Landing Pages and Business Strategy

When a recent posting on Facebook directed me to a page screaming free and asking for an email address, I immediately questioned the author of the post’s integrity in suggesting the link to their associates on Facebook. The page read like a marketing scam aimed solely at getting email addresses, with no indication as to what the email address would then be used for. Instinct suggested that the purpose was to send email blasts or the like, which in social media is akin to standing at a downtown corner with a bullhorn shouting out your message.

Perhaps the author was unaware of the implications of their message, though I find that unlikely, and suspect that author was perfectly aware of the implications of the appearance of the landing page. The result was a marketing pitch that had all the appearances of a scam.

If you’re in business and looking to design your website, there are better ways to get people’s email addresses and communicate with your target market than to offer them something free before you’ve convinced them that value exists. As such, there are a few fairly simple rules to follow when designing your site:

  1. Keep the design simple, with subdued colors. The page shouldn’t appear to be shouting its message, but rather to be displaying its message in a cool and calm manner.
  2. Provide information, or something of value, without asking for anything in return. This can be pages of your site with tips and suggestions, a public blog, or a free PDF that can be downloaded in a single click.
  3. When asking for an email address, explain what you’re going to do with it – what kind of emails will you be sending, how often, and will you share the address with anyone?

Failure on any of these might gain you addresses in the short-run, but you will find that people will either ignore your emails when they start arriving each morning, mark them as spam (which eventually can impact people who actually read your emails as well), block you, or report you. As well, if the people who’ve given you their emails are active on any of the social media sites, they may pass along the information about your practices to their friends.

Perhaps this is the confusing aspect to this form of marketing. Your website is a place where you can post information about yourself, what you’re selling, and your expertise. Social media is a place where you can interact with your target market. However, pushing a hard-sell at your target market is little different from being an aggressive telemarketer – and most people have learned how to block such people out of their lives.