Thursday, August 14, 2008

10 landing page tips for turning visitors into customers

  1. Tell them why they should buy from you - Clarity of your value proposition is the most important factor in determining whether a customer buys from you or not. Ask the question: "Why should I buy from this site?"
  2. Keep them with with you - Protect your landing page from the #1 threat to conversions: site flow disruption. After identifying a unique and compelling value proposition, you must ensure that you express it throughout your sales process in a clear, consistent and compelling way. Eliminate site flow disruption to help maximize conversions.
  3. Don't say too much - Don't clutter your landing page with unnecessary details. Instead (a) Clearly state your key message using few words as possible. (b) Use summary descriptions, sub-headings, bulleted lists and short paragraphs. (c) Adopt a standard one-column format for easy reading.
  4. Make it simple - Improve the user experience with a site that is easy to navigate. A simple page layout that employs a clean visual and straightforward design is best. Here's how- Dos: (a) Design your site with clear hierarchy with color and contrast for easy legible text. (b) Use meaningful and high quality graphics (don't clutter) (c) Use breadcrumbs to let visitors know where they are on your site. (d) Employ a clickable logo that takes visitors to your homepage. (e) Use color to distinguish Don'ts: (a) Employ horizontal scrolling. (b)Direct links to new browser windows. (c) Have flash-based content unless required.
  5. Call to action - Focus on one primary action per screen (don't stuff too many products onto one screen). Make the call-to-action button clearly visible without having to scroll; don't bury it under pages of information. Consider using tabs or pop-up box to consolidate information.
  6. Get specific - Provide product details and a large product image while displaying incentives e.g free shipping and warranty information high on the page and close to the product. Don't discourage visitors by requiring registration to your site.
  7. Flaunt what you have - What differentiates you from your competitors? Free shipping, discounts, 2 year warranty, price protection, privacy and security, customer service? If you have it flaunt it.
  8. Search yourself - Make your site easy to navigate by helping potential customers find what they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible. A search feature box should be simple and visible with a type in-field, not a link. To help increase conversion, make sure your search results link to product pages.
  9. Rally the believers - Credibility is a true testament: people don't buy from websites, people buy from people. Thus testimonials from devout customers persuades the doubting Thomases.
  10. Let them make the choice - "Why should I buy this specific product?" Almost every e-tailer forgets about this, but it's the question that's key to the customer's mind. Prove to your customer why they should buy this over the competitor's by offering reviews, ratings and comparisons.

Head, Torso & Long Tail keywords

In 2008 has been good when it comes to keyword research. The major search engines have started to opening up in providing insight into keyword search volumes and as a result there have been a couple of great tools that can be used for conducting keyword research.

  • Microsoft has been beta testing their Ad Intelligence tool that communicates search volume based on MSN/Live Search data.

  • Google added a new layer to Google Trends where they introduced normalized search volume numbers and made updates to their keyword tool

  • Yahoo finally killed off the Overture keyword suggestion tool.

Improved tools and more accurate search volume counts should lead to better keyword research and it has, but there is still a strategy that is required for keyword selection. Over the past 12-18 months you've probably heard of the phrase long-tail, long-tail of search or long-tail keywords, well this is but one component of your keyword research that should make up your keyword strategy for your online campaigns.

Let's talk about the "keyword body" that make up an effective keyword strategy. This "body of keywords" consists of three parts; the head, the torso and the long-tail. Here's a little explanation of each component.

Head Phrases - these are more common key phrases that are more general in nature that may be used by searchers earlier on in their search experience. Due to the fact that these phrases are more general in nature you can expect to see a lot of single words that make up the head component of keyword strategy. As it relates to search, "head" words tend to have higher search volumes, are extremely competitive and have a lower conversion rate. An example of a head type word that a searcher might query in a search engine is "electrical".

Torso Phrases - torso phrases tend to be a little more specific and as a result are less competitive while still having a decent amount of search volume happening. Torso phrases tend to be better converting than head words as the searcher has refined their search looking for a more specific set of information. An example of a torso phrase that a user might type into a search engine is "electrical conduit", while it is not as general as "electrical" it is more refined and identifies a sub-topic of the head word "electrical".

Long-Tail Phrases - long-tail refers to phrases that are not nearly as common, are more specific and as a result have less search volume. The phrase "long-tail was coined by Chris Anderson in late 2004 to describe businesses that sell a large variety of unique items in small quantities. Long-tail has also been referred to as the 80/20 rule where "for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes...". When it comes to keyword research, long-tail keywords are those that tend to be very specific, consisting of 3-5+ words, are less competitive in the search results and tend to be higher converting. Using our example from above, an example of a long-tail phrase that a user might search for is "2 inch EMT electrical conduit". Youcan see how the long-tail phrases are more specific as the user gets close to making a more informed decision about their original topic of search.

Performing keyword research is more than just trying to optimize or bid on keywords that have high search volumes.

  • It's more about optimizing for the right keyword at the right time.

  • It's understanding that there is a need to optimize or bid on head, torso and long-tail phrases combined.

  • It's determining when it's best to use a sponsored campaign to augment an organic one.

  • It's understanding which phrases you target marketing are searching for as they prepare to make a purchase

  • It's understanding that there is more to keyword strategy than simply bidding on keywords or optimizing keywords.

Keyword strategy should mean looking at head, torso and long-tail keywords and seeing what is right for you and what is right for the searchers who are looking for your website and your products or services that you offer.