Use ‘Sentinel’ pages to separate wheat from chaff

by Jim Cain

I have never had a client call where I didn’t learn something new and interesting. As the digital analyst, we end up in an interesting intersection in a client’s staff and vendor ecosystem where we get to see and talk about everything that happens online. We are monitoring the effects of detailed traffic generation initiatives, multivariate and landing page programs, advanced email campaigns…you name it.

One of our customers is an enterprise marketing software firm. Their product is designed to allow major online brands to survey their site visitors and better understand their motivation and needs. It’s great stuff. However, there is a ‘powered by’ link in the surveys that leads back to their site. This generates a fairly significant number of consumer traffic to a business to business website. This means:

  • Bounce rates on pages with this ‘application referred’ traffic are very high.
  • Associated conversions to this traffic type and all associated pages are very low.

For a site whose goal is to generate as many quality sales leads as possible, this traffic segment creates havoc with reporting.

Napkyn’s recommendation to the client was to create a specific landing page for this visitor type, with messaging designed to manage the overall intent of this segment, which is to find out ‘What happens to the information I just put in this survey, and is it safe?’. The landing page will still have a sales lead specific call to action, as a small percentage of this segment are potential customers. However in satisfying the initial information requirements of the overall segment, we will increase the lead-flow from this traffic type, and decrease the negative impact on overall page reports.

Everybody wins.

At this point in the conversation, the client said, “So what you want us to do is build a ‘Sentinel page’. It will sit between certain types of traffic and the main corporate site to separate the wheat from the chaff, and ensure that our overall site data stays clean.”

Eureka. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but I liked it so much I stole the phrase.

So how can we apply this to your business? What should a Sentinel page say to weed the valuable visitors from the irrelevant traffic? We’ll be looking at these angles in my next post.

What do you think?


Jim Cain

Founder and CEO, Napkyn Analytics

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