You spend an extensive amount of time creating just the perfect e-zine or marketing e-mail. The copy is right, the creative is on target and you know you are serving your audience. After you send the e-mail, something happens. The results are lackluster and you’re just not sure why. The problem may have nothing to do with the e-mail: The offending culprit may be your landing page.
E-mail success is based on much more than the message; it’s a combination of the message, and the location the message takes the recipient. This landing page needs to be carefully crafted to work in tandem with the content of the e-mail communication. The two in harmony can create great music, but when discord exists, the landing page can destroy a successful e-mail newsletter.
In many organizations, the landing page doesn’t get the focus that the e-zine does. Often times, its an afterthought or the recipient is merely taken to the front page of a Website. In some organizations that are too IT centric, the marketing person may have complete control of the email messaging process, but no control over the Web site of the organization. Without the ability to create a landing page that matches their marketing campaign, and faced with an onerous process, the marketer throws up their hands and decides to create a generic landing page.
Our experience has shown that taking the time to link your offer or newsletter content to the landing page will pay off. Traditional direct marketing techniques used on the landing page in combination with the e-mail can provide a rich environment for marketing success. The bottom line: Make sure you bring your reader in for a “soft landing.”
Here are our tips to make sure your visitors land well.
1. Align your landing page with the main goal of your e-mail message: A common mistake is to design a landing page that is not specific to the goal in order to appeal to a generic visitor or prospect. Just the opposite, your landing page should be highly focused. Think about your prospect and what you want him or her to do. Then design your landing page around that one goal.
2. Create a single path to your offer or newsletter content: You want to prevent visitors from wandering away from the path you want them to take. Therefore, eliminate unneeded elements, such as links to other resources, or other pages on your website. The consistent navigation bar that makes sense on a website doesn’t necessarily make sense on a landing page. You don’t want visitors to surf your site. You want them to complete the one action on which your landing page is focused.
3. Match the message and elements of your landing page with your e-mail message: For best results, repeat the headline from your e-mail at the top of your landing page. This gives visitors a feeling of familiarity and comfort. It tells them that they have arrived at the right place.
4. Keep it short and sweet If at all possible, keep all content above the fold. If visitors have to scroll to find what they’re looking for, chances are they won’t find it. And if they don’t find it, you’ll lose them.
5. Design for scan-ability: Just as recipients won’t read every word of your e-mail, they won’t read every word of your landing page either. They will quickly scan the page, looking for further information that compels them to take an action. Make sure your headlines, sub-headings and graphics enable visitors to skim your landing page’s content to quickly learn what you’re offering and how it will benefit them, and most important, make sure it clearly points out how they can easily take the desired action. If your goal is sales, point readers to a page where they can place their order right there.
6. Lead the eye: Make good use of copy, graphics and white space to lead the reader along the path to your offer. Place images next to the most important text, as readers are more likely to read this text. Use varying font sizes to convey importance. Readers will read larger text first. Use a font color to highlight specific text, but keep the number of colors used to two or three at most (including black). Anything more will be confusing for readers. Resist the temptation to use sidebars that aren’t relevant or other distracting elements.
7. If your desired action is to have the visitor fill out a form, keep it brief, and thoroughly pre-test it: Remember, this form may be just the first step of your sales process. You don’t want to scare off prospects by asking for too much information.
9. Test, test, test: Just like you should test your e-mail creative, we recommend that you test different elements and copy on your landing pages to learn what works best. You may want to consider web analytics software that allows you run A/B tests. These programs alternate the version of your landing page that visitors see, and track the results of each.
10. Track results: If you don’t know how your landing page performed, you can’t tell what worked and what didn’t work and you can’t make necessary improvements to increase performance. Landing pages are important to maximize the performance of your email marketing campaigns. Your email message and landing page should work together closely for best results.
Jordan Ayan is CEO and founder of SubcriberMail, LLC (www.subscribermail.com)