They just often don’t work.
Now, before you get defensive on their behalf, we don’t mean landing pages don’t ever work.
But we often see business owners being ripped off by digital marketing agencies using landing pages improperly as cheap alternatives that don’t deliver.
Let’s kick things off by defining a ‘landing page’. Landing pages are a single web page that appears when a user clicks on an ad or an SEO optimisation search result. They are often touted by advertisers who say that by using only a single landing page, they’ll create something like a social media marketing campaign that will use a landing page to generate hundreds, or even thousands, of leads for your business. But does that really work?
Why Landing Pages Can Be a Ripoff
Here’s the most common scenario: you want help with your marketing, and figure that some form of digital marketing is what you need. At the same time, some marketing agency (or freelancer) wants to sell Google Ads and be paid either a commission or a fee for doing so. They’ve read all about funnels and high-converting landing pages. Website design takes time and costs money, so they hatch an alternative plan. They subscribe to something like Optimizely, slap some copy and a contact form on a template and they’re away. They start delivering pages to you as a “digital marketing solution” and charging you through Google Ads.
You, as their customer, often don’t own that page (or in many cases the account itself). Your customers can then be exposed to an off-brand page with limited information and bland copy, and are then expected to hand over their personal details. They are offered no links to your website, can learn nothing about your business, and are otherwise trapped on that page. They leave and you never see them again.
In the most extreme examples, we’ve seen entire websites built using these drag-and-drop systems. Maybe they realised the pages were easier to make. But they doomed you to a website devoid of SEO and trapped dumping a large amount of cash into under-performing Google Ads.
Then there are certain products that just don’t work with landing pages. With complex products, people want to read reviews, get the specifics, and find comparisons. This just isn’t possible with a static landing page. You also don’t want to try and use a landing page for cold-sales. If customers have no idea who you are, then it’s unlikely a landing page will build up enough trust for them to spend money on you.
Can Landing Pages Work as Part of Your Digital Marketing?
Sure, anything has the chance of working, but is it the most likely thing to work? Sure, it’s easy to caught up in the hype of increasing conversions by using an orange-coloured button or a green arrow point to the contact form or removing all links and menus from the page. But is that seriously the best possible strategy?
Here’s our advice: think very carefully about whether a landing page is a good experience for your customers.
Instead of trying to force a customer into your conversion funnel, try building some rapport. After all, you wouldn’t approach a stranger on the street and demand they buy your product. In reality, they’d typically respond with an abrupt “who the hell are you?”.
In our view, landing pages only work in a very narrow window. If you’re emailing a list of customers you regularly talk to and engage with, maybe sending them to a landing page to present your latest offer on a distraction-free page will work. In most cases, we see Google Ads and Facebook ads sending people to a disastrous looking page, often with a fake countdown timer and completely lacking any attractive offer. Most have little or no copy describing – let alone selling – anything vaguely emotional.
What Can Be Used Instead of Landing Pages?
Or, put better, is there a superior form of landing page? Well, yes, there is. At Ronin, we build real engagement with your prospective customers by simply creating a page that people land on and focus on a few other things to drive people to it. Firstly, by building your audience on social media, and on the flip side, building real content that vastly improves your SEO so that you are found via Google.
Importantly, the classic marketing principles still apply – you need multiple touchpoints to build towards a sale. After all, why have a standalone page that’s completely unintegrated from the rest of your website? Most people want to explore and get a sense of your credibility before buying. On top of that, Google wants to see signals that people consider your content to be valuable, and part of that is demonstrated by visitors moving around your website, as it signals you have good content and thus enhances your SEO.
A good digital marketing agency will blend a number of these tactics together for you in a way that would build positive feelings and desire around your products and brand.