[icopyright horizontal toolbar]
If you’ve recently started a business, you’ve probably just put up you first website. Is it possible that you, in your virginal enthusiasm, got a little carried away with your inbound marketing? Rookie mistakes can hurt your marketing effort and must be addressed. First, a little modesty would be in order: all you really want initially is to find leads. That means once visitors have arrived at you landing page, your task is to convert them to leads with a minimum of fuss. We’ll leave aside the discussion of garnering traffic (hint: a well-written, meaty blog always helps) and concentrate on how to prepare your landing page for your new visitors.
Declutter the Page
I understand the need to immediately put everything good about your product or service up front. Resist! Information overload is your enemy, because most visitors don’t read, they scan. You want them to scan the hooks, those things that pull the visitor deeper into the site. So have pity on your poor, busy, short-attention-span visitor and put in the obvious scanning aids: lots of white space, numbered or bulleted points, judicious use of bold and italic font, and a few evocative pictures. Think Zen, not Louis XIV.
Simplify Calls to Action
A call to action is most often a value proposition. You give away something of value (e.g. newsletters, e-books, free trial software, etc.) for some information about your visitor. But what do you really, really need to know? If you are emailing a newsletter, all you really need is an email address, perhaps optionally a first name. The point is to let the newsletter or e-book sell your offerings. Stick a button in your email or newsletter that attempts to convert your lead into a sale. Let the button activate a form to gather all that information you postponed in your call to action.
Page Placement is Important
Okay, you minimized the data collection in your calls to action. Now, how do you get the reader/scanner to notice them? The question really boils down to: where does a visitors’ eye move when presented with your page. A lot of studies will tell you the upper left is the hottest spot above the fold, but what you really want to do is sit down with a few friends in front of your landing page and do a little research. Find out where they tend to look in the first three seconds, and why. Adjust the placement of your calls to action accordingly. Consider adding attention-grabbing graphics.
Don’t Be a Pig
I’m addressing those of you who are using their landing page to promote a business AND to pick up some loose change. In other words, the people who stick ads everywhere to monetize the site. If your goal is to sell your product or service, deep-six the ads. OK, maybe one tiny AdSense ad above the fold, but no more! This isn’t just clutter, it’s off-putting. How would you like a total stranger simply unloading a sales pitch on you without the proper preparation, and oh yes, the sales pitch is for some other product than that which you seek. You don’t like it real life, and visitors don’t like it in the cyber-world either. If you really need to monetize, save it for below the fold and/or secondary pages.
Trust factors help ease those first tentative mouse movements towards your call to action box. Corporate logos of other customers are always a nice touch. A BBB sticker or equivalent can’t hurt. And a few well-written yet sparse testimonials are worth much more than a dozen flowery gushings that turn most people off. If you belong to any professional organizations, highlight that fact with logos or other images. Even your alma mater’s logo can help. You simply want your visitor to trust you enough to take advantage of your free offer.
Will these steps help? You betcha! But to prove it to yourself, track and compare conversion rates before and after you make these fixes. Then drop me a line and let me know how it worked out for you.
Copyright 2011 Eric Bank, Freelance Writer