Landing Page Strategies for Viral Marketing Campaigns - Defining Conversion

By Gregory Smyth

Laying a solid foundation is extremely important in so many areas of life. These foundations can be physical, for example in your home, but in most cases are more conceptual or metaphysical. Research, due diligence, testing and measurement are all examples of the steps involved in laying a great foundation for a myriad of business activities. Website design, and its associated internet marketing aims, is no different to any other business activity - groundwork is critical. Before undertaking search engine marketing campaigns, viral marketing or link building, internet consulting experts will tell you to start at the start! The first steps towards creating a great landing page are defining a conversion scenario, and choosing your URL - we give you the step-by-steps.

Your definition of conversion will seem obvious to you once it is stated, but having it as a clear, stated part of the plan will help guide the website design and your online marketing agency's actions with regards to the page.

If you own an e-commerce site, you might define conversion as adding items to a shopping cart and checking out. Receiving payment is a less immediate action (with processing times), so it is more useful to keep the action close to the time of the visit. If the purpose of your site is to generate leads, then you may define accepting a free offer by submitting a form as the conversion activity. If your internet marketing consultancy or viral marketing campaign manager has advised that stronger branding is needed for your site, then your conversion activity might be defined as spending longer than a set amount of time viewing the page, or interacting with the site. Supplementary research, in addition to web analytics results on time spent and page view counts, may include an intent to purchase or brand awareness study.

If you are trying to build customer relationships, then opting to receive communications from the publisher may be your conversion activity. Communications may be defined as email or print newsletters, an RSS feed or irregular updates. If you are trying to gain members to your site, then the conversion process will be complete once customers have filled out the necessary membership details, and clicked submit. Online marketing agencies know this is sometimes easier than it sounds! If viral marketing or outreach is your conversion scenario, then you might choose to measure links emailed, use of social bookmarking tools on the page, or to track blog links.

This information seems trite and obvious, but keeping this definition in mind when creating the website design of your landing pages can help boost ROI and conversions. Landing pages that are watered down with several aims, or that seem disparate from the advertising or link that led a person to click on them do not convert well.

Similar guidelines need to guide your URL selection. Your website developer will be able to help you decide whether you need a separate URL to your regular domain, whether you should personalize URLs for each target, or whether many URLs will lead to the same landing page. If you will be advertising the URL in print, for example, it should be easy to re-type, as people won't be able to click on the link or to cut and paste. Internet marketing experts recommend making your URL easy to remember, as much traffic comes from people typing an address directly into their browser.