Imagine how convenient it would be if stores could read your mind. Before you even walked in the front door, the supplies you needed would be waiting right there for you. All you would have to do is put them in your cart, pay, and go back home. No more frustrated searching through the crackers, cereal and produce when all you really want is peanut butter. How much easier could it be?
You may not get that kind of service at the grocery store, but you can offer it on your website by using landing pages. Landing pages are where your traffic lands after clicking on a link to your website, but for the sake of this post, we’re talking about pages that are specifically made in anticipation of the needs of your traffic. There are three ways to use a landing page. The first is to encourage traffic to take a specific action (buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, ect.). The second is to use landing pages to target specific keywords for search engines, and then bring in traffic looking for specific information. Finally, landing pages can be used to introduce a specific audience to your site (if you have traffic coming in from your Twitter page and you want to customize content for those visitors specifically, for example).
Before you create a landing page, you need to answer two questions: ‘Where is my traffic coming from?’ and ‘What do I want them to do next?’. If the traffic is coming in from a PPC ad offering 30% off any of your services, then you should be sending that traffic to a page that includes more details about the offer, how to use the offer, and a links to your services page. If the traffic is coming in from organic listings in the SERPs, you want to have a page that shows page visitors the information they’re looking for and where to find other pages they might be interested in.
The second question may be easy to answer, but actually getting the results you’re looking for can be a bit harder. You need to create a call to action and use it multiple times throughout your landing page. Whether you want them to buy a product, sign up for a service, or even just check out your blog, you need to A) make it direct and B) make it easy. If you want visitors to sign up for your newsletter, you need to tell them that. Explain what they are signing up for, the benefits, and then ask for their email address. Don’t be vague about
Maybe your goal is to get your Facebook and Twitter followers to read your blog. They arrive on your landing page. They first thing they see is a message welcoming them, and then a brief description of who you are, what your business does, and what you blog about. Post links to some of your most recent, or most popular, blog posts. Provide a place for them to sign up for an RSS subscription, and a link to the homepage of your blog. Give visitors everything they need to take the steps you want them to take.
Landing pages aren’t foolproof; you need to experiment some and come up with the best way to coax readers into doing what you want them to do, without being too pushy. It’s a fine line, and it’s different for every site. Experiment and learn what works best for yours.