E-mail marketing is working. Now, about those landing pagesà

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The conversion process. Everyone's talking about it, and it takes real skill to convert leads successfully.

Research shows that e-mail conversion rates for online retailers, for example, typically stand between 1 percent and 5 percent, while some are seeing conversion rates well beyond 10 percent.

So how do you maximize your marketing budget to generate more conversions and increased return on investment for the organization?

One answer lies in the crucial interplay between e-mail marketing and landing pages. Too many marketers forget the simple premise that if someone clicks on an e-mail, he or she is looking for more information.

As a result of clicking through from the e-mail, that visitor has to be satisfied. In other words, the landing page must directly convey the information or "reward" for making the click.

How do you reward visitors?

In order to reward the visitor at the landing page, it's vital to have clear objectives in mind during the page design phase. Because landing pages have five standard "calls to action," it's necessary to decide on the primary objective for the page, and optimize the page accordingly.

These calls to action can include:

To click through

To buy

To give permission for the sending organization to follow up

To tell a friend

To learn something

In the case of e-mail marketing, the landing page should clearly have as its primary objective something directly connected to whatever was offered in the original e-mail. Essentially, the page has to close the deal.

It typically contains such Web content offers as the product, pricing, features, major selling points, and order forms and applications. To the degree the page offers the visitor a customized or personalized experience, conversion rates are more likely to rise.

Pre-fill any forms with name, shipping address, or other information that is already known. Linking integrated CRM personalization techniques to a dynamically generated Web page can be especially powerful.

Ensuring your landing page works

How? Test, test, test. With landing pages, testing is actually relatively simple, so don't over-think it. If you create two pages, and one consistently performs better than the other, use that one. Landing pages are specific, measurable offers. You can determine if they are working by adding Web metrics to measure the entire process, from opens to click throughs, to landing page conversion to the corporate site.

Analysis of this data provides powerful behavioral feedback for a campaign, and may point to areas where the interaction of e-mail, analytics and Web publishing are complementary and demonstrably boost ROI.

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