March 4th, 2010
Landing pages would seem to be a fairly tedious topic of conversation; however they can often make or break campaigns. And all too often, it’s the latter. Many clients have separated marketing and web teams, leaving the IT-driven web team to produce the landing page. This can cause issues with the linkage between the creative and landing page content, less than ideal landing page structures with call-to-actions hidden below the fold and navigation bars diverting the users from the key action companies want them to take. Alternatively, it could be that the client has outsourced their landing page construction to an external agency that like to build pretty Flash-driven sites that are a nightmare from an SEO perspective and additionally, external hosting exposes the site to potential security attacks. It seems that due to the relatively short shelf-life of campaigns and thus campaign landing pages, the thinking and attention needed is not being given to the primary way of converting potential customers.
Changes are afoot though, driven by social media. Coke has announced that they will stop creating campaign sites in favour of driving people to their social media communities on Facebook and YouTube instead.
Unilever is following suit and the likes of T-mobile with their Life’s for Sharing campaign last year were already driving people to their YouTube community as the main call-to-action. And the social media sites are gearing up towards the trend: the latest news from Facebook is an Omniture partnership to provide (among others) corporate Facebook communities the web analytics expected before for campaign sites. Why the change? Well, marketers have had enough of creating disposable campaign sites (which I wholeheartedly agree with) that are dumped after the company has moved to the next quarter or the next big push they are focusing on. Secondly they want to drive people to existing communities where their audience is already, in a mindset ready to share and engage. I get that too, however am in a quandary about driving the organic rankings of social community site as opposed to the client’s own site. In my mind, only brands that are of certain size and don’t necessarily sell online would want to do that.
We are testing a best of both worlds approach instead with one of our clients (campaign due to launch in a couple of months, will keep you updated on the progress!): instead of the usual corporate landing page, we are creating a socially supercharged aggregator site. The site combines client and user created social content from YouTube, Facebook, Slideshare, Scribd etc with the client’s corporate content (trial download offers, reviews, webinars and tutorials). This way, the experience for the user coming to the site is much more valuable, the social back-links are building the SEO rankings for the client, not for social sites and hopefully, with the improved experience, the conversion rates are improved as well. I believe the future of campaign sites is social and that long-term, “green” thinking needs to be integrated into marketing.