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How social is your landing page?

Most companies still use conventional “landing pages” of one page, mostly with a form, to acquire leads. These landing pages are important. They are even a ‘must’, as is the correct technology to follow up on the ‘lead’ afterwards throughout the entire conversion optimization process.

But no matter how good your landing page and no matter what kind of lead and conversion technology you use: there are new kinds of landing pages…

Let me start with a look at the average search engine advertising (SEA) or email marketing campaign. Traditionally, these ads lead to a single page where the person “landing” on it can complete an online form or perform another action you strive for.

A proper landing page is then typically a brand-consistent web page that takes the visitor further by matching the “tone”, promise and style of the call-to-action from the search engine ad or email hyperlink. And naturally it is also monitored and analyzed to ‘translate’ the behavior and actions of the visitor as much as possible into information that is useful for the company and follow-up campaigns.

Customer-centric and multi-channel landing pages: think social

But this immediate and rectilinear course of action from call-to-action to lead capturing and conversion via a landing page is no longer enough. Of course these landing pages and forms still work and should continue to be tested and optimized in a never ending conversion optimization effort. There is no magic secret to do so: it’s all about a focus on the email subscriber, visitor, fan or whatever we call people in marketing, depending on the channels we use. In this sense, optimizing landing pages is already in a way a ‘social’ effort: know what people want and seek, don’t (only) look at what you want them to find.

However, existing landing page strategies should be supplemented with new methods in these social media times.

Start with personalizing them and integrating them in customer-centric flows. And don’t be afraid to try what I would call social landing pages. Today we want all traffic to go to our web sites ultimately because that’s mostly where conversion happens.

This doesn’t mean we should only focus on direct conversion only though. Provide alternative landing pages where suited. Anyway, soon conversion will happen everywhere online, as long as the environment, technology, conditions and most of all psychological triggers and customer-centric offerings are there. People are multi-channel, so will conversion points and landing pages be.

Below you can find two simple kinds of future landing pages. The reason why I believe in them? Because I successfully tested them and could see the impact.

1. The ‘blogpost’ landing page

These days, people often “find” your site, blog and company. Via organic search results, social bookmarks, links in social networks, tweets, etc. But blog posts, which are often more relevant for the Internet user if they are valuable and which appear most in social media messages and interactions such as tweets, are also crucial. Remember that even search engines are moving towards real-time and social media driven results.

Sending traffic to blog posts via traditional channels like Google AdWords has become very expensive and working with long tail keywords, although important, is quite a job.

But a good post is the ideal landing page in the social Web if you use other traffic and sharing techniques. You must of course have relevant content but most of all relevant links in these posts to the services, white papers and products that correspond with the content. It is conversion in the second degree, but much cheaper and more efficient.

It does take some time before you find the correct techniques to have the proper ROI.

2. The ‘peer review’ landing page

Many marketers still use product-centric landing pages in their campaigns. There are also often pages where people download relevant information like white papers for example. That is fine if these are valuable, but not if the information is too commercial.

People also have much less faith in the information received by companies. So why not allow peer reviews on your site regarding your products and then use these as landing pages? I have seen that this works, often even with better conversion rates than traditional campaigns. But, again, you have to know how.

These are two examples of alternative landing pages that can improve conversion dramatically. There are more such as the ‘third party page’ and the socialized micro site to mention just a few but that’s for a later post.