Marketing Apps: The end of the landing page?

Don’t let the title scare you. You’re probably thinking, “Is she crazy? The end of the landing page?” For the conversion optimization experts — people who have presumably staked the success of their careers upon the success of their landing pages — I'm staking my success on being able to convince you that “landing pages” can no longer be the basis for conversion conversations.

Just this past year, I had the pleasure of presenting an entire topic around getting more bang for your paid search buck through the use of optimized landing pages. In my presentation, and in most others at conferences across the country, we discussed the need for campaign-specific pages, dynamic content, segmentation, and reducing friction.

I acknowledge that in theory, these topics are still somewhat advanced and achieving them will be the 2014 goal of marketing teams around the world. In reality, these features are already outdated must haves and in realizing that, it becomes even more apparent how outdated even the idea of a “landing page” is.

The problem with landing pages, regardless of how hyper relevant and conversion focused they may be, is that your modern 2014 visitors don’t want to “land” anywhere. Having been inundated with smart designs and optimized forms, they’re now beginning to wise up and demand more. Like most things in life, we gave them an inch and they’re demanding a mile. In place of landing pages, we’re offering highly sophisticated, personalized, and engaging marketing apps.

Marketing apps are part of a new wave of digital marketing, one of deep engagement, interaction and utility. Content marketing overload is everywhere and it’s diluting efforts to the point that many are questioning its value. Marketing apps can transform your static content into a useful digital experience. Cut through the clutter — reduce bounce rates, improve engagement and increase conversion rates with useful content.

Put Your Landing Pages to Work

In order to provide value, and rise above the clutter, we can leverage tactics to significantly increase the usefulness of our digital experiences. The opportunity for the modern marketer lies not in generating more and more and more landing pages. The opportunity lies in putting those landing pages to work — making content more engaging, and more useful, for those who interact with it.

Now for the million dollar question: What, exactly, is a marketing app? Marketing apps leverage usefulness to turn static pages into applications that engage and convert your audience into leads and sales. It’s a form of utility that transforms content into something customers actually want to interact with because it’s useful, memorable and valuable.

So it’s time to get inspired. Inspired to ditch the static landing page and provide that higher value experience, reap more online leads and drive real engagement

There are countless varieties of marketing apps, but to get started, I’ve highlighted a few of my personal favorites.

Idea 1: Quiz

Quizzes are a great way to engage and educate, giving valuable insights and advice while marketers get high-value visitor profiling data. For quizzes to work, particularly from a conversion standpoint, they must offer rich information. For example, asking visitors multiple- choice questions in an assessment and subsequently giving participants written recommendations based on their series of answers.

Idea 2: Games!

Games are entertaining ways to engage, educate and convert prospects. For example, “Guess Which” games are great follow-on uses of survey data. Rather than answering survey questions for themselves, participants guess which answer was most popular amongst their peers. In answering, they are exposed to shared pains, problems and solutions that drive demand.  Simple guessing games provide another way to communicate strategically compelling information- for example, guessing how much time is saved, on average, by users of a solution.

Idea 3: Configurator

Configurators are specific types of wizards that allow participants to assemble or package products and/or services. By answering a series of self-evaluation questions, they can be presented with a more targeted and specific offering. This data can be used in marketing automation programs as well as in personal selling to cater messages and offers. This makes sales and marketing smarter, more likely to satisfy visitor expectations, and more likely to convert traffic into business.

Idea 4: Calculator

Most organizations have something that can be calculated using an engaging app-like experience. The most obvious example is pricing. Price “ball parking” lets you price-qualify leads without giving them personal pricing. It uses some basis axis upon which to assess and offer a price range or ball park. This provides the immediate gratification that B2B buyers crave while allowing sales to continue to build value prior to delivering a specific price quote.

User expectations are quickly evolving with regards to how they want to interact with brands, and with the information they are consuming.  An app-like experience is increasingly what your audience is conditioned to expect. It’s what they want.

Because of the explosion of mobile apps, and mobility in general, we’re used to interacting with our devices, inputting information on the screen and having it do something.

It’s not at all hard to see how these app-like experiences deliver much more than an opportunity to “land." They provide a springboard for allowing visitors to deeply engage with your brand and product in a way that will convert more leads and generate more revenue.

What do you think? Will 2014 be the end of old cookie-cutter landing pages and the beginning of the marketing app takeover?