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Archive of ‘Landing Pages’ category

How to Design Landing Pages for your Paid Search Campaign

When developing a paid campaign, advertisers need to think beyond the ad content and have appropriate landing pages for each ad. Instead of using an existing page on the site and assuming that’s “good enough”, build one specifically for the campaign to ensure the landing page serves as an extension of the ad.  The worst scenario is when a user clicks on an ad and can’t immediately identify the connection between your ad and the content of your landing page.  That’s when you’ll see a high bounce rate as they become frustrated and try another site instead of yours.

Keep it simple

Simplicity applies in so many areas of your digital marketing efforts and a simple form is very important.  Do not ask for more than you need.  An ideal form will have only email, name, and a place for a message.  Sometimes if the offer is some kind of trial, only the email address is needed.  If you are convinced your form with 15 fields is simple, try this quick test.  In your analytics, look at the number of visitors to that page compared to the number of forms completed.  For example, if 100 people visit the landing page and 30 people fill out the form, it implies they changed their minds once they saw the level of commitment (i.e. number of fields) required of them.  If you still feel the 15 fields are necessary, at least do some A/B testing where some users come to this longer form and others are sent to a simpler version.

Use arrows

Use arrows?  We create a form and think it’s incredibly simple with no other directions needed.  Keep in mind though that users will only spend a few seconds on your landing page and if it’s not obvious what to do, they may not do it.  Don’t assume it’s easy because the people who designed the site tell you it’s obvious.  We all become consumed with our own areas of expertise, forgetting others don’t have the same benefit of being immersed in something all day.  With arrows on your landing page, you can point them directly to the call-to-action button.  Your page should only have a small amount of copy, but users may not even bother reading that and instead be ready to go ahead and sign-up for what you offer. Make it easy for them to do so.

Promote coming soon

It’s not too soon to start your paid campaign even if your product or service is not quite ready for launch.  You can create a very simple page with a “Coming Soon” message to build up some interest before you go live.

Include images

Pictures are still worth 1,000 words. Although you will have copy explaining your offer, you should also include an image that is related to what you are asking.  And it doesn’t hurt to also include your logo to establish your brand.

Keywords are still important

Landing pages for paid campaigns need to have the keywords in them that you bid on.  This helps improve your conversion rate because it reinforces the ad message.  Also, the page may still come up in an organic search, which means you could get some free traffic along the way.  Landing pages are not only for paid search.

Use reviews/testimonials

You may say what you offer is great, but what carries more weight is if other people say you are great.  Use reviews or testimonials that include not just the user’s name, but also the user’s company name so it comes across as more legit.  And always get permission first before using someone’s info on your site.

Remember to structure the landing page on your site with the goal of presenting the content as the solution to a problem.  In all aspects of your marketing, never forget that it is always about the customer and never about you.  Think of each page on your site as a different entry point to a conversation and create pages accordingly.  When people are on a page that is about what they specifically need and it matches the message that brought them there, they will be more engaged and more inclined to see you as the provider of their solution.

Microsite vs. Landingpage

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There is an old article on problogger.com that talks about a blog mentoring program created by Yaro Starak, a well-known Australian blogger and internet marketer.

To tell you the truth, I found nothing special in the post. It was just another post with the lone purpose of promoting Yaro’s mentoring program. However, when I scrolled down I found interesting and rather nasty discussions in the comments section.

The discussion starts when one of the readers mentioned that there were some credibility issues with the design of the site because it looks like a quick, get-rich scheme.

Things didn’t stop there. More people came forward and started arguing that there are existing credibility issues with that long landing page.

Microsite1

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Yet, Yaro explained the need of such a long landing page. He says the length mattered especially because the mentoring program covered internet marketing. Obviously, while launching a product, decisions are critical – in this case using either a landing page or microsite.

This article is a head-to-head comparison between a landing page and a microsite.

Landing Page and Microsites – Explained

Landing page

Wikipedia explains:

In online marketing a landing page is referred to as a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement.

In simple terms, a landing page is a single page where the user lands from search engine results page or from an online advertisement.

Microsite

Wikipedia explains:

A microsite is an individual web page or a small cluster of pages which are meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity.

A microsite is a multi-page site to sell or promote a product, which can exist within a website or as a separate website. Think about a targeted multi-page brochure inside digital steroids.

Landing Page Example: CrazyEgg.com

Product description: Crazy Egg is a tool that analyzes how visitors are engaging with a website and provides heat maps and scroll maps of how they use the site.

Why Crazy Egg prefers long landing as homepage?

As there are many SaaS tools available on the web, one of the biggest challenges the Crazy Egg team faces is to explain how Crazy Egg differs from other popular tools, including Google Analytics.

For this purpose, Crazy Egg uses a long sales page as its homepage. Here are some reasons why Crazy Egg prefers long landing page.

  1. 1.       The product needs more explanation

Crazy Egg is a product that is somewhat harder to explain. Because of its complex nature, visitors are not going to be a customer without a lengthier description.

 

It is true that a video has been embedded above the fold of the landing page. However, not everyone is going to watch it. And, even if they do, they still need to be convinced to create an account.

 

  1. 2.       Convincing is a lot more harder

It doesn’t matter how much you explain your product, convincing people to trust you is vastly harder. Visitors are not going to use your product unless you make them understand how using it can change and improve their lives.

Nonetheless, explaining and convincing are entirely different processes.

In addition, web users are lazy. So, if you could not instantly convince your users to take a specific action, they will likely leave your website before opening extra pages to learn more about it. This means you are losing a potential customer!

Crazy Egg does a good job here. They strike while the iron is hot.

On the landing page, right after explaining the product concept and how it works, Crazy Egg shows how the product can have an impact on the user’s website by optimizing their conversion rate during a 30-day free trial. This makes the visitor feel like the product is worth trying. There is also no downside, as the tool is free for 30 days.

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What if Crazy Egg uses a microsite instead?

For microsites, learning more is optional. Since there are several pages, users can decide whether to read them. This may be good for those who don’t want to read a lot of content at that moment.

Yet, as said before, the downside is that it may have an adverse effect in their conversion rate. It has been reported that Crazy Egg’s longer homepage converted 30 percent higher than the shorter version.

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Why AdWords Prefers Microsites for its ad campaigns?

After clicking on an AdWords ad in Google, the user is redirected to a microsite that promotes AdWords advertising.

Here are some of the possible reasons why AdWords prefers microsites to single landing pages.

  1. 1.       Easy to convey the main point and underlying points:  Pages are easily digestible due to short page length. Images are used effectively and users do not need to read complete paragraphs or long pages of text to understand the idea behind it.
  2. 2.       Users can decide if they wanted to read more:  One of the best things about this microsite is that users can choose if they wanted to read more. This seems to be great for visitors who hate to read a lot of content.
  3. 3.       Stronger call to action (CTA):  Another great point about this microsite example is that the CTA buttons are placed above the fold on every page, so that it gains maximum attention of the visitors.

What if they used a single landing page instead of a microsite?

 

“How to promote my product” is one of the toughest questions every product manager or marketer faces. Another tough decision they have to make is determining whether to spend money on advertising. AdWords wants to help them make a better decision and encourage them to test drive AdWords advertising.

It would be difficult to provide valuable information on a single landing page.  

How these lessons can work for you?

 

If you have launched a product or created an ad campaign before, you most likely have asked yourself whether you need a microsite or a landing page. The answer depends on many factors. Here are some of them:

  1. 1.       Product complexity

If you find it harder to convince a visitor to use your products or services, you may want to use a long landing page. You may want to create a longer landing page if the product you offer needs more explanation.

 

  1. 2.       Length of the copy

From various case studies, it has been found that the longer version of the homepage converts better. Similar to Crazy Egg’s case, Marketing Experiments reported that its longer variations convert 40 to 50 percent more than its shorter variations. Please note that one option may work for one company, but may not work as effectively for your company. You must have a test run first.

 

  1. 3.       The niche

Some niches will need a long landing page, while others can work with any kind of pages.

For example, if you are promoting a product on the health niche apart from explaining the product, you’ll have to persuade the reader to buy. Also, you will need to effectively explain things like if it is safer or if it has any side effects and have to show that you are a person who can be trusted.  In this scenario, a long landing page may work better.

After all is said and done, there is no right answer, nor a best practices example that you can put in place as a cookie cutter for your business.  The end result stems from good customer research, the right persona development and a lot of a/b testing to find out what works.  Whether you are a B2B Company or B2C e-commerce site, your landing pages and microsites will only succeed with great content and a lot of testing.

Creating Landing Pages Without IT’s Help – Six Tools for Marketers

Even though we would love to report that our marketing and IT teams work in blissful harmony, the real truth is there still exists a great divide between the two departments. With this separation there is always some animosity towards marketing with the thought process that everything we do is of subjective nature and/or just a knee jerk reaction. We are taught to come up with creative solutions to potential advertising campaigns.

Today’s more data driven marketer loves to make decisions based on factual data, rather than taking the aforementioned subjective path. From this data, we find ourselves making more precise analysis of the people that use our site and their behavioral traits as they go through our conversion funnels. However, in order to do this, we need to have testing tools that can produce landing pages at the drop of a hat.

Up until just a few years ago, getting a landing page deployed was a major undertaking. The fear alone of being rejected by an IT person was cause enough for marketers to hide behind their computers and not ask for the necessary pages to be put in place. And, if we were one of the lucky ones to get a landing page implemented, the type, font, and everything else that should be left to a designer, was determined by an IT person or developer. Ah, the good ole days. Fortunately for us non-technical marketers, there is help. (more…)

Marketer Profile: Dan London, Senior Marketing Manager at Citrix/ShareFile

How long at ShareFile?  

I’ve been at ShareFile for almost 3 years.

 

Career accomplishment you’re most proud of:

Being a major part of a company that was acquired by Citrix.

 

Decision I wish I could do over:

Career-wise, it was not sticking with Computer Science as a major. I ended up switching to English after transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill from a small college in Pennsylvania. Life-wise it has to be not spending more time in the gym lifting weights and taking a shot at playing in the ECHL.

 


Size of team:

I have 3 direct reports, but I rely upon the design team as well as the content team and the support team quite a bit. We are actually growing pretty fast and I’ll be adding a few more reports by the end of the year.

 

Top initiative:

Hit our aggressive revenue goals.

 

What is a typical day like for you?

I don’t think I have a typical day. My mornings start out the same though. I get my kids ready for the day and then head off to Starbucks. My wife and I grab a quick drink then head off to our respective offices. I get in around 8 AM and usually start looking at the marketing numbers. We have an awesome data analyst who has created a dashboard that lets me easily track our goals. I usually check on my team and then dive into my DART account and look at the health of our display initiatives. I’ve done a decent job at avoiding meetings, but if I have one during the day, I usually spend some time preparing for it. I spend quite a bit of time working with our design and IT teams and often interact with them a few times a day about landing pages, creatives or trade show materials. I often skip lunch and just eat a bag of chips from the break-room, but if I can get out for a bit, I head over to the Jimmy John’s drive-thru, grab a Slim 1 and eat it as I drive back to the office. I try to leave the office around 5 to get home to spend time with my kids before they go to bed at 7pm. I always jump back on my computer and finish-up any lingering work for a couple of hours. I’m always checking my email on my phone, so I never have a problem of an overflowing inbox. Even on vacation I check my mail so I know what is going on and even jump into a conversation when needed.

 

How do you measure success:

Happiness. All the money in the world doesn’t matter if you are miserable at work.

 

One thing you’d like to do better:

Eat healthier at lunch.

 

Business professional you’d most like to have lunch with:

Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the NHL

 

Emerging trend you are most interested in:

Workshifting.

 

Pet peeve:

People who are self-proclaimed SEO or social media experts.

 

If I weren’t a marketer, I would be…

Hockey coach.

 

QR Codes and the USPS Discount

QR code to ASPE-ROI's Google Online Marketing Boot Camp

A few months ago I wrote a post about why direct mail should still be used in marketing, and that an integrated mix is the best way to approach a marketing campaign. I guess the United State Postal Service is catching on. In their recent proposal for a 3% discount for mail containing a two-dimensional barcode (i.e. QR code), they state one of the conditions as: “The objective of the two-dimensional mobile barcode on eligible mail pieces must be to initiate interaction with consumers via mobile smart phones to market, promote, or educate.”

[UPDATE: the Postal Regulatory Committee approved the discount on May 17, 2011. The discount is valid from July 1-August 31, 2011.]

So what does this mean? First it means even though 3% isn’t a huge discount, it’s recognition by the USPS that they need to attach themselves to the growth and future of marketing. But the USPS, even if they aren’t aware of it, is also doing a service for companies that may not be ahead of the marketing curve. Direct mail marketing needs to embrace interactive marketing to involve the customers more. Troy Forget, senior marketing manager, Staples Advantage, stated in a recent Direct Mail Marketing article that, “…the interactive print sector is helping companies engage prospects with technology that print alone cannot accomplish.” I wholeheartedly agree.

ASPE started putting QR codes on mailed brochures at the beginning of this year. Right now, the majority of our QR codes take you to the course page for that specific brochure. While we haven’t had overwhelming results with traffic coming to our website from QR codes, we’ve had a 50% increase in usage of the codes from February to April. That’s enough for us to develop more, and better, ways to integrate them.

What’s the caveat? You need to use QR codes correctly. Don’t slap a code on your mail piece just to save you some money on postage, use it to your advantage. Here are some simple things things to start with to make QR codes useful:

  1. Make sure your QR code goes to a relevant web page. What do I mean by that? If your direct mail piece focuses on a promotion you’re running, don’t link the QR code to your homepage where the customer will have to dig through three layers of your site just to find what they were looking for. Link the QR code to the valuable content they want: the promotion page. Better yet, create a specific page just for mobile device use and link to that.
  2. Create a specific link or landing page so you can measure the traffic coming to your site directly from the QR code. It can tell you a lot about your customers – what devices they are using, how long someone using a smart phone stays on your site, in what cities people are actively using this technology.
  3. TEST, TEST, TEST. Does it work for multiple smart phones with multiple apps? Is it linking to the correct page? When the link pops up, does it shorten it to something it shouldn’t? (Recently when I tested a few, the link title kept coming up as “Katie.” I didn’t realize the site I used to create the code titled the link with the name on your account unless you change it. Oops. The sites I use now are Kaywa and QR.net)

So if you’re not currently using QR-Codes, catch up with the times. Even the USPS is doing it.

28 Days to Better Landing Pages – Day #25: Improving Clarity With Product Page Images

TIP:  On your category pages of your e-commerce site, increase the size and the amount of images for a given product.

We are all attracted by aesthetically pleasing images. They get our attention, engage us, and put us at ease by reducing the tension involved with purchasing online. Many of us are so accustomed to purchasing online that we subconsciously battle this tension without knowing it. Internally we battle with ourselves to decide whether it is a justifiable purchase, but also whether the vendor is reputable, and whether our credit card info will be safe and secure. By using product images you quell some of this tension. You provide your potential customer with as much information as possible, show them any available options (color choices, sizes, etc.), and set them at ease.

For example…if you visit a site for the first time and are inundated with bright-colored sale graphics that announce ’10% Off’ and seizure-inducing, flashing ‘Click Here’ buttons, most likely you will not be able to click the back button fast enough. When shopping for a car, do you look at listings without pictures? What do you think when you see ‘Great Condition’ but no picture?

Product images help your potential customer understand exactly what they are getting. If they are wondering about a specific feature or aspect of your product and you can highlight it with a close-up shot, you are much more likely to ease their mind and win that conversion. For many consumer products, it has become the standard to offer 360-degree views of the product. Again, you are showing your potential customer exactly what they are purchasing…No Surprises. If you have an e-commerce site, make sure on your category page that you are showing images that clearly show the product, so people know exactly what they are clicking on and going to see next. If your widget comes in red and blue, show them that those options are available for that product and show them the both the blue widget and the red widget.

Images should be large enough to provide enough detail to set your potential customer’s mind at ease and answer any of their questions. Put yourself in their shoes and try to think of their points of objection. If you are squinting at the screen and not quite sure whether a specific feature has been done justice, then you haven’t. Just like everything in conversion optimization, it should be quick, concise, and clear. If there is any uncertainty you risk losing conversions.

In conclusion, images are your friend. Sorry to be cheesy, but they are ‘worth a thousand words.’ You can tell your potential so much more about your product, and what they are hopefully buying, in a group of images than you ever could with text. Images help you reduce tension for your potential customer, and help them along the path to conversion.

28 Days to Better Landing Pages – Day #22: Proper Use Of Testimonials

TIP:  Make sure you are not only using testimonials, but have them positioned properly on the page as well.

I often see two scenarios when consulting on landing pages: 

1.  Very scarce or non-existent testimonials on a page, especially when it’s absolutely necessary for a product or service to have one.  Some industries off the top of my head are landing pages for realtors, restaurants, mechanics, beauticians – anything that you can think of that relies heavy on word of mouth of continued patrons.

2. Misuse of testimonials on landing pages.  Make sure you don’t lump all your testimonials at the end of your landing page or in the side navigation. Place them appropriately on the page commensurate with a given feature or benefit.   Also, remember to include your conversion goals (button or phone numbers) after each testimonial.  With each testimonial (consumer touches) you increase emotions and build trust.

Testimonials on landing pages are very powerful tools because users are in the “buy-mode” and have found a solution to a need or want.  Also try using video in some of your testimonials and watch conversions soar.

28 Days to Better Landing Pages – Day #20: Use Arial or Verdana Fonts, 10 to 14 size

TIP:  Make sure you use standard web fonts in your landing page design. Good suggestions are Arial or Verdana sizes 10 to 14.

Landing page after landing page I notice non-standard fonts that are often SIFR’d fonts because a designer thought they were “cool” or “neat.”  Get rid of them.  Some browsers don’t like them, and load times suffer.  Some users have JavaScript turned off so they won’t even see the font.  Imagine going to a landing page and the call to action click or submit fields are in fonts that can not be read by the browser, so you have no idea what to do.  Talk about losing conversions.

In this scenario, lets all just keep it simple.  Use fonts that are standard to web and all machines, and you won’t have to worry about certain users not being able to see them.  Also, it cuts down on development time and support throughout the life of a given landing page.  Certain titles on pages may require font size to be bigger versus smaller. Play with that a bit (another element you can test).  Even though it’s big and ugly, it may very well convert better.

28 Days to Better Landing Pages – Day #18: Avoid Using Underscores In Your Copy

TIP: Try to avoid using underlines or underscores in any of the copy on your landing pages.

One of the things we have stressed over and over during these 28 days to better landing pages is the reduction of friction and anxiety towards the user while they are navigating their way to your call to action.

Underlines and/or underscores in copy on a landing page distract the users attention and create yet another level of decision in the funnel to conversion.  Unless your conversion is to actually make a user click on a link, avoid them at all costs.

Remember eye path and how users “scan” a page when trying to determine the next step in solving a problem to an emotional need or want.  Using links, underlines and underscores often just gets in the way of that user and the ultimate conversion we desire.

28 Days to Better Landing Pages – Day #17: Directional Cues In A Submission Form

TIP:  Use directional cues to help or guide a user when filling out a form.  Show them through arrows and design what the next steps are to your conversion.

If you primary goal is to have someone complete a form, then visually direct them to it so they know what they are supposed to do.  Use arrows to show the user what the next step in the process is.  Also, you can use arrows to show users visually where to directly their eyes in order to complete a form or whatever your specific call to action is.

You also may want to try and use an image and slightly rotate that image like this.

Here are some examples of directional arrows in a submission form.

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