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The Guide to Landing Pages

 

We’re here today to talk to you about landing pages, what they are, why we think you need them, and how we can improve your conversion rates on your website. If you’re interested in landing page, this is going to be your one-stop shop for the guide to all things landing pages.

With that being said, this is very specifically focused on landing pages for B2B or B2C, not specifically for e-commerce. Now, while e-commerce strategies can certainly apply and the fundamentals can be transferred over to e-commerce, there are other advanced things that you should take into consideration that aren’t covered here.

What is a landing page, from a 30,000-foot view?

A landing page is exactly that — a page where your users land after clicking on something. For most B2B applications, specifically for what we’re going to be talking about here, the landing page is where a user lands after clicking on an ad. It’s going to be very focused around paid traffic and used in conjunction with ads to increase results.

However, landing pages can also be used when you’re sending out an email. You can set a link to go to a very specific landing page.

Ultimately, a landing page is where the user enters your website, which rarely means your homepage. Instead, you want to create a very targeted page outlining and highlighting some very specific points based on the specific use case.

Whether paid search and email, the purpose is getting them to land on a specific page.  In most scenarios, this is much better than just sending them to the homepage or an About Us or anything like that.

With respect to an email campaign, we want to send out a targeted blast about maybe an event we have or some kind of special sweepstakes or something of that nature. If they click on your link, it wouldn’t make much sense to just send them to the homepage. What are they supposed to do next, hunt around for the information they’re interested in? No, it would much better to create some content that’s hyper focused on what we’re trying to sell or what our new services are and send them to that page instead.

Landing pages can be location based, service based, product based, highlighting a new feature, etc. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you’re not sending them to a generic homepage.

Your website’s homepage should be viewed as a catchall page for anyone and everyone, regardless of who they are and why they’re there. In most cases when a user ends up on your homepage, they’ll click around, view your About Us page, Team page, Services page, or whatever route they go down. But it’s going to be very hard for you to pinpoint exactly what they looked at and why they viewed it, after they fill out your contact form.

A landing page, in theory, will solve this problem exactly. You could have an email that you send out where you’re talking about a new service, with a link that sends users to a very specific landing page for that service. The landing page could have a contact form on it, or you could use dynamic number insertion, which we’ll discuss more later. You’ll be able to see exactly when the user filled out the form and what page they were on when they did. And it’s more than just being able to track back down to the URL. It’s understanding the intent of the user, which is really what we want to discover through this landing page.

So just to recap, we’re sending traffic from our hypothetical email blast now to a specific landing page. With our analytics set up properly, we can know that a person came to our site on that exact page. We can then intelligently show them ads and remarketing and Facebook links. We can also know, when our phone rings, that the number that a call is coming in on was based on the dynamic number. And it all gives us the ability to get super targeted to how we can potentially show ads to that specific person for an ongoing basis.

We can start with three key steps for the entry process of the user and the actual purpose of the landing page:

First, we want to increase the desire of the user by focusing only on what interests them and speaking to that interest directly.

Second, we want to decrease the work they’re going to have to do before giving us all the information needed to take the next step. Whatever that step is, whether it’s a form submission, downloading a white paper or infographic, making a phone call, etc., the landing page will smooth the first steps.

Third, we want to make sure that we’ve eliminated as much of the confusion as possible before they take that plunge, because at that point they’re going to be coming in as a much stronger lead.

Your landing page really should be doing the bulk of the sales. You really want the landing page to do the tedious or repetitive sales tasks ahead of time, so when they’re ready to call you, they’re asking only relevant questions specific to their business or personal gain.

You’ll find that the landing page will dramatically reduce the work hours and the follow up that your sales team typically has to do before converting these users. Essentially, you’re moving people more down the road, and you’re only dealing with the higher-level questions.

They are more ready to take us on as a provider of services as opposed to just sending someone to the home page or about. It’s not specific to what they’re looking for and not as targeted.

Sure. As you’re increasing the want, you’re going to entice them with more value. You’re going to be providing more information for them. You’ll introduce your product or your service and then you’ll pitch it in a way that the user is going to be able to relate. Now again, if you have multiple types of users, people in different, you know, maybe you have some sort of widget or a product or a service that can help people in different ways, then ideally you’ll have different landing pages to address those needs.

Now, in some instances you can combine them, but typically they’re going to be very hyper-focused for a very specific type of person that you’re going to want to reach. And then when you’re trying to reduce the amount of work, you’ll be able to be very concise and ensure that your words and the layout and the flow is really focused on being able to deliver that value that you just sort of pitched to the user in the first step.

Lastly, obviously you don’t want to confuse them with any sort of words or acronyms that they’re not going to actually understand. Depending on the business, you may or may not want to get into pricing, but you really want to sort of finish off with a very clear call to action of exactly what they can expect.

Everything you’re saying is perfectly clear. So I think to myself, the following, look, let’s take our business for example. We’re not just web designers, right? Yes, we offer web design as a service and a large part of what we do, but it would not make sense for us to advertise additional services, let’s say from a paid search perspective and then push people to a web design landing page. But what if people want email marketing or search optimization or some of the other services that we provide? Would not make sense to send them some random page. The homepage maybe, but it’s better than a web design landing page, but you get the point. We want something that’s hyper-focused.

Sure. If you sell hurricane windows and you have a landing page targeted for windows, there’s nothing wrong with putting at the bottom about the doors or commercial applications or industrial uses. There’s nothing wrong with having your other services at the bottom, but that certainly should not be the focus of what’s on that landing page. If someone’s coming in looking for hurricane windows or impact windows or something of that extent, then that’s really what the focus of the landing page needs to be about because that’s what they’re interested in.

And at the end of the day, Mike, we’re trying to increase our conversion rates. That’s the whole point. We want to say, “Hey, this is a super targeted page specific to what you’re looking for based on your search that you’ve done and you’ve come to our page and now what?” So let’s talk a little bit about how most of the time we will remove main navigation from the top of the site for a specific purpose. You want to go into that?

Sure. So the navigation is very important. Now, depending on how long the actual landing pages is may or may not require navigation. However, should never have the full site navigation. The key is to get the user who’s on this landing page to get them as much information about the reason, the item, the service, the product that they initially searched to end up on that landing page. So we don’t want to have other distraction points. In many instances, you don’t even want to have your chat on there if you offer chat. It really just depends on the actual use case itself. But you start off, there’s nothing wrong with having a little sub navigation that would click to little hot points on the actual site itself.

On the page itself. Yes-

Correct. Now there are some things that you do need to have in the navigation bar itself. Typically, you’ll want to have your logo off to the left and then you’ll have your links and a call to action up on the top right.

Click to call, something like that as well?

Sure. As we dive in to the technical aspects, think of it again as a template. You can replicate this for almost any use. The same way when you look at product pages on most e-commerce stores, you’ll see that, sure, the colors, the fonts, the layout might slightly alter, but companies that are successful model their product pages after Amazon because customers are used to Amazon, they’re comfortable with Amazon, they trust Amazon.

Wow, that’s interesting.

So you’ll notice that on most stores that sell anything online, you’re going to see the basic navigation up on top. You’ll see the product image on the left, and then you’ll have the product title. You’ll have reviews, you’ll have a short description, you’ll have a couple of call to actions, and then you’re going to have a price button. Pretty standard because that’s what people are used to. So there’s no sense in making some crazy design for a landing page that’s going to throw the customers off. So having your logo small but noticeable in the top left, blank space in the middle as to not distract the user to make them think that there’s navigation for them to click on, links to the right, call to action. That’s all you really need. In many cases, the links aren’t even necessary. Now again, this call to action can be whatever the desired outcome is of the landing page. Sign up for an appointment, download a white paper, make a phone call. It really doesn’t matter.

Mike, talk to us about creating value proposition on the page. So let’s talk about that. You mentioned it earlier. I’d like to dive deeper into that.

So value propositions. One marketing lingo term that’s often thrown around is the word copy. Copy is just marketing jargon for text and the words can really be used interchangeably throughout. The sole purpose is to create and drive value for the customer. That’s the only benefit. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to take this landing page, we’re going to find a value proposition of whatever the customer is ultimately going to get. And sure, there might be other benefits, but there’s definitely going to be one sole purpose that they’re going to get out of that product or that service. And we want to make sure that the value proposition is matched with that main benefit. What we’re going to do is we’re going to highlight the quality, the benefit, and then the value proposition.

Now, if you have something that, let’s say you’re a banking institution and you want to get the message across that you can serve customers fast and their money is secure. There’s three different ways that you could sort of create value propositions. Again, you start with the quality, then you have your benefit and then you have the value prop. So if you had the quality would be fast, it’s really a straight forward process, but for some reason a lot of people just don’t really understand it. More often than not, people will try to just throw in keywords, throw in lingo, just put as much as they can onto that page. When at the end of the day customers are going to look, they’re not going to read all the words. It really needs to be broken out into very clear, but short and concise sentences where the user will be able to skim through it and understand their points. And obviously you want to start off with the most important up on top because the chance of them making it all the way to the bottom is not necessarily going to be in the favor of the business.

Look, we talked earlier about a few things that I want to recap. We can use landing pages for various reasons, right? Of course if we’re pushing paid search, certainly we can send them to landing pages. We talked about sending an email blast, but I want to get back to the point, and I don’t think we talked about this enough, is once somebody has reached our landing page or they’ve come to our site via the landing page, analytics can pick that up and then we can show them very, very specific messages and retargeting. So I’d like you to explain retargeting and how it works with that. And also you mentioned changing the phone number in order to know that they came from that particular landing page.

Sure. So as someone scrolls down the page, potentially there’s certain highlighting points that you’re going to want to show them. If you know where the customer landed on and if they came to use our site, for example. If they came in and we know that they landed on a website landing page, they continue their journey whether they’re shopping it out or are they’re still sort of in the decision mode. Maybe they’re ready for a website, maybe they’re not. We can start showing ads for website design. While website design is a major part of the business, paid search, conversion optimization, content, SEO. These are all major factors, but that’s not relevant to that specific user at that time. Once they come in and they take an action, they fill out a form, they become a client, they start going down the road. Then maybe we would want to introduce other services to them and that’s where we could start showing other types of ads that might be of interest. For example, some businesses are not a good fit to be advertising on Facebook and Instagram. When a user comes to a specific landing page, we can then choose to show them retargeting offers after they’ve left the page. Obviously if they didn’t take the desired action then we can start showing them ads targeted towards that initial desired action.

Sure. If they came to a web design page, we know they’re likely interested in that. Would not make sense to show them ads about something else, about email marketing or about something else. Let’s focus it specific to what they landed upon.

Let’s say that user did come to the landing page. They did fill out a form or they did call. And we can register that as a conversion. We still use retargeting, but we use it in a different way because we’re able to know that they came to our landing page for a website, they looked at the content, they were comfortable, they’re ready to move forward, they gave us their information. We can start showing them ads on the benefits of the website and we can start showing them ads of testimonials from customers who have had good success with their website and what it’s done for their business. And we can show that on Instagram. We can show that on YouTube. We can show that wherever we want, but this is all, again, before we even had the initial phone call with them. But as they’re going through their day, they keep seeing the business, they’re going to be more and more comfortable. So what happens when someone gets on the phone with them? It’s going to be a much easier sales process because the selling’s already done. We’ve gone through the testimonials, we’ve shown them the benefits. They’ve already seen the information of what they can expect. At this point, they’re ready to move forward and at that point the phone call can be really just targeted towards pricing or whatever else.

They are a much more informed potential client. It makes our life easier. It makes them more comfortable. Everything that you said, totally agree with.

Great.

Mike, I want to talk to you about AB testing as well. So we’ve already explained how having a landing page can significantly improve your life with respect to how your conversions happen, your conversations with potential clients. We’ve talked about it. So what does it mean? Are we just creating a landing page and that’s the end of it? No. So AB testing, what is it? We have to be able to take our landing page, create some variation of it and then see which one performs better. There is tools that are available to us that we can do that and we can then say, “Okay, based on the traffic over the last period of time, the last 30 days, whatever the case may be, here is which one’s converted at a higher rate. We received phone calls at a higher rate or a lower rate based on this particular landing page.” And we can make an informed decision as to how to improve. Personally, what I like to do is I like to say this, we create our landing page, we see which one is the better. The inferior one we then update again and we make changes to on some cadence, some frequency that makes sense. And we continue to optimize this until we know that we have a highly optimized converting landing page that is doing the best job for us that possibly can.

It’s certainly an evolving process. Just because a specific landing page or a certain type of element doesn’t work at one point, doesn’t mean it’s not going to work later on down the road or you combine different elements. Now we’re not talking necessarily about just changing colors because that’s not going to really do anything. However, the call to actions and being able to see what’s going to get the most clicks. And just because you have a call to action up on top that gets a lot of clicks, doesn’t necessarily mean that the one on the bottom is going to get the same. Now the difference between hire us or book a call now or schedule an appointment. Until you’re able to actually get in and test those, one of those is going to increase clicks and it’s going to drive more traffic and more conversions to the end goal.

So, having a landing page and having the ability to AB test several versions seems to be the most optimal thing that we can do.

Sure. And then you’ll be able to really understand what your customers are actually looking for and what resonates with them. Potentially you could apply that to your main website if you so desire. Or you could apply that towards other services that potential customer is going to be interested in.

Mike, talk to me about dynamic number insertion please. Let’s make sure we cover that.

Sure. So dynamic number insertion, it happens by, it starts with a small script being placed on the website that will look for the actual phone number to the website. And what this does is when a user lands on it, if you look in the actual search bar, the URL, depending on where you’re coming from and how someone entered into the website, there’s going to be other characters in there. Now these characters often randomized numbers and letters when broken down actually has a meaning. So if you come from Google there’s going to be very specific letters that are in there to track it back to a Google ad. Or if you come in from Facebook or YouTube or an email or an ad from another website, all of these tracking parameters are added in there. And dynamic number insertion allows the attribution to be linked to, okay, someone came from Facebook, they went to this specific landing page and while they may be on a computer, they then picked up their cell phone, dialed the phone number and called. That’s how you’re able to track a conversion back to a specific landing page.

Got it. Really interesting stuff. And again, super targeted. We have reports, we have data which we can have keen insight as to what do we do next. What can we glean from this information and how can we improve the as-is of our scenario to get better overall?

Sure. Otherwise they’re going to look back and they’re going to say, “Okay, great. I got 20 phone calls. Where do they come from? What’s actually driving the traffic? Is it the website? Is the landing page? Is it some billboard that I paid for a year ago?” It’s very, very targeted and it’s trackable. And that’s what’s important is being able to track conversions back to a specific landing page so you know what to optimize for.

With anything, tracking and reporting. Without those things, we are in the dark, driving blind, unnecessary. Totally the wrong way to go.

Yeah, you might as well go back to print mailing.

Well, Mike, I really enjoyed the conversation. I appreciate you and I hope our listeners got a lot out of the conversation we had about landing pages, the benefits, why you should incorporate them into your plan.

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