Getting the Landing Page “Green Light” From Your CMO

87% of companies could see a direct impact on their annual revenue from landing page optimization efforts- MarketingSherpa 2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report

If I was at a public speaking engagement and made that statement, I would pause dramatically for effect. According to MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report, 87% of companies could see a direct impact on their annual revenue from landing page optimization.

If you are deep into landing pages, you probably already know this. There are case studies touting proof of this on most conversion optimization vendor websites (including this one—see Genworth’s 350% increase in digitally-derived revenue, to start). So, you would think, with something as potentially revenue-impacting as landing pages, that landing pages would be on a marketing pedestal.

Getting the Landing Page Green Light From Your CMO image Getting the Landing Page Green Light From Your CMO

But landing pages still sit very, very, very below the line. Few in the C-suite are talking about how the marketing organization will be using a strategic landing page program to impact revenue.

Why is that? Landing pages are usually your first impressions on the web—the first thing your audience interacts with after clicking your ads, messages and links. They are your brand. And a strategic, holistic approach to landing pages has the ability to dramatically impact revenue—whether from better & more leads to funnel to sales, or from increased ecommerce transactions. Just those two points alone—brand and revenue—make the case for great landing pages. And make the case that the CMO should be part of shaping the landing page initiatives for an organization.

I do ‘get’ that landing pages are far too tactical for the CMO. It’s an executional layer that they won’t get involved in. But, again, if the marketing team is running a landing page program (or if they aren’t), I think the conversation about the organization’s approach and strategy should be elevated to the CMO. I mean, we are talking about major potential to lift revenue.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Probably if we loop the CMO into our landing page conversation the CMO will say “landing pages? What the he$$ are landing pages? We have a great website, we should send all of our traffic to our website. Heck, that’s why we just spent a year redesigning our website! We should use website pages for our landing pages.”

I am not mocking. At all. Who can blame a CMO for this perspective? The idea of sending traffic to pages that aren’t part of the website must sound ludicrous. That’s why it’s our job, as marketers who are responsible for results, to elevate the landing page conversation. And to do that we have to start with education.

Sure, the idea of sending traffic to a landing page that isn’t in the website sounds crazy.

But, how about the idea of sending campaign traffic into very specific, highly targeted and relevant campaign experiences? Does that sound as crazy?

Not at all. Sending traffic to highly targeted, campaign-specific pages, sounds like good marketing. And most CMOs like good marketing (I hope, anyway, but that’s a topic for another post).

How we frame things impacts how they are perceived.

Version 1:

“Hey CMO, I want to positively impact brand and revenue, so I’m going to send our traffic to landing pages. I am going to go make a bunch of landing pages and send our traffic there. Trust me, this works!”

Whoa there nelly. Slam on the brakes.

Version 2:

“Hey CMO, we are running a lot of campaigns—we’ve got email, we’ve got display, we’ve got PPC (and about a hundred ads, for about a thousand keywords, on PPC alone!), plus social and that mobile pilot you just started. I want to make sure all the traffic from all those campaigns is really maximized. We can make sure we send the traffic into campaign experiences that are very specific to the ad messages we are running. This will decrease our bounce rate, increase our conversion rate, and ensure a fantastic brand experience.”

Which pitch would you get behind?

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