Picture scenario #1. You walk into a car dealership, looking for something that matches your personal tastes and vehicular needs. You look around the offices and they’re completely empty. The lot is full of cars but you don’t see a helpful soul around. No one to help you make any kind of decisions or recommendations.
Frustrated and disappointed, you drive off.
Picture scenario #2. You walk into a car dealership, looking for something that matches your personal tastes and vehicular needs. You are approached by a pleasant gentleman who asks you what you’re looking for in terms of style, size capacity, and price range. After you tell him, he escorts you to a part of the car lot that matches your criteria perfectly. You thank him but you tell him you need some time to think things over.
The salesman tells you the model you’re interested in is being shipped off to an out of state dealer tomorrow because the demographic there prefers that model better. Not to mention, today marks the last day the car is being sold at a major discount. You and decide to make the purchase.
Satisfied that you made a good deal, you drive off content.
Car salespeople. Doesn’t everyone love them?
Love them or hate them, they serve a very useful purpose. Can you imagine being in scenario #1? Just like most people prefer real people instead of automated machines when solving technical problems, most people prefer having a salesperson to help them with their buying decisions.
But do you know when the selling process began? Most would argue it began when the salesman approached the customer but that is incorrect. The selling process in fact began the minute the customer drove onto the lot. The way car lots are designed…they’re setup in such a precise way that makes the prospective car buyer completely dependent on the salesperson. Do you think Wal-Mart stops selling to you once you’ve gotten what you’ve gone in for and stepped in line? No. They strategically place tabloids in the checkout aisles to captivate your interest along with selling you lower tier items (candy, gum, lip chap etc.) that doesn’t take much mental effort to decide on buying because they’re priced low. In the world of marketing, this would be considered cross selling.
What does all of this have in common with constructing super effective landing pages? Landing pages “pre-sell” your product or service. Without using a landing page, your potential customer is living in the nightmare that is “scenario #1”. Using a landing pages not only pre-qualifies traffic for you to weed out curiosity clicks, but it also confirms or denies the relevancy of what you’re offering with what traffic is looking for. Win-win.
I’m about to show you the 3 goals any landing page should be built around for massive conversions and the required elements when constructing a high converting landing page.
3 Types of Goals for Any Landing Page
1. Lead Capture (opt in)
2. Click through (Multi-step funnel)
3. Sales Page
When creating a landing page, you have to ask yourself what is the desired action you’re wanting to illicit from your traffic/visitors? You want to make the next steps after the landing page, immediately obvious. If you’re focused on building out the back end of your funnel thereby creating a lasting, compounding, long term personal asset that you can profit from for years to come, then this is definitely the route to take.
I only recommend using lead captures on your landing pages if you are promoting an e-book, service or other product that YOU personally own. In other words, you are the affiliate marketer and also the advertiser (offer owner). Why? Because it’s confusing to your traffic if you try and capture their name and email address only to take them to another advertisers page selling some offer which they will also in turn ask for their name, email and possibly more personal information.
On top of that, if you started sending emails to this list, they’d be confused as to who you are and why you’re emailing them in the first place. They don’t know you. Bottom line? You’re doing too much. You’re trying to brand yourself while also being an affiliate for someone else on the same landing page. Do either or, not both on the same landing page.
This method is the best route for the affiliate marketer who’s promoting other peoples products to use. This type of goal simply means you’re pre-selling while also placing a button somewhere on the page that calls for the prospect to take a specific course of action.
Don’t use weak ass call’s-to-action (CTA’s) like “Join Here”, “Continue”. Nobody wants to subscribe, join or continue anything. In the early – mid 2000’s you could get away with that shit but things are different now. CTA’s should be stronger and specifically state what will result in clicking it.
- Promoting an online dating offer? Instead of saying “Join Now”, try:
A) Browse local profiles
B) See girls online now
C) Browse single profiles
- Promoting a gaming offer? Instead of saying “Join Now”, try:
A) See why Halo fans love this more
B) Play for free today
The prospect then arrives at the advertisers page and downloads the game. Effective CTA’s should arouse desire in the prospect ultimately psychologically nudging him to take action and click through.
The third type of goal for a landing page is priming/pre-selling the prospect for the next page -> The sales page. Typically, the rule is the most expensive a product, the longer a landing page (or sales page) will have to be. Ever seen those long ass landing pages/sales pages? Yeah, those lol.
Some of you may be thinking how effective are long ass landing pages…shouldn’t the goal be to give them bulleted info for them to quickly decide if clicking through to the next page is worth it? Yes and no.
In psychology, there’s a time length heuristic that correlates to value. Well-written, long copy is perceived as more valuable than shorter, bulleted copy. Why? The answer is easy. MOST PEOPLE ARE LAZY. Most people don’t want to research something thoroughly themselves, so when someone comes along and gives them this 10 minute well worded speech in whatever it is the prospect is curious about, this person is perceived (from the prospects vantage point) as being an authority figure…regardless of whether that person just made shit up or not.
Am I saying you should be using long ass landing pages? Absolutely not. In fact, that’s probably counter productive for most affiliate marketers. Only if you are pre-selling your prospect on something that they’ll click through to and land on a sales page with an expensive product (price is relative to perceived value but I’m thinking high double digits+), that when you’d need to be using a long lander or a long sales page.
Long video for video sales pages, work too.
Basic Elements for Successful Landing Pages
There are only 4 elements to a landing page. Though not a lot, each of these elements is critically important for you to master to be successful in this industry.
2. Body Copy
3. Hero shot
When creating ads and structuring landing pages, remember to follow the AIDA model. Grab Attention -> Build Interest -> Create Desire ->Take Action
The Headline – (Grab Attention)
- Despite what you may have seen over and over again, putting your headline makes it harder for the user to read. Use initial caps instead.
- “Brevity is the soul of wit” – Shakespeare. Your headline should remain short. Not a paragraph and not more than 10 words.
Put the biggest benefit of the offer in your headline. Use powerful buzzwords such as “Discover”, “Announcing”, “At Last”, etc.
- Sub-headlines, if used, should also be short and expound a bit more on the benefit in the headline.
- Test various angles
- Let your headline flow into your body copy and image shot. Let your body copy flow seamlessly into your call to action
- While using the color red is seen a lot, using black is also highly effective
- Contrast the color scheme. Don’t use yellow colors on white backgrounds etc. You don’t want to offend their eyes
The Body Copy – (Build Interest/ Create Desire)
- Should deliver more answers as to the benefit you chose to use in the headline that the offer delivers, but should also arouse greater curiosity. Give them more of a taste as to what you’re delivering.
- Body copy should be longer than your headline and sub-headline, but not too long. A paragraph should suffice.
- The body copy should flow seamlessly into directing the user to click the CTA
The Hero Shot – (Grab Attention/ Build Interest)
- The hero shot (the image) is arguably the second (some would argue first) most important element of the landing page. Why? Because most people are visual and need visual stimulation that notifies the viewer in a matter of milliseconds what the landing page (and offer) will deliver.
- Whoever your target audience is, use an image of them looking happy while looking in the direction of the prospect. If your product is geared toward men, use a man. If it’s geared toward women, use a woman. If it’s geared toward blonde mid 30’s women, use that. The reason being is you want people to self-identify with your image. When the image is looking at the prospect, a psychological bond is made. This applies unless you’re promoting a dating offer. Then, if it wasn’t already obvious…use the opposite sex unless your offers demographic prefers differently.
- Emotions are powerful. For your hero shot, use relative emotions to match the type of offer you’re promoting.
The Call-to-Action – (Take Action)
- Make the CTA specific. Not weak.
- Clicking the button should specifically let the prospect know what he’s about to see next
- Short. No more than 6 or 7 words max.
- Some times arrows help conversions. Like “>, ->“ at the end of your button text. Experiment and split test what’s effective.
- Your button text and button color should contrast in color. For example, don’t use yellow text on a white button. It’s harder to read.
- Above the fold. Ensure that your CTA is positioned to where your prospect doesn’t need to scroll down to view the next step.
- Exit pops are those messages asking you if you’re sure you want to leave after you’ve clicked the exit (or are about to). They have shown to be effective at increasing conversion rates. My advice? Use them. You got nothing to lose if they were leaving anyway. One thing to note is the traffic source. Are their rules okay with exit pops? For example, Google and Facebook frown on using exit pops when advertising through their platforms.
Important Points to Consider
- Make sure you have a SINGULAR goal on your landing page. You are trying to convince your prospect to do ONE thing and ONE thing only.
- Is your landing page distraction free? Always go for effective and efficient over pretty.
- Is your offer strong and compelling? If not, make it so.
- Sometimes ugly landing pages greatly outperform polished web 2.0/3.0. Split test for optimum effectiveness.
- Is your landing page congruent with your ad that brought the prospect to the landing page? If it’s not, your prospect will feel as if he landed somewhere unrelated to the ad. Consider, also the congruency between your landing page and the advertiser/offer page.
- Does your landing page load slowly? Doesn’t matter if your landing page has the best copy writing known to man. If it doesn’t load fast enough, your prospect will quickly (as in, two seconds or less) lose interest and leave. You can use SmushIt! to decrease your image sizes while retaining as much of their quality as possible. You can also test the speed of your landing page using Pingdom.
- We covered the skeleton and life blood of a landing page, – the headline, the body copy, the hero shot and the CTA.
- We also covered some copy writing strategies for high conversions and finished off with important information to keep in mind when designing your landing page such as page load time and congruency.
In my next post, we’ll dive deep into the art of persuasion. We’ll explore what drives prospects to take a desired action and how to manipulate them into doing so…every time.
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