Why Aren't Your Site Visitors Buying?

They clicked, they left

By Catherine Seda Originally published Jun 1, 2004

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you're like most companies, you focus on driving trafficto your Web site via advertising. If too few visitors buy somethingonce they're there, you blame your marketing program. You maysay the media costs were too high or the clicks were junk traffic.True, some marketing campaigns will perform better than others. Butin many cases, you can improve your visitor-to-buyer conversionrate just by modifying your Web site, not your marketing.

In his e-book, How to Develop a LandingPage That Closes the Sale, Dr. Ralph F. Wilson urgesbusiness owners to evaluate their landing pages, also known asentry pages. The landing page is the page shoppers see once theyclick an online ad, a search engine listing or a banner ad, forexample. The goal of a landing page is to persuade visitors tocomplete a transaction.

Is your home page a landing page? You shouldn't consider itone. Your ad entices people to click for more information, whileyour landing page closes the sale. It shouldn't invite peopleto surf your Web site. It's a stand-alone page that hides yourmain Web site navigation. It offers few or no options other thantaking the intended action. And the copy should expand upon themessage revealed in the advertisement visitors clicked on. Keep inmind that different ads require different landing pages; eachlanding page should be customized for a particular audience.

There's more than explanatory copy at work on entry pages.According to Wilson, an effective landing page uses thepsychological factors of enhancing desire, creating a rationale,making the offer compelling, and building trust to sell a productor service.

"Never underestimate the power of emotional selling,"says Wilson. "A no-nonsense description of an offer may workfor nationally branded companies. Most companies don't havethat luxury. Today's shoppers are pressed for time and money.Address their emotional needs, and your sales will at leastdouble."

To write copy that appeals to your potential customers on anemotional level, pretend to interview them. Start with thefollowing questions: What problems are you dealing with now? How doyou want these resolved, and what are your concerns? What wouldmake you buy this solution today? Strip out the industry jargonfrom your reply for simple, results-oriented copy. This is themaking of a good entry page.

What makes a good landing page better? Unfortunately, there isno magic formula. But it's an easy question to answer: Test avariety of pages. You can change your page design, reprioritizeyour benefits, or use case studies.

The Web audience is diverse, and individuals will respond todifferent marketing messages and presentation styles. It's upto you to discover which landing pages will get your visitors tobecome your customers.

Speaker and freelance writer CatherineSeda owns an Internet marketing agency and is author of SearchEngine Advertising.

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