Imagine the following scenario . . . You're selling a product and want to generate leads. So you send an e-mail to an appropriate list in which you offer a must-read White Paper, guide, or report loaded with valuable information.
All the reader has to do is download the document from your Web site. In your e-mail you provide a "hot link" (a live, linked URL) for them to click on. The link automatically takes the reader to a specific page on your Web site.
In the jargon of electronic direct mail this page is called the "landing page" or "jump page." (In other words, it's the Web page you land at, or jump to, from the e-mail.)
Why is it so important to create a special Web page for the e-mail reader to visit? Why can't you simply send the prospect to your home page and make the offer a clickable item there?
Well, first of all, if you dump potential customers onto your home page, they could get lost. They could have trouble finding your offer and might give up. Or they might see something else of interest on your site and click away to that. Hey. You don't want them randomly browsing your site. You want them to respond to your specific offer!
The bottom line? When you send the reader to a landing page, you're in control. Which is where a direct response writer always wants to be.
Exactly what should you do on your landing page? Keep reading and I'll share a few ideas with you.
1. Thank the reader for responding.
You can begin your landing page with a brief headline like: "Thanks so much for responding to the e-mail we recently sent you!" This maintains continuity of communication. When they get to the landing page and see this message, they know they're in the right place and that they're at a special page created just for them.
2. Capture crucial data.
The whole idea of lead generation is to get people to raise their hands and indicate some level of interest, however modest. When they identify themselves, by responding to your offer, they enter the sales funnel. Then, you begin the job of converting prospects into buyers. This means that before they get to download your White Paper, your demo, or whatever, they must provide some information about themselves. Beginners think that you should let people take advantage of the offer without having to provide the info you're after. Wrong!
3. Don't ask too much of them.
Ask for the minimum information you need. Maybe name, title, company, and e-mail address. The fact you need to remember is that the more information you ask for, the more you'll turn people off. Never ask people, at this stage, when they're planning to make a purchase or what their budget is. Way too pushy!
4. Provide a promise of privacy and make your policy clear.
5. Keep the copy short.
The landing page is not the place to write a novel. Thank them. Convince them that their data will be kept private. Thank them again. Let them click to the download. Get out.
6. Use different landing pages to test different offers and creative treatments.
You can test variables by sending prospects to unique landing pages. Just measure the click through rate and you'll find out fast what works best. E-mail is much underused as a testing medium.
7. Don't forget to follow up.
After people take advantage of the offer on your landing page, work those leads! You should have follow-up messages ready to roll automatically. The whole idea of lead generation is to capture contact data and then press ahead with e-mail, postal mail, telemarketing, whatever. Failing to follow up aggressively is a big (and common) mistake!
The take-away message? Creating a great e-mail is crucial, but so is providing a landing page that does its job . . . getting the crucial data you need to begin an ongoing marketing effort.
Ivan Levison is an award-winning freelance direct response copywriter who creates direct mail sales letters, e-mails, and ads. For a free subscription to his informative monthly e-mail newsletter for marketers, visit http://www.levison.com