Landing page optimization is one of the most under-appreciated ways to increase online sales dramatically. Even an uptick in conversions by .1% can add tens of thousands to your store’s total online sales each year. To help get the word out, we sat down with Oli Gardner, Director of Marketing & Founder of Unbounce.com, a company that provides web-based landing page optimization and analytics software.
1. Why is landing page optimization so important for online retailers to do?
Oli: Online retailers typically have hundreds or thousands of products (consider Amazon for example). Each of these pages contains a product for sale, but is essentially the same page in terms of it’s templated layout, design and messaging. Every page that lives inside a website (as opposed to a standalone targeted landing page) can have 10s to 100s of leaks in it – links or ads that can draw peoples attention away from your goal of selling a particular product.
If you imagine this happening to one product – then multiply that by the number of products you’re selling, that’s a lot of missed opportunities. Therefore every extra % conversion point you can squeeze out of your pages can have a big multiplicative effect on your bottom line.
You can think of an un-optimized page like a 5-lane bridge. 2 lanes have cars driving happily across the bridge to the other side (ConversionLand) while the other 3 lanes end abruptly causing the cars to plunge into the water – in other words, leaving your page/site. By fixing one lane (removing distractions like ads, extra links etc.) you are optimizing your page.
2. What’s the main reason why so many online retailers don’t invest resources into landing page optimization, and how does Unbounce help solve that problem?
Oli: There are a couple of factors that prevent retailers from investing in optimization:
- I.T. bottlenecks: marketing is often impulsive, and getting pages created or changed to reflect a special offer can be a big challenge when dealing with busy I.T. and software development teams, taking weeks instead of what should often take minutes.
- Fear of cost: Many retail owners don’t want the risk of spending money on something they don’t really understand. For these people, I’d recommend they read this post which explains the economics of conversion optimization.
- Lack of expertise: Conversion is a lot harder than people think, and it pays to invest in getting some expert advice from a trained optimization specialist (either consultant or company). Some companies will try to do it themselves and after getting lackluster results, they give up and move onto something else, which is a shame for any business.
Unbounce solves these problems in a number of ways:
1. By being a completely hosted solution, we place the responsibility of creating, publishing and A/B testing pages directly in the hands of marketers – removing the need for I.T. or development.
2. Targeted at the small to mid-sized market, Unbounce provides a monthly cost-effective way to operate an optimization program.
3. We have a network of talented optimization specialists that we recommend to our customers to help them get the advice and help they need.
3. What are a few best practices online retailers can use now to start optimizing their landing pages?
Oli: One of the best practices you can learn to adopt is to listen to your customers. There are numerous feedback tools available that can be added to your important pages to learn what barriers your potential customers are facing – which can be fed back into an A/B test to optimize your page.
- If you’re running promotions (seasonal for example) – then you shouldn’t be sending your traffic to your leaky, distracting product pages directly. By using a standalone landing page that has only one message, one purpose and one call to action can focus attention on the task at hand, effectively warming the prospect up, and building interest in your product and any offer you are promoting. This is the point that you should send them on to your product page.
- Take advantage of the post-conversion experience. This is the most overlooked part of most retail sites. Once someone has made a purchase from you, you have confirmed their interest, so take the opportunity to ask for a little extra from them. This could be to follow you on one or more of your social networks (to keep them in your sphere of influence), or to present them with a time-limited discount offer to bring them back to your site again.
- For further reading I’d start with these 2 blog posts: The 12-Step Landing Page Rehab Program & 101 Landing Page Optimization Tips.
Get Started with a Free Trial of Unbounce
If you’d like to start improving your conversions and creating landing pages for your retail marketing campaigns, you can get a 30-day free trial of any Unbounce account. You will also get 50% off any plan if you enter the coupon code “cpcstrategy503″ on the second page of the signup process.
Full disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. We just know the impact landing page optimization can make to our client’s online sales and wanted to share that with you.
Do you have any experiences with landing page optimization? Share your thoughts below.