Most of us are familiar with the required elements of a good landing page. LeadFormix has documented the essentials in a whitepaper, and there are lots of studies, opinions and examples on the Internet that offer best practices and pitfalls to avoid.
The broad utilization of this knowledge has created a challenge for demand generation professionals: How can you make your landing pages and CTAs more compelling, interesting and unique than those of your competitors (and more generally, the masses)? This is an important consideration because a landing page is a critical juncture for establishing a relationship between a prospective customer and your business. A visit to the page may be your only opportunity to capture that person’s attention, find out something about them and motivate them to engage in a meaningful way.
To quote a couple of overused aphorisms: First impressions are everything. You want love at first sight. It’s like speed dating, only with far less time to size up the other person.
To lock in someone’s interest, you’ll need to consider enhancements in these broad areas:
- More (and better) page customizations tuned for the needs of increasingly granular market segments.
- Better offers or rewards tied to CTAs.
- Usefulness beyond the CTA and the offer.
- Unusual, attention-grabbing content.
- Terrific aesthetic values.
The creation of dynamic landing pages, based on advanced or “on the fly” knowledge about visitors, is a future goal for B2B demand generation. It’s used extensively for B2C marketing (think Amazon and eBay), but the technique is based largely on data about previous visits and transactions. Knowing the specific identity of the individual isn’t necessary for this to work well. On the other hand, B2B requires an entirely different level sophistication based on matching a visitor identity to profile data about individuals and companies. At the moment we lack the ability to remove the veil of browsing anonymity unless the individual has identified himself/herself previously or with a token from another source.
Absent an identity, the following techniques can eliminate the “one size fits all” syndrome for landing pages:
- Dynamic keyword insertion. A single search advertisement can be altered in real time to display keywords based on search terms. Each keyword version can be linked to a different landing page (or a single landing page with fields that reflect the keyword) with content driven by concepts inferred from the keyword. Although inelegant, it works.
- Derived location. Internet services with proprietary databases map IP addresses to cities via reverse DNS lookups and other techniques. This would allow multiple versions of landing pages to be customized for particular geographic regions. But there are risks – the technology isn’t perfect. Increasing precision generally means decreased accuracy. Don’t make your target locale too small. And allow the visitor to change the location based on postal code or telephone prefix if the system gets it wrong.
- User prompts to glean characteristics. This is perhaps the ultimate tool. People are reluctant to identify themselves, yet they are often willing to share their intent or a key segment characteristic anonymously to improve their quality of interaction with a page. Prompts requesting information before displaying the landing page – typically as a mutually exclusive selection – are common. For example, a visitor might be asked to select from one of the following options:
- “My company has annual sales over $1 billion.”
- “My company has annual sales between $500 million and $1 billion.”
- “My company has annual sales of less than $500 million.”
- “I don’t have or want to share that information.”
- “My company is a value-added reseller.”
- “My company is a distributor.”
- “My company is a retail operation.”
- “My company is a manufacturer.”
- “None of the above.”
The response can of course be tied to landing page variations that address specific segments. Don’t fall prey to the temptation to ask for multiple characteristics. It’s annoying and can cause visitors to lose interest quickly.
Another approach to making landing pages more interesting and dynamic is to display related content that changes frequently. For example:
- Recent entries from the company blog.
- A Twitter feed.
- Industry headline summaries and links.
- Some form of gamification.
- Links to social networks.
The decision to do this becomes a delicate balance between the primary objective of the landing page and potential distractions by ancillary elements. At what point do interesting or compelling additions become deleterious? There is no shortage of opinions about the correct balance, but we think there’s only one way of finding an answer: Test!
Offering business value on the page beyond the CTA is a similar dilemma. Incorporating other content (dynamic or otherwise) that is useful seem reasonable; but how do you determine when you have too much of a good thing? The answer is the same: Test.
Finally, one must consider landing page aesthetics and design. The importance of visual perceptions and emotional reactions cannot be overstated; yet it’s difficult to define what’s pleasing for an audience. Your own opinion is (mostly) irrelevant. What potential customers perceive is elegant is the only thing that matters. Use the most talented designers you can find; then test. If you don’t feel this is important, think about Apple. Visit their website to understand how their success has been tied to great design.