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Paul Rijnders

Hard Sells Need a Soft Landing (Page)

Jan 19 2011, 11:19 AM by

Are you really proud of your email marketing campaigns? Can you write newsletters that make the weak feel mighty and the strong swoon softly to your written whims? Excellent. You must be the perfect newsletter writer that I've heard so much about. Listen, though I may have my doubts about the reality of Bigfoot, Nessie and other stars of cryptozoology, I really do believe in the existence of people who write perfect newsletters.

Your newsletters are great, and I bet you have no problem getting plenty of email opens and even great click-through to your embedded links. So that's it, right? End of blog, see you next week. We should all be so lucky! Since we are only two paragraphs in, you can bet there is more to the story. What I want to talk to you about today is this: what happens after the click?

It's so important, I'll say it again. In fact, say it with me - what happens after the click? In short, if you don't carefully tune the places that your clickable links lead to, you may not be effectively converting your desired sales, leads or desired reader actions.
It's Called a Landing Page
After your email readers click-through your link, where they end up is usually some page on your website. We call the page the click leads to the landing page.
But Who Remembers Taking Off?
From link-click to landing page, your subscribers are sent on an exciting cyber-journey that lasts all of about half a second. Some will read your email in their mail client, and some will read it as a webpage. Either way, because the click happens so fast, it makes sense NOT to think of the email and landing page as two separate entities. What you want is a little consistency of scenery. The click-through experience happens fast, so it should feel like a natural, fluid transition instead of a sudden, jarring change of venue.
Make Your Emails Look More Like Your Landing Pages
I'm certainly not suggesting you redesign your whole website every time you make a new email campaign. That would be laborious and expensive. But you can make your emails look a lot more like your website. Not only does this help the user feel comfortable, it is also great in keeping your branding consistent and powerful.
But I Want the Freedom to Change My Email's Themes
I knew you were going to say that! You're the perfect newsletter writer and you know the power of capitalizing on holiday themes and using our various templates. So when your newsletter looks very different from your website, why not create a special landing page that matches your promotion? You can optimize this page's colors and theme to your current email. Don't link to it from anywhere on your site, just from the email.

A prime example would be this: You make a great newsletter for a Valentine's Day special. Create a special page with the deals, sign up box or shopping cart or whatever that is in the same theme as your email newsletter. People click your link and your offer "stays in character."

It might seem expensive to do this, but the past decade has made this kind of thing easier. Ask your web designer to establish a subdomain where you can use the many online tools to quickly mock up and publish new pages as fast as you can think them up. You can drag and drop in pictures, and components like shopping carts can be added as HTML blocks.
Don't Confuse Your Travelers - Send Them to Specific Places
You might be very proud of your website's front page, especially because you paid so much for its design. But if you are selling a specific product or service, don't assume that your readers can easily navigate to where you want them to go.

Let's say your email link says, "click here to buy our wonderful deal!" If your link clicks through to a general front page with buttons that go everywhere, how many people have time to look for that deal you mentioned two seconds ago in your email? You know your website intimately, but your readers don't. People get distracted, confused and lose interest surprisingly fast. Even if you don't design a specific landing page for that specific deal, at the very least send someone to where the deal info exists.
A Landing Page Should Be Optimized for What the Click Promised
Let's take the example of that deal. If it can't be easily found, you may have failed your subscriber. Again, don't assume they have all the time in the world to do your work for you. The more specialized the page is, the better it will convert the sale. Just give them the info they need in an uncluttered manner and an easy way to act on it. "Here is our offer. Press this button to buy it." But do this in a way that is respectful to your brand and your customer. No one likes a quick sale huckster. Give the customer a way to find out more about your company too, because they just may need that trust building exploration in their buying process.

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