When was the last time you went to an auto parts store just to browse for something? Ever drop in to check out the latest in oil filter options? Probably not. I’m guessing that unless you were gathering supplies to change your own oil or some other do-it-yourself project, you haven’t set foot in an auto parts store. You go to an auto parts store—or grocery store or print shop, for that matter—with a specific purpose in mind. These are what we call destination businesses. People, just like you, go there with a specific purpose in mind, not to just look around.
Let’s look at how this affects shopping or getting information online. A very common practice would be to go to Google and type in “oil filter, 2002 F150.” You hit Enter and are shown a list of links related to that search. You scan the page and click on what looks to have the closest info to what you are looking for. The webpage that shows up next is called a landing page, and it better be a landing page that gives you exactly what you are looking for: the correct filter for your vehicle, further information about that filter, and the ability to purchase it, or information on which parts store carries that item. One key to success for that auto parts store is the quality and accuracy of that landing page.
You, like many others, are trying to understand landing pages. How are landing pages relevant to your printing company? What is the difference between a landing page and the home page of your website? And, most importantly, how can a landing page impact revenue?
Using a landing page is akin to using a laser target rifle versus a shotgun. When a potential customer uses the Internet to find a product or service you offer, having a page that is specific to their search gets them closer to what they need, when they need it, and is faster than making them navigate through an entire website. Now let’s take a look at the core components of landing pages.
What Is a Landing Page?
A landing page is nothing more than a page of your website that has a specific call to action. The difference between a landing page and a general information page in your site is the landing page is designed for a very specific purpose that is the result of an action your client/prospect took. A landing page is a lot like telling someone what door you would like for him or her to use to enter your business, based on the direction they are coming from. In print form, such as a direct mail piece, that “door” to your business comes in the form of a specific URL, or Web address. If the customer or prospect enters that URL into a browser, it will take them to a specific page on your site rather than your home page. To return to our first example, the guy changing his oil walks in the door and is immediately in front of the oil filters, versus having to walk through multiple aisles filled with items he doesn’t need. Call it instant gratification.
In the world of the Web, customers and prospects could be coming from an email marketing piece you sent, a search that was conducted in Google, a social media post, pay-per-click advertising, or a myriad of other options. In all of those examples, you want them to end up on a landing page that you designed with their very specific purpose in mind. As an example, have you ever been on Google looking for information, clicked on a link to a website, and seen everything but what you were looking for? This is a case of no landing page in place, or worse, a really bad landing page. You can create keywords for search engine optimization (SEO), so that when a person enters any of those keywords into, say, Google, the return will be a link to that landing page. Let’s look at an example.
Ernie, of Ernie and Bernie’s Auto Emporium, is looking for a new way to gain more traffic in his dealership and his website. Ernie, not knowing his current print provider can help him, opens up Google and types in “auto dealer marketing, Lincoln, NE.” Ernie has a specific need and wants information. A printing company in Lincoln that we’ll call ABC Printing has created a landing page specifically for auto dealers who need help with marketing. With ABC’s keyword work, a link to their printing company appears on the first page of the return with a description “ABC has been helping Auto Dealers increase traffic and sales for 20 years.” Ernie clicks on the link, and voila! He lands on a page ABC Printing designed especially for auto dealers who are looking for help with marketing. Ernie, excited by the fact ABC Printing specializes in auto dealers, calls to schedule a meeting.
Core Components of Landing Pages
Understanding how landing pages can affect getting the right prospects to the right services is only the start. For a landing page to be effective it must be well structured or you’re better off without one. As in Ernie’s case, ABC Printing knew its audience and what clients and potential customers were looking for. Ernie needed a printing company that understood the automotive industry, and ABC Printing was there waiting for him. The following are five essential components to creating a landing page when you have a captive audience.
1. Looks are everything. Your landing page must be visually interesting, yet simple. Key in on one product or one service. It’s not the busy and jam-packed parts store with everything under the sun—it is the oil filter aisle.
2. Less is more. In short, your landing page has a clear call to action. This action could be “call us,” download information such as a white paper, receive a coupon, join your email list, or numerous other actions.
3. Content is king. Your language is the same language that your clients think and speak. It is clear, concise, and describes what you do in a way that the Ernies of the world can understand. Remember, these words you choose will also appear in your direct mail copy, webpage, keywords, and headlines.
4. Shorter is better. Your key con-
tent and visuals should be within the frame of an average computer monitor. A little scrolling is OK, just don’t make your customers work too hard. Remember, individuals are easily distracted and a little bit impatient.
5. Navigation is intuitive. Your customer needs to know quickly where they are, where to go, and what to do. Make it easy for the customer to get more info from your website if they want to take a look around.
What to Expect
You’ve put all this work into your landing page, so I encourage you to review your analytics. Analytics (these should be included with your website hosting) will tell you how effective your landing page is, how people arrived, what they clicked on, etc. Did they arrive through a search engine? Perhaps a link within your email marketing piece? Did they type the address into their Web browser and go directly to your page? Between your Web service provider and your email provider, you’ll have this data at your disposal, which will allow you to figure out what is working the best. Once you know which marketing pieces are the most effective, you’ll be able to capitalize on that success with more of the same or similar pieces.
There is one more thing to expect, and maybe it goes without saying: You should expect to get a lot of business from a good landing page. Remember what I said: “right content, right person, right moment.” Put quite simply, your landing page should bring you clients who already have an idea of what they want, so when they land on your page, they are surprised and delighted to see that you are offering exactly what they are looking for. We call these people “qualified leads.” And when you have qualified your lead, you are much more likely to take that next step of closing the deal and earning his or her business.
Tawnya Starr is a former successful print shop owner who is now president of FireSpring’s PrinterPresence. She has dedicated her career to educating the printing industry on proven website and marketing strategies. In 2005, she received the Industry Award of Distinction from NAQP for her service as a consultant and educator to the industry. Contact her at Tawnya.Starr@Firespring.com.