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As we’ve approached December a few clients have recently inquired about landing page best practices so we decided to put together a top 10 holiday landing page tips.  While several of these are recommendations are evergreen, the reality is that many of us get so busy throughout the year and fail to revisit the landing pages that are often key drivers to new prospect and customer acquisition.  Just as holidays disrupt our personal lives and schedules, they’re a great reminder that we should revisit our website and landing pages.

Holiday Landing Page Tips for 2020

1. Website Analytics: 
I know this seems obvious, but I’m surprised at how many clients don’t have any kind of web analytics installed, or even more common, how many don’t know how to use it.  Can you imagine trying to drive to a new prospects office without having a mapping application installed on your phone?  Even if you had it could you imagine not knowing how to put in a new address, or how to see if there are traffic issues ahead?  Of course you can’t because all phones automatically have native mapping systems installed out of the box, and there are many other mapping apps we use today.  Mobile navigation is so simple, and so universally common that I’ve never once gotten a call from my father asking how to use it; and I get 1-2 calls a month with questions around Excel, Photoshop, etc..

So why is it that web analytics are so commonly used?  I think it’s simply because people feel like it’s overly complicated to install, or they’re just not sure how to use them.  I say that because 15 years ago that’s exactly how I felt.  However, I was fortunate to have hired Andy, my web marketing manager at the time.  Within a couple weeks Andy had not only installed Google Analytics on our entire site, he was using it to evaluate good and poor performing pages and workflows.  

Dan Zarella, of Hubspot fame, once said, “Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed,” it’s the same for your website.  So for those of you without an Andy in your company, turn towards the web for simple to use tutorials, like this one for Google Analytics.

2. A.B.C. Testing 
We don’t live in a static world, so when it comes to holiday landing page tips, you should always be looking at testing.  In fact, we believe you should follow the ABC testing regiment, which stands for Always Be Continuously Testing.  It’s still possible to do some meaningful testing without web analytics, but there is a reason we listed that as #1.  With some sort of analytics you’ll be able to get a much deeper and more complete picture of what is and what isn’t testing.

There can be a lot to consider when it comes to testing different offers, messaging, layouts, colors, and any other element you can think of.  Early on in my career I got a rather simple, but profound piece of advice when it comes to testing.  Be patient. His clarified by telling me that I should only focus on testing one element at a time, and secondly, that I be patient with the testing period to ensure that differences I was seeing were in fact statistically relevant.

3. Know Your Purpose
Prior to putting together your evergreen or holiday landing pages you need to start first with, “What am I trying to accomplish?”  If you’re not sure, Hubspot has a great post around the different kind of landing pages you can have and what each of their purposes is.  

Regardless of which one you use, its paramount that it aligns to your leading marketing iniatives.  Whether that’s a social media post, and email, or a paid ad.  You want to make sure that what you promise in that first contact is clearly reinforced when users arrive at your holiday landing page.  If not you’re going to be wasting marketing effort and dollars as you see your bounce rates skyrocket. 

4. Eliminate Distractions
This one is simple, but it’s also often missed by many marketers.  If your goal is a squeeze page to capture an email address, then the messaging, visuals, CTA should all be consistent.  More importantly though, your page should eliminate any content, AND, links that would pull users away from the intended goal.  Marketers do a decent job of this, but often miss the most obvious distraction points… the navigation bar on your website.  

Having alternative links via the nav bar, or other, will give your visitors an offramp into pages that are not ideally optimized for your goal.  If they visit a product page that doesn’t have an optimized capture feature geared towards your goal, you run the risk of letting visitors self-select and opt out.  Your landing page should be solely geared towards your goal.  This allows you to leverage the data and testing mentioned previously to continually improve performance of each holiday landing page.

5. Personalizing Calls-to-Action
“Personalization” has been used ad nauseam over the years, but it doesn’t make it any less important.  When it comes to your CTA’s you should make sure the verbiage isn’t vanilla.  Instapage has some great data points on the effectiveness of this, but when developing non-vanilla content you should start first by putting yourself in your visitors shoes. 

You know what your goal is so ask yourself if the CTA meaningfully speaks to you as a visitor, or is it as plain and boring as most other websites you visit.  We’ve all seen “Download Now” a million different times and have conditioned ourselves to ignore it like we ignore the countless billboards we pass daily.  Think about changing it to “Get my free PDF”, or think about incorporating user-based options.  Instead of offering just one option, offer two that way they get to make the choice on the offer they’d like to see; “Get my free PDF” or “Schedule my one-on-one consultation.”

6. Be Festive…aka, Be Topical
Being topical shows your prospects that your attentive organization vs. being stagnant one.  This is a subtle nuance but it’s one that helps to lay a strong mental foundation.  Holidays are honestly one of the easiest ways to accomplish this.  You can incorporate colors, messaging, and even content that is themed around the holidays showing your clients that you’re topically aware. 

Doing this outside of the holidays is where it gets more challenging.  We’ve just come out of the crazy political season, and whereas many people will tell you to stay out of politics I’d say that’s rubbish.  Putting your flag in a specific direction may not be considered ideal, but you can still be thoughtful in the moment.  

I recently interviewed marketing guru David Meerman Scott and he shared a perfect example of this.  It was 2016, and he had been closely following the campaign trails of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  As a social media savant, David, was closely watching how Donald had created unprecedented ground swell leveraging social media to literally get billions of dollars in free exposure.  As the election night quickly proved pollsters wrong, David wrote a post outlining the strategy and/or execution of Trumps success in securing the presidency.

By next morning’s sunrise, David had surge in new site visits and he had a number of media invites asking him to come on camera to share his observations.  This was all thanks to his understanding of how important it was to be timely.  Make sure your website, and your landing pages are leveraging this feature.

7. Client Pain vs. Your Gain
The content of your landing page should speak to your potential clients pain points, not your selling points.  If you want any chance of getting your prospects to convert on your goals, you should first show them that you truly understand where they are coming from. 

It’s important to understand that pain isn’t universal, and that it’s not static.  This means you shouldn’t try and cram too many pain points into one landing page, and you should show your attentiveness by making sure to have different pain points for different kinds of years.  I worked with a major landscaping company about 10 years ago and during the holidays they understood this perfect.  In the spring their landing pages spoke of the pains of reclaiming your yard after the winter doldrums.  In summer they talked about the pains of upkeep.  In autumn they focused in on falling leaves and winter prep.  Finally, when winter rolled around their holiday landing pages talked about the pains of putting up lights.  Where every other landscaping company was laying off employees for the winter, they were able to squeeze out more profit on the holiday light installs, and then holiday light take-downs.

8. Pictures Paint a Thousand Words
If we look at the power of persuasion we know that our ability to successfully communicate is most effective in person.  Next we can look at video to be most effective, but video can also be a tricky one because it first requires the individual to click on the video to get it started, and it also is reliant on the visitor to be patient enough to watch the full piece.

A picture on the other hand can leave an impression instantly.  It does not require engagement, it does not require any real action, it simply leaves an instantaneous impression that sends the mind racing.  This racing can be filled with curiosity and intrigue, or it could be filled with instant appreciation or distaste. 

Images are tricky because they do make meaningful and emotional connections immediately, more powerful than any text on your holiday landing page.  Accordingly, you should definitely be testing different images to see which one is resonating with your audience the best.  This is important because you want to make sure that the thousands of words your visitor is thinking of when they see your image are positive, not negative.

9. Video
In the age of social distancing, video is the single greatest channel you can use to connect with people.  Whether it’s the holidays, or its February, video allows you to meaningfully resonate and connect with your audience.  When things went sideways in March we debuted our “Ask an Expert” interview series where we’d talk to Founders, CEOs and Thought Leaders about topical things happening in their space.  Each interview has it’s own landing page filled with talking points, reference links and overviews, but it’s the video itself that makes the experience so much more impactful. 

We’ve heard from several clients that actually getting to hear, and more importantly getting to listen to the nuances of each expert has resonated in a way that text or static visuals couldn’t have.  As a result, several of the concepts of the experts interviewed have shared have had a life-saving difference on some of their businesses.

10. Validation
Whether it’s video, text or peer-validated rating systems each landing page should have client and/or industry feedback on it.  Articulating actual pain points shows customer’s your genuine, but by highlighting existing customer/industry validation shows that you’re authentic in your approach.

In a humble, yet contentious, brag I’ll tell you that we do this two different ways.  Not only do we have customer testimonial videos, but we also highlight our Clutch reviews, and standing.  For those that don’t know, Clutch is essentially the Yelp equivalency to Marketing/Advertising firms where real clients post reviews about their individual experiences.  Each year they spotlight top firms and when we win recognition we make sure to highlight it on different landing pages that we publish.

As we wind down this crazy 2020, we hope these ideas help you with your holiday landing pages, as well as your evergreen ones throughout the year.  Here’s hoping that 2021 gives us all some semblance of normalcy.

Happy Holidays!
~Joshua

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