In a previous post this month we talked about your overall web strategy including social media and a blog to drive your target audience to your website, which is often the foundation upon which all your marketing is built. Spencer correctly pointed out that without satisfying your audience’s needs on your website, all these efforts can fall flat as visitors bounce from the site in quick time. To prevent this, you need to think about patching the leaks on your website, both on your home page and deeper in.
Do Your Landing Pages Close?
Remember, any page on your site is a potential landing page from a search engine query. The bulk of your visitors will arrive on your home page, so you have to get your marketing message, design and functionality right; but that doesn’t mean you should treat interior pages like the red-headed stepchild. If you’re a Realtor or a salesperson, you have to work hard all the way to closing and it’s no different for a web site. If a visitor gets past the home page, gets lost, has to hit the good ole back button, can’t find a contact or simply gets bored and frustrated, then all that hard work on design bought you an average home page bounce rate and no conversions.
The kinds of pages that you should pay most attention to are:
- Home Page – First touch point and will receive the most traffic;
- Service(s) you offer – Provide detail without overload, and offer solutions;
- About – Don’t boast but reassure your credentials with relevant stats;
- Testimonials – Add photos of your customers, include a diverse mix;
- Contact – Always have a form, and customize the response email.
Write Content That Works for You and Your Audience
Write about the strengths of your business, and focus on your core audience. The reality is that over 80% of your revenue likely comes from a small visitor segment. In retail, certain products drive sales, which makes up for all the products in the inventory that probably don’t make a profit. The ‘long tail’ business model can work for large businesses such Amazon and Netflix to name but two, but if you are a small business the likelihood is you rely on core products or services with a particular audience.
Know Your Market? Now Fine Tune It
This is the meat of the issue when it comes to fine tuning your landing pages. Each page needs to help and satisfy the visitor segment it was meant to, either with a logical next step or a quality resource. If you have worked hard to optimize the page with well researched key phrases for Meta tags and text, don’t ruin it with stale, uninspiring content that leaves the visitor with nowhere to go, or no incentive to contact you and interact with the site.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when addressing you audience:
- What’s the ideal demographic in terms of age, gender, interests, and how can I write to appeal to them?
- What do they read, listen to, buy and watch? How can I provide an emotional trigger in my headings?
- What benefits can I convey within 30 seconds of their reading this content?
- What relevant internal links can I use to optimize the page and direct visitors deeper into the site?
Only 16% of all web visitors read every word! (Pew Research Center)
That’s not many people, so think about getting your main points across as soon as possible in the first sentence or paragraph. What’s your elevator pitch? Your target audience might be older and quite possibly have more patience, so consider providing as much information as possible without overloading. If it’s a younger audience and your product or service does not require as much careful consideration then it’s better to be brief and cut to the chase. For example, ‘We create ‘x’ for people looking to ‘y’ by making the process simple.’ This type of active language can work well on your home page and can be modified to reflect a change in your business goals or services. By keeping the message conversational and avoiding corporate speak, you can connect much more quickly with the reader, who will feel they can relate to you and will listen to your solution. This technique should especially be applied to headings, which we scan first for relevance, as do search engines.
What Should I avoid in my Content? My 8 Cents
- Corporate speak – Your mission statement and marketing message are different
- Too much jargon – Don’t make people think
- Passive language – Use active verbs to drive your message
- Leave your ego at the door – It’s not about you as much as what you can provide
- Avoid using Flash – It can slow the page down and search engines don’t care
- Vagueness – This won’t help a page close
- Plagiarism – Obvious, but search engines know where content resides and will add no value to your site, so quote your source.
- Hard Selling – Those days are over, welcome to Inbound Marketing
It will always be a challenge reaching your entire customer base with a silver bullet, so what I recommend is to figure out what kind of audience works best for you and feels right. This will most likely make your content more effective and help close those online leads.
Please tell me about your experiences or share tips for our audience on successful landing pages!