For this week's #ThrowbackThursday, I'm jumping back to my August 2011 topic of Landing Pages that I explained here and here.
Website redesign and ad specific landing pages are more important than ever. I use video and heatmap tracking on several of my customer websites to reveal how people use them. The video tracking allows me to watch how people move the mouse around the screen and see exactly what they click on. The heatmap tracking compiles all user actions together to show me a website overlay of the most important areas of every page.
What is that person doing?
Many times I find myself completely confused with how people are using a website. I often catch myself asking the computer "what in the world is this person doing" as I watch inconsistent scrolling up and down and random mouse movements all around. Although I'm wondering what they are doing and why, that person was probably wondering what they should be doing next.
Websites were once thought to be just extensions of your offline advertising material, or even an online version of your ads. Now, a website has become more important than any offline ad or brochure. All your products and services need to be clearly explained on the website, and your website needs to be easy to navigate. Poorly designed navigation always seems to lead to the inconsistent scrolling up and down and random mouse movements all around.
We all have a lot of distractions in our lives. In addition to our own daily routine, mobile technology constantly distracts us with beeps and buzzes. As I write this, I am continually distracted by my own emails I receive notifications of every 5 minutes. Some of these distractions are more important than others.
We all give different weighted priority to our distractions. For example, emails from my bank and text messages from my employees always have my top attention, because those messages usually indicate problems or emergencies. Text messages from my husband, mom, and my business partner have the next level of priority of my daily attention.
You'll find that the current website I'm browsing is all the way down at the bottom of my attention span list. Sometimes it will take me more than 30 min just to read a single web page because my attention is diverted several times. On the other hand, a well designed landing page will capture my attention until I finish reading it.
If your website isn't producing the results that you want, it's probably because people are distracted as they read it, and you haven't learned yet how to capture their attention.
Create Specific Landing Pages
To combat the attention deficit disorder that we all seem to create for ourselves, you should always build specific landing pages for every one of your ads. This is equally important for online and offline ads. Don't just direct people to your home page from your ad; take the time to create a landing page that's less distracting.
A landing page should provide clear directions of what to do next, and give them the information quickly.
All of your online and offline ads create an expectation of what a customer will see next. An ad for a diamond ring creates interest in that diamond ring, and a desire to see more information. Imagine how disappointed someone feels when they click a diamond ring and end up on your home page watching your ugly home page slider. How will they ever find that diamond ring again?
Landing pages are so easy to create, yet so few jewelers will do it. All you have to do is create a new page on your website and hide it from your main navigation. The only time people find that special landing page is when they click from your online ad, or go to a special domain name you used in your offline ads.
Landing Pages Ideas
Don't simply slap another page on your website and call it a landing page. They need a bit more planning than that. Here are some ideas:
Kill the navigation
The first thing to do is kill the standard-use navigation on your landing pages. The logo at the top of the page can link back to your website, but remove most of your other navigation links. If you feel your top menu navigation is still important, then you can streamline it to something smaller. The point here is that you convinced people to come to this special landing page so don't let them be distracted by other clickable options. Force them to concentrate on reading what's in front of them.
The headline is the first thing someone will read when they land on the page. Your headline should be simple and clearly explain what that page is all about.
Provide Full Information
It might seem odd to hear this, but a landing page needs to be as long as it must be in order to provide full details of the product or service. Some landing pages will be extremely long and loaded with copy, videos, photos, and testimonials. Whatever it takes to convince people to take the next step must be placed on that landing page.
Lead Capture Forms
What good is a landing page and all the advertising effort you put into it if you can't capture the names of the people reading? At minimum, you should ask them to sign up for you newsletter and provide their first name and email address. What you ask for all depends on the goal of your landing page. Even if you don't capture their name and email, you could still tag them with Facebook Retargeting and Google AdWords Remarketing and use that in future online ad campaigns.
The Bottom Line...
With all the distractions we each face daily, it's better to create landing pages to match your specific ads rather than send people to your website home page. Few small business owners will use this technique, and those who do will usually have better long term success.