Optimising For Micro-Moments With Targeted Landing Pages
In part two of his micro-moments series, Alex Minchin explains how businesses can use landing pages to generate more leads
Landing pages are an absolutely essential part of your inbound marketing mix, helping to provide a relevant, targeted and personalised experience tailored to your customer’s intent. For those of you who don’t know, a landing page is simply a web page that serves as the entry point for a website or particular section of a website.
Hubspot conducted some research across 7,000 businesses and found that, whilst most companies don’t see an increase in leads when increasing their total number of landing pages from 1-5 to 6-10, companies do see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.
Even more interesting is that this figure spikes massively when increased to 40 or more. This data also correlates to the number of leads generated.
The data is hard to argue with:
More landing pages = more leads.
Why do landing pages generate more leads?
The question is a valid one, so here are three reasons to help clear the air:
- More landing pages means more opportunities for your potential customers to enter your website. You benefit from more content with more scope to implement SEO tactics that can help to generate increased traffic through relevant keywords.
- Landing pages are more specific to the user’s direct request. E.g. If your customer is looking specifically for ‘accommodation in the Peak District’, you don’t want to send them to a generic page offering European city breaks, since it doesn’t match their request.
- Landing pages enable you to target an audience segment more effectively. If I have three landing pages (cottages, pet-friendly, and campsites), I can target three individual audiences with specific desires/needs. If I wrapped these up into one single landing page, I could still target all three segments, but roughly only a third of the page would be relevant to each one, lowering my engagement and chances of conversion.
So how can we optimise landing pages for micro-moments? The first thing we have to do is recap what the intention of the customer is. They’re going to fall into one of four categories:
- I want to know
- I want to go
- I want to do
- I want to buy
Let’s deal with each one individually.
I want to know:
Consumers today are reaching for their smartphones in the moment, to search for answers. What’s the weather like tomorrow? What is the difference between soy sauce and tamari? What are the best dog-friendly hotels near Bakewell?
Google believe that consumers do this to shorten or reduce their purchase journey. In fact, “90% of smartphone users say that they’ve used their phone to make progress toward a long-term goal or multi-step process while out and about.”
What are your customers searching for? What answers do they need? Consider the purchasing journey for your audience and work backwards toward the initial questions that might help your audience.
Continuing with our B&B owner, Jennifer, I’ve outlined some examples below:
|B&B/Hotel||What are the best walks in [location]?
Where is the Peak District?Why is the Peak District a popular tourist destination?Why is the Peak District so important?Why go to the Peak District?
The examples above are all research terms, not completely specific to the example business. In this instance, the consumer is trying to educate themselves independent of any supplier at this point. It’s critical that you do not try to hard sell here, but instead offer valuable content that helps to answer their specific question(s).
Use AnswerThePublic.com to identify questions that are related to your product or service. Enter your keyword into the search box and hit ‘enter’. This will deliver a wheel of potential terms. Whilst the wheel looks cool, I find it’s better to switch to ‘data’ view to get a clearer look at the terms.
Another tactic is to scour forums that are related to your business, and invest time into understanding what people are wanting to know. Collate these into a spreadsheet or document so that you can check for any popular questions. Social media can also provide similar insights. Places like Quora and Reddit can be immensely powerful too.
You should be able to quite quickly assemble a list of questions that are research-led and that require non-salesy answers.
I want to go:
This is the moment where your potential customer is looking for a connection to the physical world. They are interested in going somewhere.
This could apply to showing clear stock levels to encourage an in-store pickup, or it could mean providing clear directions on how to get somewhere, with opening times clearly shown.
SEO and PPC can play a big part here, ensuring that your brand is visible when your customer comes looking. I-want-to-go queries are likely to be narrowed down to a particular area, since the want has already been identified.
“Near me/X” searches
The number of searches for things ‘near me’ has exploded in recent years, with most of the queries coming from mobile devices according to Google:
“Words like “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby” are increasingly common across the billions of queries on Google every month. More and more, people are looking for things in their vicinity—be it a gym or a mall, a plumber, or a cup of coffee. Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority come from mobile—80% in Q4 2014.”
These searches are intent-rich and are more generic (hotels near [location], restaurants near me) with convenience being prioritised over brand loyalty. Smart businesses, where in-store custom is of critical importance, are tweaking their location bid adjustments on PPC platforms, to show search and display ads to people who are within a certain distance from their stores.
Your landing pages should capitalise on these moments, offering information that helps your customer to build a picture of what’s available to them. In the case of Jennifer’s business, she might create a landing page on walking routes, places to eat, places to visit, attractions, and others.
- Walking routes near me (for those in the area already, but who could visit her pub/B&B for something to eat)
- Walking routes near Bakewell (for those who haven’t yet journeyed, but who might be looking for suitable accommodation)
I want to do:
Micro-moments that occur when we’re ready to do something are made so much easier in the world of smartphones. Gone are the days when we need to trawl through an instruction manual, seek out an expert, or just… guess. We simply reach for our smartphone and make a ‘how to’ search, load up a YouTube video or step-by-step guide, and we’re away!
‘How to’ searches on YouTube are growing 70% year on year and this is set to continue. With easier access to fast internet, technology advances, and lower costs of production, it’s no wonder why 67% of millennials agree that they can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn5.
Improve your landing pages by answering the I-want-to-do needs of your customers. This doesn’t always have to be limited to a ‘how to’ search, in my opinion. It can be anything that provides utility and/or instructional guidance to your audience.
In the case of our example business, Jennifer might answer questions on:
- How to reach the Peak District from London
- How to get to the Peak District
- What to pack for a weekend in the Peak District
Landing pages can be geared to answer such questions by creating a journey or reference tool for the user. As we’re well aware now, sub-standard or average content is just not going to cut it. As marketers, we need to be thinking about 10x content if we want to really stand out from the crowd.
Rand Fishkin from Moz outlines 10x content as having the following criteria:
- Provides a uniquely positive user experience through the user interface, visuals, layout, fonts, patterns, etc.
- Delivers content that is some substantive combination of high-quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting, and remarkable
- Is considerably different in scope and detail from other works on similar topics
- Loads quickly and is usable on any device or browser
- Creates an emotional response of awe, surprise, joy, anticipation, and/or admiration
- Has achieved an impressive quantity of amplification (through shares on social networks and/or links)
- Solves a problem or answers a question by providing comprehensive, accurate, exceptional information or resources.
I want to buy:
Hands up who has ever reached for their smartphone to double-check a purchase before making it? Perhaps to compare two items to find out why there is a difference in price, to find a comparison, to see what reviews are available. We’re more connected, more knowledgeable, and more empowered with our phones by our side.
Here are some strategies to consider when trying to connect with your customers through landing pages:
The knowledgeable buyer
I believe that, even though as humans we buy primarily with emotion, we’re making more rational decisions when it comes to purchasing. I cannot remember the last time I bought anything of significance without first looking it up.
Just last weekend in fact, I picked up a steam mop in the January sales. Our household has needed one for a while, but if it wasn’t for the 4/5 star reviews from a significant customer sample, aligned with the 40% saving in price, I probably would have put it down since it was only by chance that I’d seen it. The information I gleamed in just a few moments of research helped me to make my decision – maybe that’s just the geek in me though J
Landing pages should prepare themselves for the knowledgeable buyer. Where those purchasing decisions are made, we should look to help affirm a customer’s decision to buy from us.
How can we achieve this? Here are a few ideas:
Social proof is referenced in the famous and must-read book, ‘Influence’, by Dr Robert Cialdini. It’s based around the proven theory that popular or busy places/products/services attract us as consumers. A busy restaurant is a good restaurant. A large crowd listening and engaging with one band would attract us more than the band playing to family and friends on the next stage. We’re programmed to follow the crowd and seek proof.
In terms of landing pages, a well placed testimonial or clearly visible reviews are a great place to start. Three other examples of social proof include:
- Expert/authority endorsement – Rave reviews or usage by a leader, expert, or prominent figure will increase the likelihood that others will also trust you. You see this a lot within the movie industry, with comments from top critics and publications often supporting a trailer for a new release.
- Celebrity endorsement – similar to expert authority, a celebrity or athlete endorsement can really ramp up sales. If a top celebrity likes/uses your product, you can bet their fan base will want to give it a try too.
- Crowd proof – Where experts and celebrities aren’t available, you can beat your chest about the numbers to encourage people to join the masses. In 2016, Jaguar Land Rover sold more than one car every minute. Ryanair flew over 9 million people to their chosen destinations in December 2016. Those numbers are not only staggering, but build inherent trust. If it’s good enough for that many people, then they must be doing something right.
The framing effect
If you’re not the cheapest on the market or have a higher price point, framing is an excellent way of positioning your value to a potential customer. Framing is an example of cognitive-bias – where people react to a particular choice as a gain or a loss.
Nespresso is a fantastic example of a product that re-framed the way it attracted customers. As coffee from a supermarket goes, Nespresso are not cheap. At an average of say £0.24p and around 6g of coffee per cup, it would be easy to see better value in buying a 200g jar of instant coffee. After all, you’ll get many more cups for the same price.
Compare this to your daily coffee at Starbucks or Costa, for example, and now it starts to make a whole lot more sense. £0.24p per cup is much more attractive than paying 10x that price for a similar outcome. All of sudden, Nespresso starts to look like great value.
A similar example can be seen with M&S’s popular ‘Dine in for £10’ offer. A main meal, a dessert, and a bottle of wine for £10 isn’t actually that good value when you compare the choices at a supermarket. You might make a small saving, but then you’re limited to the offer choices.
Compare this to eating out at a restaurant, where you’re likely to pay at least twice as much, and it starts to look like a great saving. Your decision-making process has been re-framed to look at the offer in a different light.
Consider how your product or service compares with other options, and experiment with testing it out on a landing page to see if you experience an uplift in sales. What can your product or service be compared to, to give you a comparable advantage?
The aspirational end goal
As humans, we purchase things that will improve us or that will reduce our risk. We rarely purchase things for what they are, but rather the outcome they provide. “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole”, is perhaps the most famous example of them all. Similarly;
- We don’t want to buy aeroplane tickets, we want the feeling of warm equatorial air, energising sun, and the feeling of warm ocean lapping over our feet.
- We often don’t want the sports car. Instead we want to be noticed and labelled in a particular way, perhaps as successful and exciting.
- I don’t know of anybody who likes paying for insurance, but the peace of mind it brings knowing that your family will be OK, is worth the investment.
What do your customers really buy your products and services for? I know that our customers probably don’t wake up thinking, “I really want to buy digital marketing services today!”. Instead they are focused on what they want their business to achieve – more leads and faster growth – and digital marketing is part of that puzzle.
Your landing pages should reflect the desired outcome that your customer seeks. You can achieve this by:
- Introducing tasteful imagery that appeals to your customer and their end-goal. Avoid cheesy stock imagery that doesn’t depict real life. Millennials see right through it, and prefer to connect more personally with brands that generations before them, says a report by Boston Consulting Group.
- Use the power of language to evoke memories and to stir emotion. Words are arguably the most powerful marketing tool we have, so pay special attention to the choices that you make. Focus on the benefits to your customer, firstly, and then the features. Here are 13 case studies that prove the power of words.
Landing pages are often the first and last point of contact you have with your customers, and if you’re not continuously asking questions, analysing results, and testing new theories, you’re missing a trick.
Alex Minchin is founder and director of SEO agency Zest Digital