search engines

Why use landing pages?

April 1, 2013 by Leave a comment

In the offline world of direct marketing, one of the main components of a successful marketing letter is only having one "Big Idea". The more ideas you try to introduce into your sales letter, the less effective it becomes. One reason behind this is due to giving the prospect more information to think over. This gives them more reasons and opportunities to say no to your offer.

Everything in your marketing letter should focus on supporting and strengthening that one big idea. Most top direct response copywriters would tend to agree.

The question then becomes, if it's such an important and effective method to improve the response rate for offline marketing material, then wouldn't it stand to reason that it's just as important to your online marketing? In many cases, it's even more important since you usually have less time to make an impression.

For example, one of the more popular methods for advertising on the web is by pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. PPC is a method to have your advertising message to show up on search results by means of specific search terms. Having the right keywords can make or break your PPC marketing plan.

If these keywords are popular, it can become very expensive to have your ad show up enough times to justify the expense. Say someone is interested in a specific make and model of TV, like a XYZ super LCD. When they go to the search engines to find someone who sells a XYZ super LCD, assuming you paid enough, your ad for that particular make and model TV would show up at the top of the search results.

All that money would be a waste if your ad directed them to your main website homepage. Your visitor will take one look at your main page, scan it for less than 10 seconds, and unless you have something on that page that talks about that make and model of TV, they’re going to hit their back button, leave your site, and go to the next one down the list.

The main reason for this is due to the belief and understanding that, because that ad showed at the top of the search, it would have specific information about that product. The second, and just as important, reason is due to having multiple choices to make, like which link to click on to get them closer to their goal.

Most websites have a lot of links and other distractions that show up on the front page. All these distractions weaken the PPC ad that you used to draw this prospect to your site. What makes much better sense is to remove as many distractions as possible.  This is where a landing page would come in.

A landing page is, for the most part, the online equivalent of a direct marketing letter. Everything on a landing page is designed specifically to focus your prospect down the sales funnel until they make the buying decision. It does this in several ways.

The biggest reason is that it provides continuity between the PPC ad copy and the landing page copy. When done correctly, the prospect has no confusion as to whether the landing page relates to the PPC ad. If the ad stated, “Click here to see the lowest prices for XYZ super LCD,” then the landing page would have a headline that would follow along the lines of, “The lowest prices for XYZ super LCD anywhere on the web, guaranteed!”

Another way the landing page works is by stripping away all other distractions on the page. When built correctly, a landing page is only going to have information or sales copy that directly connects to the information that brought them here. Continuing with our example, the landing page would only talk about XYZ super LCD. There wouldn’t be any links, unless they lead the customer further down the sales funnel, on the page to lead them to other pages on the site. In fact, there would be no way to get of this page except by either continuing further down the sales funnel, i.e. Buy now, or by hitting the back arrow.

The way the copy on the landing page is written would also be laser focused to draw the prospect further and further down the sales funnel until they reach the point where they have to make a buying decision.

Said another way, there is nothing on this page to distract the customer from concentrating on the object of their desire, no mistake that they’re on the wrong page, and everything is designed to help them buy what they were originally searching for.

Unless you’re willing to develop such focused pages to complement your online, and even offline, marketing, you’re going to see very poor results from your marketing efforts. The name of the game is focus and continuity with your marketing efforts. Anything less is going to be wasted money.

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