Create Landing Pages That Convert

  |  March 18, 2005   |  Comments

Site traffic is getting costlier. Make your dollars go further with landing pages that truly convert.

Buying site traffic costs more every minute. Long term, the online business battle will be waged over conversion rates and return on investment (ROI), not traffic acquisition. Those landing pages you pay for so dearly are a logical place to begin your solid commitment to better conversion rates.

Each successful landing page answers the following questions:

  • What's the offer?

  • Who's interested?

  • Why are they interested, and why should they take further action?

  • How do they get started?

Before you address these questions, think about the context in which prospects land on your site.

Before They Land

Customer-data guru Jim Novo conducted a three-part test:

  1. Visitors were sent to a home page containing content addressing three different offers in a generic, high-level manner. Prominent links to more information were readily visible on the page.

  2. Custom landing pages were developed and written to match each search term used.

  3. Google traffic was separated from other search engines' combined traffic to compare results.

When visitors landed on the generic home page, they stayed longer and visited more pages. Yet a larger percentage left without converting. When visitors landed on custom pages, they stayed for less time and viewed fewer pages. But these visitors converted two to three times more than the visitors to generic landing pages.

When a prospect sees your ad or paid search result, one of two things happens: she will click on it, or she won't. A click-though reveals a certain degree of visitor intent. The search term and the relevance of the term that brought her to your landing page should be reflected in the header and copy. This gives your prospect a stronger scent trail. Assuming your product or service offering is what that prospect needs, you have a recipe for better conversion.

Avoid using home pages or all-inclusive, multipurpose landing pages. Create specific landing pages for every ad and paid search term.

What's the Offer?

This is the foremost question in your prospect's mind as she clicks through. She's hunting for relevant scent and determines within seconds if your product or service meets her needs. Don't beat around the bush on your landing page; tell prospects what you offer up front. Don't over qualify or try to lead them into the offer.

Who's Interested?

When you know more about prospects; their motivations, needs, and preferences, you can provide the information they need to pull themselves into a conversion. Referring keywords and banner ad copy will reveal intent. Ask these questions:

  • How are keywords and banner copy related to how each visitor is trying to solve her problem?

  • How do keywords and banner copy relate to the visitor's stage in the buying process?

  • What would the visitor consider a success based on keywords and banner copy?

Why Are They Interested?

When we know who our prospects are and what makes them tick, we can begin to answer the big question: why should they buy from you? Lead with benefits, not features. Don't skimp on the persuasive punch of your copy. Take this as far as necessary, employing personas and a persuasion architecture system that maps the customer's buying process to your selling process. The more you commit to persuading, the sweeter the fruit.

How Do They Get Started?

What action do you want visitors to take? Make it prominent on the page. Let the visitors know by taking that action, they'll understand what happens next.

On an online service site recently, I clicked to view what I thought was a Flash demo, only to watch the download progress indicator pop up. Needless to say, I canceled the download.

Test, Test, and Test Again

You could test everything on your landing page, but that would be a waste of time. Focus on the most important items, such as:

  • Bonus gifts

  • Coupons

  • P.S. messages

  • Guarantees

  • Opening sentence images

  • Closing sentence images

  • Calls to action

  • Headings

So Many Clicks, Too Few Conversion

As Novo says, "Not all traffic is created equal." Traffic you pay for deserves extra time and attention to ensure ROI.

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Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES,, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at

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