How smart is a “Smart Landing Page”"?

We've observed that “Smart Landing Pages” are being used increasingly as a way of prioritizing and pre-qualifying inquiries. Landing pages are set up on the web with a series of questions that when answered in a certain way create a path for the visitor to obtain pertinent information. But how valid is the information submitted by the visitor and how accurate a picture do the results present to the advertiser?

Recently the ad agency of one of our clients incorporated a “Smart Landing Page” in their website. The client had high expectations from the number of visitors who had completed the offer page, having been told that a high number of inquiries had checked a time frame. These, maintained the ad agency, clearly represented qualified leads.

“Why else would they have provided the information requested? And completed the time frame?” said the agency.

But the client was wary of giving these "qualified” leads to his sales force, whose time was too valuable to be sent on a wild goose chases. He had been bitten before and had lost good sales-persons in doing just that.

eti was asked to check them out and present an analysis of the results. We distributed the leads to our Business Developers who followed them up in their positive, experienced way.

Sadly the numbers did not hold up to the harsh light of day. The results were not what the agency had led our client to expect.

Analyzing the actual outcome of the Smart Landing Page data produced the following interesting results.

  1. 25% of the so called “qualified leads” (as determined by the agency) that came from the “Smart Landing Page” consisted of invalid leads and bad data such as wrong phone numbers, competitors and channel partners.
  2. 4% of the inquiries came from beyond the target market, from other countries in fact.
  3. 22% were just looking for information. Or had no need of the product at this time. Some were already working with a Business Partner. Others felt our client did not have the solution they needed.
  4. 15% of all the inquiries did actually turn into sales opportunities after eti’s Business Developer called and spoke to them. This in itself is a great result, but because of the significant cost of weeding through all the chaff, the cost per qualified lead was actually higher than normal.
  5. The remaining inquiries were kept in the prospect pipeline as possibly having longer term potential. Or were still in process of qualification.

There was also no difference in the percentage of qualified leads from the top three time frames (i.e entered by the prospect on the smart landing page - Immediate need, 3 months or less and 6 months or less).

We found that people have a tendency to answer questions online in the manner they feel will get them better attention and quicker response. Many just wanted the download or offer and did not hesitate to provide false information to obtain the offer.

Conclusion: the landing page may well be a smart idea but it still requires a skilled Business Developer to carry out the essential work of lead qualification. Namely:

  • To confirm the decision making process and the role of the inquirer therein.
  • To confirm the company’s need and probe for the pain.
  • To elicit business intelligence to help the sales person acquire a new customer.
  • To provide a detailed profile containing essential information for the sales rep who will make the sale.
  • To nurture decision makers who are not yet in “ready to buy” mode.

We believe it would be fatal to consider Landing Page Forms as a means of generating qualified leads. The only valid purpose they serve is that of another source of generating potential prospects, who will require professional follow up. Which happens to be the vocation to which yours truly and the eti Sales Support organization are 100% committed.

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