A great deal of online marketing terms can seem like jargon to small business owners. Not only do a lot of these practices seem complicated in theory-but a lack of understanding of what they achieve in practice can make them unappealing for small business owners.
The basic principle of online marketing is focused on SEO and search engine marketing, which a lot of content has already been written about for those wanting further explanation. However, what is still a source of confusion is online marketing tactics that can be used within a website.
Most online marketing efforts are tied to a multichannel strategy supported by SEO and social media, and websites often use landing pages in order to capture the inbound leads generated by these peripheral channels. With this perspective in mind, here are the 9 questions you’ve been dying to ask about online marketing:
1. What Is a Landing Page?
Landing pages are classically used in pay per click campaigns, and are designed for when people click on a specific campaign link-such as paid search result on Google, they will land on a related page. They are different to homepages as they are highly targeted to a specific niche, service or function of a business-related to the keyword that was targeted in the PPC campaign.
They are highly effective in keeping messaging consistent, providing a good user experience and increasing conversion rates.
2. What Are Optimized Pages?
While optimized pages are similar to landing pages, they are not the same thing. Where as you can control what specific landing page a PPC result goes to, in the world of organic SEO-this is dependent on what ranks higher with Google and search engines.
Often marketers will optimize certain pages based on specific keywords, so that they will rank higher than their homepage to ensure the most relevant page with the highest chance of conversion is clicked on.
3. What Are They Used For?
Landing pages are commonly used for paid campaigns or other campaigns which you can manually designate a destination for a link, and Optimized pages are used when SEO and organic results are needed for a specific keyword; ideally both landing pages and optimized pages will be used in any SEM mix.
By ensuring maximum relevancy for search engine terms, particularly in product based ecommerce marketing- this will result in increasing conversion rates and reducing bounce rates of search engine traffic.
4. Why Would I Still Need a Homepage?
Notice that we said optimized pages and landing pages are ideal for search engine traffic? Although this is a large source of website traffic, it does not account for everything. The remaining traffic may be from word of mouth, offline marketing campaigns or promotional events, and this traffic isn’t as targeted.
A homepage is essential for users who may not be targeted in their purchasing decision or segmented into a particular buyer journey yet. By ensuring you’ve optimized your homepage for usability and easy navigation, you’ll be creating a more positive user experience and in turn reducing bounce rates.
5. Why Do I Also Need a Landing Page?
While optimizing your homepage is important, landing pages offer the biggest opportunity for control and thus conversion. Landing pages offer the most engaging experience for users and give you the opportunity to hold their attention long enough to demonstrate your relevant value proposition to them.
Landing pages often aim to make the users life easier, or the brand more appealing, right off the bat. This is commonly executed within websites by having an exclusive offer, promotional code or targeted content. Examples of this would include a message advertising a special offer encouraging users to subscribe to email to access a discount code or have a chance to win a prize or invite to an event.
This win-win or give/take approach to landing pages is particularly useful when you incentivize email subscription, as even if they leave your website without purchasing or converting-you can now remarket to them, such as triggering a cart abandonment sequence.
6. How Do I Optimize a Landing Page?
The key with landing page optimization is to quickly demonstrate value without scaring visitors off by bombarding them with invaluable or ‘spam’ messaging. This is often a fine balance and can take a while to perfect.
Popovers, despite their bad name are a highly effective form of messaging on landing pages, and can also help increase email marketing subscription lists. The popovers of today in terms of web design are no longer the annoying second window, but more of what is called a light box with a relevant message that appears after an allotted time, which the user can easily close.
In order to be effective, popovers or any other interruption marketing, have to provide something more valuable than what the user expected to find when they clicked on the link for the landing page. Also, the messaging has to be highly targeted to the user, so that it conveys its relevancy to the landing page, and thus relates to the users intent-quickly. If the website uses interruption in a non-valuable way, it will be perceived as annoying and forceful-a sure fire way to make sure people don’t want to purchase from you.
Popovers, if used in the right way are a great way to ensure you capture the user’s attention. However, there are alternative ways to make sure your landing page conveys its messaging or purpose clearly and quickly. Designing a landing page, which is outcome focused, with little opportunity for distraction will guide users towards a conversion point. A great way of constructing landing pages that hold visitors attention is by using the ‘attention ratio’.
The attention ratio is a way to measure your landing page’s potential for conversion by assessing the ratio of conversion points to links on a page. By aiming to have a 1:1 ratio of conversion points (such as buttons) to non-conversion based links, you’ll be guiding users towards a behavior that has a positive outcome for conversion rates.
7. What Is The Benefit of Optimizing My Landing Pages?
The goal of any website is to inform users of your value as a business so that they convert to customers. The rate at which your total numbers of visitors to your website convert to a lead or purchase something from your website is called the conversion rate. A large part of improving a website’s conversion rate is reducing the bounce rate, or the rate of users who visit your website without converting in any way.
Conversions don’t have to be as literal as a purchase or filling out a contact form as a lead, but it could be downloading an eBook, or subscribing to your email database. By setting up goal based analytics on your landing pages in particular, you will start to see how effective they are for achieving specific marketing or sales goals you have for your business.
You can easily use Google Analytics to set up both goal based analytics and also measure your bounce rate from specific pages, including your new or existing landing pages.
8. How Do I Make Sure My Landing Pages Are Effective?
A key thing to keep in mind and what will become evident when measuring the effectiveness of your landing pages, is that relevancy of messaging is key for reducing bounce rates and increasing conversions. Landing page optimization is all about execution of the right messaging at the right time. There is no real way to intuitively know what is the best way to achieve the relevancy, without some quality intelligence on your user’s behaviors. Setting up analytics is the first step in understanding this behavior, but testing is a great way to experiment with your theories about what works well and what doesn’t.
There are some fabulous online marketing software providers available to small business owners who are interested in conversion rate optimization which are also suited to small business budgets. The most common and one of the most effective ways of testing audiences, is with the use of A/B testing. It’s a simple process of testing a hypothesis against a control group. For example, you will show 50% of your visitor’s one button, text or image and the other 50% another. Pretty soon, you’ll start to see which is more effective at engagement or conversion for your market.
Another interesting tool available to small businesses is heat mapping, which literally follows the way a user consumes information around a page-this is done by tracking their cursor as it moves over content on a website’s page. This shows you what grabs (or distracts) users attention the most. By harnessing this information, you’re able to more easily guide users towards the messaging they will find most valuable and will more likely lead them to conversion.
9. How Do I Make Sure My Messaging Isn’t Annoying?
Mostly, by making sure you focus on keeping your content relevant and testing the bounce rate. Using the above tactics will give you a good indication on how you’re being perceived. There are a few additional things, particularly when it comes to features such as popovers, which you can employ to ensure the user experience isn’t detracting from the value that you’re offering.
As there are now more mobile users than desktop users on the Internet, it’s imperative to make sure your website and particularly popovers are mobile friendly. There is nothing more annoying than a popover that doesn’t render well or you can’t close easily on a mobile device-no matter how valuable its proposition is. Make sure the popover has been made responsive, or if this cannot happen consider disabling this on your landing page for mobiles visitors specifically.
Secondly, be mindful of the size of images you use for popovers and how this effects load times. The whole proposition of interruption marketing is that it is quick and instantaneous. Users don’t want to wait for a proposition, which they aren’t sure they’ll even find valuable. Ensure your popovers load quickly and communicate effectively by keeping their file size to a minimum.
Lastly, when you’re asking something of a first time visitor, such as encouraging them to subscribe to your database or fill out a survey-make sure you don’t keep requesting this of them on their return visits. For landing pages, which are frequently visited, it is a good idea to implement cookie tracking. By tracking cookies, you’re able to disable popovers for those people who have seen it previously.
A lot of online marketing is focused around maximizing the return of investment of your website, by increasing leads and maximizing their conversion rates. Often the methods in which this can be achieved can seem confusing, but they are based in the simple principle of demonstrating a value proposition at the right time in the right place to create maximum relevancy and usability for the visitor.