In Online Marketing

create a landing page When you want to sell a service, course, event or product, you will need to create a landing page where you can present your best case for why your visitors should sign up or buy. Sometimes this landing page can be your home page. Other times, it is handier to have a separate page that has the sole purpose of converting a visitor into a customer.

The main difference between a home or landing page is that a landing page typically does not include the company logo header, navigation menu or footer since these items give readers options for distractions that may take them off the page before they have had a chance to take in your persuasive information and make a purchase decision.

Either way, when done right, the goal of these pages are to make sales. If you are not making sales with your website or landing pages, read on to find out why and ways you can improve your conversion rates and get the customers you want and need.

Whether you have a long-form scrolling home page or a long form sales landing page, you should show your visitors all of the information they need to feel understood, know the benefit of what you are selling, have all their questions answered, trust you, overcome their doubts and avoid buyers’ anxiety.

By the time they reach the bottom of the page, they will know if your product or service is just what they needed or not. If it is, add in a dose of scarcity, with a limited time offer or a special deal to help them get off the dime and take action, and you will have created an effective landing page.

My first experience with the landing page concept, was years ago when I had a dog that was regularly peeing in the house. I was so over it, ready to pull my hair out – or his.

That was when I searched online and found a website that was just what I was looking for and seemed to have the answers for me. All I had to do was fill out their form and in no time my dog would be safe in the house, saving my carpets and my sanity. I eagerly filled out the form with my name, email, my dog’s name and the problem I was having with my dog.

Within minutes I received what I now know was a killer, long-form sales page. It came to me personalized in the form of an email letter, using my name and referring specifically to my dog, Clyde and his problem peeing in the house. Although I had just told them this information about my dog, there using it in the copy created a connection with me.

Their empathy and encouragement continued throughout down the page, letting me know that they felt my pain and frustration and they had a solution. They told me about their program without giving away the particulars.

By the time I got to the bottom of the page, I had heard about others who had turned their dog’s behavior problems around. They offered a full money back guarantee that it would work and, I was a believer.

As it turned out, I didn’t end up buying the program since as a psychologist I could create a behavioral program on my own; doing it was the hard part.

But, I was very impressed with the effectiveness of their long form sales page and started paying close attention to this type of product marketing tool.  For those of you looking to grow your WordPress confidence or those of you who want to create a landing page for your business, I’ll walk you through the steps to create a seductive landing page.

How to Assemble a Long Form Sales Page

I find one of the most important factors of the seductiveness of these pages can be summed up by one of my favorite writing coach, bloggers, Henneke Duistermaat.

“Your biggest asset as a business owner is empathy. Sneak into your client’s minds. Learn what they secretly dream of. Understand how you can fulfill their wishes and desires. And how you can help them avoid trouble and hassle.”

And now I’ll share the secrets of how to assemble a page like this to connect with your visitors in a way that has them eating out of your hand in no time.

Crafting your message

First things first. Before designing even one element of your page, you should craft all of your persuasive copy with the following best practices.

All about them
People care about themselves—not about you. Think about my dog pee letter. I only cared about my rugs and cared that the person talking to me understood exactly what I was going through. At that point, I didn’t care who they were. They understood me and had a solution and I was hooked. They could have been anyone!

Remember, your visitors have a problem and are looking for help, they might not have known where to get help before seeing your ad and arriving on your page. They are primed to find out more. Connect with them emotionally and show them that you have created a perfect solution to their pain points.

Only after they are interested in your offer enough to read on, down the page, should you introduce yourself and your particular expertise or experience. You use your introduction to connect further and build trust.

Writing to connect
Address your client’s needs and desires. Talk to them like the real people that they are. Write like you are talking directly to your best client. Do this well, and people will trust you like a friend, and not see you as someone trying to sell them something.

Give your visitor a clear course of action that will help them resolve their issues. Show your empathy, personality, know-how and passion.
Will your visitors give you the benefit of wading through your page to find out what’s in it for them? They will if you connect. As Jerry Seinfeld said,

“There is no such thing as an attention span. There is only the quality of what you are viewing. This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.”

If your copy is not about connecting with your visitor, understanding her issues and her questions, speaking to her reservations and gaining her trust, you will fail.

Focus on the solution you have for them.
It’s best to lay out your solution and its benefits in vivid detail. From the get go, focus on the benefits they’ll receive: Instead of saying “we specialize in potty training dogs,” say “your dog will be doing his business outside in less than a week.”

Create stories, offer testimonials and guarantees.

Since you are trying to overcome resistance, your words need to be personal and believable otherwise they will come off as a sales ploy. When using testimonials, use photos and names with them to make them more real, otherwise people will not read them.

To keep your visitors on your page, rewrite or remove anything that comes across as so much blah, blah, blah. Whether a home page or sales page, this starts with watching your language. Avoid jargon or meaningless dribble such as “our company was founded…”, “we offer …” or something worse like “welcome to our website.” Yikes. This is bad and If you make them yawn or cringe, they will quit reading and you will have lost them.

What about price?
People always want to know how much things cost, and it is somewhat irritating to read through some long sales page and still be in mystery about the price.

If your product is inexpensive, be sure people know it.

If your product or service is expensive, be clear about the value of the offer before laying out the price. Telling a story about an item can multiply its perceived value tenfold. Laying out the price also will work to qualify your leads. You will turn away people who are not your target market.

If you don’t have pricing information on your page, at least offer a Get a Quote form and reply asap.

Give them a nudge
Try to build in a sense of urgency to help your visitor take action to get in on your offer now. An element of scarcity is very important. Without it, people who do want your product or service will put it off, thinking they will come back and do it later. We have all done that.

You want to save people from sabotaging themselves by loading their virtual carts and failing to pull the trigger on the sale of something that they want.

Before you move on to design . . .

Go over your copy again, asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Would everyone understand your offer and how it is just what they need to solve their problem or improve something in their lives?
  2. Is there any way to make your copy clear and more concise?
  3. Did you present the benefits of your product or service, or only the features?
  4. Have you addressed all doubts or objections that a potential customer might have that would slow or interfere with making a purchase decision?
  5. Have you ensured the buying or signup process is as easy as possible?
  6. Have you included details of what happens after a person signs up or makes a purchase? Make clear what should they expect after the sale.
  7. Have you eliminated risk in taking action by offering a guarantee? Have you clearly explained the recourse a customer has who may be unhappy with your program, product or service?

Empathy means seeing your website as others do. Have other people, some in your target market, and at least one person with sharp editing skills, read your finished content to help correct errors, and find anything that needs to be included, anything that is not needed and clear up anything that is boring, confusing or off-putting.

Designing your page

Now comes the second hard part. Your content needs to be laid out with graphics and images, in a way that will appeal to your market, connect with them, tell the story of your product or service using color, graphics, images and placement to help it be more readable and hold a person’s attention all the way through to the end.

Again, empathy is your driver. Studies show that 84% of people on the web scan and don’t/won’t read. The good news is the remaining 16% will read everything you write no matter what. But, given those stats, make sure that your graphics and layout help guide your non-readers to get your message.

For readability

  • Please, no walls of text.
  • Use a large readable font, a minimum of 16px.
  • Avoid wide lines of text; 40 to 80 characters per line will keep a nice flow which means dividing a page into layers of two column sections with an image/graphic on one side and text on the other.
  • Break your old grammar rules and create new “paragraphs” every 3-4 lines.
  • Use graphics, lists, quotes, images and tables to break up the content.
  • Use headings and subheadings every 2-3 paragraphs to make the text more readable.
  • Give the reader cues to what is most important by using an outline form —larger fonts for the major sections and smaller fonts for subsections.

Branding
Carefully chosen brand fonts, colors and design elements will give your landing page a well-designed look. These elements work together to guide the visitors’ attention down the page so they will know if they are in the right place and keep on reading.

Creative use of images and graphics will show your visitor that you care about making a good impression and take pride in your work, which builds trust.
Because you are aiming for authentic connection, be very careful about using stock images that are in anyway misleading and/or cheesy. The look and feel of your page will offer a glimpse as to what it would be like to work with you, giving your readers confidence in you and your product.

Novelty
You may have noticed that effective landing pages alternate the position of text paragraphs (first text on the left, next on the right, then a full-width band of color and some other graphic treatment). Our brains attend to patterns and we ignore presentations that are routine, repetitive, predictable or just plain boring.

We pay attention to anything that’s different. This is Novelty. Done right, this layout encourages your visitor to read on to complete reading different texts designed to get to a series of micro-yeses that ends with a sign-up. Those yeses are the seduction unfolding.

Get help when needed
There are many landing page companies. Leadpages , Instapage and Unbounce, are but a few of the companies offering marketers a plethora of page templates, and promise it will be a breeze to set up one of these high converting pages and watch the money roll right in. “Whoa there, Nelly.” It is not that easy.
The quality you need cannot be found out of a box. Even if you start with one of their templates, customizing it for your own purpose is not as easy as you think it will be.

It is not easy to design a page that has the right content, is consistent with your brand image and converts readers to customers. When you realize that, it is important to get some help from a graphic designer/marketing expert who has sales page experience.

Testing and optimization
Let’s take a step back to see how your visitor will get to your landing page in the first place. You will likely have had to design an ad to attract the right people and send them to your page. The ad has to be effective and you have to specify the parameters of the ad placements so that it is shown to a sample of the right people who would be interested in your product or service.

How to do all of that is the content of another post. So for now, let’s assume you’ve done your homework and created and tested an ad which is being shown to a properly defined audience.

If you have that part right, a substantial number of your ideal clients will see your ad and click through to your landing page. But, you are still not done.

Now, before spending a lot running your ad, only to have people land on your page and leave, you should test two versions of your page at the same time and compare their effectiveness. Leadpages, and it’s like, have A/B testing tools that let you track your visitors’ behavior so you can compare conversion rates of the different pages. Based on this data, you can choose the better performing page.

Testing can move a 5% conversion rate to a 20% conversion rate, giving you four times the leads, sales or sign-ups, for the same amount of paid traffic.

It is amazing that more people don’t test their home page opt-ins or landing pages, especially given that intuition does not cut it. Studies conducted by Marketing Experiments showed that 72 – 74% of experienced marketing professionals could not accurately predict which landing page would get the highest conversion rates, even when the difference between page effectiveness turned out to be over 200%.

Finally, success
When you find a tested winner, put your money behind it and you should see success. In the meantime, don’t get discouraged.

As in romance, the seduction process is not so straightforward. It takes a lot of tweaking and testing. Testing and optimizing is a standard part of the marketing process. When done right, you can make sure that the right people will land on your page, and your new found powers of online seduction will have them eager to stay on your page and happy to sign up do business with you now and in the future.

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Showing 7 comments
  • Karen Cleveland
    Reply

    This blog post couldn’t have been more timely for me Judi! And of course it addressed the topic thoroughly and with SO MUCH quality info – as always! My JV partner and I are going to use this post as a checklist to re-evaluate our landing page content – and I’m confident it’s going to really sing when we use your tips! Thanks a million!

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Karen, Send it to me when you have it I’d love to check it out. I have a pdf with a few of my favorites that I was going to include but haven’t annotated them yet. Maybe another post.

  • Tom Tortorici
    Reply

    This is a gold mine of insight. If marketers paid attention, really paid attention, to how they are drawn in (or not drawn in) by other websites when they are the “buyer”, they would see that everything in this post is true. For new visitors, it’s not just about “design.” It’s about engaging the eye. It’s not about “copy.” It’s about empathy.

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Thanks Tom. I appreciate your feedback. I really got into this topic after a friend of mine put together a landing page in a day and it flopped. And, even when things are not flop, our work is never done. We just launched our site this time last year and especially after writing this, my glaring errors stare me in the face. I need to take a week off and work on my own business:-)

  • Taylen Peterson
    Reply

    Hi Judi, great post! Message and design are such crucial pieces of the conversion puzzle. Writing something that isn’t going to bog a reader down or scare them away, but still gets the point across is difficult but so worth it.

    For me, design is always the hardest. I have no idea where to begin with design, especially designing for conversions, which is why testing is important. You covered all of the bases of solid landing page creation here!

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Thanks Taylen, I see you are with Leadpages so you know what I am talking about. I love your service but it is not idiot proof. To be effective with online sales a person needs to know what they are doing, test and tweak. I’ll bet there are many people who sign up, try it once, get discouraged and never try again. Too bad.

  • dawn
    Reply

    Great post, Judi. I’m keeping this handy in my ‘super fuel how to’ toolbox. Thanks!

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