A landing page is any page of a website to which a visitor is directed after clicking on an ad or a link in an email. A site can have multiple landing pages, each of which serves as a point of entry for prospects. While landing pages are the face of your company’s website and should be designed with this in mind, their primary purpose is to convert visitors into leads so that your sales team can more easily turn promising leads into customers. Of all of the improvements you could make to your website, optimizing your landing pages to boost conversion rates will yield the greatest return. A recent MarketingSherpa study found that improving a landing page can increase its conversion rate by an average of 40%. It’s hard to overstate the value of an effective landing page.
Imagine your website as a department store in the mall. There are multiple entrances, each of which ushers in scores of browsers and buyers. Because these entrances represent a visitor’s first impression of your store, it’s important that they look impressive and showcase the best of what you have to offer. But ultimately, you want to configure your entrances to convert as many browsers as possible into committed buyers (and, by extension, to convert first-time buyers into repeat shoppers and finally loyal customers). The best way to do this is to offer multiple incentives that entice browsers to buy something: promotional displays, sale banners, store credit card signup kiosks, stylish mannequins decked out in your featured clothing items. All the better if you can anticipate what they came in looking for so that you can feature a sale table of this item (e.g., cashmere sweaters just before Christmas) that greets them as soon as they enter the store.
Out of many browsers, only a few will end up buying anything. A good number of browsers are just passing through your store briefly and have no real intention to buy. Some have even wandered in by mistake and will leave just as quickly as they entered. Other browsers are not in your target demographic (e.g., young children shopping with their parents). Some browsers will be interested in your offerings but won’t be ready to buy yet; many of these will come back at a later date to revisit these offerings, possibly to buy something. A few folks who come into your store will be on a mission to buy something specific; assuming you have what they’re looking for, appealing to them in order to persuade them to make the purchase is like preaching to the choir. The group you want to focus most of your attention on is the persuadable browser. These folks are like qualified leads in that they have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for and perhaps have even shopped around with competitors. All you have to do is convince them to make their purchase in your store.
Does all of this sound familiar? The department store shopper scenario follows more or less the same trajectory as a typical sales funnel: Your website’s visitors convert first to prospects, then qualified leads, and finally to customers. Landing pages are like a department store’s all-important entrances. They need to look good, and they need to convert as many visitors as possible. Offerings need to be as relevant as possible, and the call to action should be clear: “Give this lovely cashmere sweater as a gift this Christmas!” “It’s summertime and you really need these sunglasses!” “Get 20% off today’s purchase when you apply for our store credit card!”
But how do you convert casual browsers to committed buyers? Get off to a good start by getting the fundamentals right. Just as carrying superior products and regularly featuring new offerings is a necessity for any good department store, maintaining a frequently updated website with quality content is imperative for B2B businesses. Friendly customer service can be a major differentiator for any company, regardless of industry or setting. But these things alone aren’t always enough to garner optimal conversion rates.
But don’t underestimate the power of landing pages and the crucial role they play in maximizing conversion. Department stores put lots of time and energy into improving their entryway displays and signage, so it makes sense to think about landing pages in the same way. Focus on enticing your “persuadable browsers” (those qualified leads that are also ready to buy) to answer your call to action. How can you make the most of your website’s vital points of entry–your landing pages–to convince prospects to do business with you, not your competitor? Our next installments will give you some helpful tips and best practices on creating effective landing pages that seal the deal.