From the time we are young, the importance of making a good first impression is drilled into our heads. Good first impressions lead to good opportunities, whether you’re interviewing for a new job or you’re meeting your new spouse’s family for the first time. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in your field or you’re the World’s Greatest Spouse if you make a bad first impression – that bad impression will stop your upward momentum in its tracks, and you’ll have to work that much harder to overcome it. After all – it’s certainly easy to prove your worth over a period of time, but the person interviewing you for a new job only has his or her impression of you in that short interview to go by. If you don’t manage to shine during the interview process, you’ll be passed over for the next applicant that comes down the pike.
Internet marketing works in much the same way. In fact, you might even say good first impressions are more important in marketing online than they are in any other type of more traditional media. Why? Because Internet users aren’t usually what you’d call a captive audience – at least, not one like you find stuck watching the trailers before a film or face-to-face with a print ad tacked to the door inside a bathroom stall, anyway. The average Internet user is a capricious and fickle animal that can click away from your site in a nanosecond and never think about you again. And so, to have any hope of luring them in and keeping them on your site long enough to get a conversion, you must take advantage of the full power of landing page optimization.
Landing pages are, as you may already know, any pages on your site that you drive traffic to. The term is most often used to describe pages visitors “land on” after clicking an ad or similar, but technically, ANY page a visitor first lands on in your website is a landing page. These are the digital faces you show to the world, and their job is to make a good first impression so your visitor sticks around. As in the job interview example above, your site may eventually convince someone to make a purchase after they’ve browsed around for a while and you’ve had time to impress them, but you don’t usually get much time to grab your visitor’s interest before they click away, escaping back into the wilds of the Internet, perhaps never to be seen again.
If they arrive on a properly optimized landing page, however, they just might stick around. And if they stick around… well, then you may well find yourself with more conversions than you know what to do with.
Enter Landing Page Optimization
So what exactly IS landing page optimization? Put simply, it’s the process of testing and improving your landing pages to find the combination of design and copy that yanks in the most conversions. This is most often achieved via split-testing, two of the most commonly used types of which are multivariate testing and A/B testing. When you split test a landing page, you are basically trying out different versions – a different image here, a different headline there – to see which ends up converting better. The more you test, the more data you collect to determine what works and what doesn’t, and the better your bottom line will be for it.
So next time you are getting ready to build a new landing page, or even just give an older one a makeover, remember the importance of landing page optimization, and make sure you’re doing everything you can to make a good first impression translate directly into a sale.