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If you want to do online marketing well, you need to get the basics right, and few things are more important than writing effective landing pages.
For those new to marketing themselves through the internet, let’s start simple. A landing page is the page someone sees when they click on an advert, usually next to search results but elsewhere, for example, within a marketing email.
If you’ve invested money in getting people to your pages then you need to make sure the page they land on makes the most of that investment. But how? Here are my ten top tips for writing effective landing pages.
1. Don’t rely on your homepage
If you have spent time and money targeting people with specific, relevant pay-per-click (PPC) advertising then why send them to a generic homepage and hope they persevere to find the product or service they want?
Send your potential customers to appropriate pages, you’ve paid for them after all.
2. Have a clear goal
What do you want your visitor to do once they reach your pages? Have a clear goal in mind; it might be a one-off sale, the collection of their email address, brand familiarisation, whatever – make sure you know what you want.
Unless you know precisely what you want to achieve, you can’t be confident that you’re driving that end result with your page.
3. Don’t try to do too much
Here’s a general online copywriting rule: don’t overfill your pages. Leaving Google’s straightforward results page only to land on a cramped, overfilled web page won’t encourage a sale. Instead, make your page clear, succinct and effective.
Of course, having said that, it doesn’t need to be entirely dedicated to one particular product or service. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s ‘people who bought this, also bought…’ - as long as it’s definitely relevant, that kind of information won’t offend.
4. Trust nothing, test everything
So much online marketing varies depending on the product, service, target audience and even time of year – meaning you need to test absolutely everything.
Obviously don’t over-test if you’re only spending a small amount on a campaign, however, if you’re planning a major email marketing or PPC effort then run tests first to find the most effective strategy.
A small amount of planning can really make a huge difference to your end result.
5. Don’t ask too much
Maybe you don’t want sales, you want information – like email addresses or market research. But bear in mind that your visitors have only clicked through from an email or search engine, they aren’t hugely committed.
Asking for too much information at this stage risks frightening them off and wasting the investment you made getting them there.
Don’t drive people away by asking for anything you don’t actually need.
6. Put your best information first
Online readers are lazy. Think about it, did you read everything on this page before now? Most likely you scanned it, and that doesn’t offend me, online readers don’t tend to look at every word.
So, say the most important stuff first, whether it’s a discount you’re offering or a key selling point.
7. Call to action
Make it very, very, very easy for people to do what you want, whether it’s buy something, sign up for something, read something or whatever.
Litter your landing page with calls to action and make it simple for people to do what you want. People online are inherently apathetic and the slightest barrier to sale will cost you customers.
8. Be consistent
What brought me, your visitor, to this landing page? What was the text I clicked on within an email or advert? Make sure it’s consistent with what I see.
Keep your PPC up to date with your site, don’t show deals or products that aren’t available or aren’t particularly visible once I reach your page. It’s a real turn off and people will soon click away,
9. Don’t hide the price
Your visitor has clicked through because they are looking for a specific product or service. Before you reveal the price you charge, they don’t know if you are in their range.
If you rave about quality, for example, you risk driving away people who are worried about the cost. Whereas, if you write about ‘great discounts’ without showing the specific prices, you risk losing customers who are primarily concerned with quality and will assume you’re hawking cheap goods if they don’t see your original price.
10. Know your visitors
Who are your visitors? If you’re a canny online marketer then you’ll know what kind of person tends to buy your product and you’ll be using that information to make your PPC ads even more effective.
So carry that information through to your landing pages and target your copy and design. Describe your audience to your copywriter and page designer to make sure it’s as welcoming and targeted as it can be.
Product makes perfect
If you stick to the above and have a decent PPC and email marketing strategy then your promotional work is sound. After that, it’s down to your product or service to sell, but at least you’ll have given it the best possible platform.