Is your website as ineffective as an unmanned showroom?

If you are directing people to your website through any kind of marketing and you are not using landing pages, you might want to STOP EVERYTHING AND READ THIS!

What is a landing page?

The short answer is that a landing page is any page within your website that a visitor lands on as an entry point, including your home page.

Why are landing pages critical for website owners today?

There are two main reasons, but before we get into them let’s touch on the variety of ways that a new visitor can arrive at any landing page within your website. Typically visitors come from word of mouth, word of mouse (email, Twitter, Facebook, blog post, etc), a link within another website, your business collateral print material (brochures, fliers, stationery, business cards, signage, livery, uniforms etc), traditional advertisements (TV, print, radio, outdoor, directories, etc), search engines, or paid online advertisement (Google Adwords, display ads, yahoo, online directories, Facebook etc).

Sponge Landing Pages

The first reason for landing pages is heavily associated with the smart marketing methodology of making relevant and specific calls to action, tailored to the people who will see them. Without going deep into it, smart marketers know that creating relevant and targeted calls to action can improve your conversion rate and reduce your cost per sale.

The typical website

Imagine a salesperson standing outside her business, working hard starting dialogues with people about her various products as they pass by, but as soon as someone shows interest in a product she mentions, she directs them into the showroom and shuts the door behind them leaving them alone to find the product that interested them and work out what to do next, amongst the mass of options on display before them. Similarly for websites, businesses tend to direct all enquiries to a homepage that has been designed to deliver all the available information for their business, but not the specific information for whatever it was that got the attention of the prospect in the first place.

This may be fine if you only ever sell one specific product, to only one type of client, with only one call to action. However if like most businesses you don’t, and you have invested your time and money starting multiple, targeted and relevant dialogues with your prospects (through your marketing pieces and advertisements), to the point where they are interested and have landed on your website, doesn’t it make sense to continue that dialogue directly, with little or no distraction, and walk them through your specific steps to complete the sale for that product or service? This can really only be done by creating a focused landing page, or system that does just that for each and every unique dialogue that you open.

The second reason is equally important. Do you know the exact return on investment you are getting for the money you are spending on your advertising? For most businesses it can only be estimated from an overall period sales/leads/enquiries report. When you utilise unique landing pages for each and every marketing piece, you can track every online enquiry, sale, or visit, right back to the originating piece. It is as simple as creating a landing page and URL like this for a campaign: www.thesponge.com.au/ROI and using Google Analytics intelligently in your website.

The good news is that Google Analytics is a free resource. The bad news is that your web team may not understand landing pages or Google Analytics, or if they do, may not have the practical experience to implement a system that will work for you.

There is a pretty good chance you have encountered a landing page style currently being used by growing numbers of internet marketers which is appallingly ugly. It is really saddening, though they do follow some basic principles that we believe in and practice too. Those are to make the page a single column and include all the answers to the typical questions that a prospect will ask, and to direct the visitor to one specific action, either buy, contact, subscribe to a list, or a variant of one of these. Here at The Sponge we believe there is absolutely no reason for your website to be aesthetically unpleasant in order to make you more profitable. In other words, you can have beautiful and effective landing pages.

We are in the really early stages of evaluating the viability of providing a hosted landing page solution for cases where you know your business could benefit by using them, but your current web team is unable to deliver and you don’t want to offend anyone, or burn any bridges. If you or anyone you know are interested in this model, please let us know ASAP so we can factor it into our study.

I hope this has got you thinking and I would love to receive any questions that arise and comments.

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