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Studies have shown that there is one specific element of your email marketing campaign that if done right, can increase your conversions by 60%. And it is NOT the subject line, your email list, the graphics you use or the “From” address. Feeling a little lost? You aren’t alone! And this conversion-boosting element is often overlooked or ignored completely by most email marketers. So just what is this secret weapon?

It’s actually no secret at all. It’s your landing pages – those pages that greet your visitors once you’ve gotten them to click through your email campaign. And landing pages should absolutely be an integral part of your email marketing efforts.

Your landing page can make or break your email marketing initiatives. A good landing page will help email recipients continue through the sales process or funnel them onto the next step. Mediocre landing pages might perform at an acceptable level, giving you an inflated sense of success while you are losing out on quality opportunities to convert. And bad landing pages can be really bad – they can confuse or derail recipients to the point that they become annoyed, leave the site, or even rethink their association with your brand.

Creating great landing pages is a matter of focusing on your customers and their specific needs. Customers want to be assured that they’re at the right place, to understand the benefits of taking the next step and what to expect, to clearly see the action step you want them to take, and to feel confident that they’re making a good decision. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can optimize landing pages to better meet your customers’ needs:

You’ve Come to the Right Place

Have you ever clicked through an email and then thought, “Huh? What just happened?” If so, you’ve just been the victim of landing page disconnect. This occurs when a landing page greatly differs from the email marketing that led you to it. This can happen as the result of a number of elements:

An offer that is not reiterated: Imagine that you’re driving your daughter to a classmate’s birthday party. You can type the address into your GPS, but doesn’t it make you feel more comfortable to see those ‘Happy Birthday’ balloons tied to mailbox? That’s because even if you’re pretty sure you know where you are, like most people you appreciate a little reassurance that you’ve arrived at the right location.

Landing pages work the same way. An email offer that touts a “Free white paper on email marketing tips” should lead to a landing page that reiterates that offer. Repeating your offer helps people instantly realize they’ve come to the right place.

Your landing page is definitely not the place to test out your company’s new logo or to roll out an entirely different color scheme. Consistency is key to building trust, and having continuity between the look and feel of your email and your corresponding landing page will make visitors feel more comfortable.

You’re Here for the Right Reasons

Reassuring visitors that they’ve arrived at the proper location is the first step in preventing them from bouncing off of the page and moving them towards conversion. But once you’ve passed the first hurdle, your challenge becomes convincing people to take the next step. To accomplish this, you should ensure that the landing page features between 3-5 concise benefits-focused statements that spell out exactly what the visitor can expect as a result of their action.
For example, the benefits for your downloadable white paper on email marketing tips could be something like:

Improve campaign ROI

Increase your deliverability and conversions

Decrease your number of spam complaints

Note that each benefit is brief yet action-oriented, speaking directly to the target audience, and not overly “salesy” either.

You’ve Come to Complete a Task

Some email marketers look at landing pages as just another page of the website, one that should have all of the bells, whistles and navigation that are available on every other page. But smart email marketers realize that the function of a landing page is actually quite different than other pages that are intended to be accessed outside of a specific campaign.

Landing pages are in place to help a visitor accomplish a particular task, such as purchasing your product or signing up for your webinar. Help your visitors stay on task by streamlining your landing pages. Avoid adding any unnecessary links, and consider minimizing the page’s navigation structure to create fewer distractions. If additional information needs to be given before people can be expected to make a decision, you should consider doing so in a pop-up window that allows the landing page to remain in the background.

With landing pages, less is often more. The less distractions and alternate site paths you provide, the more conversions you can anticipate.

You’re Safe Doing Business with Us

Another way to encourage email campaign conversions is to show visitors that they have made a wise and safe decision to do business with you. This doesn’t mean that you should add images of perky customer service representatives or using “Your Business is Safe with Us” as a headline. Remember, you earn a customers’ trust, you don’t just tell them about why they should give it to you.

There are more effective ways of conveying your business’ trustworthiness than resorting to these tired clichés or cheesy graphics. Here are a few that work particularly well:

Third-party testimonials. Landing pages are a great place to showcase brief quotes from happy customers talking about the benefits and return on investment gained from purchasing your product or service. Keep them brief so they don’t take up a too much space on the screen.

Media mentions. If your business or product has been featured in a local, regional or national news broadcast or publication, or received a feature story in an important industry blog, you may want to consider providing quotes from the news stories or using that media outlet’s logo with an ‘As Seen in’ header.

Awards. Similar to media mentions, awards can help establish your business’ credibility. Award logos or quotes should also be brief; you should add additional information or links about the accolade elsewhere on your site in case the visitor decides to investigate later, so they won’t feel duped.

Applicable Policies. Customers are concerned about privacy and your company policies, and will want to know what you’re going to do with their personal info, what will happen if they need to request a refund, and what you’re going to do with the credit card number they just entered. Depending on the nature of your business, a quick link to your privacy policy, return policy, satisfaction guarantee or terms of service – preferably in a pop-up window that returns the visitor back to the landing page once their question is answered – can offer the sense of security customers need to take the next step.

The Secret is Simple: Stay Customer Focused

The secret to improving your landing pages and increasing conversions is quite simple: Just pay attention to your customers’ needs and ensure that your landing pages address them all. Reiterate your email offers to show customers that they’re exactly where they need to be. Showcase your offer’s benefits and design a clear pathway between the customer and the goal. Finally, give your customers the information they need to feel confident about their decision to do business with you. With effort and perseverance, optimization of your landing pages will likely improve your email campaign conversions … and your bottom line.