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Monday, July 19, 2010

Landing Pages: Best Practices & What the Future Holds

Posted by @ 9:05 pm

Most website owners know that a great landing page is the key to turning visitors into buyers. The main point to getting a landing page that converts is to test, test test.

This is a mantra that Anne Holland from MarketingSherpa swears by. In a recent interview with Revenews, Anne explains her testing tactics, common mistakes and why lies ahead for landing pages in the future.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

  • What is most overlooked in landing page testing?

Aside from the fact that it’s not done?!

Obvious stuff like match your headline to the headline of the ad or offer that drove the traffic, make your buttons bigger, get rid of extraneous navigation, etc.

I also think mainstream marketers have overlooked the possibility of overlays; they look like a pop-up but are not blocked by pop-up blockers. It’s a great way to garner email opt-ins, among other things. Make them look classy and they can work for your brand. And probably not enough people have tested added video, let alone all the related permutations like sound off, sound on, auto-play, etc.

  • What are the three or four best practices that you can recommend to people?

Use bigger, more prominent buttons.

Test your headline copy and your button copy. Test stripping off the navigation bar, extra columns, and all extraneous content from your key conversion pages.

It’s pretty simple really. And when your IT team tells you the site’s “already been tested”, you have to educate them that usability testing has NOTHING to do with A/B testing. Usability testing is great, but it doesn’t tell you how to stop people from abandoning your site, your registration forms or your cart. Usability testing doesn’t help you learn how to convince people to convert.

  • Let’s talk about cutting edge practices. What are the future of landing pages?

What surprises me the most when I talk to marketers about landing page testing is they seem to think theirs is a one size fits winner for landing pages. As we well know, not all traffic is equal and behaves differently. Should we be segmenting our landing page testing? If so, how should we be thinking about it? And is there technology out there to help us?

Marketers who want to use a single landing page for everything are a perennial problem as are marketers who want to use their homepage as their PPC landing page or who send traffic for a specific keyword to a general “category” page. I think these marketers know better, but are hamstrung by budgets and politics.

The CMOs of this world have some work to do on this front. They need to cut down the jungle of problems around getting new landing pages created. They need to enable their teams to build and launch landing pages on the fly… and to test them! This is a problem of internal company politics, nothing more. Cheap and easy technology has been here for more than a decade.

So, now that you know how to create an effective landing page, I have a question… how many of you actually use landing pages when promoting your business. Feel free to take our quick poll below.

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

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