Although the Internet is filled with everything from photo sharing to photosynthesis, there are only a couple reasons users actually fire up their laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Users have one of two goals:

  1. seek information
  2. seek entertainment

As a business owner or marketing professional, looking at your current website through the lens of this simple truth will help evaluate the navigation and messaging from your customer’s shoes. In fact, let’s use shoes as an example for this article.

Example: Shoes

Let’s pretend you own a website focusing on high-end designer shoes selling in the $300+ range. And let’s also pretend you’ve opened up a brick and mortar retail store on Newbury St. in Boston. Here’s the trap: people visit my website to shop shoes and hopefully make a purchase. Remember the two simple truths: information and entertainment. While it’s true that some will have your direct url, enter it into their web-browser, navigate to the shoe they want to purchase, select their size and slap down credit card, that is few and far between.

*DM Tip: For a better understanding of customer behavior on your website and what percentage few and far between actually represents, pay close attention to bounce rate on pages with calls to action (checkout buttons, newsletter sign-ups, request a quote). Varying by industry, simple changes followed by vigilant tracking can have huge pay-offs.

 

Like shoppers at a retail store, most visitors to your website are information seekers. You could get the exact percentage by dividing the number of users landing on the success page (thank you for purchasing) from the number of users simply entering the website (either through your homepage or a landing page). You can also automate this process by setting up goals through Google Analytics.

Another way to think of this metric in brick and mortar would be the total number of people purchasing an item divided by total number of people walking through the front door. In fact, google is experimenting with big data analytics to find ways to measure impact of web-traffic on in-store sales. For this example, order size is irrelevant. We’re focusing solely on conversions.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a webpage new visitors see that delivers a powerful first impression, information that sticks, and a clear call to action. Why should you care? A great landing page is a well-dressed and well-spoken sales representative.

Example of a fantastic landing page:

landingpageexample_DesignMissoula

 

Example of a not-so-fantastic landing page:

terrible landing page

 

Improve Conversions with Landing Pages:

The high-end shoe store is surviving, but online sales are coming in below forecast. You’ve done some quick calculations using Google Analytics. Don’t have a way to measure website data? You can get a quick crash course on Google Analytics here. Design Missoula can also help you out. Even without analytics, it doesn’t take long for savvy business owners to see their website doesn’t have a clear goal.

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 9.48.19 PM

 

Qualities of High Performing Landing Pages:

Circling back to information and entertainment, the landing page needs to have content the customer cares about. Keeping it concise is often the hardest part. You may have an entrepreneurial rags-to-riches story worthy of Oprah Magazine, but blocks of text are boring. Using the rule of threes, bullets are great. For example:

Three characteristics of great landing pages:

  1. The content is valuable. Free returns on any shoe anytime.
  2. The visuals are appealing. Designer shoes on a successful businesswoman.
  3. The goal is clearly defined. Sign up for MVP status, talk to a shoe expert, and redeem coupon code.

Let’s elaborate briefly on the third bullet. Defining a goal before building a landing page is key. Some companies have dozens of landing pages each with very different goals. These goals can include:

Brand Awareness:

If the goal is brand recognition, the landing page might have three core values of your business in bold font, a brief message from the CEO, and a “enter site” button. The goal or the call to action is for the user to simply enter the site. Disclaimer: if they enter a website with block text, link farms, and tumultuous UX, you will want to reevaluate the homepage.

Build Audience:

Whether you’re starting out or a seasoned veteran, building audience is a huge piece of gaining regional and national market-share in your space. For the high-end shoe company with the goal of building devout fans, audience means building a community of shoppers and adding value to the experience. A landing page with the goal of collecting email addresses might include three reasons to sign up. Avoid the dreaded and low performing sign up for email updates! Make the reasons impossible to ignore.

Three reasons to sign up for our MVP club Newsletter:

  • Skype with Louis Vutton production managers.
  • Attend the NYC Wine Tasting.
  • Select Club and first-wear status.

Competitors will have a tough time competing with that type of audience building.

Lead Generation:

Capturing lead information is an art and the landing page is your canvas. Worrying about AB and multivariate testing later, creating a landing page that captures leads is a must-have for businesses with resources to follow up and turn the leads into customers. Have you ever submitted an online form, received an auto-response email and never heard from the company about the product or service again? Tragically, we all have.

A landing page with the goal of lead generation needs to have a low barrier to entry (you’re not asking for social security number, credit card, and mother’s maiden name). In classic sales fashion, the content on the page withstands the test of time. No tricks, no gimmicks, just proven sales presentation…just digital.

Introduction, Probing, Leading, Close.

Introduction: Introduce your product or service and why it stands out. Bulleted points or an introduction video.

Probing: Who is your audience? Share a quick story or testimonial that is easy to connect with. Three sentences.

Leading: Ask yourself, what is the website visitor hoping to learn or find out more about at the site? Answer three of these FAQs.

Q: What if the shoe I order doesn’t fit?

A: We guarantee comfort or the return shipping is on us!

Closing: Which form fields are absolutely necessary for the next step in the sales funnel? This doesn’t mean which form fields are necessary at the point of sale. Landing page lead generation is entry level, high funnel, first date type information. You’re just getting to know the customer. Name, email, phone.

Follow up:

Finally, the follow up stage. A landing page made of platinum and diamonds (but somehow still embeds code) does not solve the customer acquisition problem unless the follow up is show stopping. Big or small, when you’ve wisely invested the time to setup a landing page to meet goals, the second that alert pings you of a submission needs to be the most important email in your inbox. If you’re collecting emails, it’s a personal email saying hello. If you’re collecting phone numbers, it’s an introductory call thanking them and if they’re within a 25 mile radius it might be meeting for coffee. Not kidding! Gary Vaynerchuk coined the term Thank You Economy and it matters. If you’re just starting out and you have less than 100 customers-that radius might be 200 miles. Follow up.

Thanks for Stopping By:

Design Missoula wants to thank you for visiting the site and entering our fictitious high-end shoe store business. If you happen to be the owner of a high-end shoe store visiting our website, you’re welcome. Print this article off and bring it to the next board meeting. Kidding aside, we hope the information helps guide your website and landing page experience to help your business grow. Feel free to contact us with any questions about landing page design, understanding Analytics, and building your audience.

Have an awesome day!

And because it’s only fitting here is Kyle (our digital marketing manager) out rocking some of his favorite shoes with his Momma last winter.

Enjoy and let us help you with a landing page!

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