Landing page optimization is important. It’s about presenting your best “first impression” to respondents who click on your PPC search ads, email links, affiliate promotions, banner ads, etc.
The goal is to achieve the highest conversion rate and the highest ROI. That’s a big goal. It’s the goal that the CMO cares about — is our online marketing paying off? Ultimately, it’s the goal that the CEO cares about. Businesses and careers rise or fall on the outcome.
But if that’s such a big goal, why do most of the discussions around landing page optimization start and end way down in the weeds? Sure, any one landing page is a very tactical initiative on the front-line. But those tactics aren’t executed in a vacuum. They’re enabled (or constrained):
- by the broader initiatives under which they live;
- by your organizational capabilities;
- and by your overarching strategy.
And just as these front-line tactics are directed by the higher-level strategy, they should also inform that strategy with useful intelligence and marketing learning from the battlefield. Great online marketing is a feedback loop, a virtuous cycle.
To optimize that overall mission, you need to view landing page marketing at multiple levels:
Traditional Landing Page Optimization
1. Element optimization. For any given element on a page — for instance, the headline — you can test to find the best version. This is the lowest level of landing page optimization. It’s important in the context of a particular page, but in the big scheme of things, it delivers the least overall value.
2. Page optimization. This is what is usually meant by “landing page optimization”. It’s about finding the the right combination of elements — each of which gets optimized — as well as the best layout and design of the overall page. This can have a significant impact on the performance of a specific page, and if you do this across all of your online marketing, it can contribute a noticeable bump to marketing’s overall results.
Enlightened Landing Page Optimization
3. Path optimization. However, a page is merely a single step along a path — one that starts with the ad or email that the respondent clicked on and carries through to the second and third pages the user clicks on and beyond. Optimizing the path is about message match and expectation management to make the prospect’s overall experience the best it can be. Optimizing at this level lets you leap ahead of competitors who are stuck in the disconnected underbrush of individual pages.
4. Segment optimization. But all clicks are not equal. Different respondents arrive with different needs and varying frames of reference. At this next level up, you start optimizing different paths to cater to those different audiences. At this optimization, you can reveal tremendous insights about who your customers are and how they view themselves and their interest in your company. These discoveries not only improve your conversion rate for specific paths — they can help optimize your segmentation strategy at a higher level too. Big dividends.
5. Campaign optimization. Even as “campaigns” are giving way to a more fluid marketing environment, there are still different initiatives in the field that connect certain messages, offers, audiences, and tactics with common threads. At the campaign level, landing page optimization becomes about matching the right pages and paths with the right slices of the campaign, and using the front-line results to inform and improve overall campaign effectiveness. It requires coordination and continuity. Even in large enterprises, this is where the outcomes are now visible to senior management.
Strategic Landing Page Optimization
6. Operations optimization. At this level, landing page optimization is about maximizing the efficiency of your overall landing page capabilities. How good is your landing page management for producing, organizing, and optimizing landing pages across all your different campaigns? This is about increasing your cycle speed and reducing your per-page and per-path overhead. The more optimized you can make your landing page management processes, the more optimization you can execute at the tactical levels below.
7. Strategy optimization. At the very top of the pyramid, the focus is on optimizing the big picture marketing strategy. At this level, landing page optimization becomes abstracted from the gory details, but it makes two very important contributions: (1) the option to execute highly segmented strategies and (2) the ability to quickly test strategic assumptions in micro-campaigns and to use that learning to optimize the overall strategy.
The difference between this more strategic landing page optimization and traditional landing page optimization can mean the difference between myopia (i.e., optimizing the deck chairs on the Titanic) and visionary marketing leadership.
Landing page optimization in the big picture isn’t just important. It’s very important.