Why do landing page campaigns so often convert poorly? Because in planning them, the creators fail to think beyond the page itself. Typically, prospects click through an email or a banner ad to a single landing page with a single call to action and little, if any, persuasive copy.
Don’t assume a banner or search result creates demand or understanding in a complex product or offering. Don’t assume everyone who clicks through to a landing page is ready to buy. These assumptions are the result of bad communication between marketing and sales.
Unless you sell a simple or highly targeted product or service, increasing landing-page conversion must go beyond a two-click scenario. Consider your prospects diverse buying processes; where they are in the buying cycle; and the nature of your products and their relationship to customers. Also consider the context of the prospect as he lands.
Step 1: Define Campaign Conversion Goals
This is part of what we call “uncovery.” Ask yourself:
- Is it a lead-generation campaign?
- Is it a product-specific purchase?
- Will it generate qualified traffic for an on-site purchase?
- Will it generate traffic for a self-service or subscription service?
- Is it an online service signup or event registration?
Step 2: Know Your Prospects
- How many different types of prospects or personas would participate in this campaign?
- How do they buy: methodically, spontaneously, humanistically, or competitively?
- Where are they in the buying cycle?
- What competitors might they be interested in or research before they make a decision?
Step 3: Create Driving Points
Driving points are the pages, search results, email messages, or ads (online and off-) that drive prospects to your landing pages. Ask:
- Do you have the correct messages for each prospect type and his motivation? You’ll likely need more than one.
- Do you have the correct message for each stage of the prospect’s buying cycle?
Step 4: Create Landing Page Narratives for Each Prospect Type
A narrative is a rough sketch of what information a prospect will need to complete a conversion in a specific scenario.
- Consider the driving point’s message (or context), and list all possible assumptions a prospect may have as he clicks through. A banner for chocolate roses that reads “Great Romantic Gifts” places the prospect in a different context than one that reads “Give Her a Romantic Chocolate Rose.” With the first banner, the prospect may expect to see several gifts and could abandon if he doesn’t see the promised gifts. In the second, the prospect might click through looking specifically looking for the chocolate rose. If it’s below the fold amid a list of other romantic gifts, he may leave unsatisfied.
The landing page context must communicate to the prospect he’s in the right place. Each landing page must also make it easy for the prospect to get the next piece of info necessary to convert.
- Consider site pages that generate organic search traffic. These are also landing pages (probably the most important ones), according to a recent Google report. Business-to-business (B2B) buyers use search 30 percent more than any other resource, including trade magazines. If a prospect enters your site on a specific term, he’s following a scent trail. Ensure your landing page reflects those search terms.
- Create point-of-resolution pages with content that allows prospects to collect the confidence and resolve they need to convert or to participate in a call to action. Place links to these pages on your landing pages. And always ensure prospects can find another resolution or call-to-action link wherever they’re in your framework.
- Each page in your landing page framework requires a specific purpose.
In its highest form, a landing page campaign successfully maps your current selling process with the prospect’s buying process. One reason many fail is the all-too-common disconnect between the marketing team that creates the campaign and the sales team that sell the products. Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch, a firm specializing in complex sales, says, “It’s been well documented that quality of collaboration between sales and marketing directly impacts ROI. The challenge that many organizations face is that their sales process is a black box. No one except the sales team knows what is going on inside the black box until a proposal or sale happens.”
Landing page campaigns, especially banner ads and email, can give a seller a slight advantage over home-page or organic traffic. In these scenarios, you can better determine a prospect’s true intent; ads act as a filter. When you understand your visitor and his intent, you can create a more persuasive framework.