By Brian Massey published May 23, 2011

Landing Page Basics: Making Your Content Marketing Convert

One of the easiest yet most often overlooked marketing tactics is the call to action. I recently gave you ideas on how to include calls to action in your content marketing, but where should you send people and what do you say?

Landing pages: Where visitors like to land

A landing page is a page on your site dedicated to delivering on promises made by the offers in your content. The goal is to get a consumer of your content to take another step toward becoming a customer.

Your home page is not a good landing page. Instead, you want to send your prospects to a page where they are asked to do something specific and logical.

So what makes a good landing page? Reader Sarah Mitchell responded to my last call for samples with  a web page that illustrates how to integrate content marketing and landing pages.

 

She wrote the product page for ezytire.com. I like this example because businesses tend to use this space to talk about themselves and their products. They forget about the visitor.

A visit to your product page is a “buy sign,” making it a great place for calls to action. Mitchell does a good job of keeping the copy focused on the prospects, their businesses and their customers. She is also not shy about giving the prospect opportunities to take action.


Calls to action

In 12 Ways to Get Readers to Take Action, I implore content marketers to put calls to action, also called Conversion Beacons,  in their content marketing. Mitchell’s ezytire page is the poster child for in-content and ad-based calls to action.

Notice that there are not one, not two, but five calls to action on this page to start a free trial. In addition, she has secondary offers to start a chat, “register your interest,” and watch a how-to video.

The bottom line is this: You never know when a prospect finally gets enough information to feel comfortable taking action, so you must always be offering ways for them to do so.

Is this a bait and switch? It isn’t, and we should never attempt to mislead our prospects. The page offers details on the product. Contact information has been moved to a dedicated “Contact” page.

Mitchell’s links go to a landing page that starts the trial enrollment process right away. It should be obvious that sending visitors to the home page here would have been disastrous for ezytire.

We know this page is working. The bounce rate is very low, with only 14 percent of visitors leaving the page immediately. That means the page isn’t scaring people away despite having a total of eight primary and secondary calls to action.

Fully half of the visitors are starting a free trial, and 15 percent of them will purchase the service when their trial is over.

That’s a beautiful bottom-line conversion rate of about 6.45 percent. Many businesses are proud of a two percent or three percent conversion rate from landing pages.

Landing page basics

Here are five things this page does well, things that you should consider when you develop your landing pages.

Pitch the offer, not your company
The page is all about the trial, not about Ezytire.

No distractions
All of the content on this page is designed to help the reader get through the trial process. Ezytire should consider removing the top navigation as well to keep from distracting visitors.

The visitor knows where they are in the process
If it’s a pretty long conversion process, it’s considered a best practice to always let the visitor know where they are. You can see the “Step 1,” “Step 2,” etc. on the page that will provide the visitor with this feedback.

Forms are the right length
Long forms can be more daunting to visitors than multiple steps. For a “soft” offer like a trial, I recommend shorter forms and more steps. You should try different approaches with your audience.

Only ask for information you will use
The first step is pretty efficient:  Name, email address, password. Ezytire could ask some qualifying questions, and may be tempted to ask for a phone number. Additional fields will, in general, decrease your conversion rates, so don’t ask if you won’t’ use the information.

The ezytire page Sarah Mitchell inherited only generated nine conversions in three months before Sarah reworked it. If you’re not thinking, “I need someone like Sarah to look at my pages,” you’re not really a business person, or your pages would have bottom-line conversion rates above 7 percent. In my next post, I’ll share some ideas on how to find a great landing page copywriter.

Share a page you love or hate

Help business owners pick good copy from the ineffective copy. Share a sample of copy you love or hate in the comments. We don’t want to embarrass any writers, but we’ll all benefit from the examples.

Author: Brian Massey

Brian Massey calls himself a Conversion Scientist and he has the lab coat to prove it. “Conversion” is the process of converting Web traffic to leads and sales, and his practice, Conversion Sciences, brings these disciplines to businesses of all sizes. Brian is a dynamic speaker, presenting before corporations, universities, and at national conferences. He is the author of the The Conversion Scientist, and is a columnist for ClickZ.com and Search Engine Land. Follow me on Twitter @bmassey.

Other posts by Brian Massey

  • http://www.facebook.com/apryl.parcher Apryl Parcher

    Great Post, Brian!

    I especially like your comment about “removing distractions,” like the navigation bar and other focus disruptors. Landing page copy should be designed with a single purpose in mind, and focus on the offer, and not the company (although it’s hard to convince some clients of this). It’s great to see this page converting so well. Do you think the low bounce rate also has something to do with how this company words PPC ads to drive traffic?  Would be interested to know what kind of testing they did there.

    • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

      Hi Apryl,

      I checked with my client and this is what he had to say about PPC in blue:

      “We are using PPC ads through
      Adwords but not on a large scale. 

       

      However our best advertising is
      through targeted advertising – the landing page you and Adrianne (Adrianne Barba from birdstudios.com.au in North Perth) developed is
      getting us the most effective leads. We display this on our Tireweb customers
      pages when new users login and has been very effective in getting us leads
      & sales.

      The adwords are targeted as well and we review them almost daily but they are
      not as effective as the landing page/advertisement.”The landing page he is referring to is the subject of a case study I’m working on at the moment. Essentially, the company behind ezytire, E-Solution Professionals – or ESP, is using another landing page to drive traffic to the ezytire site. That landing page is displayed when new users login to another ESP product called Tireweb. So the traffic coming from that other landing page is well-qualified.Still, the problem with ezytire was two-pronged. Our first job was to fix the landing page described in this article. They started to see immediate results with greatly improved conversions. Encouraged by that success, they decided to correct the 2nd landing page which was producing miserable results. The correction boosted the results even more. I attribute the success of this project to several things:1) The client knew they had a problem and took steps to correct it.2) They listened to my advice and didn’t tinker with the copy. They got the “it’s not about you advice”.3) They really understood the strategy and compounded it by investing in additional calls to action including the LiveChat feature and the instructional video. (They asked me to write the script for the video to ensure they were staying ‘on message’.) 4) They corrected another landing page driving traffic to the site allowing for well-qualified leads.5) Most importantly, they tracked everything and continue to do so. The early tracking allowed us to refine our message.I think this proves Brian’s point about the importance of continually tweaking your pages to ensure you’re getting maximum benefit. It’s easy to turn on Adwords and forget about it. For ezytire, an initial spend in a content marketing strategy with a sound webcopy strategy proved to be well worth the investment in the long run. 

      • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

        Wow, I’m having trouble with the formatting of the reply. Sorry about that. I’ve added quote marks around the ESP comment. Hopefully you can make your way through the rest of the mash. 

      • Adrianne Barba

        Thanks for the mention Sarah and ezytire!

        Working with both of you is a dream for a graphic designer: fantastic copy, targeted communications and always about the customer rather than personal likes/dislikes… not to mention real end goals. It’s so much easier to design an effective communication when you know what you are supposed to be achieving with it.

  • Zach Techie

    Hey Brian, Great post!

    I came across a landing page from a Facebook ad and found it quite interesting. I’d like to share it for review. http://info.mindtouch.com/fb/online-trial?content=3

    I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts. Thanks again.
    - Zach

    • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

      The rule with landing pages is to write as much copy as it takes to answer the visitor’s questions and objections, and not a word more. This page is trying too hard to be succinct. There are many questions left unanswered. Write more. Engaged visitors will scroll, if only to figure out what the punchline is.

  • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

     Hi Brian,

    Thank you so much for the powerhouse post about the ezytire landing page. My job was made much easier by having very good business people as clients. It’s rare to have a client listen, understand AND take your advice; they certainly did. It was a collaborative process. Once they understood the strategy behind their own landing page, they supported and enhanced it. It was their idea to use a Live Chat as a secondary call to action. I was thrilled when ezytire jumped on the idea of having an instructional video on the page, as well. 

    I was planning on writing a post about this on my own blog but I don’t see the point after reading this article. You’ve covered it better than I could anyway. 

    Cheers,
    Sarah

    • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

      I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again: Businesses, let your talented copywriters do what they do best and let the results do the decision-making for you. The only reason we know Sarah was good for ezytire is because they measured.

      Thanks for the submission, Sarah and ezytire.

    • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

      BTW, any information about PPC ads for Apryl below?

      • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

        Hi Brian,

        Yep, I replied at length. It’s not pretty but all the info is there. SM