Landing Pages: The Secret to Online Sales

Landing pages are a great opportunity for small businesses to get the most from their online marketing efforts.
August 02, 2012 Location. Location. Location. We all know it’s one of the most basic principles of marketing. A good location helps draw customers and increase sales. With the advent of the Internet and digital marketing, location has become less important, but it’s still critical to consider where you’re sending your customers when incorporating digital advertising into your marketing mix.

Instead of just sending potential customers to your company’s homepage, it has become more critical to send them to dedicated sales pages, also known as landing pages, which increase conversions and maximize ROI. “Landing pages are a great opportunity for small businesses to get the most out of their online marketing efforts,” says Tom Demers, co-founder of MeasuredSEM, a search-engine marketing company specializing in SEO services for small businesses.

Demers says that landing pages tend to work well because they allow you to create a special message and experience for potential customers coming from specific destinations. For example, a landing page can be created for a specific sales promotion, which then can be linked to a paid search campaign.

A Tailored Experience

The specificity of landing pages is perhaps their biggest advantage. In other words, a landing page “fulfills the promise of the place visitors come from, whether that is an ad, a search result listing, or another site sending referral traffic,” Demers says. Simply put, if you promise your customers the opportunity to sign up for a free trial by following a link, be sure that the page they land on (hence the term landing page) provides a place for them to sign up.

Are Landing Pages Effective?

Do landing pages really work? Absolutely. Demers says that his clients have seen an increase in conversions simply by updating their landing pages. One such client, Zintro, a business networking company, watched as their conversions increased from 2.1 percent to 12.5 percent after landing page optimization.

Before landing page optimization, Zintro was seeing a 2.1 percent conversion rate with this basic page.

After landing page optimization, Zintro saw a nearly 600 percent increase in conversions just by making their page more specific to their offer and their consumer.

Elements of Success

There are several fundamental components that are vital to the success of a landing page.
Clear content. A landing page should have clear and concise copy that outlines the benefits for the user along with a visible and defined call to action.

Powerful keywords. Keywords are also critical in SEO-based landing pages. “By understanding the term that a person uses to search for you can help you better understand their intent with the search; and you can map your landing page’s content to the keyword driving the traffic,” Demers explains.

In practical terms, if your company is selling HR software, your landing pages will be different based upon various identified key phrases. For example, a landing page designed for the search phrase “Buy HR software” is going to look completely different than a landing page for the search phrase “more efficient hiring processes.”

Deciding which keywords to use depends on where the consumer is in the sales funnel. Someone searching for “more efficient hiring processes” may be just beginning to evaluate their needs and is looking for more information, whereas someone searching for “buy HR Software” is ready to buy. Their needs are unique and jumping the gun by sending someone who’s not ready to buy to a sales page may lead to page abandonment.

In this particular situation, it would be more effective to send the person searching for more information about hiring processes to a landing page that highlights a white paper as opposed to a straightforward buying page.

Everyone Needs a Good Landing Page

At the very least, everyone should have a dedicated page that explains the benefits of their main offer, suggests Demers. This offer can be anything from a pitch to buy a product or service, or the opportunity to sign up for a free trial.

“Most businesses should probably have multiple landing pages, but for many small businesses having one strong landing page would be better than creating several mediocre pages when resources to create dedicated pages are scarce,” he adds.

If you're uncertain whether your landing page is good or just mediocre, consider running an A/B test on your landing page to see if it clicks with your consumer base.

Shortcut to Conversions

Landing pages are the shortcuts to conversions. Instead of directing a consumer to your homepage, which forces them to search for the offer—often resulting in page abandonment—lead your customer directly to the offer. You’re more likely to see an increase in conversion if you’re pointing them in the right direction.

Angela Stringfellow is a PR and MarComm Consultant and Social Media Strategist offering full-circle marketing solutions to businesses. Angela blogs via