Web Pages: Think Twice Before Landing

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As a marketer, it is usually ideal to have visitors enter a Web site through the home page, since it was designed to drive users on a path toward conversion. Another effective marketing tactic, however, is to land visitors directly onto a sub page, where the content is most relevant to the campaign message. But since these sub pages are not always designed with conversion in mind, marketers should consider whether the landing page will succeed in driving users toward their goal. Here are a few tips to improve the flow of traffic and conversion throughout your site.

Keeping the Door Open

While traffic is key, conversion rate - and whether prospects register, buy products, etc. - is king. Retention rate is another factor to monitor that lends well to converting leads. In the offline world, a reader is never asked to begin reading at chapter four. However, a marketing piece often directs its audience onto a sub page. If not immediately presented with engaging, relevant content and enticing links, the likelihood of the user instantly exiting the site is high, meaning the visitor has been lost for good.

Calculating a page's retention - or the rate at which visitors are successfully driven to other pages within a site - can help determine whether campaign landing pages capitalize on each visitor. A high retention rate will help indicate that these potential new customers are being driven on a profitable path.

To calculate page retention, marketers can gather data from site analytic tools and refer to the number of entry page visits (x) and single access page visits (y) to the particular page in question over the same time period.

Then follow this formula:

1 - (y / x) = page retention percentage

To clarify, "y" is the total number of visitors that came to the page in question and immediately exited, and "x" is the total number of people that entered the Web site on that same sub page and may, or may not have, delved deeper.

Numeric example:

1 - (2,855 / 6,242) = 54 percent retention rate (not good)

A retention rate of 54 percent means that just 54 percent of visitors to the page in question navigated further into the Web site; the other 46 percent immediately exited the site without viewing any other pages.

When People Talk, Listen Completely

Grouping individuals by their assumed intentions is the most effective way of forming segments on a Web site and in a marketing campaign. Prior to campaign launch, use a Web analytic tool to watch the targeted segment's behavior as a group on the site. What type of content are they viewing? How many and which pages do they view prior to conversion? Where do they exit?

The answers to the above questions will help identify what works for the site's respective audiences. Pinpoint these pages or paths that "work" as the site's "goal pages," then drive the campaign audience toward their respective goal to optimize retention rate.

Shortest Distance Between Two Points

In order to do so, focus on creating call-outs, teasers and text links within the content of the entry page, nudging the user toward each goal page or optimal navigational path. Other best practice tactics include:

· Make the company contact form a global link (include it on all pages of the Web site)

· Hyperlink key terms within the content that push users onto goal pages

· Highlight the messaging from referring ad on the entry page for memory recollection

· Revise the content to ensure that it engages the users to learn more or take action.

A visitor lost is one less customer or lead. Raising retention rates should be a focal point of marketing campaigns. If the campaign's landing page succeeds in retaining visitors on the Web site, so will the rate at which company goals are obtained online.

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