Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Landing Pages

In case you are as confused as I was when I first heard the term “landing page”, let’s start at the beginning.  A landing page is the page on which web surfers land after they click on a link to your web site.  In many cases, your web site’s homepage will be the landing page for most links to your site. 

That’s all fairly straightforward, so let’s throw a curve.  Your homepage is probably not the best place for potential customers to land on your site. 

Why?  Because your landing page must fall naturally in the path your customer follows to get from “need” to “solution”.  If the page on which they land is not a natural step on the path, it increases the chance of them leaving the path and going elsewhere.  

Your homepage is a great place to land if they do an internet search for your company.  The problem is, unless your company has a high profile in the public’s eye, most potential customers won’t know enough to search for your company name.  Many might never have heard of your company – so how could they ever search for it?

Instead, they are more likely to search for generic products or services, similar to those your company provides.  When they do so, studies show shoppers look for a path that leads to what they seek.  If they lose the path, they look elsewhere for it.  Show them the path and they will come right to your door.

Customers will choose the path of least resistance – the easiest one to follow.  When they enter a term, millions of results might appear.  In the midst of that unfamiliar forest, they need a path.  They look for something familiar to help show them the way - the path of least resistance. 

As they hunt through the results, the most familiar thing to surfers is the thing they seek - the search term they entered.  Anything else seems off the mark and not a path worth pursuing. The better your link reflects the search term used, the more likely it is to be clicked on. 

But, you are not out of the woods yet, and your customers aren’t either.  What happens after they choose your link is very important.  If they land on a page that does not make it clear that they are still on the right path, there’s a good chance they will click away to look for another path.

That’s why your landing page is so important.  It’s also why your home page probably does not work as a landing page for all your products and everything your company does.

You will have a better chance of converting customers if they land on a page that confirms they have found the right solution.

By Stephen Da Cambra

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