Are landing pages really needed?

July 22, 2013 by

 

I had to go to Wal-Mart the other day to get some plastic bins to pack up some stuff that we were going to put into storage. When I got there, I found out that they had changed the layout since the last time I had been there, so the great hunt for the bins had to be undertaken.

For the next 10 minutes or so, I walked up and down several isles, getting more and more irritated by my inability to find what I had gone there to get. Being a stereotypical man, I didn't want to ask anyone where they might be located. I just figured I'd eventually find them. After my long search, I finally found the isle that held the bins I was looking for. Mission accomplished.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with landing pages? Quite a lot actually. When someone comes to your website looking for something specific, whether it's due to an advertisement they've read, a friend referred them, or from Googling you, they want to see specifically what they were looking for. The last thing they want to do, after arriving at your site, is to hunt around for said item.

Another parallel is that, during my search, I really don't remember what was on any of the shelves when I was walking down any of those isles. It wasn't until after I found what I was looking for that I really took notice of what was around me. The same is true for your web visitors. Assuming they stick around long enough, and are motivated enough, to try to search for the item they want, they're not going to notice anything else you have to offer until they find what they came to your site for in the first place.

Granted, having many things to choose from is great when someone is just browsing around your store, or website, a customer is never going to browse around until after they accomplish their mission of finding whatever they came to you for first. Then, and only then, does it make sense to offer items directly related to what they were looking for originally.

What I mean by this is, if someone comes to your site looking for a specific type of surfboard, then an appropriate landing page is going to talk about nothing other than that surfboard. It's only after that prospect puts said board in the cart that it might make sense to suggest surfboard wax, but not a car battery.

Once your prospect makes their purchase, and only then, should you ever route them to your main site. Granted, you may lose a few sales here and there because your new customer doesn't want to create a second order. You'll lose a lot more sales though by diluting the focus of your sales message before they made their first purchase.

It's always a lot easier to get a customer to buy from you again than it is to get them to make an initial purchase. So creating a landing page that helps them overcome their buyer's resistance will do more to help you create a relationship than just throwing a bunch of products at them and hoping one catches their interest.

What do you think? Do you feel landing pages aren't worth the time and effort to create, or do you feel that it's a great online advertising tool?

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