Listen to Jay Jenkins, UNL Extension webinar presented January 10, 2013 for the Entrepreneurs and Their Communities eXtension webinar – http://www.extension.org/pages/16076/etc-webinar-archive
Link for Nebraska Web Developers – http://www.neded.org/files/assist/provider.html
Landing Page Definition
In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a “lead capture page” or a “lander”, is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link.
Landing pages are often linked to from social media, email campaigns or search engine marketing campaigns in order to enhance the effectiveness of the advertisements. The general goal of a landing page is to convert site visitors into sales leads. By analyzing activity generated by the linked URL, marketers can use click-through rates and Conversion rate to determine the success of an advertisement.
Making your landing page as productive as possible! Here are some points to consider:
- Focus on transactional landing pages. That means creating an even exchange. In the case of many successful landing pages, you exchange a valuable offer for a person’s contact information.
- Make your offer worth it. You can craft a PPC campaign that delivers a certain audience to your pages, but if your offer doesn’t speak to that audience’s needs they may not be willing to make the exchange.
- All elements of the page should be focused on your goal. You may find yourself wanting to cross promote other aspects of your brand on the landing page, but this will only serve as a distraction. Keep your audience focused on the exchange.
- Always be ready to test. What works for some landing pages may not work for others. You should always be prepared to test out different versions of your pages in order to find out what works best.
- Don’t get stale. Your landing page and offer may deliver great results for a while, but some things have a shelf life. Don’t get too caught up in an offer just because it worked well once. A good offer can lose value over time so make sure you update both the offer and the landing page if possible, or even be prepared to create a new offer if your audience’s needs change.
Insure that your landing page contains the following as they relate to your targeted keywords phrases.
- Create a compelling page title with exact matches of your targeted keyword phrases. This page title should not exceed 68 characters. This character limit may vary and many experts recommend no more than 70, but I have found that I always end up with a nice, clean page title if I do not exceed 68 characters. I also recommend mentioning your brand. The following page title is a good example. “Pool Tables & Billiards Tables for Sale | Family Leisure<!–“
- Add a meta description tag containing exact keyword phrase matches, benefits and a call to action. CTR (click through rates) have an impact on search engine rankings. By creating compelling page titles and meta descriptions you may be able to increase your CTRs.
- Add a minimum of one image per targeted keyword phrase to contain alternative image text of that keyword phrase. Consider how well you are communicating to your target market if you do not have imagery on you landing page that would be appropriate for keywords you are targeting for SEO or PPC.
- Image file names should also represent your targeted keyword phrases. For example if you were targeting the keyword phrase “landing page optimization” you may have an image named landing-page-optimization.jpg
- Create primary H1 and secondary H2 tags to contain you exact keyword phrases and/or derivative keyword phrases of your targeted phrases.
- Your landing page should also include between 200 and 1000 words of body content mentioning each targeted keyword phrase at least two or three times. Only mention your targeted keyword phrase more than three times if it makes sense when writing naturally. Don’t force it. In addition to mentioning your targeted keyword phrases you should also try to use co-occurrence terms and synonyms of your targeted keyword phrases. These are words that search engines like Google and Bing may expect to see within content relating to your targeted keyword phrases.
- Link to your landing page(s) directly from the homepage, blog posts and other related pages on your website. Use the anchor text of your most competitive keyword phrase that you want this landing page to rank for.
- As with any page, your landing pages should be included in your XML sitemap.
- CALL TO ACTION
- Common Retail Call to Actions
- A great call to action:
- Engages: attract the viewer.
- Directs: provides information on where browse and learn.
- Measures: can evaluate what action is effective
- Tips to creating
- What is your objective?
- What is it you want your customers to know and do?
- Are you clear and assertive?
- Get _____ NOW
- Free Today
- 50% off expires
- One day left
- Have you created a CTA on every page?
- Be consistent
- Be engaging
- Common Retail Call to Actions
1) Use Action-Oriented Language
Just as with your call-to-action copy, writing with action verbs is crucial to the success of your landing page copy. Landing pages are particularly susceptible to the blink test — the commonly accepted 3 seconds you have to orient visitors to a new page they click through to on your website. If within 3 seconds, a site visitor can’t glean what exactly they can do on that page, they click the back button. On a landing page, that means you could be losing new leads or reconverts, not just regular site traffic. And those are high stakes!
But when you write with verbs, you’re giving stronger, more definitive instruction for visitors that helps them learn what they are supposed to do on that page — in other words, how they can pass the blink test. Consider the copy on this landing page from our ebook, Beyond the Facebook Business Page, for example:
Notice those action-oriented phrases? They tell a reader exactly what they will be able to do once they download the ebook. Consider how much less impactful it would be if instead of “Drive traffic to your website from Facebook,” it read “Website traffic comes from Facebook.” The latter positions the web traffic as a result of something Facebook is doing, not something the reader will be able to do.
2) Use Value-Oriented Language
The value is the “so what?” of your landing page copy. Use language to convince visitors that the time they’ll spend filling out your form is worth it for the offer they’ll receive. You can do this by working in a heading on every landing page you create similar to the one shown in this example.
If you make it a rule to include a header that explains the benefit — “With this coupon, you will get” or “With this consultation, you will learn” — it will force you to pinpoint the real value of your offer to both yourself and your visitors.
It’s also crucial to not just explain features, but also the benefits of those features. The three bullets called out in orange in the example above do this well. Let’s take the first bullet that is called out in orange, “Optimize your blog to rank high in search engine results.” The feature of the ebook that is being highlighted is the ability to learn how to optimize your blog. So what? Why would someone want to do that? Because it helps them rank higher in search results. The act of optimizing your blog alone isn’t what readers want to do — they want to do it so they can get higher search rankings. Your readers know this intrinsically already, but on a landing page, it’s your job to call that out loud and clear. Don’t make them think!
3) Use Reader Keywords
What is a reader keyword? It’s a phrase I just made up to describe the keywords a reader — not a search engine, a reader — will look for while scanning your page to understand what the page is about. This is just as important for passing the aforementioned blink test as using action-oriented language. Readers will assume the page they clicked through to are related to the page and call-to-action from which they just came. Confirm that for them. For example, take a look at this call-to-action to get The State of Inbound Marketing in 2012 free webinar and report from a blog post about the report.
When a reader clicks that CTA, they are going to expect to reach a landing page that uses similar keywords in prominent places on the page. Let’s take a look at the landing page that accompanies that call-to-action.
Notice how the keywords used in the call-to-action align with those found on key parts of the landing page — the places a reader’s eye naturally scans to discern meaning when first arriving on a landing page. By using the phrase (or close variations) of The State of Inbound Marketing in 2012 in headlines, images, bolded copy, and hyperlinks, the reader can quickly be oriented when scanning through the landing page copy.
4) Write Using the Second Person
This is a simple best practice to remedy, but easily overlooked. Writing in the second person means instead of saying “I,” you speak in your readers’ terms by saying “You” and “Your.”
Look for opportunities to use these pronouns to help forge a stronger connection between the reader and your offer. Doing this will also help you successfully demonstrate the value of your offer, because it helps readers visualize how they can use the offer and how it will impact their lives — not an abstract person.
5) Go for Clarity Over Creativity
You’re on a timer. It’s set for 3 seconds. There’s no time for fluffy language.
Think of the most direct way to say what you’re trying to say, without the use of jargon and literary flair that detracts from the meaning of your sentence. Once you’re done crafting the copy for your landing page, read over it, and cross out every single word, phrase, and sentence that is not absolutely necessary to clearly convey meaning.
One way to concisely say what you mean is to make use of data. You know the saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words”? Sometimes, so is a data point when you’re trying to convey the value behind a complicated concept. Let’s take a look at this snippet of landing page copy, for example:
Instead of detailing the many reasons landing pages are important for all companies, this compelling MarketingSherpa data point helps hammer home why they are important in just one straightforward sentence. Regardless of whether you make use of data points in your landing page copywriting, be sure to re-read what you’ve written, and ask yourself whether your copy is as concise as it can be without impacting meaning.
Great landing page copy has as much to do with word choice and sentence structure as it does with presentation. No matter how wonderful your copy, if it isn’t visually palatable for readers, they won’t consume the information and will click ‘back’ in their browser — to a less overwhelming spot on the interwebs. Let’s take a look at a well formatted landing page that uses visual cues to help readers more easily consume written information.
The landing page copy is never longer than 5 lines, and it is all broken up with a headers of varying sizes, bold text, parentheticals, italics, and checkmarks (easily replaced with bullets, if you prefer) to make the content easier to consume. Visitors won’t read every word you put on the page. So put your most important points at the beginning of chunks of text, or formatted with bolds, bullets, or the other noted formatting devices to ensure what information your visitors should read gets its due attention.
7) Proof for Consistency
Finally, when you’ve written your amazing landing page copy, edited for brevity, and formatted for easy readability, go back with a fine-toothed comb to proofread your copy. This is a crucial last step, because you’re using your landing page copy to convince people to give away their personal information to you; visitors will be far less likely to do this if your landing page copy is riddled with errors. Look for accuracy in spelling, grammar, consistency, and facts. Here’s an example of what we looked at on our Google+ ebook page, for example.