Advertisers use landing pages to welcome visitors after they click (and hopefully convert the visitors too!). The efficacy of the post-click experience to propel the visitor towards your conversion goal (download, trial, buy, form, whatever your goal may be) directly relates to how meaningful the experience is for them.

So, the visitor is at the heart of landing pages, yet “the visitor” isn’t a common part of landing page conversations. Instead, a lot of time is spent talking about the mechanics of the page itself—what is on the page, what should be on the page, what template to use, what the call to action is, etc. That is all fine, but it’s a bottom up approach. Here’s a way to think about how the visitors themselves can influence your landing page strategy from the top down.

Who are your landing page visitors and what do you know about them?

When getting to know my landing page visitors, rather than tracking a million data points and risk getting lost under reams of data, there are 6 things I will look at first:

  • Bounce rate—The number of people who land and leave on your page without taking action. A high bounce rate can mean that visitor expectations are not being met when they land on your page.
  • Unique vistors—Knowing which traffic sources are driving the most unique visitors helps you prioritize where to focus your conversion resources. Plus, you will need to know this number to calculate your conversion rate anyway.
  • Goal completion rate (conversion rate)—How many visitors are taking the actions you want them to take (downloading, trying, buying, etc)? Your goal for the campaign & the page should be measured and tracked relentlessly. Calculate your conversion rate by dividing the number of completed goals by the number of unique visitors.
  • User agent string—What devices are your visitors when they land on your pages? The user agent string indicates the visitor’s operating system and will reveal when it’s time to serve up mobile-optimized pages.
  • Country/region—It’s highly likely that some portion of your traffic is local, regional, global. Depending on your market, you may want to take advantage of this by serving up region-specific experiences.
  • Traffic source—Where are your visitors coming from? To increase your conversions through high page relevancy and fantastic user experiences, you will need to know what your visitors are clicking on to arrive at your page. Strategically speaking, you’ll want to make sure the pre-click (the ads, messages and links visitors are clicking) is tightly aligned with your post-click (the landing experiences they arrive on when they click). But even mechanically speaking, you need to know your traffic sources & the unique visitors from each so you can prioritize and know where to put your efforts. (Yes, we’ve all spent time analyzing a page and desigining a test only to realize later it was for 10 unique visitors a month—ouch!).

Ok, so this is the data you know about your visitors just through any web analytics program. The thing is, visitors are far more than a bunch of data points to keep track of. When it comes to analytics we all tend to talk about visitors in the abtract—as though they are just a bunch of aggregate stats. But what they really are is far more important than a collection of data—they are human.

The human side of landing page ‘visitors’

So there are things we can know about our visitors just by having web analytics on our pages—like the things I list above. The visitors don’t actually have to do anything for us to be able to track these things. But tracking metrics has nothing to do with creating compelling user experiences that propel visitors through a conversion funnel. It’s getting to the human side of landing pages that leads to conversion success. To appeal to the humans that land on your pages it’s important to understand the following:

  • Context—Where was the user when they clicked your ad? Were they searching and clicked your PPC ad? Reading an email you delivered to their inbox? Or surfing and clicked a banner? The context for each is entirely different and the user expectation will be different depending upon where they came from and what they were doing when they clicked.
  • Message—What message did the visitor click? Really specifically what message? The message they clicked on should be echoed on the page with the same language and cues.
  • Promise—An ad is more than words and messages. It’s a promise. It says ‘click here, get this’. Does your landing page fufill that promise?
  • Motivation—What llikely motivation did the user have to click on your ad in the first place? Getting to the heart of that motiviation is the key to high conversion rates.

By really and truly putting context, message, promise and motivation at the heart of your landing page strategy you can increase your conversion rates by capitalizing on that intial interest the visitor showed when they clicked your ad. Nothing to do with what template to use, what the button should say or what color your headline is.