If you are spending money for advertising, either traditional or on-line, there is a lesson to be learned from my recent experience with the mail order pharmacy from hell.
I arrived home the other day after work, and there was a message on the machine from my new mail order pharmacy informing me that there was a delay in filling my prescription, with a number to call. This was following the harrowing experience I had with the first prescription I submitted to them the previous week.
The next morning, I dutifully called the 800 number, and it only took me 20 minutes to get through to a rep. It probably would have taken longer, but I finally hit the ‘0’ button after answering a fair number of questions, and confirming at least 1/2 dozen facts about my identity.
When the rep came on the line, I had to spend another 10 minutes mostly answering the same questions to confirm my identity. I was wondering if it would be any less secure if the rep could harvest the answers that I just entered through the automated process.
Finally, we were ready to get down to business. I explained to the rep that I had found a call on my machine last night when I returned from work, that it had said one of my prescriptions was being delayed, and to call this number.
Amazingly, after checking his system, the rep told me that he could not access my records, because I had a different plan. ‘You will have to call another number instead. But if you would like, I can transfer you. Is there anything else I can help you with today?’
Eventually, I received the information I needed, but that’s not the reason I’m telling this story. This is actually a post about landing pages.
Have you ever read an ad that seemed to offer something you really needed, and then went on to direct you to the company’s website? Or better yet, you clicked through from an on-line ad that held a similar promise (an e-mail, banner ad, search ad or whatever)?
You arrive at the home page of the company’s website, and it has all sorts of information about the company and its products, but the subject of the ad seems nowhere to be found. Perhaps, after considerable searching, you find a link to the topic you are looking for, buried on a menu somewhere. Or perhaps, its a submenu item on one of twelve dropdowns on the page. Or perhaps, there is no reference at all. Does that sound a little like my call to the pharmacy?
Contrast that with another experience I had a while back, where I called someone I met at a conference recently, and I wasn’t sure he would remember me. I was a little apprehensive as the phone rang, but after I identified myself, he says ‘Hi, Alan. Wow, that was some conference.’ Amazingly, I didn’t have to explain who I was.
A landing page is nothing but an ordinary web page, except it is designed to complement a specific ad. If the e-mail I received is about low cost widgets, the landing page will have a headline and copy about low cost widgets, and it won’t go into the other 33,000 products your company offers. It may have an offer related to lost cost widgets, and a call to action, such as a phone number or short formlet.
To be fair, many landing pages also include other content such as testimonials, videos, company background and the like. These ancillary elements may be at the bottom of the page or in the right column, away from the main flow, for prospects that need to know more about you before they call. But everything on the landing page is optimized for one purpose — to provide a smooth and coherent transition from where you were to the next step in the sales process.
To me as a consumer, that’s a good thing.