August 02, 2004
How To

5 Ways to Make Your Landing Pages Get Higher Conversions -- Stop Wasting Clicks

SUMMARY: Great, your campaign is sending lots of clicks to your site... but are they converting into buyers or registrations? Or are they just sliding off into the void? Recent studies show even landing pages with free offers (i.e. enter a sweeps or download a white paper) get single-digit response rates from visitors. So for every 100 clicks you send to your landing page, more than 90 leave without taking action. Want to stop the exodus? We asked Michael Grover at CMP TechWeb to reveal his top five tactics.
Your online ad dollars work harder when you focus beyond just getting a click to crafting what the campaign landing page (or microsite) clickers see next.

But often, the budget is so tight that the bulk of time and money is spent creating the ad, and the landing page is an afterthought -- if it's even considered part of the creative process at all.

If your landing page is disorganized and not compelling, says Michael Grover, Director of Marketing for CMP Media TechWeb, you lose conversions. Here are Grover's top 5 tips on making landing pages work harder.

-> Tip #1. Consider starting with the landing page

"Maybe you say, 'Hey, here's a landing page that's going to convert well,' then you build the ad out from there,'" Grover says.

(Note: we love this idea. If a landing page is the narrow end of the funnel, it makes intuitive sense to start there, with a specific goal in mind, before moving on to the broader message of the ad.)

-> Tip #2. Consider the landing page an actual part of the ad

Advertisers often create a variety of banner ads, each leading to a single landing page. But if you've got an audience worth creating a specific ad for, it's worth creating a specific landing page for them, too.

"Thinking of it as the back-end of the ad changes the importance of the landing page," he says. Looking at landing pages this way is useful for two reasons:

a. Increase conversions with tailored creative

Conversions are higher when landing pages are tied to specific ads, and they should follow through on the creative expressed in the ad.

"What I see time and again is that people make an offer on an ad, and then not make the offer on the landing page," Grover says.

This happens most often with soft offers, he says. For example, ads that direct people to learn more about a particular product often end up driving people to the page on the company's Web site where that particular product is featured.

"That page on the Web site is designed for overall information," Grover explains. "Whereas with a click through from an ad, [the product] is the one thing [you want] the customer to keep in mind. You want to give them something that will help close the sale, and it should be a page that's specific to the ad."

b. Easier tracking

If your tracking system is not hyper-sophisticated, Grover says, having a separate landing page for each ad makes it easy to track where each click is coming from. "You know that everyone in this bucket was from this ad," he says.

-> Tip #3. Landing page should do nothing else

"One of the things I know I've fallen victim to before is, While we've got them on this page, why don't we promote this other thing, too?" Grover says.

Investor information, press releases, support, other products, and various links from your home page template -- none of those have a place on the landing page. "They're all very irrelevant to what you're trying to get the person to do right then and there," he says.

The main and most visible link should be the one that gets viewers to do the action you want them to do. Grover suggests having a subtle link to your home page for people who want more information.

"I'm assuming your logo would be in the upper left, that's where they generally are, and people understand that you click on a logo to get to a home page," he says. Be sure your logo is hyperlinked, and also include a link near the logo that says "home" for those who don't know to click the logo.

The place for other offers, Grover suggests, is the thank-you page. "That's your opportunity to say, 'Hey, if you like that offer, now's your chance to…,'" he explains.

-> Tip #4. Differentiate those who have clicked before

It takes more technical sophistication, but if you can differentiate people who have clicked on the ad already (and taken action) from those who have never been there before, you can present different levels of information.

"If you have a system that lets you know that not only has a person clicked on the ad before but has downloaded a white paper, that’s a great time to give them a landing page that shows more information," says Grover. "Offer the white paper again in case they lost it or whatever, but also give them more."

-> Tip #5. Keep it live longer than you think

Grover recently sent out a direct email campaign to get registrants for a Webcast. "Within 24 hours I'd get 90% of the people" he was going to get, he says.

But the other 10% straggled in for weeks. "It just happened that those pages were still live weeks after I considered the campaign over," he says. "I'm sort of curious how they stumbled over it in their inboxes."

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