Landing Pages: What Direct Mail Can Teach Us – Part 2


Last week we discussed how landing pages are the online version of direct mail response forms, and how we can apply what we’ve learned from direct mail theory to our online marketing strategies. This week I’ll elaborate more on the relationship in terms of practical application. Let’s get right to it!

Landing pages engage and motivate people to take action.

Involvement techniques are used in direct mail to encourage the customer to take some action. It is this action that brings the customer into the buying process. The advantage of the internet versus direct mail is that people are already actively involved, for example, they consciously decide to click on your call-to-action link. While there may not be any stickers to peel and stick, a few other ways to engage and motivate people within the content of the online landing page are:
?Personalize it using the customer?s name and a targeted offer based on their profile (i.e. carried over from the email marketing message)
?Emphasize deadlines or expiry dates to imply urgency
?Include a P.S. at the bottom to restate the offer, remind people about the main benefit or “Fremium” (upfront gift): i.e. “P.S. Register for this Webinar and receive the FREE white paper now, plus a link to the recording after the event!”
?Use a Web form with an opt-in checkbox to receive future communications (i.e. newsletter)

Landing page forms are more sophisticated and measureable.

What makes a Web form even more sophisticated than a direct marketing response form is the ability to implement different types of form fields (i.e. radio buttons, select boxes, text boxes/areas, checkboxes, etc.). Drop-down menus allow you to limit the number of choices people have, and helps you segment them according to their interests. Including an unlimited text area also gives people the opportunity to tell you exactly what they need or provide feedback, which can often boost response.
Another advantage of the Web form over traditional response mechanisms is that you have the ability to modify the form and landing page content on the fly when offers or prices change, to fix spelling mistakes, or even just for testing purposes. No need to spend thousands of dollars on reprinting or re-mailing.
Last but not least, Web forms are easy to track and measure with the right Web analytics tool. Analysis of results is instantaneous, providing further insight into the needs and behavior of your visitors which can guide future, targeted communication with them. (more information: “Understanding Your Audience”, chapter 3, Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions by Tim Ash)

Landing pages make conversion easy for people.

And it is our job as marketers to make it easy. That means:
?Restate the offer: place the strongest reason for conversion at the top of the page above the fold. You may even use the same headline as the email, search ad or PPC banner ad to remind people why they?re here.

?Get to the point: use simple, concise copy that is focused on the offer and what?s in it for the reader. Well-organized, clear content with sub-headings and a bulleted list of real benefits. Don?t waste people?s time.

?Relate back to the ad: coordinate both the design and content of the landing page with the original email, search keyword, or banner ad to maintain consistency and relevance.

?Streamline the process: be clear about what readers have to do, and don?t distract them from that task with navigation or links that take them away from the landing page.

?Give the form a title: tell people exactly what it is, and suggest benefits in the title (i.e. Download this FREE White Paper!), or reiterate the sales message or CTA.

?Keep the form simple: the Web form should be short and easy to fill out. Only collect essential data, you don?t want to scare people away by asking too many personal questions. Multi-step forms are more complicated which may also increase the risk of losing people – use numbered steps with clear instructions to help people complete it successfully.

?Reinforce trust: include a link to your privacy policy; restate return and guarantee policies (B2C); provide company contact information in the footer (i.e. mailing address, fax number, toll free number, Web site address); use customer testimonials.

So there you have it, landing pages demystified. There?s no need for marketers to feel like they?re running to keep up with online marketing technology. Almost everything we need to know about landing pages we have already learned from many years of direct mail experience. The traditional direct marketing concepts still apply; it?s just a different medium that happens to be broader reaching, more flexible and measurable, and less costly. And who wouldn?t want to be a part of that?