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Anatomy of the landing page, i.e. how to catch the user

19-06-2013, Category Conversion, author: Brandon Line

Attracting good traffic to your company website (i.e. users from the target group) is only half the success. Visitors have to be converted into sales leads and obtaining an even average conversion rate (of 2%) is not an easy thing to do.

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Photo by: U.S. Navy

ROI of the online campaign

It’s easy to calculate the ROI of an online campaign after the campaign has finished when the sales results are known. But do you know how to estimate this value when planning the campaign?

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You have to learn the following values:

  • CPM and CTR for the cost per impression campaign
  • CPC for the cost per click campaign
  • CR1: conversion rate of users into sales leads (skip for e-commerce websites)
  • CR2: conversion rate of leads into sales
  • CART: the average cart value (order value).

These are already derived formulas (simplified version, with the margin level not included).

For the cost per impression campaign:

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For the cost per click campaign:

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Calculator

For your convenience I have prepared a simple Online advertising ROI calculator.

Conversion optimization

CR2, i.e. the conversion rate of leads into sales, depends on a website only to a minor extent. This is more about the effectiveness of sales than marketing.
CR1, however, is the basic conversion rate on a website and the subject matter of the entire field called CRO, i.e. Conversion Rate Optimization. Today I’ll tell you only about a small portion of the field that is landing pages.

What is a landing page?

As the name suggests, it is a  “landing” place for users who end up on a website thanks to an advertising campaign.
“Landing page” is not a name for every website’s page (such as Home) to which the traffic is diverted from the campaign. The landing page is a dedicated page that is created specifically for the purposes of a given action and with specific users in mind.
Why should traffic from a campaign land on a dedicated page:

  • because it ensures consistency of content and creation with advertising message (a feature important for the user’s perception which additionally helps Google Adwords evaluate how things match)
  • because it focuses on a one and only aim (and not on many as the website does).

Structure of the landing page

The most effective are the simplest landing pages that are made of elements which are fair and clear – following the KISS rule (“Keep It Simple, Stupid“).
A landing page that will make sure your campaign is effective should be composed of the following three elements:

1. TITLE

This is probably the most important element of the page as this is the first thing the user will see. What’s more, on the basis of the title, the user will decide whether the presented content is acceptable to them.
In one, very short sentence you have to put the information about what you offer. An example: “User-friendly monitoring for your website”.

2. CONTENT

This is the place to present the benefits which in fact are acquired as part of the offer. There are sometimes not so many benefits (e.g. only two, but still essential) – then you can additionally list the most important functionalities/features of the product or “painpoints”, i.e. the inconveniences the product eliminates.
A very good practice is to list the benefits in a bullet-point list.

3. CALL TO ACTION

This is the stem of the funnel, a place to which all elements of the website should lead. It’s best when you can find it in the part called Above The Fold, i.e. the part seen without the necessity to scroll the window.
It’s most often the case that CTA is a button, which is as large and colourful as possible so that it could immediately stand out from other website elements. But it could also be a form to be completed without leaving for another page.

Other elements – optional, we can say – include:

FORM

This is not an obligatory element of the landing page but it works perfectly in this place.
The most important principle you should follow when building a form with conversion in mind: the less fields, the larger proportion of users will complete the form. Of course, from sales perspective, the more we know about a prospect, the better. But all statistics show that any additional field in a form decreases its conversion rate. An ideal form is a form with one field - for an email address. After all, when you have the email address you can obtain any additional piece of information later on.

VIDEO

It’s an attractive form of presenting content that is successfully used on the landing page, e.g. by Dropbox. You only have to remember that the film must be short (less than 2 minutes is an absolute must and it’s best when it lasts no more than 1 minute) and of a really good quality. No recording of your own, only professional filming or animation and studio sounds (good voice-over, well-matched music). An amateur-looking film can only do harm.

SOCIAL PROOF

There is nothing that makes the offer more credible like a positive opinion of an independent third party. Short client testimonials are the best. They absolutely need to be signed with real names and it’s best if they also include client avatars/pictures. These also could be logos of well-known companies that use the product or service or headlines of articles (from newspapers, magazines or well-known blogs) describing the offer.
This one element can without negative consequences be placed Below The Fold, i.e. it’s fine if somebody have to scroll the window to see it.

Testing the landing page

Regardless of what you read on the Internet (including this post) try to test various solutions. Depending on the nature of the industry, product type, sales process or specificity of the target group, different versions of the page could work. A video will work well in one case and a longer piece of text and some illustrations will prove ok in another. It’s even good to test the content itself to choose the best title and offer description.
I wrote about tools for A/B tests  while discussing 12 tools of a modern marketer.

Tracking results

It’s good to analyse the campaign effectiveness in an easier way by creating a target URL (or set of URLs) dedicated to the campaign.
It’s true that the advertising service provider will surely supply you with statistics but a second independent source of data will certainly do no harm.
Of course the effects of the campaign will be seen in website statistics but a dedicated URL will make them easier to see and more convenient to find.

For Google Analytics – the most popular and free internet traffic monitoring service – you create a dedicated URL by adding to the URL address of your landing page the following variables:

  • utm_campaign – campaign name, e.g. “sale2013″
  • utm_source – traffic source, e.g. “yahoo”
  • utm_medium – medium, e.g. “125x125banner”

The above three are obligatory – they all have to be there in the URL so that it could work properly.

There are also two optional variables:

  • utm_term – key words, e.g. “artificial+flowers”
  • utm_content – an additional variable used to additionally diversify links – such as for the purposes of A/B tests, e.g. “landing1″.

An example of such a URL would look like that:

  • obligatory variables only: http://www.mywebsite.pl/landing-page1/?utm_campaign=sale2013&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=125x125banner
  • all variables: http://www.mywebsite.pl/landing-page1/?utm_campaign=sale2013&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=125x125banner&utm_term=artificial+flowers&utm_content=landing1

To generate dedicated URLs for Google Analytics you can use URL Builder.

Do you have or know a landing page that deserves praise? Leave the link in comments.

About Brandon Line
Since 1997 I have advised companies in the field of Internet marketing, particularly in terms of website design, maintenance and promotion. I started ro blog for the sake of my customers, but my posts are available to anyone - the knowledge which I convey in my articles is not confidential. However, my actual experience and skills, for which my customers normally pay, cannot be summarized in the form of a few articles.

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