landing pages, PURLS, purlA gymnast who dismounts off the balance beam and sticks her landing—no bobbles, wobbles, or falls—usually earns a perfect score. In the world of marketing, the marketing officer who finishes his campaign effort with a well-constructed landing page that encourages customers to sign up and stick around, usually earns up to 40% more email captures than marketing officers who don’t point prospects to a landing page.

A landing page (also known as a squeeze page, jump page, PURL or a microsite) is relatively simple to build. Most companies should have at least one landing page for every product or service. A landing page should serve a purpose— to gain customer information so you can develop a relationship with him or her over time so they will trust you and buy your products. The cardinal rule is never send ad traffic to your home page where they might get lost and never return.

Building a landing page that gives the prospect clear value increases the likelihood of getting their contact information. But here’s the rub, you only get 56 seconds to persuade them to do this, according to data from Nielson. To optimize your chances of success, here’s a simple checklist to follow:

  • Make sure the call to action is clear
  • Make sure the headline is strong and matches your advertising promise
  • Put the important content at the top, so there is no need to scroll
  • Make sure your landing page loads easily and quickly so you don’t lose your prospects
  • Include links to your contact page and privacy policy in the footer
  • Don’t ask for too much information in your opt-in form (name and email are standard)
  • Give clear details of what they’re getting, when they’re getting it, and what to expect next
  • Include the copy, pictures, and when applicable, video, necessary to earn their trust
  • Testimonials that reinforce the benefit to opting in work wonders

Building strong landing pages has enough curriculum online to be parlayed into a college degree. However, if you don’t have time to go back to night school, just watch The Art of Crafting Effective Landing Pages by Daniel Johnston.

In case you don’t have time to watch all of Dan Johnston’s presentation, let me point out the four worst things you can try to do with your landing pages.

1.  Throw in the Kitchen Sink. Trying to cram as much as possible onto one page puts the burden on the respondent to sift through it. Stay focused on the one action you want them to take and why they should take it.

2.  Rush to get their number. Landing pages that immediately ask a visitor to complete a form, fail. Build up to it, then ask for their email or number.

3.  Optimize too much. Test which combination of headline, image, and offer button works best, but don’t waste a lot of time on minutia or microscopic tweaks.

4.  Not honoring brand. Just because landing pages are quick and cheap to build doesn’t mean they should look cheap. Make sure the image your page presents is professional and matches your brand.

We hope this gives you plenty of ideas to run and execute in the New Year with your landing pages. Build many, attract many, measure always, and remember to stick your landing for the best direct marketing results.

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