Feb 1, 2011

How Landing Pages Can Make or Break Lead Generation Campaigns

Your landing page may be the culprit if your lead generation campaign is performing poorly.

I realize that successful lead generation depends on many factors but the landing page is where your site traffic and email clicks convert into qualified prospects and leads. A poorly designed (layout and content) landing page can kill your lead conversion rate.

According to a report from SilverPop, “… up to 50 percent of visitors to landing pages will bail in the first eight seconds.”

What is a landing page?
A landing page in online marketing refers to a page on your site that visitors see (land on) after clicking on a link from another page on your site or an email campaign. Traffic to your landing page can come from other sources such as clicks from search engines (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and social media sharing.

The best description of a landing page that I’ve read is from Copyblogger, “A landing page is the putting green that you drive the ball (prospect) to. Once on the green, the goal is to get the ball into the hole. Likewise, the goal of the copy and design of a landing page is to get the prospect to take your desired action.”

The sole purpose of a landing page is to convert those clicks into contacts in your marketing database. The visitor provides his/her name and email address in exchange for something valuable. In B2B and industrial marketing that is usually an offer for free content such as a white paper, industry report or signing up for an eNewsletter.

A landing page is the key to capturing leads from your lead generation campaigns.

Bad landing pages kill conversions
Too often, creating a landing page is an afterthought with the bulk of the time being spent on designing the lead generation campaign.

Traffic and clicks are people who’ve only raised their hands to indicate they are interested. It is up to your landing page to reinforce the value of the offer and convince visitors to part with their precious contact information.

Here’s why optimizing your landing page is so important for converting clicks into contacts. According to Pardot: Many visitors who get past the 8 seconds of attention, leave because they don’t find your landing page compelling. A few of your visitors who fill out your form, fail for one reason or another and then drop off Only a small percentage of your visitors successfully convert and become leads.

Once you get past those hurdles, you may have another problem to deal with. Think people don’t lie when filling out their information on a landing page? Think again. Crappy and outright false information from your visitors have a direct impact on the quality of leads that you capture.

Optimized landing pages
Creating landing pages is a built-in feature of most marketing automation packages. Some of them offer very advanced options such as progressive profiling, multi-stage and dynamic registration forms.

I am not suggesting that your landing pages have to be basic (collect only name and email address) if you create them manually. But it is a tedious and time-consuming task.

Either way, there is a learning curve to optimizing your landing pages in order to increase your conversion rate.

Your landing pages (registration form fields) may be the source of the problem if your Web analytics show good volume of traffic to those pages but you are not receiving as many sign ups or downloads.

According to Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Director of the MECLABS Group, the key principle in landing page optimization is balancing friction. Decreasing, or “dialing down” friction, results in increased lead quantity. Increasing, or “dialing up” friction, creates increased lead quality.