Landing Pages in Your Online Community - dummies

Landing Pages in Your Online Community

By Deborah Ng

If the purpose of your online community is to sell or promote something or have members read certain content, you’ll have to help members get to the places where they can accomplish these goals. Many communities use landing pages — pages where members have to achieve a specific goal, such as a subscription or a purchase. Landing pages can be any of the following:

  • A sales pitch

  • A welcome message

  • Community policies and/or guidelines

  • A newsletter or RSS feed subscription form

  • An advertisement

  • An article or blog post

  • A Facebook page

Landing pages aren’t always easy to find, which is where you come in. If community members didn’t land on those action pages via a search engine and don’t know that they exist, you have to use a little gentle guidance to get them there. Before you get out your megaphone and start herding, remember three important things:

  • Community members don’t like obvious sales pitches.

  • Community members don’t like trickery.

  • Community members don’t like bossy community managers who tell them that they have to visit certain pages.

For new members, landing pages should be more about helping them get around the community than asking them to buy something. Eventually, if they have a positive experience, they’ll be more open to subscribing to your newsletter or buying your product. For now, just make them feel comfortable and see to it that they have everything they need.

Your landing page should contain a Welcome folder. If new members are entering your community through a forum, the “Welcome!” folder should contain one section with links to everything they need. For example, all the rules, regulations and FAQS, plus contact info, brand About pages, and fun stuff.

Though you don’t necessarily want to push signups and sales off the bat, it also doesn’t hurt to have a couple of enticing links to newsletter subscription forms or sales pages.

Don’t leave it up to the search engines to bring in new members or guide them to particular information. Take some time each day to answer questions and, if necessary, lead them to the proper pages and portals.

If you host a forum, blog, or e-mail group, your FAQs page in the Welcome folder is a perfect spot for introducing specific areas of your community or website. Simply create leading questions and use the landing pages to provide the answers.

For example, if you ask “How can I learn more about (insert name of brand here’s) products and services?” your response could be, “Please visit the products and services area of our website for a full rundown of the experiences we provide.” You answered a question your members will certainly want to know, and you guided them to a spot where they can take action, if they’re so inclined.

Also, as many community discussions are centered around the brand, you’ll want to take the opportunity to guide members to the most helpful landing pages. For example, if members want to learn more about nutritional information for a food product, let them know where they can go to find what they need.

Also, if they want to sign up for your newsletter or the corporate blog, dropping links into the conversation isn’t spammy because spam is unwanted information. It’s ok to link to specific requests.