When I talk to marketing prospects, the conversation eventually turns to landing pages. "Landing pages" are often confused with pages that anyone can see on your company web site, like the homepage.

This blog post focuses on what a landing page is and how it's almost always better to use them in your online marketing efforts.

Using landing pages in your marketing campaigns is almost always more effective than sending people to your homepage from an ad, so it's important to make the differentiation.

So what is a landing page?

Landing pages are actually pages with a single focus that are hidden from the normal browsing paths on your web site. Unless you visit a landing page from a marketing campaign, you'd never know it was there.

A landing page also speaks to a specific target audience. In service-based businesses, perhaps a landing page would speak to the benefits of a specific service with the purpose of getting a decision-maker to download a whitepaper. For an online retailer, a landing page would speak to someone who's interested in a certain product with the goal of having the customer buy the item.

Why create landing pages for marketing campaigns?

So why would companies invest in creating pages specifically for an ad campaign rather than link to existing pages on their web sites?

  1. Landing pages are persuasive.
    Not that your web site isn't persuasive, but when someone comes to your company web site, you really don't know why. Since specific advertisements send people to your landing page, you know what copy enticed them to click.

    Your market research (B2C) may indicate that you need to address different concerns with men and women, or you may want to speak differently to younger and more mature customers. In business-to-business selling, you may want to highlight different advantages of your product or service based on the size and budget of the prospects you're advertising to.

  2. Landing pages have a single focus.
    While your web site is trying to reach multiple decision makers with different products or services, a landing page focuses on a single product or service. Since the focus is singular, you can describe the benefits of the product or service, some testimonials about the specific product or service and reassure potential customers.

    The single focus helps your company address the specific needs of your target audience, increasing the likelihood that you'll entice them to take action.

  3. Landing pages minimize distractions.
    Your landing pages should look different than your company web site. They should not have standard site links that allow people to jump around to other areas of your web site. Also, landing pages should be perfectly clear what action you want customers to take.

    The problem with "deep linking" to existing web site pages from your ad campaigns is that there are distractions all over your web site. For instance, online retailers might link an online ad campaign to a specific product category that shows many products. Customers can be distracted by navigation to other sections, a wish list, related items, accessories, unrelated offers, etc.

    Landing pages contain just the information that is needed to persuade the customer to take action.

In conclusion

Here are some questions for consideration within your company:

  • If you link your online ad campaigns to pages in the normal flow of your web site, how can you test a landing page to see which performs better?
  • Are you currently testing different landing pages to see what design and messaging produce more leads or sales?
  • Can you affect bottom-line results by making your segmenting your target audience?
  • How are you measuring the effectiveness of "destination pages" (either landing pages or pages on your web site)?
  • Does the sales cycle of your product or service require more of a hard sales approach or a lead nurturing approach?