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Building Effective Landing Pages

Whether you're sending a promotional email or an email newsletter, your message has specific sales or marketing goals. Most commonly the main goal of your message is to get readers to register for an event or make a purchase, or to build a relationship with readers, which hopefully leads to them making a purchase. Since readers can't take the desired action within their email, you send them to a page where they can take that action, your landing page.

Too often marketers send readers to a generic, existing page on their website instead of designing a page that is specific to the audience and the goal of their email message. Worse yet, links go to a page that doesn't house the information readers are looking for, forcing them to click further to find what they're looking for and ultimately complete a transaction. Conversion rates suffer as a result. However, a properly designed landing page can greatly increase your conversion rates.

To maximize the performance of your email messages, consider creating effective landing pages following these 10 tips as a guideline:

1. Align your landing page with the main goal of your email 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. 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, they won't convert.

5. Design for scan-ability. Just as prospects won't read every word of your email, 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.

8. If you are collecting personal information, provide a link to your privacy policy. Most online users are reluctant (for good reason) to disclose personal information without knowing how that information will be used. Be sure your privacy policy states that you do not rent, sell or share information with any other parties.

9. Test, test, test. Just like you should test your email 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.

Source: SubscriberMail

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