What is a landing page?

A landing page is technically any page that a visitor lands on after a click. This can be your home page, a product or category page, a deep link in your website, or more preferably a page created specifically as an extension of an online ad.

Why do I need a landing page?

Optimizing your website for organic traffic is important for overall site growth, but usually not the best avenue for increasing conversions because:

1) You don’t know where visitors are coming from

2) You don’t know what type of specific information they are looking for

3) You can’t control the messaging to fit their unique needs

With landing pages, you know exactly what visitors are looking for based on the ad they clicked, and can match the ad text with landing page text thus increasing relevancy and likelihood of conversion.

When would I use a landing page?

The ideal time to create, launch and test a landing page is the same time you are launching a new online advertising campaign. Each ad should correspond to a tightly matched landing page.

Here’s the scenario:
You have just completed a major advertising campaign in major newspapers, TV, radio or other media and now you need to accurately measure the results and ROI of all that spending. Meanwhile, not having any clear picture or any numbers to fall back on, your boss or company president is getting increasingly impatient as each day goes by.

You have a great website that is well optimized for the major search engines and that brings in a fairly decent amount of quality, targeted traffic.

Everyday, you carefully analyse and evaluate all your web log files, closely watching for any clues of new traffic that could have come from your ad campaign. All you see is an increase in traffic, and a corresponding increase in sales, but you still have no way of accurately measuring exactly how much of it is directly related to your new ad campaign.

Before going into that major ad campaign, your site already had about 80% of its traffic coming from referrals of major search engines such as Google, AltaVista, Yahoo, etc.

How can one accurately measure the real ROI and have access to exact numbers while conducting an important advertising campaign? How can you separate traffic from search engine referrals from new traffic that is directly produced by a major ad campaign? It’s very simple. The solution is to create a “landing page” system that will tell you precisely how many new visitors uniquely come from that ad campaign and, with the right tools, can accurately compute your final conversion rate.

What are some landing page “best practices”?

Have message match between the ad and landing page

Include a strong call-to-action above the fold

Download now, Get it now, Buy now, and other verbs work best

Make your text easily scannable (use bullet points and short paragraphs)

Don’t include any navigation – this increases leakiness

Make sure your form/checkout is as short as possible

Test your landing pages (A/B and multivariate test) and optimize them for conversions

When conducting any major ad campaign, be it local, regional or national, landing pages are the only truly effective ways of getting accurate results you can really depend on, if implemented the right way. The same principle can be used in other media. For example, a partner’s website can be used in a similar fashion, again, using landing pages as the correct way of accurately calculating the real traffic coming from that unique source.

Additionally, special tracking tools or tracking software exist in the market place today to calculate the final conversion rate of these new sources of traffic.

The same principle can also be used to conduct user or client surveys, market analysis, consumer opinions or even conduct pre-marketing studies based on a very specific geographical location or the whole country.

Used in conjunction with professional search engine optimization and positioning, landing pages can in fact become very powerful tools to any web marketer’s available means in staying a step ahead of its competition.