One of the things that was deeply engrained into many of our brains through the course of childhood education was 'the 5 W's,' the list of questions we're supposed to ask ourselves to assist in information gathering.
- What happened?
- Who was there?
- Why did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
While these questions refer to a past even and not our campaign, what we really care about (and what we truly remember) are the W-words themselves. We still need to gather information, but we need to ask different questions.
1. Why Am I Doing This?
Don't worry, this isn't the stage of deep inner reflection… We just need you to take a step back and look at the big picture before we get started. If you jump into a project simply because it seems like the thing to do, you'll never succeed because you never took the time to figure out just why you were doing it!
It can be simple: "I want to capture email address for a newsletter campaign" or "I'd like to get people to try my product" would both work fine. Just make sure you have some reason or you'll find the other steps hard to figure out!
2. Who Is My Audience?
So you want to capture email addresses and grow your list? Great! But who are we talking about?
Targeting everyone would be a great idea for businesses… if it were possible. The fact of the matter is that no one product or service is for everyone, so we need to focus our campaign on certain target audiences. This will have a big effect on how the rest of our campaign unfolds.
3. Where Are They Coming From?
Are you running a Google AdWords campaign? Maybe you're sending out a direct mail piece. What form your external campaign takes is very important in terms of what you can say and what is called "information scent."
Information scent works just like normal scents. Imagine waking up in the morning to the smell of bacon, only to find a salad sitting there in the kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I love a good salad, but when I've been lead there by the smell of bacon it's easy to be disappointed and, most likely, go off in search of actual bacon.
The same goes for your content. You need to make sure that the messages on your landing page match those from your external campaign meant to entice them to the page in the first place (and they all need to be irresistible… just like bacon).
Being aware of where you will be targeting your audience will help you craft your messages. Ads on Google or elsewhere on the web provide less room for content and need to instantly convey your message, usually targeted in such a way that it's relevant to what someone is already looking for. A postcard, on the other hand, would give you more room for content and allow you to get your message into the home, but it's harder to target as precisely as with a web campaign.
4. Bonus 'Where' Question! Where Is My Content Coming From?
For most, the content they have on their existing site is not sufficient for a landing page because it isn't concise enough or focused on the overall goal. It's likely then that content will need to be created (or at least rewritten) for this goal. Sure, it may seem like an obvious step, but it's easy to get distracted by the rest of the project only to find yourself in the 11th hour without any content!
5. What Is the Action I Want Them to Take? &
6. How Do I Get Them to Take It?
It may seem similar to the first question, but being thorough is only going to help us succeed later on. Why you're doing the campaign is a bit more broad, while 'what and how' really get down to the details and tie into the messaging throughout your landing page and any related campaigns. Are you offering a free download of a product or helpful information (like and ebook)? Maybe you're offering a free trial of your product or service? The action and result are extremely important to determine early on in the process so that you can maintain a consistent message and information scent. It can be tricky sometimes to combine the 'what' with the 'how;' you need to make sure that the action you're asking people to take is worth what you want from them. Take a step back and try to look at your campaign from a new set of eyes: is my email/personal information/etc worth... this?
7. When Do I Start?!
While it takes a lot of planning, there's no wrong time to start working on ideas. Landing pages can be great tools, but if the proper time and attention aren't given in the early stages, you can end up in a vicious cycle of revision in order to make your elements and messages match.
Next week we'll take a look at the buttons, headlines, calls-to-action, and design as a whole, trying to determine what makes a good landing page.