Jul. 5, 2011 - A Crash Course in Landing Pages
A landing page? Say what???
We’re talking internet marketing here. No matter whether you own a website as an association, MLS, or brokerage, if you don’t know about landing pages for your web site, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity!
Here’s an example: your association has taken a position on a local political initiative—let’s say the county wants to establish a new real estate transfer tax. Realtors agree this is a very bad idea and will bring great harm to the real estate business, so they’ve issued a position paper which analyzes the impact of the proposed destructive legislation on homeowners and businesses in the community. The paper is available on the association website: the question is, how does is the public directed to the website so they can easily read and download the whitepaper?
The organization can do one of two things: it can direct the public to its website homepage and let the visitors find and click on the appropriate link, or it can create a landing page. Simply put, a good landing page will be targeted to a particular stream of traffic – in this case from an email campaign advertising the whitepaper - and, because traffic is targeted, and because the page contains an interesting offer (leave your email address to receive the informative whitepaper as well as further updates on the progress of the legislation) the association will convert a higher percentage of website visitors into interested members of the public (leads) with whom it can follow up for this or future public campaigns.
The secret question in using this technique is —as always—“What do you want the consumer to do?” Many associations (and brokerages, for that matter) never ask this question as they design their web pages. “Well, that’s a nice site,” I tell them. “Lots of information on ethics, reasons to use a professional, and why your organization is great. But what do you want the visitor to DO as a result of knowing all of this?” Too often, the answer is a blank stare.
“Well, if you don’t know what you want them to do, how do you measure your effectiveness?”
There are two general types of landing pages—one is a reference page, and the other is known as a ‘call to action’. In either case, the landing page shows the visitor how to do what you want them to: in our example, we want the visitor read the legislative impact study and become informed about our position on the topic. (And leave her contact information so we have a database of interested local residents for future use.)
The association not only advertised the landing page, it asked all of the members to provide a link on THEIR websites, thus leveraging the interest and cooperation of the member community.
What’s the recipe for a good call-to-action landing page? A few simple ingredients:
1. Have a compelling product or offer. “Become informed about how this new legislation affects you and impacts our community! Read this complimentary two-page, clear analysis!” (Or, receive an invitation to attend this exclusive champagne open house for this luxurious residence. Or whatever.)
2. Make it easy to share. This rule is, of course, a necessary component of a blog, a newsletter, a flyer, an article or press release: always add the buttons for Facebook, Twitter, email, and other sharing options. Again, leverage your efforts by making it easy for others to spread the word.
3. Limit the options for the reader to navigate away from your landing page. Direct them where YOU want them to go—to your homepage, to your listing inventory, or wherever seems logical. But don’t confuse them: keep the attention on what you want them to do (leave your email address—that’s called ‘capture the lead’).
4. Be simple and direct. The best landing pages focus on the task at hand, perhaps adding a relevant and dynamic graphic and – again – ask the visitor for a simple, effective action like “leave your email address and we’ll tell you how to get complete information on the properties for sale on this lake as well as a ticket for boat tour to see these listings from the water.”
5. Make sure you have a statistical analysis component to your page. A visitor who takes the desired action is referred to as a ‘conversion’ and the efficiency of a call-to-action landing page is measured by its conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who complete the action). The conversion rate is easily tracked because the desired action is isolated to a single page. It’s also simple to find out where your visitors came from, how long each one spent on the landing page, and where they went when they left the site.
“Ok, you’ve convinced me: landing pages are important to web marketing. How do I get one?”
A simple landing page isn’t difficult for an experienced web site designer: you might even try making one yourself. There are excellent informational videos on YouTube: one is by an organization called NextLevel Profits. Google also has some easy to follow instructions for creating mobile phone landing pages .
And, going back to our opening example, the association found that adding the landing page to its arsenal of mobilization tactics really worked by uniting members in a common strategy, creating an informed voting public, and leveraging the social media communications tools.
Not a bad return on investment.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A Crash Course in Landing Pages : Off Stage