Sentinel pages, part deux
April 6, 2010 -
First, think about the biggest group of mostly irrelevant traffic you have. By this I mean a segment of visitors that either cannot or most likely will not convert, either because it is not possible or because your site will not properly speak to the visitor’s intent. For example…
- eCommerce Business that only sells in the US: Anyone outside the US would be a ‘sentinel segment’.
- Irrelevent Products: Like a company that sells snowmobiles. I am guessing latin america would be a ‘sentinel segment’.
- Any business with high amounts of organic search traffic: Almost every business gets a certain kind of traffic from natural search that is irrelevant.
- Name confusion: If you had a site that sells ‘bermuda shorts’ and you see that you get a sizable group of visits that are looking for ‘bermuda vacations’.
Now we have a statistically significant segment that will not likely achieve the goals of your site, and your site will most likely not satisfy their intent. Let’s build a landing page to push them to.
Write targeted copy that attempts to satisfy the requirements of this segment. You know they aren’t going to convert, so try and give them what they are looking for. It will get you goodwill, and increase the quality of the data the rest of your site is generating because the sentinel page will separate out most of the irrelevant segment.
For example, in the case of the eCommerce business that only sells into the US:
- Build a page for European visitors. Use a tool like BTBuckets to autoforward all visitors from Europe to your ‘European Visitor Landing page”.
- On the page, let this visitor type know that you don’t ship to Europe, but provide some helpful links to either interesting pages for your product category, or directly to sites that DO ship to Europe (you could even become an affiliate!).
By creating an interstitial ‘sentinel page’ between a group of irrelevant traffic and your main site, you can both increase the effectiveness of the segment and the accuracy of your web analytics data. I can’t wait for the next great idea I get from a client.