To Direct Link or Not to Direct Link?

Apr 8 By Aziz Kamara

One of the most frequently asked questions: Should I build a landing page or direct link?

From my experience, I’ve rarely had properly tested landing pages perform worse than direct linking. This goes back to who’s good at what. Typically, an advertiser’s expertise is in their product and niche industry, which is the precise reason why they are paying you to generate leads for them. They are not specialized in marketing, and for that reason, the offer’s original landing page probably isn’t optimized to get the conversion. Keep in mind that the advertiser also has to keep their landing page generic enough so that it caters to the spectrum of traffic that is sent to them.

As a marketer, the biggest value add you can provide is creating a sales funnel that converts. The part that you can most effectuate this is through landing pages, particularly because you can create landing pages that cater to specific niches and play specific angles to sell to targeted traffic. So, to become a marketing force to be reckoned with, you absolutely cannot avoid the landing page. You can only hide for so long until you realize you need to buckle down and get this right.

For dating campaigns, if you are using generic offers (e.g. True, Mate1, etc.) and trying to sell them to niche demographics, then a landing page is an absolute requirement to do some intermediate selling. Going from an ad targeting Jewish men that jumps directly to True’s landing page isn’t going to do well. Instead, if you present it as a site where they need have a need for Jewish members and show them a bunch of profile pictures of other Jewish members of the opposite sex, then when they click sign up, they are only focused on the form that pops up and the sales pitch is still in their mind.

Even with niche dating sites, from what I’ve seen most of those (e.g. Jewcier) are not high performing landing pages. I am always able to eventually increase conversion with a landing page. As you gain experience through repetition and seeing what works and what doesn’t, creating working landing pages gets easier and faster. Being able to produce high performing, consistent landing pages is a difficult, but highly valuable, skill in my opinion and will set you apart greatly. It takes a lot of time and trial and error, so don’t give up if your first 10 landing pages didn’t work as well as you’d hoped. ¬†You’re building your competitive advantage.

The Hook, Then the Sell

I’ve gotten pretty tired of seeing ads that are really really generic. Ads that seem like they use some mashed up copy taken out of a book but do not attack the user’s attention are a sure sign of a newbie marketer. When you think of marketing something generic to a group of people, you’ve got to have a gimmick or “hook”. Something that’s different and arouses a sense of need, of urgency, happiness, etc. When making the ad, read it and ask yourself, “Does this interest me if I were seeing this?”

For POF, you need to create the initial ad to hook your traffic, but the landing page is where you SELL. You need it to bridge the gap between your ad and your hook to the page where you get them fill out their personal information. I mean think about what that really takes: to have a people fill out multiple fields of information about themselves on a consistent basis. The person who clicked has given you a tiny tiny piece of mind and if anything seems at all inconvenient after they click, they’re gone. One click is not much investment for them to let go.

However, if you get them looking at a landing page, and taking the time to READ through your landing page. And then they click AGAIN, well, they’re a lot more invested. Then it comes down to whether they’re interested in taking a chance with their information. To get a sense of what it all feels like from their shoes and get some ideas, survey your competition. When you’re browsing on the internet, actually notice the ads, click on them, and follow through to see what you can learn from it. If advertising through social sites, sit in a spy account and really analyze what marketing techniques work or don’t work from the ads you see. Click on them and see where they lead you. Then, revamp your campaign with a hook, or test a few different hooks. Lastly, absolutely obliterate the landing page. Split test a landing page with direct linking as the control variable.

Some of this stuff should be common sense, but we all need a flick on the head and kick in the butt to remind ourselves once in a while.

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  • great article. My question:
    1. How long do you spend to build a landing page?
    2. Do you build different landing pages according to different offers?
    Thanks for your article ūüôā

  • 1. ¬†Right now I have people handling that for me, and we’ve gotten pretty used to it and can do it a lot faster. ¬†But, when I first started, I would spend a few hours building one. ¬†It doesn’t stop there though. ¬†I would test it and then revamp it. ¬†I would go back to the drawing board and see what other ideas I can learn from inspiration on the web or looking at other people’s landing pages.
    2.  Yes definitely.

  • Tom,

    How exactly do you split test an LP vs. direct link with prosper?

    I’m using the default 202 LP rotation script, but I can’t find a way tot throw a DL in there and still have it track properly.

  • You have to use a blank redirect but with the landing page code in it. ¬†Prosper needs to think it’s a landing page so you’re going to build it like a landing page, just with nothing in it and immediate redirect, passing the required variables through.

  • Thanks for the quick reply.

    I’ve actually been trying the above for the past week now. I can get the “landing page” to redirect straight to the offer fine, but for some reason when I go to Analyze > Landing Pages it just doesn’t pick up the LP.

    Any chance you could share an example code of what your blank redirect page looks like? I’d really appreciate it because this problem has been driving me nuts all week.

  • Mitchell, did you ever figure this out? I’m having the same issue.

    My direct link “LP” is a simple php file with the Javascript LP code and the redirect script.

    It’s redirecting, but not tracking.

    I don’t know much about programming, but my guess is that the Javascript file isn’t firing because it’s a pHp file.

  • Figured it out!

    You have to use the Javascript redirect code (the 2nd one) instead of the pHp one.

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