July 21, 2015: One of the most direct ways B2B marketers can improve SEO, PPC, and ultimately lead generation initiatives is through the development of landing pages, designed to showcase individual content marketing assets.
Basically, every content marketing asset can serve as an opportunity to be found in search results. As such, they need a unique place online, through the B2B organization’s website, to serve as a “home base” for lead generation and search visibility.
Why build individual landing pages? Consider the following benefits (among others):
- An opportunity to define a unique keyword strategy for SEO, or support an existing strategy.
- A place to drive PPC, remarketing and / or social media advertising campaigns.
- A mechanism for collecting form submissions and / or nurturing existing prospects and customers.
With these reasons in mind, here are eleven key factors that help influence and improve landing page development for B2B online marketing campaigns. Landing page elements in summary:
- The Offer
- Call to Action / Action Words
- Forms (Contact, Registration, etc.)
- Sales Readiness
- Keyword Strategy
- Web Page Tagging
- Body Copy / Layout
- Use of Images
- Social Media / User Sharing
- Conversion Tracking
In this post, we’ll go through each factor, explaining their importance and influence on search engine marketing and lead generation success.
The hard part is finding (or creating) something at your company that you can offer for free and/or that is truly compelling and valuable (IE, the content marketing asset). While I recently wrote a post detailing the type of conversion actions B2B marketers should consider, here is a list revisiting potential options in offer development:
- White Paper Downloads / Requests
- Independent Research Reports
- Third Party Studies
- Analyst Reports / Collateral
- Webinar Registrations
- Podcast Subscriptions
- Email Newsletter Sign-Ups
- Traditional Newsletters
- Daily Blog Updates
- Company Updates
- “Premium” Content or Subscription Based Content
Don’t forget classic, more sales-oriented offer communication:
- Request a Quote
- Request a Demo
- Request an Evaluation
- Free Trial
- Free Download
- Free Evaluation
- Technical Specifications Requests
- Requests for Proposal
- Contact Sales
- General Contact Request
The offer is what leads visitors to provide key buyer-specific details, by identifying information collected in form submissions (more on that in a bit).
Call to Action Messaging and Verbiage
The Call To Action and the words associated with it will obviously be closely tied to the “Offer” you have developed. This is the set of actions that lead to form submission likelihood.
As a variable to test, consider rotating a number of the following (as long as they are synonymous; this list is unformatted for expediency):
Don’t forget layering action words within buttons and other graphics. Consider testing color, font, and size, among other characteristics, when building your call to action messaging.
Contact & Registration Forms
Our experience has shown that a lead generation Landing Page always benefits from having a submission form on the page, in the right margin, aligned to the top of the page’s heading. That said, it’s always a good exercise to test position and form field elements. That said, the form submission represents the key opportunity to collect lead generation information.
You can experiment with the length of the forms / the number of form fields to see what generates the best results. The “best results” do not necessarily translate into the highest number of conversions; the number of Quality/Qualified Leads is usually the key metric (though there is something to be said for allowing more overall leads into the system if you have a sophisticated lead nurturing program in place).
When it comes to establishing field requirements, the first step is in determining how close the content marketing asset is towards driving a sales discussion. The reason we ask this question is to determine the requirements needed for a website visitor to access the content marketing asset.
- Should a form submission be required?
- If so, how complex should the form submission be, in terms of field requirements and information requested?
While “Request a Quote” inquires certainly assume a close proximity to sales, the objectives of a request for a content marketing asset can be nebulous. Bottom-line, its important to send qualified leads to sales. Otherwise, you risk frustration from both the sales team and website visitors that aren’t ready to make sales decisions.
The team at Eloqua has a nice grid-like infographic comparing buyer objectives and business objectives in relation to content marketing assets types, which can be used for support and reference.
Having a keyword strategy in mind provides direction in on-page optimization and cross-link development, ultimately supporting organic and paid search engine marketing initiatives, .
We often consider the following questions when defining keyword strategy on a per asset basis:
- What core keyword themes does the content marketing asset support?
- Is there a viable long-tail keyword opportunity that can be implemented as well?
Ranking for an individual phrase, especially a highly competitive one, can be difficult with one content marketing asset. Consider focusing on supporting a competitive keyword theme by cross-linking content marketing assets between core solutions and related landing pages.
Web Page Tagging
Make sure basic review and keyword optimization strategies are incorporated into the tagging structure of the landing page, since these tags may have an impact on both SEO and PPC performance. A short list of web page tagging elements include:
- HTML Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- REL Canonical Tagging
- Open Graph Tags (Title, Description, URL, Image)
- Image ALT Properties
- Schema Tagging for applicable assets and information
Recommendations for most of these SEO elements can be found within this recent post on our blog.
Keep it short. Use lists & bullets to emphasize key information and takeaways, mixing in a variety of key points to see what resonates the most.
When it pertains to headings, experiment with the size, color and length of your headings. Test out punctuation – !, ?, etc. Use this as an opportunity to take some risks. Test out something branded, something generic, and something completely different.
Don’t forget integrating your keyword strategy in your heading when possible, since this is another element that can associated with both SEO and PPC program effectiveness.
Use of Images
Images are a key tool in Landing Pages design and usability, catching the viewer’s eye and directing them where to go on the page. Consider trying out images of:
- Research report covers
- Products in use
- People (happy people, professional people, different demographics, etc.)
- Awards received
- Promotional bursts
- Sample outputs (e.g. reports that your software produces, products that your equipment produces, products/services that your clients would typically produce, etc)
Testimonials and Client References
If you have customer quotes, stories, case studies, etc., consider referencing these on landing pages, to improve trust and credibility. Test out different looks using client logos, italicized quotes, key metrics, etc.
Note that space on a Landing Page can get tight, so its east to find Testimonials getting pushed to the bottom. That said, try testing how the page performs when testimonials are at the top, in the middle, and on the side of page layouts.
Social Media & User-Specific Share Functionality
While conversion opportunities are a first priority, don’t forget to provide visitors with easy to use mechanisms to further share and distribute high quality information.
Examples may include:
- Social sharing elements for popular social media platforms.
- Send / email to a friend functionality.
- Printer-friendly versions.
- Embed code, particularly for visual assets and presentations.
Finally, do you have a mechanism in place to track leads and measure conversion performance? If not, make sure to include conversion tracking into the landing page development plan.
Google Analytics goal and event tracking are a start but more B2B marketers are adopting marketing automation solutions that tie to their CRM as well. As such, the opportunity to truly connect website visitors to form submissions to sales quotes and closed wins becomes that much easier and direct.
Once these factors are in place, don’t forget to consider a testing plan for optimizing each element. The optimization of a landing page happens over time, by measuring the impact changes in each factor has, on overall conversion rates.
B2B marketers are investing significant time and resources in developing quality content marketing assets for their target audiences. Don’t forget to maximize this investment by ensuring there is a benefit to SEO, PPC, and lead generation initiatives as well.