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.

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