Small businesses and even medium sized businesses on the World Wide Web spend a lot of marketing dollars on getting visitors to their website and then only to dump those visitors right onto their home page. This is not the best use of advertising and marketing dollars. This is all part of the website optimization process.
When you spend a lot of money on getting visitors to your website, you want to determine where your visitors will land as a result of your ad.
There are many online marketers who talk about landing pages but these landing pages are usually one page traps to get you to fill in your information and they usually do not have the normal navigation system to look around.
This is fine for many business online and many types of products, but some businesses need to consider a slightly different marketing strategy than the two mentioned above: sending visitors to the home page and sending internet visitors to a “landing page” to fill out a form (and do nothing else).
You don’t always need a typical Landing Page
What I will discuss here in this article is that you only need point your visitors to the right location (i.e. any page that pertains to the advertisement) as quickly as possible and not to the homepage or a crafty “landing page.”
It is very easy to send the visitors to anywhere you would like them to go. For instance, if you have an advertisement in an off-line magazine you can clearly write:
Come See Us at: www.BartShoes.com/loafers.html
A simple line, above, in an ad placed in Footwear Magazine directs the reader right to the page about loafers. Very simple.
It’s not hard but many advertisers miss this golden opportunity. For example, if you are a totally inclusive resort and you are advertising in a Golf Magazine then you should send your visitors to the golf section of your total inclusive resort website, not to the homepage where the are myriad resort-type things that you offer.
This article was prompted by such an ad. The magazine ad I am referring to was a $4,500.00 full-page ad that was clearly aimed at golfers. The ad pointed people to the URL www.ourresorts.com. I went to the resorts web page and immediately got lost.
I then got frustrated because I wanted to see what they were talking about in the $4,500.00 full-page ad that originally caught my eye.
The solution to this would have been to write in the ad: “Come See Us at: www.OurResorts.com/golfers” or something to that effect. Knowing how some websites can be cumbersome to navigate and many are bloated with information, I would take the extra effort to type in “golfers” into the URL to get to where I wanted to be. This is like the express train.
Many businesses totally miss this opportunity for total website optimization. It is hard enough to get people to put down a magazine (which they are usually reading in some waiting room) and type in the URL of their website. Granted many of these advertisers are looking for total exposure (or brand recognition) and not a direct response, but what is the harm in adding an extra word into the URL? I have seen it done by some very savvy advertisers and it is highly effective.
With so many big ads promising all sorts of things for the end user when they get to the website, it would be quite a bonus for me (anyone else for that matter) to see that little “golfer” word at the end of the URL because it would mean that there was actually a webpage specific to golfers! What a wonderful thing to happen.
I think many businesses fool themselves into thinking that they got so many great things to offer that who ever is coming to their website for one specific reason (i.e. golf in our case) would absolutely love all the other stuff that they had to offer. Not so and not a very prudent way to look at things.
I am fully aware of loss leaders and all sorts of come-ons and marketing gimmicks, but this not what is taking place here. Not only that, but getting someone to your brick and mortar store for one specific reason (i.e. low cost loss-leader) where a salesman* can guide you through the store to show you all the great things is on things the store has to offer, but navigating a website on your own is another matter entirely.
Not only that, but we live in a different age, an age where at the click of a simple mouse button we are shopping somewhere else. Our tolerance levels are very low in this digital age. If we do not find exactly what we are looking for in three seconds, were gone—onto the next website, the next merchant.
It is hard enough to get people to your website as it is. Don’t blow it by distracting your visitors with a bunch of stuff they didn’t come there for. Show them what they came for and make it easy for them to check out and buy products and services from you.
I often consult with many businesses with this problem. They usually need to see the problem before doing anything about it. Hopefully this article will get you to see the problem in your online efforts, so you can skip this step.
Your competitors are spending more and more money getting people to their website. So what do you do? You spend more and more money getting people to your website.
Some businesses do not want to take the time, effort and the money to fix the problem on their website. They would just rather throw more money at the problem—such more advertising, more marketing, more social book-marking/media etc. This becomes a never ending cycle. What needs to take place is full Website Optimization to improve the conversion rates, not just incoming traffic.
Improving Conversion Rates
What if you take the money you spend for a month and concentrate the money on improving the website with the sole focus on improving conversions rates?
How do you do that?
First you have to set up a system to see who is coming to your website and see what they are doing. This article is not about the conversion process, but it is about taking a step backward and looking how you are conducting your online business.
Don’t be the big resort with an ad in a golf magazine and sending your prospective visitors every which way. That is not going to work.
PPC advertising is skyrocketing and so much money is spent on that type of advertising and the advertisers still are not getting right. There is so much confusion about landing pages and such.
The only thing you really to know about landing pages is to take the customer to exactly what you are advertising. That is the simplest way to understand how landing pages work. If own an e-commerce store that sells everything from Teddy bears to red shoes and you advertise red shoes, take them to the web page that has red shoes. It’s that simple.
Start with the basics. Don’t make it complicated. Of course you can have elaborate landing pages, but if you start with the basics as outlined above, you will be far ahead of the game in terms of increasing your conversion rate.
Rewarding Your Customer
When your customer takes the trouble to go from your magazine ad to your website, you need to reward them for doing so. Some people call this “throwing them a bone,” but I find this rather demeaning and insulting to dogs. When they land there (on your specific landing page) you can say, “Hey, thanks for checking us out on Golf Magazine”