Landing pages have been around a while, but many companies seem to think this only applies to the homepage of their portal or website. Here's the thing you need to consider: wherever the user lands, via link from an ad, a search result, and email promotion, etc., is their landing page.
Therefore, it's important to consider calls to action as a site-wide initiative. What's the goal of your website? Is it to get permission to start a dialogue? Is it to share information?
Whatever the goal(s) is for your website, it should be evident and inviting on every page possible at your site. Calls to action should be consistent and relevant and whatever you choose should deliver value in exchange for the user's action.
That said, calls to action are trackable. So goals for websites built around calls to action should give you a measurement for how successful your latest web initiative is in reaching your market.
If your goal is knowledge transfer, are you tracking how many downloads of your white papers are happening? How many subscriptions you're receiving for your eNewsletter?
If your goal is to build a relationship with users, are you tracking feedback, comments, ratings, survey responses, discussion forum contributions, etc.?
That's the first step. What you do next is even more important. What do you do to build the tenuous opportunity your website has created into a productive interaction?
Here are some possibilities:
- Invite the user to participate in a call to action that they didn't choose this time.
- Follow-up with more information along the lines of what they were initially interested in.
- Post more content like what they downloaded and then tell them it's out there.
- Keep your promise about whatever they opted in for and stay on focus. For example, If I opted in to learn about Widget A in the context of environmental impact, don't start sending me stuff about politics.
- If you promise the user something, deliver it - consistently. Remember, buying is an emotional decision and it's about trust. If you invite participation and leave it one-sided, you aren't doing yourself any favors.
Marketing has always gotten a hard time about justifying budgets, but really, a website is about calls to action and inviting users, prospect, customers, vendors and staff to participate with your company in a mutually beneficial relationship. It's trackable. But only if you ask them to do something and make it compelling enough for follow-through. ROI is in the goal setting. Make sure the goals you set are in context to a website and not another marketing initiative. Relevance is important in ROI and often overlooked by adherence to outdated standards. Reshape the way ROI is monitored as the way the web has impact shifts.
Landing pages are every page at your website.
Seth Godin's post, Vocabulary: Landing Page, does a great job of summarizing what the possibilities are. And his list only has five items in it, so this really isn't as hard as you might think it is.
What are your calls to action? How can you take them to the next step?