Tuesday, March 25, 2008
In the online marketing world, a lot of time and resources are spent driving traffic to a Web site or landing page. You analyze campaign performance with almost religious fervor in order to extract the last penny of revenue and profit possible from each Internet visitor. But all of your hard work comes down to the few precious moments that the Internet visitors spend on your landing page.
Even though you spend obscene amounts of money to buy traffic, the effort that you devote to the landing pages to which it is sent is negligible. Worse yet, you assume that the quality of the landing page cannot be changed. You turn all of the other knobs and dials at your disposal and continue to neglect the biggest profit driver under your control — the conversion efficiency of the landing page. This neglect costs huge amounts of money on an ongoing basis.
But how are you to know in advance which landing page element will or won't perform better? You actually have access to thousands of conversion experts and are interacting with them daily. But you have mostly ignored their advice to date. The real experts on the design of your landing pages are your Web site visitors.
Landing page optimization can be viewed as a giant online marketing laboratory where your experimental subjects voluntarily participate in your tests without being asked. Their very actions (or inactions) expose them, and allow you to improve your appeal to a similar population of people. Through testing of alternative landing page designs, you can determine what your audience actually responds to best.
Web sites have three desirable properties — high data rates, accurate tracking and easy content changes — that can be used to test your landing page's effectiveness.
Many Web sites have significant traffic rates, so the supply of test subjects is ample. A relatively steady and large stream of visitors allows you to use statistics to find and verify the validity of the best landing page designs. The best versions are proven winners. Unlike previous designs, they are no longer based solely on subjective opinions of the highest paid person in the room.
Web analytics software supports the accurate tracking and recording of every interaction with your Web site. Although Web analytics software is not perfect, it provides a standard of data collection accuracy that is almost unheard of in any other marketing medium.
Internet technology offers the ability to easily swap or modify the content that a particular Web site visitor sees. The content can be customized based on the source of the traffic, the specific capabilities of the visitor's computer or Web browser software, their behavior during the particular visit or their past history of interactions with your site.
Landing page optimization is part art and part science. It requires many diverse skills including design, usability, copywriting, psychology, statistics and project management. But the payoffs from a disciplined landing page testing program are simply too great. Ignore this critical activity at your own peril.
About the Author Tim Ash is the president of SiteTuners.com and author of “Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions”