"Coming in for a Landing: How to Make Sure You Don't Crash and Burn"If you're doing any kind of pay-per-click advertising, one of the most important factors of your advertising campaign is your landing page. So, what is a landing page and why do you need to pay special attention to what it contains? Great question - let me explain.
A "landing page" is where someone is sent after clicking on one of your pay-per-click ads. When running an advertising campaign, you don't want to send someone to your home page, it's too general. You want to send them to a "special page" that is a direct reflection of what you're advertising. You don't want to frustrate your visitors by making them search through your site to find the page that contains your advertised offer. You need to send them directly to it.
The success or failure of your entire sales campaign can be directly attributed to this page. Make no mistake, the landing page and what it contains is critical to your advertising success online. You might get them to click on your ad, but if your landing page is bad, you won't get them to convert. A conversion is what happens when they purchase your product, sign up for your newsletter, or download your free report. In other words, they do whatever it is you wanted them to do, when they arrive on your page. They perform a "specific action".
So what should a good landing page contain? If you do a search online you'll find volumes of books, articles and forums that deal with this exact topic. You'll find a variety of opinions on what works and what doesn't. While the advice is very helpful, it's best to do your own testing to see what works and what doesn't for your particular situation.
By the same token, there are some tried and true methods that you should utilize when designing your landing pages. The upper portion of the page is your most important real estate. This area is often referred to as "above the fold". You want to include your most important info here. You want to avoid waiting for them to scroll down, as some people may hit the back button before your page finishes loading due to loss of interest.
As a general rule, your landing page should focus on one thing. Ask them to do A, not A, B, C and D. Keep it simple and avoid confusing them by asking them to do too many things at once. Remember, ask them to do one thing and make it clear what that action is you want them to perform.
Have you ever considered how safe someone feels about sharing their personal information with your website? You need to make sure your web site reassures your visitors, via the use of trust logos and a strong guarantee, that their information will be kept confidential and secure. If you can't instill trust, you'll lose the sale every time.
Following all of this, is the actual copy on your landing page. I can't stress enough how important the words you choose are. If it's littered with bad grammar and misspellings, you won't appear very professional. The actual words in the copy can help to make or break your pages. If you're not the grammar police, hire someone who is to review what you have written.
Also, make sure that the font you use is a decent size, avoid the use of super small fonts. They can make your page hard to read and really aggravate your website visitors. People read differently online, they tend to scan so make sure to use strong headlines through-out stressing major benefits or points.
In addition, you need to limit the amount of outbound links on your landing page. Don't give the viewer a way out. By offering up too many other options they may click away and never return. Take them by the hand and lead them step-by-step to the action you want them to perform. Don't allow them to become distracted.
Taking all of this into consideration, you should be doing A/B testing - also known as split testing - in order to find out what's working and what's not. Google's Website Optimizer is a great tool to use to test different headlines, graphics, layouts and calls to action. This way, you can tweak and make the necessary changes to improve your conversion rates. You can find it here www.google.com/websiteoptimizer
Finally, don't forget about load time. Make sure that your page loads quickly. Making someone wait for your page to load can have them reaching for their back button in a big hurry.
Furthermore, if you're doing pay-per-click advertising with Google Adwords, your landing page load time now affects your keywords quality score. So keywords with slow loading landing pages may get a lower "quality score" - and that also means paying higher minimum bids.
Taking this all into consideration, you can see how important a good landing page is to your pay-per-click advertising campaigns. If you don't get it right here, you'll be throwing good money down the advertising drain.
Remember, you should be continually testing and tracking so you know what's working and what's not. Knowledge is power and what you don't know can hurt you. Make sure when someone is coming in for a landing, it's a smooth landing. This is not a place to crash and burn.