Flint McGlaughlin and I conducted live optimization of landing pages in a recent LiveClass with the MECLABS SuperFunnel Research Cohort (MECLABS is parent organization of MarketingSherpa). We offered specific conversion optimization suggestions for landing pages in this Zoom meeting, while every member of the cohort offered even more ideas for improving those landing pages in the Zoom chat.
A few transferable principles arose from this session that you can use to improve your own landing pages, and we’ll share those today on the MarketingSherpa blog. They form a sensible process you can use for your conversion optimization and marketing strategy.
PRINCIPLE #1: Don’t lay on claims; foster conclusions.
The job of the marketer is helping people come to their own conclusions rather than telling them what to think.
Why? When we tell them what to think, they will naturally resist. When they come to their own conclusions, they will sell themselves.
So how can you tell if are making claims of value or fostering conclusions of value? I like this simple test from Flint – “Print your webpage and take a red pen through every declarative statement. See what you have left,” he said in The Prospect’s Perception Gap: How to bridge the gap between the results we want and the results we have.
If you landing pages and other marketing don’t do too well on that test, here are some great examples from your peers to spur some ideas for improving – Show, Don’t Tell: 3 quick case studies where companies help customers reach their own conclusions.
PRINCIPLE #2: Spend 5-10X more on your offer than on your landing page.
As a writer my whole career, there are many times a marketing or business leader would come to me with a writing challenge that wasn’t really a writing challenge.
The real challenge was – they didn’t have a value proposition. The most well-crafted headlines and body copy won’t move the needle much when you don’t have a value proposition. I always say writing is 80% having something worth saying, and 20% saying it well.
And it really resonated with me when Flint taught the above transferrable principle – spend the bulk of your time, resources, energy, etc. on creating an offer that serves a customer, not on trying to sell the offer with your landing page.
As Flint mentioned on the call, that offer doesn’t have to be an ebook. He mentioned surveys we have run here at MarketingSherpa as an example.
There are probably key questions your audience needs answered – either to shape their own strategy, as a proof point when they sell an idea to a leader or client, or simply out of curiosity. If you are able to answer those questions, you are able to win a key “yes” in their customer journey – the ability to begin a relationship with them and continue to build trust.
One way to do that is with survey research. Here are a few ways we have fielded these surveys before, to give you some ideas:
- With Nielsen, to their panel (a panel is a group of potential survey respondents, you may want to represent all American consumers or you may want insights from a specific role in a specific industry)
- With SurveyGizmo, to their panel (and I believe SurveyMonkey offers similar options)
- To our own audience, or with partners/sponsors to both of our audiences
Note for the first option, Nielsen provided data science expertise, and for the second and third option, we used our own data scientists. Data science is important to make sure the results are representative of the population you are talking about (again, could be all American consumers, or could be a specific group of people in your industry).
For all three options, and every piece of survey research we conducted, we came up with our own questions.
Two quick tips on coming up with questions. First, don’t prime your audience – this means, don’t drive them to a specific conclusion with the way you word your questions. Truly seek to discover.
Also, have a plan for how you will message the survey no matter what the results are. For example, we asked 1,200 American consumers “In general, which type of advertising channels do you trust more when you want to make a purchase decision?” And then we asked them about a series of traditional and digital channels.
I realized if digital channels won, this would help our audience make the case for increasing digital budgets and the digital industry would pick up on this and promote it. And if traditional channels won, it would help marketers make the case for traditional budgets and the industry behind traditional marketing channels would want to share it. You can see how we messaged the results in Marketing Chart: Which advertising channels consumers trust most and least when making purchases.
We worked with a public relations agency to share the results. And as Flint mentioned it was covered by publications like The Wall Street Journal (The Marketing Virtues of Good Ol’ Snail Mail) and Harvard Business Review (Why Marketers Are Returning to Traditional Advertising).
As the above example shows, there are usually two potential outcomes of a survey question – the results will either reaffirm what your audience believes (in which case they can use it to win over others) or provide an “aha” moment by having them question if what they believe is true (and win more attention for your results – like the classic journalistic aphorism “man bites dog.”)
Keep in mind, this only works if you have questions your audience cares about.
Here is the landing page we created for the report of the survey’s results, in case it gives you ideas for your own landing pages. Looking back at it now I see many ways it can be improved (no subhead?!), but hopefully it gives you some ideas for your own landing pages – MarketingSherpa Customer Satisfaction Research Study.
PRINCIPLE #3: Audit the landing page. Where would a potential customer be concerned? (Anxiety) Where is there resistance? (Friction)
Once you’ve created value and communicated it on your landing page, ask what might hold a customer back from saying “yes” to your offer? What is the non-monetary cost to them?
Anxiety and Friction are part of the MECLABS Conversion Sequence Heuristic, and explained here – Improve your Marketing Collateral with a Proven Methodology.
Categories: Value Proposition times more, transferable principle