Throughout my years as a digital marketer, I’ve found nothing more damaging to small businesses than the misinformation surrounding something I like to call the “Field of Dreams” phenomenon.
A few weeks ago I spoke to store owner who confessed her business was losing money. According to her, that was all going to change once they got their new website live and put their products online.
Fast forward to present day, the website is now live, the products are listed, but guess what. That business is still struggling.
That’s because the “if you build it, they will come” way of thinking when it comes to creating websites and landing pages is just horribly wrong.
Too many people believe their website or landing page is a silver bullet – that it’s going to magically drive traffic to itself, optimize its own elements, and then the sky will open up and rain money.
Sorry, it’s not that simple.
Creating a powerful landing page is just one part of a conversion equation that, without the other two components, renders it a completely useless piece of web property.
Take a look at all three parts to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.
Part 1: Generating landing page traffic
What good is a landing page if nobody sees it?
By incorporating a combination of paid media (PPC display ads, etc.), earned media (shares, reposts, etc.), and owned media (websites, social media channels, etc.) to your conversion equation, you can generate a steady, quality flow of traffic to your landing pages.
You probably know some of the common methods, like how to use pay-per-click advertising, AdWords, and social media to generate traffic, so we’re going to focus on a few out-of-the-box ideas that you may want to try.
Create a website forum or a Facebook group (not page)
The beauty of a creating a Facebook group or a forum is that it requires little maintenance on your part. Make it a place for your fans and followers to meet virtually to ask questions, start discussions, and curate their own content. Then, whenever you have a new and exciting product, ebook, or tool you want to introduce to your audience, simply drop in and start a discussion thread about it, and include a link to your landing page.
Here’s an example from Moz.com of what a great one looks like:
Use a call-to-action at the bottom of every blog post
If you’re not doing this already … start. The CTA can be graphical or text-based. CTA’s are too easy and too powerful to be neglected.
Simply add in a call-to-action to download your ebook or test your newest tool at the bottom of relevant blog posts. This will serve as a way of guiding your buyer personas to the next step of their journey – whether that be trying a demo, testing a new feature, or signing up for your webinar.
When I finished reading this article about brand-centric content on the Marketo blog, I was presented with the opportunity to download an ebook on how to promote my content to the right audience. Take a look at the red circle, here:
Keep in mind, your CTA or “related resources” section doesn’t have to look like this one. At the end of your blog post you can easily write, “Now find out how to distribute your branded content to the right audience,” and include a link to your landing page. Adding in a CTA can have a lasting positive impact on your conversion equation.
Teach a class or start a Meetup
Teaching a class or a hosting a Meetup is a great way to position yourself as a go-to resource for people in your industry.
If you’re unfamiliar with Meetup.com, it’s a social network designed with the purpose of getting like-minded people together offline, and in contact with each other.
Let’s say you own a bakery. A great way to get some new prospects into your store could be by starting a once-a-month cooking meetup at which you teach people how to cook some decadent desserts.
At the event, let them know that all the recipes for the food they’re making can be found on your website. When they get there, they’ll find a recipe list that they can download in exchange for their contact information.
And you don’t have to be a baker to make Meetup work for you. Digital news publisher Mashable showed this can work for any industry. You can line up speakers and put together educational power points for your attendees – all of whom will believe in your authority more and more with every ensuing meetup – as long as you do it right.
Part 2: Creating and publishing your landing page
While there’s no secret formula to creating the perfect landing page, high-converting ones do have some elements in common that should be present on yours.
An attention-grabbing headline
Make sure your headline answers “What’s in it for me?” for the reader. It should also be consistent with whatever copy or piece of content your prospect clicked on to get to your landing page. This is also called “message matching.”
A powerful call-to-action
Arguably the most important component of your landing page, just one small tweak to this could mean a serious boost in conversions. Because of that, you have to be almost surgical when creating every detail of your CTA. Make sure to:
- Use strong action verbs to propel the reader to action, and write your CTA in first person. Instead of “Download your ebook now!” use “Download my ebook now!” for higher conversions.
- Create contrast between your landing page and your CTA button. A light yellow button won’t pop on an off-white page. Instead, figure out what colors your audience wants to see, then pick a prominent one that screams, “fill out my form!”
- Arrange all your page elements to direct your users to your call-to-action. You don’t want your CTA at the top of the page if your copy and images are leading readers toward the bottom.
Clear, concise copy
The people who click through to your landing page aren’t there to read for pleasure. They want to know what they're getting from you, why they should get it, and what they’ll have to provide in return. Don’t waste time with flowery language or clever puns. Make your copy brief with sub-headlines and bullet points, stress the benefits of your offer over its features, and leave out industry jargon for the most part.
Trust indicators & social proof
An appropriately sized form
Usually the rule is, the more valuable your offer, the more you can ask of your prospects. Keep in mind; the less you ask for, the more leads you’re likely to generate. The more you ask for, the less leads you’ll generate - but the higher quality they’ll be.
Part 3: “Thank you” page and email follow-up
By now you’ve created and optimized your landing page, you’ve generated some traffic, and you’re starting to see conversions.
Time to kick back and pat yourself on the back, right?
If you’re getting targeted traffic and seeing conversions on your landing page, you’re two-thirds of the way there.
However, you’re missing out on opportunities for MORE conversions, and we’re going to show you how to get them.
The power of a great “thank you” page
The purpose of a “thank you” page isn’t just to show your lead gratitude and deliver your offer.
Sure, that’s what it started as. But then marketers began to realize that “thank you” pages could be turned into powerful conversion machines. They began to think beyond the conversion for ways to bring their leads back – to get them to convert again - while bringing their friends.
Before you take thirty seconds to write some lazy “Thank you for downloading!” text on your next “thank you” page, spend a few more minutes optimizing it with the following steps.
Direct users to your most popular content
If you’re creating content the right way, every time someone downloads or reads your material, their belief in your authority should increase. By adding links to your most popular content, you get more page views, more chances at conversions, and you further establish trust with your prospects.
Just make sure where you’re directing them is relevant.
Content Marketing Institute got it right by including links to their most-read content on a newsletter “thank you” page:
Let your leads know what’s about to happen next
Will their ebook automatically download? Are they going to receive an email with a link to download in the copy? Clarify for them so they know what to expect, and when to expect it.
There’s nothing worse than submitting your information, clicking on a call-to-action, and not knowing how to redeem an offer.
This “thank you” page from Simply Measured not only tells me where to find the ebook I just requested, but it also lets me know steps I can take if I don’t get it (check to make sure I entered my email correctly, check my junk folder):
Add social media “share” buttons
If you deliver on your promise of supplying your leads with a quality product, or service (or whatever it was they requested when they converted) there’s a chance they’ll want to share it with their friends and colleagues.
Many of us share common interests with the friends in our social networks. So it’s probably safe to say that if I, a digital marketer, share an ebook with my Facebook friends, there’s a good chance one of my many connections in digital marketing will see it. And considering the power of recommendations from friends, this is one step you won’t want to skip.
Now use email to nurture your leads
If you’re one of the many people who thought email marketing was fading away, consider these statistics from recent research:
- One survey shows that email marketing is 40 times more successful at acquiring new clients than Facebook or Twitter
- 81% of surveyed U.S. digital shoppers were at least somewhat likely to make additional purchases as a result of targeted emails
- Email has the highest conversion rate (66%) when compared to social media and direct mail for purchases made as a result of a targeted message
It’s clear that email marketing effectiveness isn’t going anywhere. And because the majority of leads aren’t prepared to buy as soon as they convert on your form, it’s time to follow up with them and begin a process known as lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing involves sending targeted emails to your leads with the goal of building trust and authority over time, to the point that those leads become comfortable enough with your brand to buy.
Follow these tips and tricks when setting up a lead nurturing strategy.
Send a great welcome email
Sending a great welcome email cannot be overstated when developing a customer relationship. Look how the NFL welcomes you to their roster when you sign up:
It’s fun, filled with plenty of CTA’s, and its message, “Ted YOU HAVE OFFICIALLY MADE THE ROSTER” is both relevant to the brand and far from boring. Aim for something out-of-the-box and be genuine like the NFL team did here.
Personalize your emails
By personalizing a webinar registration email instead of sending out a generic message, the team at Marketing Sherpa was able to achieve a 137% increase in their open rate.
Try giving your emails a personal touch by:
- Using the lead’s first name in the greeting – “Hey (First name)!”
- Signing the email yourself
- Including a photo of yourself at the bottom of the email
- Asking a question aimed to serve that lead better
Jon Loomer does a great job of this:
Don’t be pushy or salesy
The worst thing you can do is pester your leads with annoying sales offers before they’re ready to buy. All you’ll do is drive them away, and when that happens, the likelihood of getting another chance to convince them to buy is slim to none.
Guide them toward purchasing with helpful content
Similarly, when you publish a piece of content you think your leads would be interested in, send it to them. The more of your content they consume (provided it’s good content), the more they’ll trust and respect your brand.
When you sign up for web hosting service BlueHost, the first email they send their leads after a “welcome” email is one with links to video tutorials on how to create a website:
Those tutorials guide users step-by-step from creating a website to publishing, but it also offers professional help at a cost for those who don’t have the time to build one themselves.
Remember what the conversion equation looks like
We’ve covered a lot in this post, and it can be summed up by the following:
Targeted traffic + great landing page + stellar lead nurturing strategy
= Maximum conversions
No single component can produce on its own. Without targeted traffic, you won’t have a shot at even one conversion, and without a lead nurturing strategy, you’ll never convince your leads to buy.
So the next time you create a landing page, don’t forget how to attract people to it, and how to get them coming back for more.