OMS Marketing Summit
Online Marketing

Live from OMS: The 7 Deadly Sins of Landing Page Design

February 6, 2009

Posted live from the Online Marketing Summit for the Online Marketing for Marketers blog

I’m in a GREAT session with the lovely Tim Ash, President & CEO of SiteTuners.com. He covered a lot of good stuff, but skip to the bottom if you’re just interested in the list of 7 deadly sins.

He says that if there’s one thing you’re going to take away today, it’s that when it comes to websites, the customer’s always right. (Am I sensing a trend here?)

Are you still letting webmasters design your site? Is your boss suddenly a conversion and SEO expert? Did you launch your site after deciding that “the green looks pretty, so let’s launch this baby”?” Well then, clearly you’ve got the wrong person designing your site and a skewed opinion of what’s important to the visitor. The customer should be designing your site and the info on your landing pages is far more important than “the sage green is prettier than the emerald green” situation.

There are several important variables for landing pages…

  • Page header
  • Navigation bar
  • Headline
  • Call-to-action
  • Photo sales copy
  • Endorsements
  • Question labels
  • Question delimiter
  • Question explanations
  • Button text
  • Button format

And all of these MUST fit within the proper context.

Are you performing A-B Split Testing?

  • Test on e variable at a time (with 2 or more values)
  • Send equal traffic to all versions
  • Very simple to implement and track
  • Minimum Data RAte: 10 conversions/day
  • Typical Test Size: 1 – 10 recipes (two is typically sufficient)

Case study: “Free Quote Request” The company wanted to encourage prospects to request a free quote but had a small form accompanied by 36 client logos (to gain credibility). Thinking that the number of logos was affecting low interaction rates, the company tested the form with varying numbers of client logos. Using Google’s free optimizaiton tool, the company was able to determine that the number of logos didn’t necessarily matter–it was the combination of all features working together. And finally…

The 7 Deadly Signs of Landing Page Design: 1) Unclear call-to-action

  • What am i supposed to do on this page? Don’t waste an opportunity by not telling customers what you want them to do. Also, don’t clutter the page so that they have no idea wat you want them to do
  • Anything that’s not obvious is wasting your money
  • Don’t make people think

2) Visual Distractions

  • Entry pop-ups such as instant chat with a representative (Do you really want people to focus on your chat option?)
  • Too many products on one page without one big call-to-action that ties everything together

3) Too much text

  • Just ask yourself: “Would I want to read all of this?” If the answer’s no, then assume your audience’s answer is the same.

4) Lack of Upstream Continuity Does your landing page keep the promise that your traffic sources make? Remember that your visitors came to your site via somewhere and they want continuity. In other words, they came their with a purpose. There was some context and they want the same context when they get there. For instance, if you get to a site that promises a ton of product reviews and their main call to action is “join today,” there’s no continuity. The call-to-action should be related to the context (product reviews).

5) Long Forms

  • Is the information you’re requesting absolutely necessary to complete the current transaction?
  • If the information is requested but not required, get rid of it
  • The longer the form, the lower the conversion rate. Period.
  • Give them a ton of value and promise a lot of return (free white paper, e-book, etc.)

6) Invisible Risk Reducers

  • Make visitors feel less anxious. If you have trust and credibility symbols on your site (such as security certificates for ecommerce transactions, etc.), make sure they’re above the fold.

7) Lack of Trust Indicators

  • Why should I trust you?
  • I need proof that other people have had a good experience with you and had a good outcome
  • Trust indicators: client logos (especially of recognizable brand clients if you have them), and media mentions (or just the logo of outlets that have mentioned you)

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