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A prospect won’t sign up while they’re still taking off their coat

A “landing page” is simply the page where someone arrives at your website. It’s usually the home page, of course. There’s a lot of stuff out there about designing great landing pages, but these refer to pages designed specifically to receive visitors from a certain promotion, which is a different thing. And I have a problem with these articles to some extent, because I don’t believe they’re appropriate in a technical B2B environment. As is often the case with online advice, they’re discussing strategies for a simpler, consumer world, but are often treated as being appropriate for any market.

So to create a great landing page for an advert, you might typically be advised to have a great “what’s in it for me?’ headline, a strong image and a clear call to action. And if you’re trying to encourage people to send for a brochure on life insurance, that’s exactly what you should be doing.

But put yourself in the shoes of a prospect who doesn’t really know you, and who has seen your three line Google AdWords ad. Somebody who’s an engineer or scientist, who loves doing their own research and who would only request a call from your friendly sales team if they really, really had no alternative.

Are they likely to click through to your dedicated landing page, read a paragraph of text and think: “That looks nice, I’ve no idea who these people are, or even what country they’re in, but let’s fill in the form and see what happens”?

Of course not. The majority of your prospects will want to know a lot more before they fill in an enquiry form or call you. The job of your landing page is to make them think: “hmm, interesting, I’d like to know more”, while accepting they’ll then go off trying to find out more for themselves.

This could be to a page (or set of pages) which you provide as a link, or perhaps they’ll just click around your website. When they’re satisfied your product could be right for them, they’ll go and have a look at your “About Us” page to see if your company knows what it’s talking about. Then they might even go back to Google to see if they can find out anything else about your company, or perhaps to look for even more technical information on the product elsewhere.

Finally, realising that there isn’t anything else they can do to put off revealing their interest, they’ll go to your home page, find the “contact us” page, and get in touch. Or they’ll hunt down the product page for one last look. So your dedicated landing page, with its nice form, remained viewed but unused.

That didn’t mean it was a failure, however, if it quickly got over the message that you might have what they need, and that you’re interested in hearing from them. You just need to respect that they may quite likely click around all over the place (including off-site) before getting in touch, so your landing page should try to guide that process. And never forget that if the landing page for a product and the general-purpose page for that product are different pages, then it’s the latter that they’ll eventually find their way back to.

A landing page is the person at reception who welcomes the visitor and directs them to the product itself in the showroom. Of course you could greet your visitor with your top salesman clutching an order form, but you wouldn’t expect the prospect to sign up while they’re still taking off their coat, would you?

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