If more than 50% of your new visitors land on your homepage, you might have a problem…
When people “walk in the door” of your website, what are you serving them? Have you thought about your first impression beyond the colors and design of your website?
And given the diversity of your audience, are you really able to provide everyone the custom treatment that they deserve on your homepage?
With our heads down and focused on things like ROI and revenue, marketers are often so hell-bent on pushing our prospects for the sale or the close (the destination), that we are missing important opportunities to cultivate a better experience for prospects on the long trip down the consideration funnel.
In the digital world, this could possibly turn a long-held belief – that your homepage should be the destination for most of your website traffic – on its ear.
Let me explain further: When people search for something online, find what they're looking for, and click on it, they create what I would call "healthy website traffic." If they end up on your website, it means they have consciously clicked on something they were interested in. Something led them to you. But if visitors were properly targeted, they never -- never -- should land on a vanilla everything-for-everyone homepage. Instead, they should be led to content that is laser-focused on the focal point of their interest.
Landing pages – individual portals of self-contained information that is specific to a certain topic, certain audience, certain solution, or certain opportunity – are the best way to get your digital strategy aligned with the consumer journey. Said more simplistically – if people are Googling “better widgets,” the link they click in the search results had better take them right to your company’s page on its superior, world-beating, award-winning widgets.
A study by Marketing Sherpa found that 64 percent of marketers said that landing pages are the most effective way to test your value proposition.
I recommend that at least 90 percent of your inbound website traffic should be presorted in this manner, before it arrives at your digital doorstep. If, instead, you have tons of traffic streaming to your homepage, it means one of two things: People saw your easy-to-remember URL and typed it in on a quest for generic information about your company; or they saw you in the Google results but for some reason failed to click on your link at that time.
To test this thinking, look at your web traffic and see how many people go to specific pages that are aligned with what they're looking for. If, for example, half of it goes to your homepage, ask yourself, "Hey, do I have enough content that is aligned with personas who need my product? Do I have enough content that is findable, SEO optimized, content that has its own landing pages?"
And if you want to get rid of those “unclassified” visitors that keep showing up on your Google Analytics report, deploying a whole army of unique landing pages – rather than just a platoon – can ensure you win the battle for mindshare. A HubSpot study found that companies that peppered the Web with 30 or more landing pages generated seven times more leads than those with fewer than 10 such pages.
The keys to unlocking these benefits – ensuring you are serving relevant content to people as soon as possible. That's the rule that rules everything. Relevance. You want relevant customers that are relevant for you, relevant to what you have to offer, and you must give them relevant information without delay. Because any delay online might mean a lost customer.
So how do we get good, relevant content – fast? What I recommend is that you view each of these pages as a complete mini-marketing campaign. Every web page, every blog post, every tweet. And each of these should feature the following components:
1. Compelling Headline:
We need your best attention-grabber right at the top. Whether it’s the title of the blog post or the name of the web page, you need to reel them in in the blink of an eye – while also ensuring that this headline does a credible job of articulating the benefits for your audience. You have mere seconds to compel the audience to stick around – so make every second – and every word – count.
Quickly answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Your content should always outline the benefits – the problem it solves, or the attributes that will empower the consumer. But do keep in mind that such chest-beating won’t mean anything unless someone else confirms them. Which leads us to No. 3 --
This is your confirmation. Proof can be a simple quote, a customer case study, a video testimonial, a picture. Anything your current customers or partners are willing to say about you, in any format. Having someone else state the advantages to using your product, gives you more weight. Someone else’s voice is more credible, because those people are not making money off the audience you’re trying to reach.
After you've figured out the way to communicate the benefits, you need to have an offer – something that will reward the consumer for their engagement. We don’t necessarily need a discount or promotion – even good, timely, objective content that showcases your unique perspective on your consumer’s problem can be a nice value-add.
5. Call to action:
After you got your audience convinced that your offer is cool, you need to have a call to action. How do people go forward? It could be a document to download, an event they can sign up for, a product or a service they can start using immediately, etc. When they click on the call to action, there has to be the next experience, which is typically the purchase page. This is the place where you make it all come true and fulfill on your promise. Here is an example.
Need one last bit of convincing? Okay, how about this: A recent study cited by marketing automation firm Marketo noted that companies that optimized their landing pages gained 20 to 60 percent more conversions from the same amount of traffic.
Now – are you finally ready to become a take-off and landing expert at your company? Pack your suitcase – the journey starts NOW.