Unfortunately, there seems to be a major disconnect between the importance of landing pages and their use by marketers. According to MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook (2nd edition), 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the business’ homepage, not a special landing page . Furthermore, of the B2B companies that are using landing pages, 62% have six or fewer total landing pages .
Landing pages are the heart and soul of an inbound marketer’s lead generation efforts, so why are they still so underutilized? MarketingSherpa cites that the number one reason businesses don’t use landing pages is because their marketing department doesn’t know how to set them up or they are too overloaded.
But let’s put a stop to this, shall we, marketers? Landing pages are much too critical to the success of your lead generation efforts to sweep under the rug, and here’s why.
What is a Landing Page?
First, let’s start with a simple definition:
A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead-capture form (AKA a conversion form).
A good landing page will target a particular audience, such as traffic from an email campaign promoting a particular ebook, or visitors who click on a pay-per-click ad promoting your webinar. You can build landing pages that allow visitors to download your content offers (ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, etc.), or redeem other marketing offers such as free trials, demos, or coupons for your product. Creating landing pages allows you to target your audience, offer them something of value, and convert a higher percentage of your visitors into leads, while also capturing information about who they are and what they’ve converted on.
How Landing Pages Work
For a more complete understanding of how landing pages make visitor-to-lead conversions (and reconversions) possible, let’s talk through a hypothetical scenario that will help demonstrate the simple pathway of a visitor into a lead through a landing page.
Let’s say you own a professional painting business, and your services include a variety of professional indoor and outdoor paint jobs. You’re a savvy inbound marketer, so you maintain a business blog that features articles about painting tips and tricks. You also have several more premium marketing offers like free educational ebooks on painting and free, no-obligation painting consultations.
Now let’s say a mother was looking for a professional painter to paint her new baby-to-be’s nursery but was first doing some research into color schemes. She comes across your blog post entitled “10 Popular Nursery Room Color Schemes for 2012” as a result of a Google search, and she clicks through to read it. When she reaches the bottom of the article, she notices a call-to-action (CTA), which is essentially an ad, for one of your offers — a free painting consultation to help her decide which color scheme would work best with the size and type of nursery she’s working with. “That would be valuable,” she thinks, clicking on the CTA and visiting the landing page where she can sign up for her free consultation.
The landing page provides some additional information and details about what she will get out of the free consultation, convincing her it’s worth providing her contact information on the landing page’s conversion form in order to take advantage of the offer. She submits her information, and voila! — she’s now a viable lead for your painting business with whom you can easily follow up! What’s more, she wants you to follow up with her. How fantastic does that sound?
And this isn’t the only pathway through which a visitor can travel to convert into a lead. In addition to search, visitors can find your site and its landing pages through a number of marketing channels including email, social media, PPC, direct traffic, or referral traffic. Furthermore, they can find your landing pages through calls-to-action you place throughout your website, or directly as a result of you sharing the link to those landing pages in these other marketing channels.
They key, as a marketer, is to create these landing pages in the first place, and make it easy for potential customers to find them in your various marketing efforts.
6 Reasons You Need Landing Pages
Still not convinced that landing pages can make your marketing and lead generation efforts more effective? Here are 6 more compelling reasons:
1) Easily Generate Leads! If you could do one thing right now to drastically improve your lead generation efforts, it would be to use landing pages on your website. As we mentioned earlier, too many companies send their email, social media, and search traffic to their homepages. This is the equivalent of throwing leads away. You could capture these leads at a much higher rate simply by sending them to targeted landing pages. Landing pages provide a very easy way to generate leads for your sales team that you can then easily segment, nurture, or distribute to your sales team.
2) Give Your Offers a Place to Live: Marketing offers and landing pages go hand in hand. Just think back to our painting business example. Without being gated behind landing pages, your offers will do nothing to support your lead generation efforts. The idea is to require your website visitors to ‘pay’ you in contact information for something valuable like an offer, and your landing page is the collections tool.
3) Collect Demographic Information About Your Prospects: Every time a lead completes a conversion form on a landing page, your marketing and sales team is collecting valuable information about your leads. Your marketing team can then use this information to understand what types of visitors or marketing personas are converting, and your sales team already has a baseline of information about a lead before they reach out.
4) Understand Which Prospects Are More Engaged: Landing pages not only enable you to generate new leads; they also allow you to track reconversions of existing leads, which you can then use to identify which prospects are more engaged with your business. This also enables you to collect better intelligence on your leads’ behaviors and activities on your website, which your sales team can use in the sales process.
5) Provide Fuel for Other Marketing Channels: A successful inbound marketing strategy relies on content — and lots of it. Landing pages are a great addition to any marketer’s content arsenal since they can be shared in social media, used as the focus of dedicated email sends and in lead nurturing campaigns, be linked to in PPC ads, and get found in organic search.
6) Offer Insights Into the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Offers: Every time you create a landing page, you’re creating another data asset for your marketing program. By tracking and analyzing the metrics associated with your landing pages , you can collect a lot of insight into your marketing performance, such as how your various marketing offers compare, how visitors and leads are converting on your landing pages over time, and more. This gives you powerful insight that can help you optimize and improve your marketing.