Strategically crafted landing pages can be powerful sales tools and should be part of your online marketing efforts. I’m not talking about the web pages you’ve built for each of your audiences. While those are often also referred to as landing pages, the kind of landing page I’m referring to is a much more streamlined, directed page with content specifically tied to an advertising or email campaign. This kind of landing page is sometimes also known as a lead-capture page. It appears in response to clicking on an online ad or by typing in a url seen in a print, TV or outdoor ad.
Increase Your Inquiry Pool
Unlike landing pages that you build to lead audiences further into the web content you’ve developed for them, the goal of this type of landing page is to convert site visitors into prospects with whom the admissions team can follow up. From a marketing perspective, there are compelling reasons to use this strategy:
- Research shows customers are more willing to explore the information on the site, give their information to you, and to visit your larger website if the information they see is directly related to the information they read in your ads.
- Typically, the bounce rates (how fast visitors click away from the page) are lower in ad campaigns with directed landing pages than the bounce rates in campaigns that direct visitors to an existing page on your site.
- Additionally, you can increase your rank on search engine sponsored listings if the content on your landing page is directly relevant to the copy on your online pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign.
- Visitors are more willing to take action if the page they land on reflects the same clear call to action as the advertising they saw.
- Finally, more clicks and more actions give you a higher ROI for your ads.
Here’s a great infographic from unbounce on the effectiveness of targeted landing pages.
What does a Targeted Landing Page Look Like?
Here are some examples of landing pages. As you can see they all share similar attributes – they are brief, focused on a specific subject, and clearly have a call to action.
Effective Landing Page Design
Simply building a targeted landing page, however, is not enough. There are several key elements to making that landing page productive:
- Limit the navigation. You’ve got a very specific story you want this audience to know and to drive them to an action you want them to take. Don’t distract them with a host of links. Limit the number of links that take them away from the page. This means that you don’t include your website navigation elements on these landing pages.
- Perhaps most importantly, ensure that the information on the page is of value to the visitor. If you want your visitor’s contact information, you have to offer them something worthwhile or meaningful in return. This can be information (i.e. specific to an academic program you’re promoting in the ad campaign or about the school in general if the campaign is a broader brand campaign); it can be enriched content (i.e. a video developed specifically for the campaign only made visible after information is provided); it can be entry into a giveaway of some sort or to receive an item from the school such as a t-shirt.
- Tie the page design into your brand look and feel as well as into the look and feel of your ad campaign.
- Keep copy short very directed to the subject of the campaign and leading the visitor to the call to action. The objective here is to get the visitor excited about your campus (or the program you’re promoting). Tell them what makes it distinctive from others, why it’s a good choice for the visitor, and what you have to offer. Key search words associated with the online ad campaign should be included.
- Ask for their information. A couple of pointers. Don’t ask for too much information. Name, email, some detail about the program that’s of interest to them, if this is a more general campaign. New rules for online lead capture pages also indicate you need to let the visitor know what you’re doing with their info and allow them to opt out of future emails and communications.
- Finally, test the effectiveness of your landing page. Then re-test. You’ll be surprised at what small adjustments in the design and copy can do to increase the number of responses you get to the campaign. In fact, creating several different landing pages and testing which one is more effective should become a standard practice. This is known as A/B testing and is critical in optimizing landing page effectiveness. Here’s a great article from Smashing Magazine on how to go about A/B testing.