketer’s existence. This should include both testing and evaluation. Ideally, if you automate, you can test creative landing page treatments to random subsets of your larger audience. Play with the size of the call-to-action button, change that headline, swap out the hero image, change the copy. If it is an important campaign that will have any kind of shelf life, you should be testing. Technology can make this very easy, as well as evaluation. Constantly monitor traffic, conversion percentages, referral sources and the breakdown of how prospects are answering questions. This will help you modify the next campaign and target the right people.

Those are just a few ideas on how to improve conversion on your landing pages. What have you seen that works?

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