In the online marketing world, a lot of time and resources are spent driving traffic to a website or landing page. Huge budgets are spent on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, e-mail marketing efforts and search engine optimization. You analyze campaign performance with almost religious fervor in order to extract the last penny of revenue and profit possible from each internet visitor. But all of your hard work comes down to the few precious moments that a visitor spends on your landing page.

The Landing Page
The landing page is the first page on your website that a visitor sees as a result of your traffic acquisition efforts. You probably spend obscene amounts of money to buy traffic to your site, but how much effort do you devote to the landing pages to which it is sent? The truth is, the biggest profit driver under your control is the conversion efficiency of your landing page. Your neglect of this critical element of your online campaign is costing you huge amounts of money on an ongoing basis.

Cost Per Acquisition
Your cost per acquisition (CPA) depends on two key factors: the cost per click (CPC) of driving traffic to your landing page, and the conversion rate (CR) of the landing page itself. The CR is the percentage of visitors who take the desired conversion action (buy, fill out a form, download, or click through to another important page).

The economics of landing page improvements are compelling. If you do not increase your conversion rate at the same rate as your traffic CPC increases, you will see an ongoing decline in traffic as you are priced out of the market and become increasingly irrelevant. On the flip side, you can gain a lasting and significant advantage by increasing the efficiency of your landing pages, and then use that as a club to beat up your competitors in the quest for more traffic and larger program scale.

How can your landing page perform better?
But how are you to know in advance which landing page element will or won’t perform better? You actually have access to thousands of conversion experts and are interacting with them daily. But you have mostly ignored their advice. The real experts on the design of your landing pages are your website visitors.

Landing page optimization can be viewed as a giant online marketing laboratory where your experimental subjects are your website visitors, who willingly yet unknowingly participate in your tests each time they visit your site. Every visitor action (or inaction) gives you valuable data to improve the user experience and maximize conversions. Through testing of alternative landing page content and design, you can determine what your audience actually responds to best.

Websites have three desirable properties that make them ideal testing laboratories:

        *  High data rates: A relatively steady and large stream of visitors allows you to use statistics to find and verify the validity of the best combination of landing page elements.

        *  Accurate tracking: Web analytics software supports the accurate tracking and recording of every interaction with your website, providing a standard of data collection accuracy that is almost unheard of in any other marketing medium.

        *  Easy content changes and customization: Internet technology offers the ability to easily swap or modify the content that a particular website visitor sees. The content can be customized based on the source of the traffic, the specific capabilities of the visitor’s computer or browser, their behavior during the particular visit, or their past history of interactions with your site.

Landing page optimization
Landing page optimization is part art and part science. It requires many diverse skills including design, usability, copywriting, psychology, statistics, and project management. But the payoffs from a disciplined landing page tuning and testing program are simply too great. Ignore this critical activity at your own peril.