June 2, 2010

The 5 Biggest Landing Page Mistakes that Cost You Sales

Posted by 2Checkout

Karon Thackston

It seems to be the newest catch phrase. “Landing page” is now used to describe everything from an ordinary Home page to any other page of your website. And, truthfully, it could be… with one exception. If you ask me, a landing page is any page designed specifically to receive the visitors who click to that page from some prearranged campaign. In other words, visitors don’t land on the page by accident: they click there because they’re following instructions from an email, banner ad, PPC ad, bio in an article or any number of other sources.

Why then do so many landing pages fail miserably? Most often, it’s due to one of five errors. And, thankfully, all five are easily fixed.

1. Not understanding what a landing page is best used for. Yes, as I said above, a landing page *can* be any page of your site. But keep in mind I also said that was only true *if* the visitor was being sent to the page from some prearranged campaign. Joe Public who clicks to your Services page because he found a link in his buddy’s blog post does not equal someone visiting a “landing page.” However, if you place PPC ads about your service offerings and use a special URL for a specifically created page to greet and persuade your visitors, then you have created a landing page.

2. Failing to coordinate your campaign copy and your landing page copy. Site visitors click to your landing page because they saw something in your email, postcard or PPC ad that interested them. Sending them to a generic page that doesn’t coordinate with the promotion they saw is a deadly error.

If you send an email with a special offer just for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) members, then your landing page needs to make clear that WWF members have found the place they are looking for. If your PPC ad promotes free processing for one month for all new merchant account customers, your landing page needs to clearly and quickly communicate that. Visitors won’t tolerate being offered a free month and then be forced to dig for information about the promotion once they click to your site. Instead, they’ll simply leave.

3. Clearly defining your goal and call to action. So often, site owners and managers want to pack a landing page full of goals. “Well, while they’re here we might as well…” What one primary goal do you want to accomplish with this page? Once that’s defined, what specific call to action do you need to give to make your goal happen? Make sure everything in your copy measures up to those two standards. Giving too many options on a landing page is confusing to visitors and fractures their attention while on the page.

4. Be clear. Marketing Experiments once published an article entitled something to the effect of “Clarity Trumps Cleverness.” Skip the cutesy headlines and copy; instead, opt for clear information that is well written.

5. Write to your target customer and no one else. So many times, copywriters and website owners tend to write about the company and not to the customer. You should be speaking with your target audience singularly. Write in second person (“you” and “your”) instead of we-ing all over yourself with copy stuffed with “we” and “our” and “us.” It’s not about you.

Change the focus of your copy to your customers. Instead of: Our products come with a lifetime guarantee write: You will receive a lifetime guarantee on all purchases. True landing pages should never be generic. To work their best, they need to address the visitor, relate to the campaign, give informative copy, focus on a specific goal, offer a clear call to action and speak to your target customer. When you incorporate these elements into your writing process, you’ll find your landing pages convert with much greater success.

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