- “Sir, don’t you think we should turn on the runway lights?”
- “No, that’s just what they’re expecting us to do!”
In the good ol’ days of the Web (a mere decade ago), forward-thinking companies had web sites. And that was it. When you wanted to link to your site, you chose one of your pages and linked to it. No big deal. You only had 15 pages on your site anyhow, and the number of “hits” was all that really mattered.
We like to think we’ve come a long way since then.
Today, forward-thinking companies realize it’s not enough simply to drop marketing campaign traffic onto an existing page and hope for the best, especially when campaigns cost thousands or millions of dollars a month. These companies want their money’s worth and more: They want to see traffic converting into leads and sales.
Enter the custom landing page. It’s a web site’s stand-in for ambassador, concierge, and superstar salesperson rolled into one. It’s been carefully crafted to meet, assist, and convert visitors into customers. Most landing pages are specifically developed to support marketing campaigns, and this is the type of landing page we’ll discuss in this chapter.
Landing pages are not a new concept, but their potential impact is still often overlooked. Whether you’re a small company with a single product or a large company creating thousands of landing pages on the fly, making a few simple changes to the first page a visitor sees has an astounding impact.
The first step is to stop using generic web site pages as landing pages, and create a custom experience for visitors. Organizations taking this simple step report conversion increases ranging from a solid 10% to a mind-blowing 3,000%*. If you already use custom landing pages, then making some design and copy changes can further improve your results.
At this point, you may be wondering: “Come on, can changes to a landing page really have a such a dramatic impact?”
Yes, they can. It all starts with understanding your audience.
In Chapter 3 we recommended you anticipate all the possible questions your visitors may have when they arrive at your site. Since that’s a pretty tall order, we provide a list for each page type to help get you started. Below are some typical questions visitors will have when they arrive on a landing page. If the answer to any of these questions is “No” or simply isn’t available, it’s unlikely the visitor will convert.
Will your visitor answer “No” to any of these questions?
- Is this what I expected to see?
- Does this look credible and trustworthy?
- Does this look interesting enough to spend more time here?
Will your visitor find the answers to these questions?
- Hmm... that’s intriguing. How do I learn more?
- I’m interested, what now?
- What if I’m uncomfortable doing that?
- And if I have more questions?
Each product and service inspires its own specific questions from visitors, of course. This is where you come in: the better your understanding of your audience, the more accurate your list of questions.
Now that we have a better idea of what your visitors will want to know, let’s take a look at what you want them to do.