Imagine you are walking down the street in your neighbourhood and you see a sign on the pavement: “Bakery – freshly baked every day”. You are feeling a bit pekish and so you decide to investigate this new bakery. It’s not your intention to necessarily buy anything, you just want to check out the new shop in your neighbourhood and if it looks good…well…it’s morning tea time after all! And if not, well then, you know it’s there for next time.
You walk in the door, but instead of a delicious-smelling, temptation-filled bakery, you find yourself in a room with a sign that says “to enter this bakery, you must first complete the following form”. How would you feel and what do you think you’d do?
Now fast forward to the on-line environment. You spot an interesting headline in ‘google’ search, you click on the link and….land on a page that asks you to complete your details to receive more information about the interesting item that first attracted your attention.
Welcome to a technologists LANDING PAGE!
As marketers and authors/owners of webpages, we are persuaded by our SEO’s that keyword or adword links should always, always be directed to a LANDING PAGE. The reasons proffered are very logical and rational to a technologist: the LANDING PAGE can measure the effectiveness of different advertisements/keyword searches. It can measure advertisement effectiveness based on how many people click on your link, versus how many complete the form or take the requested prerequisite action. In this way, the efficiency or quality of the landing page can be measured by its conversion rate – the percentage of visitors who complete the desired action.
Since the economics of many online marketing programs are determined by the conversion rate, we are persuaded that LANDING PAGES are the holy grail, and we are encouraged to constantly test alternatives and improve our conversion rates.
But logic is not reality and technologists are in the main, lineal thinkers (they have to be, that’s their job), but they are not marketers.
So what’s the truth about LANDING PAGES and how can they work to your advantage in the on-line environment? How can you ensure your LANDING PAGE doesn’t overshoot. And is the LANDING PAGE a tool or a destination?
Sorry, but to answer these questions we need to go back to the land of advertising and more specifically to the old-fashioned world of mail order. That’s because everything that is old, is new again. LANDING PAGES are really just the couponed portion of a mail order offer.
Before we proceed, let’s get a few terms and definitions under our belt.
Mail order, as opposed to advertising, is a directed sales communication crafted with the sole purpose of capturing your commitment to purchase. In order for it to be effective – the communication has to be persuasive; the argument logical – it typically sets up a problem that you identify with and provides you with the solution – the product/service; and importantly it entices you with offers and a ‘no-brainer’ deal; to complete the coupon and send off your money at best, or a worst, to pass-over your details so you can be contacted by a sales person. Mail order is a sales tool. Mail order relies on tight targeting and a deep understanding of the end-target’s psyche to be effective. It’s effectiveness is measured by CONVERSIONS – the number of people that undertake the desired action divided by the total number of opportunities.
Compare mail-order to advertising. Advertising is designed (usually for retail goods/services, and most often for FMCG’s) to either re-enforce the BRAND to ensure it is top-of mind when you set out to the shops, or to make you AWARE of the product or service. It is not designed to SELL. Advertising is designed to ensure the advertised product or service becomes part of your conscious consideration-set if and when you need/require that product or service. Advertising depends on reach and frequency to be successful. Hitting the most number of people, lots of times. That’s how you measure the effectiveness of advertising – how many consumers your advertising reached by how many times it reached them.
If LANDING PAGES are to be measured by conversions, then they need to have all the characteristics of old fashioned mail-order, to be effective. They need to do a sell job on the prospect, and entice them into a sale. An immediate sale.
If however, you want to advertise – re-enforce the BRAND and make your prospect AWARE of your BRAND – so they think of you when they are ready to purchase, then measure traffic, clicks and movement through your pages rather than “conversions”.
So is your LANDING PAGE a tool or destination? It depends entirely on what you are trying to do and what you want the consumer to do.