Thursday, December 18, 2008

Content Strategy Can Help Kick Your Landing Page Addiction

Two things that bug me the most are doing unnecessary work and doing redundant work. Both drive me crazy and both come into play when talking about content strategy and custom landing pages. By custom landing pages, I’m referring to stand-alone (not part of your main Web site) Web pages that are built to support an individual marketing campaign or product launch. Traffic is driven to these pages by adding links to ad campaigns, emails, online banners etc.

My gripe is that most of these pages are not needed and redundant. In almost all cases, there is a page for this product on the company’s Web site. But for many reasons, the marketing group decides to create a new page, rather than use the page they already have.

Here’s how the break room conversation usually goes:

“Hey, I see you guys built a landing page for your big promo for our left-handed rakes. Why didn’t you just point that traffic to the product page that we just updated last month?”

“Well, that page is dull and boring. We wanted something with more compelling and flashy content. Ya’ know, something fun and catchy. The landing page has video!”

“OK, but didn’t you guys work on, and approve, the content for the product page we have on the site?”

“Sure, but that’s just a, ya know, normal Web page. We really don’t pay too much attention to what goes there as long as the facts are correct. The landing page is like, advertising.”

“So why do we have product pages on the Web site?”

“Dude. If we didn’t have product pages on the site, what else would we have?”

“But how will our customers ever find the product page if we don’t do anything to drive traffic there?”

“I dunno? Hey, we could put a link on the landing page!”

“No! The product page should BE the landing page!”

“Now you’re just talking crazy talk. We can’t put that kind of content on the Web site. Oooo donuts…”

Sure you can have fun, compelling, “advertising like” content on your site. But nobody thinks to ask for it.

A good content strategist will ask the missing questions:

  • Why is this page in the design?
  • How is it going to be used?
  • How is anyone ever going to find this page?

If your product pages are too dull, flat, and inflexible to be used as landing pages for and ad campaign it’s way past time to fix the product pages! Building custom landing pages just costs a lot of money and hides the problem. If the content is really that good, then use it on your main site.

When you understand why each page on the site exists, you can do a better job of designing the content to serve that purpose. Product pages are supposed to sell the product! So of course they should be like advertising. If it takes video and funny, casual content to sell your product, put that stuff on your product page!

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