Technology Stewardship in Action
On Unconferences and Expectations

Getting More Bang for Your Buck--E-mail Outreach and Landing Pages

Katya Andresen of Katya's Nonprofit Marketing blog has a good post on six steps to better email outreach.

One of her pointers is to use a landing page in your e-mail. That is, have a link in your email that sends readers to a specific page in your site or blog. This is useful for a couple of reasons. First, you can easily measure the success of your email campaign by keeping track of traffic that lands there, particularly if the only way to get to the page is through your email. And second, you can customize landing pages for recipients of your emails so that the landing page really complements your email campaign.

So how to make a landing page? There are two things to consider--the marketing aspect (what should you have on the page?) and the technological aspects (how will you actually go about making the landing page?)  I talked a little about this last month when I posted about Tony Karrer's Blog Newbie Guide, but all of this bears repeating in the marketing context, I think.

What Goes On Your Landing Page?
Seth Godin, master of all things viral and marketing, says that a landing page should cause one of five actions:

  • Get a visitor to click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else's)
  • Get a visitor to buy
  • Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc.). This includes registration of course.
  • Get a visitor to tell a friend
  • (and the more subtle) Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback

According to Seth, you need to decide what you want your customer to do when they get to your landing page and then optimize your page to make that happen. He recommends trying to get a visitor to do only one, maybe two of the things from the list above--never more. So as you're putting your landing page together, you need to carefully consider what needs to be on that landing page to encourage your email visitor take one of these five actions.

For example, if you want a visitor to tell a friend, then you need to have a "Tell a Friend" button on your landing page that makes it easy for the visitor to send the information on to someone. If you want permission to follow up with the customer, then you have to give them something that will make them want you to continue contact and you have to include a form where they can sign up to be contacted again. And as always with a web-based tool, you can easily include audio, video, photos, etc. to make your message more compelling and interesting for the visitors who click through.

It's critical that you think carefully about what you're trying to accomplish with your landing page because everything you have on the  page should encourage visitors to take the specific action you've selected. A good article to check out to help you with this thinking is Digital Web Magazine's 11 Ways to Improve Web Landing Pages. This article from Taming the Beast might also be helpful.

Strategies for Making a Landing Page
When it comes to putting together a landing page, you have a few options. If you have a cooperative webmaster who's willing to throw together a quick page for you each time you run an email campaign, then that may be the way to go.If you personally know HTML and can put together a page yourself, that's another route. But for my money, the easiest way to do landing pages (and to provide yourself with the ongoing flexibility to create them) is to get yourself a Typepad Pro account.

This is one of the reasons that I think Typepad is such a great tool. If you have a Typepad Pro account ($14.95/month), you can create unlimited blogs. So each time you would need a new landing page, you would just create a new blog (it would only have one page) that you can customize completely for your email campaign.

If you'd like, you can create a design template to use each time you create a new page--probably the easiest thing to do. Or you can design something different to go with your campaign each time you need to. It's really up to you.

The beauty of this approach for me is that it puts the landing page firmly in your hands, making it easier and more likely that you will include one in your email campaign. When you have to rely on someone else to put it together for you, then it can really slow you down or make it likely that you'll just give up and send your target audience to your general website. But if you learn how to put together your own landing page, then it becomes as easy as putting together an email or a brochure. It also becomes second nature for you to include one in your email marketing.

For more info on creating landing pages, try this hack, which has step-by-step instructions for you to follow. I've used these on several occasions and have found them very easy to follow.

So what are you waiting for? Don't you have a landing page to create?


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