Great Landing Page Design: Part 2

Here are the Top 10 Landing Page Design Best Practices:

Create an information scent trail. A scientific theory, called Optimal Foraging Theory, says that our minds have evolved to forage for information in a certain way. We follow sameness and likeness as we search out new data. So if we want prospects to respond to our banners, emails and pay-per-clicks, we need to think about the messaging process as if we’re laying out a train of bread crumbs to draw in prospects. We can use web messaging to create the equivalent of a “scent trail” that can be followed. Commonality of message makes it easy for prospects to follow along till they get to where you want them, which places a premium on reinforcing the exact messaging in the search, in the hit, and on the landing pages.

Design for Web-induced Attention Deficit Disorder. Information glut is common on the web, so make it easy to follow the data flow. Keep the message above the fold on the landing page, use bulleted text, with crisp, clean language. Make your offer obvious on the page, with no scrolling needed to find it or follow it. Netflix is a perfect example of how well this can be done. Don’t have other navigation. It’s a very common mistake to place navigation to other products or offers on a landing page. The thinking is that, “We’ve got them here. We should show them all our great products, and tell them all the great messages we have to tell.” But, there are several reasons to repress that tendency. First, the vast majority of people will bail from a landing page in eight seconds or so. Therefore, if you want to have an impact, don’t dilute or distract from the key message. Once a prospect has been led to your landing page, reinforce the scent trail.

Second, it is easier to measure the impact of your offer, messages and page design when there are fewer distractions like other navigation. Without other navigation, reasons for failure can be limited to a) the offer wasn’t good, b) the design wasn’t good, or, c) too many questions were asked. With other navigation on the page, customers may leave for any of those reasons, plus they may have clicked to go somewhere else. If you keep the page focused, then you maximize your ability to test the page’s effectiveness. Stay with the idea of simplicity and resist the urge to have additional features. When other features are added, then the page becomes a microsite, which is really designed for browsing and awareness. A landing page is geared for conversion.

Limit your survey questions. In the movie, the 40-Year-Old Virgin, the main character goes to a meeting where potential dates are introduced every few minutes. If he wanted to know anything about them, he had to ask in a hurry and not leave anything out. But the dynamics behind landing pages is not similar. This is not speed dating; this is consultative selling, where an extended exchange of information is likely going to be necessary to generate a sale.

For the first survey questions, ask for only the essentials like name and email address, and carefully limit any other questions. Then, give your prospects a benefit for providing that data: Offer to send them information on events in their areas or offer to send a whitepaper. In both cases, you’ll get valid emails from interested prospects. It may also be possible to pre-populate their profile from information already in your sales or marketing database.

As the interaction goes on, incrementally ask more questions. For example, if they request a whitepaper, ask for first and last name, email, and phone. If they sign up for a webinar, ask for the same information, plus the size of the company and BANT questions. At Marketbright, the process is called dialogue marketing, and it seeks to get the information and build a relationship through two-way interaction.

As an additional step, establish greater trust by saying that you won’t spam or sell their email on the landing page itself. That reassurance provides comfort in an age of identity theft and privacy violations.

Make your offer compelling. When customers come to the landing page, their focus on your message needs to be reinforced quickly. Make the information on the page easy and quick to consume. Devices like a headline with a number in it—Top 10 Reasons or Three Key Steps—simplify the information flow, which can tip the scales toward conversion. Also, put in claims, such as “Ranked #1 by XYZ Benchmark Report”, which boost credibility.

Make sure it is the right offer for the right audience. Recently, a company offered to give a free Starbucks card to those who signed up for its webinar. They were getting about 1,500 signups an hour because a free coupon site picked up their offer, and thousands of teens enrolled. It was an appealing offer, but its distribution went to a far larger group than its target audience. Keep the offer focused to your target audience by making it pertinent primarily to their needs, not the world’s.

Test Your ideas: The technology behind landing pages allows marketers to test concepts in a way that hasn’t been feasible in the past. It was difficult to gauge the precise impact of print ads in mass marketing, much less focus on the effectiveness of any individual element, because of the time delay of responses and the vagueness of the information. When constructing landing pages, consider engaging in basic A/B testing.
Test which graphic works best, which survey works best, which button works best.

Test your channels. Today, direct marketing is more a real-time activity, where is it easy to see where the dollars are going and what returns are coming in from different channels. Test placements, direct mail vs. email, Banner ads vs. pay-per-click, Google vs. Yahoo vs. vs. MSN.

Think new ideas. Because of today’s information glut, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the clutter with a fresh message. While some traditional devices like whitepapers continue to remain solid attractions, the sheer number of them on the web now diminishes their effectiveness. Consider using updated channels like video, podcasts and quickly read, bulleted Top 10 lists that are easily absorbed. Elaborate intro pages are being replaced with simple, fast-loading HTML to focus attention on the scent trail. In addition, “thank you” pages are being replaced with recommendation engines, similar to those found on Amazon. (“Others who liked this book/CD, also purchased these.”) Recommendation engines, which use an algorithmic process known as householding, have been used on retail sites for years and are now migrating to B2B sites. In addition, the proliferation of touch points – direct mail, banner ads, texting – enable marketers to reinforce their basic messages through multiple channels, all driving back to a single campaign.

Take advantage of “thank you” page. If a potential customer has stayed to that point, there is no harm in giving them more options. The site will have benefited from the click-through, and it will have collected their information. So at this point, it is fine to use regular navigation, promote other offers, make the call-to-action link obvious and central, and send the offer via email to ensure valid email. Consider adding a recommendation engine, though, to ensure that the prospect sees they are being offered more than an extended sales pitch.

What optimized landing pages can achieve
Because of increasing information glut on the web, companies are using a wide array of online marketing tools, including email blasts, banner ads, pay-per-click and landing pages. On landing pages, optimizations can increase the percentage of conversions as much as one percent on B2C sites. On B2B sites, it doesn’t take much of an increase to improve the ROI.

Optimizing landing pages is just one step in the sales cycle. The next step is to introduce lead qualification, or scoring, to ensure that valid leads are either placed into a nurturing program or sent directly to Sales. By optimizing the results of lead generation, companies can increase their viable leads while reducing their marketing spend.

The Bra!nstorm:  We can not stress enough that you take the time to make sure your landing page is not only well designed but make sure you are tracking it’s results.  By taking the time to track, measure and tweak each part of your landing page your results will start increasing right away.

As always we well come your comments and thoghts on this topic.

Design Marketing

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