All new parents think their drooling, wailing, wrinkled little midget is beautiful - and that's as it should be. The same seems to be true of landing pages. If an online marketing campaign is making money, it's taken as proof the landing pages are beautiful--and don't need further improvement.
In fact, landing pages typically range from barely acceptable to horrible. They are often at direct cross-purposes with the desired conversion action and stated goals of the business.
In this sorry state of affairs lies a terrific opportunity - fixing your landing pages can often lead to long-lasting double or even triple digit gains in conversion rate. This can change the economics of your business overnight.
Landing page optimization is no longer optional. It's one of the core activities that all online marketers must pay serious attention to. Landing page optimization spans the important topics of usability, copywriting, web design, and information architecture.
But landing page optimization also requires a proper grounding in math and test design. The messy reality of real-time marketing rears its ugly head. Organizational considerations required to build a testing program are key. You may need to change the mindset within your company.
I've covered these topics and more in my recent book Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions (John Wiley Press 2008). The book even got a really nice unsolicited writeup from SES London Chair Mike Grehan in his How To Avoid A Crash Landing column (and I didn't even have to pay a dime from the giant stash of payola money that I have available for such plugs).
I want to start a conversation and a revolution, but first we must break down the walls of denial:
Repeat after me: "My baby is ugly..."