tracking metrics - so many metrics, so little time

So many metrics, so little time to track…Image via RVWith Toto on Flickr

If a landing page is any page a visitor lands on, what’s a preferred landing page? Simply, PLPs are pages you would really like visitors to land on, more so than other pages on your site. In Landing Page ROI 101:  Are Your Landing Pages More Like Bouncing Betties?, we spent a lot of Internet blogging real estate discussing the possibilities of action if your PLPs were flopping.

What if you’re just starting out, though? What do you have to look forward to in the simple creation of preferred landing pages? How do you know what type of landing page to use?

Let’s fill in the blanks.

Why a Preferred Landing Page?

Click Through Landing Page

Example of a Click Through Landing Page

The purpose of landing page is to entice a visitor to perform a specific action, or conversion. This action could be as simple as giving their name and email address or as complicated as buying a product. Most PLPs are planned, designed and built to go along with a particular form of advertising, such as:

  • Banner ads
  • Google ads
  • Print advertising
  • Facebook advertising
  • TV commercials

The advertising campaign’s goals decide the type of landing page you use, and the PLP decides how the conversion happens.

What Landing Page Do I Use?

Example of ADT Lead Generation Page

Example of Lead Generation

Conceivably, you could just pretty up the pages on your site, throw in some optimization and call it done. However, no matter how good your pages are, the right preferred landing page use, type, campaign, etc. can double or triple your response.

The operating word here is “right“. Before you start an advertising campaign, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the goal of this advertising campaign? As with anything in life, the goal defines how you go about reaching it. The goal of your advertising campaign probably isn’t going to be a matter of traffic (1,000 hits in 10 days). It probably isn’t going to be a high average time on site or page. It probably isn’t even going to be 500 emails. The goal of an advertising campaign is generally something like:
  • An increase in sales
  • An increase in qualified leads
  • Enhance company awareness
  1. What does this landing page offer? Landing pages offer one of two things: a product (Sham Wow) or information (Receive a free ADT quote). Sometimes these two are intertwined throughout the page (buy now and get this free eBook on building your business), but the main offer remains the same. If you’re offering multiple products, you might rethink how you’ve set up your site. Landing pages of any type should be dedicated – focused on a specific product, service, bit of information.
  2. What is the goal of this landing page? If you want people to buy a single product, such as an eBook, does it really make sense to create an entire website for that one eBook? On the other hand, there are numerous examples of lead captures that sell eBooks. Now we can talk about drawing traffic to the site. We can even talk about gaining 500 emails. We can talk about increased sales or anything else you expect this landing page to do.

Once you’ve answered these questions, it becomes much easier to decide the type of landing page. A few of the common types include:

You read my t-shirt... the social interaction is over.

ThinkGeek – as viral as
Icanhascheeseburger

Click Through Landing Page – This very simple PLP is created with the equally simple goal of moving people to the sign up or purchase step without distractions. The Equifax free trial page is a good example. Nothing distracts from the information provided – i.e. everything you might want to know if you’re considering using Equifax. Read the offer, click through and order.

Lead Generation (Lead Capture) Page – Squeeze pages are by no means simple, even though they don’t have “much” to them when compared to Infomercial type pages. ADT is a good example of a lead gen page, with the exception of the links at the top of the page. A true lead generation page wouldn’t have any links at all, and nothing to do but enter the information.

Product Detail Page – Product detail pages (such as this page at ThinkGeek) have a ton of information about a product. There’s only one problem: distractions. It’s easy to get and spend two hours surfing without actually buying something.

You’re looking at Thumb Drives, come across the DC Comic Thumb Drives, see the Green Lantern Power Ring Kit and the next thing you know you’ve scanned their entire collection of T-shirt phrases. KISS is not in practice for ThinkGeeks landing pages, but you’re sure to come back… usually with money.

Where Does a PLP Go?

Preferred landing pages aren’t just on the main business site. For example, many PLPs are standalone pages. They’ve been called Infomercials. You’ve seen them; they have certain, somewhat universal, characteristics:

  • One page
  • Really long (generally 1500 – 2000 words, if not more)
  • 2-4 forms or requests for payment (only $29.99!) interspersed throughout the content
  • Several testimonials
  • No navigation to any parts of a site
  • Offer a product that isn’t in stores

There are also microsites, or small interest sites that branch off the main site. They might have URLs like nicheinterest/mainsite.com. They may also be completely off the main site and only linked to it, as in the case of numerous WordPress.com websites.

Finally, and most commonly, there are the landing pages of the website itself. On these friendly, helpful pages, one can find product and service descriptions, buying guides and more.

Remember to Focus

No matter what your advertising campaign is meant to achieve, what product/service you’re offering or what landing page you use, remember to focus. Even if you have a product page on your main site, surrounded by distracting links, the page itself needs to be tightly focused on that one product.

(Note: When you’re on the ThinkGeek site, you might get distracted, but it isn’t because the content is about something else. All the written content is most definitely about the product).

Focus is the key in any ad campaign. The fewer the distractions, the better your returns will be.