Web Terms You Need to Know: Landing Pages

If you’re new to marketing via the web – or even if you’re not – you may not be familiar with the web marketing term of LANDING PAGES.  However, it’s a term you should know, love and even embrace because your landing page can make or break your web site management and marketing efforts.

A LANDING PAGE is simply a page specifically designed with a purpose in mind.  It’s the first page that a visitor will see when he/she arrives at your site.  As with most of the posts I do here, this post was inspired by a horribly misdirected effort which literally broke my heart.

My story begins as I was exchanging emails with a  publisher about the possibility of me writing a book.  I’m using my Gmail to correspond with him and as I’m logged in to Gmail, my eye is magnetically DRAWN to an ad which appears across the top of my screen.  It is truly a MAGNIFICENT example of a Google Adwords.  It was short, it was pithy and it was compelling – the only “problem” is it was tightly targeted towards MD’s.  So much for my growing suspicion that Google knows EVERYTHING about me- turns out they don’t know I didn’t go to medical school.

I wish I’d copied and saved the ad before I clicked because even though I’m not an MD who wants to hire a ghostwriter, I felt compelled to click.    Yeah, it was THAT GOOD

To say I was aghast when I got there would be an understatement.  The Google Adwords author was obviously not familar with the term “LANDING PAGE” as part of his web site management and marketing efforts.  While the ad I clicked was tightly targeted to medical doctors who want to hire a ghostwriter – the page I landed upon when I clicked the ad didn’t mention ghost writing for medical professionals in any way shape or form.  It was a generic one size fits all one page web site.

This my friends is a case of someone who needs an introduction to the concept of a Landing Page.

Seth Godin is constantly banging the Landing Page Drum.  As Brian over at SEO Moz points out, a well crafted landing page can make SEO easier as well.  Obviously, the gifted Adwords writer isn’t familiar with their work.

Landing Page Basics

Hit the links above for more in depth articles on Landing Page Basics.  (Seth’s is base line – Brian’s gets more in depth from an SEO perspective).

Creating an effective landing page hearkens back to the drum I frequently pound which is “Keep Your Visitor in Mind!”

Think of your web visitor.  Who is he/she?

Chances are that your visitors is searching the web for answers.  Whether it’s proper attire to wear for Wednesday night at the bowling alley or where they can score tickets to the  Britney Spears Circus Tour – web visitors often go web surfing with a purpose in mind.

A landing page is simply a page created with that specific visitor in mind.

For example, when I launched my 8 Week Power Blog Launch product, I ran a PPC campaign and targeted the the keyword term “How To Blog.”   I then created a Landing Page for that PPC campaign which leads with the copy,  “How to Blog!

The reason being, if someone is searching for “How to Blog” I don’t want them searching high and low for the answer to their question – which is “how to blog”.

Imagine if instead of sending a web surfer to a page that leads with the term they’re searching instead I sent them to the main page of THIS blog.  Sure, there’s a nice big ad for the product over in the right hand column – but that ad is competing with lots of OTHER content here.  The visitor might get distracted by my witty banter and dry wit.  Heck, I might start blogging about Hemp Bagels again and then the reader would be magically transported back to their college days. Before you know it, they’re out searching for their friendly neighborhood drug dealer rather than worrying about their original question which was – what was it again?  Oh yeah, they wanted to know “How to Blog.”

If you think ADD and ADHD are afflictions that only exist in the classroom -guess again.  Both these syndromes are alive and well on the web.  Easily distracted humans beings NEED landing pages to focus their attention on the task at hand.

Of course, the very most BASIC element of creating a landing page is to get inside the head of your visitor – the prospective customer or client you want to reach.  Need help with that?  Pick up a copy of my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results

Reach your customers before they start searching

One of the most important elements in web site management and marketing is to think strategically about what your customers are doing BEFORE they start searching for solutions to their problems.

So often, business owners tend to  view the whole “web site management and marketing” game as just that – a game.  We engage in SWOT analysis because we want to analysis our strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors.  Our web site management and marketing plans are all focused on what happens in the the “end zone” – what words are our customers using to find our products and services.  We want to fool ourselves into thinking that our customers are rational.  We want to tell ourselves that our customers are approaching the buying decision with a checklist – and the first company to successfully meet the criteria will “win” the sale.   This mindset is a sure fire way to make sure you settle for less than success in your business.

Instead, the smart business owner’s web site management and marketing strategy will focus on the journey your prospective customers are taking as they meander along life’s path.

For example, let’s say you’re a a registered dietitian who wants to start a offering your services as a nutritional coach.  It’s a great “marriage” of services so to speak – because motivation is a HUGE part of encouraging good nutritional habits.   Your role as a dietitian is to provide information meanwhile your role as coach is to provide motivation.  I mean, no one is going to eat hemp bagels because they are so tasty!  No, you eat hemp bagels because they are NUTRITIOUS!  A coach is going to help you find the motivation to eat hemp bagels after you discover they won’t get you “high”.

So, you’re a nutrition coach who wants to find clients for your practice. A blog is a GREAT marketing tool for you to use to build your practice.    It’s a great tool in the authentic pursuit of making money.  However, you have to blog with your prospective customers or clients in mind.

For example,  in the case of the nutritional coach – trust me, if you focus on targeting people who are searching for hemp bagels – well, you’ve missed the boat.  If you’re blogging to reach those people for your practice, blogging may not be the best use of your time.  Anyone searching for hemp bagels already POSSESSES the necessary “motivation” – no, you need to find customers or clients who are struggling.  You need people who want to believe that Fiber Pop-Tarts are the answer to better nutrition.

See, there’s a wake up call in the future of the “dietary deluded”.  In some cases, it’s going to be handed to them at a doctor’s office with the results of their blood work.  In others, it’s going to be delivered in the cardiac care unit.

Your goal, as the nutritional coach should be to reach those prospective clients before the wake up call is issued.  If you – as the nutritional coach- had a web site management and marketing plan in place (a.k.a. a blog) where you were capturing the attention of the “dietary deluded” you could do just that.

That’s why I spend most of my time “pounding” the never ending beat on the “target your audience” drum.  When you know who your target audience is, it’s easier to reach them BEFORE they begin searching.  As a matter of fact, there’s no possible way to reach them before they start searching if you don’t know what they’re doing BEFORE they start searching!

Reaching your customers before they begin searching for solutions is the high road.  Learn more about how to do that by picking up a copy of my book, Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results.