Online Marketing: Use Landing Pages Effectively

By Alexander Hiam

If you advertise on the web, then you probably need one satellite web page for each ad campaign. A campaign is a run, also referred to as a flight, of ads that deliver the same basic message or offer but may do so in different formats or styles depending on where they’re placed.

Because the campaign has the same basic message or offer, all the ads can include a link to one landing page (the name for the satellite website that supports an ad campaign).

Two types of landing pages exist. Pick the one that supports your ad campaign best:

  • A transactional landing page (also called a lead capture page) finishes the job the ad started by persuading visitors to complete some kind of transaction, such as making a purchase or signing up for a membership or special offer.

    Special trial offers are often effective on transactional landing pages. Write a transactional landing page like you would any good ad or catalog copy, but keep the copy simple and short because people don’t like to read at length on the web.

    Also keep in mind that a majority of those folks who click on the ad and arrive at your landing page will then move on without taking further action. You may want to give some of these defectors a lower-level way to engage (like offering to send them free information if they simply sign up for your database).

  • A reference landing page aims to fill the visitor’s informational needs by providing useful content, such as links, reviews, and professional listings. Marketers for associations and nonprofits tend to use reference landing pages more than for-profit marketers do, but this type of page can be helpful in a wide range of ad campaigns.

    If you build a reference landing page that has rich enough content to attract a steady flow of thousands of visitors a month, you can sell advertising on it and turn it into a revenue stream.

    Use Google AdSense to sell ad space on your website or go through broker sites such as Banners Broker, Internet Ad Brokers, Orange Soda, or Turn. Marketers with valuable information may be able to subsidize their own advertising by selling ads on a reference page. Or just contact brokers to buy ads that drive traffic to your transactional website’s landing page. They can help with either type of site.

Regardless of the type of landing page you employ, be sure to track visitor statistics with an eye to conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who sign up for your list, accept your special offer, or make a purchase).

Ultimately, you want to optimize this ratio. Experiment with ads that attract people who are easy to convert; also experiment with the copy, layout, and offer on your landing page. The more you experiment, the more you discover about how to convert visitors at a good rate.

Conversion rates on successful landing pages may range from 1 to 50 percent depending on the type of site, offer, and visitor, so there’s no magic number to shoot for. The best way to know you’re succeeding is to document an improvement over your own past performance.

Note that you don’t always have to create a physically separate site for your satellite. A page within your hub site that can be linked to (and that offers navigation to a registration page, your home page, and a shopping cart page) can provide an appropriate landing page. The key is to create a dedicated landing page that draws people further in by getting them to sign up or begin using something right away.