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Created Correctly, Landing Pages Boost Your Payoff from Publicity

by Marcia Yudkin 

I'm sure that publicists who work hard to get prestigious mentions in print publications wish there were some way to magically whisk readers who have the thought, "Gosh, this is something I'd like to buy" directly to the store counter where they can make the purchase. Online, something like this can occur when a press release and the resulting articles for the web or email newsletters contain a link bringing the reader with just a click to a page particularly designed as a followup to this publicity message.

Marketers call that special arrival point a "landing page."

Landing pages have several aspects that are useful to marketers. First, you can choose a unique landing-page address for each press release, so you can easily track the visitors coming to your site because of a certain publicity effort. When this page links to the rest of the site but the rest of the site does not contain any link to it, you know that visitors to that page must have clicked through from the release or from another page related to it.

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Second and more importantly, with a landing-page URL you can take the reader directly to a sales pitch and order form for the product or service being discussed, avoiding the distractions of web copy relating to the company in general.  Such relevance and focus ensures that visitors who are motivated to buy don't get lost or confused at a big site.

Some sites I've written for involved database-generated pages in such a way that it was not possible to provide a URL to take someone directly to a certain page or the description of the featured new product in the online catalog. Site managers imagine that visitors will arrive at their home page and either type the item in question into the search box or choose the logical navigation links to get to the right spot, several levels in. Sorry, the web doesn't work that way! 

If you can't change the setup of your site to create a landing URL, buy a new domain especially for this promotion and set up the item you're promoting there, as in www.ournewgadget.com. It can match the look of your regular site and link back there. Or insert an eye-catching box in a highly visible spot on the home page that touts the promoted item and links the reader to its full product description. The second fix for a site that can't generate landing-page URLs is far inferior to the landing page, however.

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With a landing page, people won't have passed through the home page, so make sure that they can understand who and where your company is from the landing page. In writing the landing-page copy, gear it to the action you most want visitors to take, whether that's buying your new gadget, filling out a request-for-information form, downloading a white paper or subscribing to your monthly newsletter. Provide too many options and you squander the momentum they have when clicking to this page.

Your recommended strategy here: Focus. Simplify. Create the special URL, design and write it around a single goal, support that purpose with trust- building elements.  Then cite the landing-page URL in your press release, and you can very well end up with a profitable publicity campaign whose performance you can easily track.

Copyright 2009 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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