Make a perfect landing on your website

Make a perfect landing on your website
 Photo by C. Frank Starmer available under creative commons  
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SUMMARY: You point people to your website, but do you have landing pages for specific ministries or missions or special emphases? Landing pages help you measure your website marketing’s effectiveness.  More importantly, you will communicate more effectively with your targeted audiences.

A landing page, sometimes known in the business world as a “lead capture” page, is where visitors “land” when they click on a link directly associated with your website. They may be responding to a promotion through social media, an e-mail campaign or even a pay-per-click advertisement. Instead of landing on your home page, they land on a page with information directly related to why they came to your site. You can measure landing-page hits to identify the effectiveness of each marketing tool you are using to direct users to the landing page.

Landing pages also can serve as reference pages for visitors. Images and text provide information relevant to the visitor’s purpose for coming to the page. Your church can benefit by using them as transactional or reference pages—whether you want to capture contact information from visitors to add to your database or to promote a community event without taking away from your home page’s information.

Your website plays an integral role in your church’s marketing strategy. You distribute material and post on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and more. Using landing pages will enable you to communicate more directly with your audiences and measure the success of various marketing tools. Here are some steps for developing effective landing pages.

1. Ask yourself these questions.
What are you offering or what information are you sharing? To whom are you appealing? What do people want from your ministry or the specific activity? Why should they get involved or act on this subject? These questions are part of an interesting article that explains the emphasis of the landing page.

2. Design to reflect campaign.
You need not to overhaul your website to include a new campaign. Landing pages enable you to create a web page that reflects the campaign’s color and design so visitors will immediately make a visual connection.

3. Stick to a single message.  
A landing page for a church event should have a specific purpose. Do not try to do everything on the same landing page. Create a unique page for each purpose and direct people from the landing page to the other pages where they can register to attend, volunteer, become a sponsor or do something else.

4. Write short sentences.  
Landing page visitors do not read from beginning to end. They scan for relevant information. Write for scanners.  Use a main headline and subheads to break up the copy. Write short sentences. Use line breaks to create breathing room.

5. Get the data.  
Do not think of a landing page as just a home page for the campaign. A targeted page should both convey a single, specific message and ask visitors for information, such as their name, address, phone and e-mail. Determine how you will use any data you collect. If you are not going to use it, don’t ask for it. Recognize that the more information you request, the fewer responses you will receive.

6. Use odd-shaped buttons.  
Where do you want your visitors to go from the landing page? Design it with buttons (odd shapes are more noticeable) that take visitors to other appropriate pages. Perhaps your church is having a campaign to raise money for its food pantry. You create print marketing materials pointing to a food pantry-focused landing page. When the visitors arrive, they know what is wanted, why it is needed and so forth. They can respond by clicking on one of several buttons (donate, volunteer, receive services, get more information). They are then taken to a section of the website (or of the landing page) with the appropriate details.

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