The million dollar question many marketers ask is, why isn’t my campaign converting well? bad news is that there is no magic line or golden formula that always improves campaigns in the blink of an eye. If that was the case everyone would have done it already! However, there are general principles and rules of thumb that have worked for many marketers and proven to be highly valuable. With some sweat and creativity, these principles can quickly turn your low-converting campaign into a goldmine.
The Secret is there is no secret… there are clients and their needs!
Some marketing gurus might claim to have some magic formula that can convert any clients. The reality is far from that. But there is one method that always brings results: understanding the clients, nothing more and nothing less. My marketing mentor used to demonstrate the importance of understanding the customer by taking off his shoes and hanging them in front of the blackboard. You should always start by getting into your client’s’ shoes – everything else stems from that. If your page isn’t converting well, it means you don’t understand your audience.
Don’t get stuck in your own idea of what a landing page should look like! Sometimes an “ugly” landing page is more effective than a beautiful one. In some cases, your client is coming with a concept about your product that will call for something more rough and old-fashioned. For example, if you’re in the field of, say, carpentry, a simple and unprofessional-looking landing page might convert better. You’ll look authentic, down-to-earth and not too business-y, just what your customers are looking for.
John Tackett from MarketingExperiments.com demonstrates in many examples how seemingly inferior landing pages actually convert better. In his seminars, he’s shown different versions of landing pages and asked participants to vote for the best-converting pages. The majority of the participant is usually wrong. That’s because they’re looking at the pages as marketers, not clients.
Client, Pain, Value: three words that will improve your conversion rate
Once you understand your client’s needs, you can see what they really care about! This is the key to presenting your product in the most engaging way possible. Once you are able to go inside the shoes of your client, you can really understand what they really care about and focus your landing page message on how you can solve their problem. Pain is the term used to powerfully express the client’s needs.
Human rarely invests money or effort in things that don’t remove some kind of suffering or create a form of pleasure. The “pain” part is a strong motivator, as you can see from how much people invest in doctors and therapists. Even a flash-and-glamor industry like the beauty industry often focuses on the fear of rejection as the main incentive for purchase. A landing page that addresses the client’s “pain” will create the motivation needed to go through the marketing funnel and buy your product.
The last thing to address is value.
Your clients don’t live in a vacuum. Even if they find your product relevant and believe it can solve their problem, they’re still going to compare it to other offers out there. It is very important to present a clear and powerful value proposition as the main focus of your landing page. Why should your customers buy from you rather than your competition? What do you offer that no-one else does? It doesn’t matter how good your products are or how beautiful your design if your client doesn’t see the value they won’t buy!
How can I understand my clients? I’ve never even met them!
You have probably realized by now that finding your ideal client is central to your marketing. Without it, your campaign could be the equivalent of a fakir bed. Indian fakirs are famous for lying on beds of nails. Their secret is that if the nails are sufficiently condensed, their body weight lies equally on all points, so no nail has enough pressure to actually penetrate the skin. If your marketing effort is based on simply shooting out all the benefits of your product without aiming to a specific audience, it’s like a bed of nails. It doesn’t put enough pressure at any given point to penetrate the client’s mind.
Understanding your client at this level might sound like a tough call. Your audience might be diverse, spread across many countries, age groups, income levels, etc. But it doesn’t have to be that daunting. The first step is just using your creativity to come out with a few good hypotheses about your ideal customer’s traits, needs, and values. If you are having a problem coming up with a hypothesis, you can ask the opinion of a few friends or other marketers. (The best, of course, is to talk with a few offline clients and learn their reasons for purchasing your product.)
Then, with these easy steps, you can find the viewers who really matter and learn how to address them.
- Focus on your 20/80 clients
Ever heard of the Pareto Principle? What it means for business is that 20% of the clients bring 80% of the profits. It’s enough for you to find your 20/80 clients and focus on them to make a big profit. Look at your numbers and see if any small group of clients really stands out as your best customers. Figure out what they have in common and market to them. You can also try Perry Marshall’s “racking the shotgun” technique: send out one calculated signal that most people ignore, but a select few will respond to.
- Use analytics tools to pinpoint your client profile
Once you have some ideas about your clients, you can create a few versions of landing pages, each applied to the specific hypothetic ideal customer. You can then check the performance of these different pages and find out what client profile is most interested in your product. Once you have a rough understanding of your ideal client profile, you can refine your marketing message and design using A/B testing. A/B testing is a process in which you test the effectiveness of your landing page by modifying different elements of the page and testing the performance of each version against each other. There is a flood of software for A/B and multivariate testing out there, Tools such as the experiments section of Google Analytics (it’s free!), Optimizely, Kissmetrics, and Zarget can help you get it running on the fly. Many landing page creators also come with this feature.
- Learn from the competition
Your competitors can be your best teachers. Study successful campaigns by other marketers in your field and try to reverse engineer them. What clients are they targeting? What value do they offer? How do they convey that value to their clients? If you understand their methodology, you can either create something better or find a niche that is not yet filled. You can also check out the campaign in other industries that are geared towards a similar client profile and use similar design elements, language style and offers.
So how do I fix my landing page?
Once you understand your audience, there are a few tweaks you should try right away. The big 3 to start with:
- Clear message
- Good visuals
- A strong call to action
If your page is short on any of these, you’re likely to lose customers.
Make your message clear, simple and the first thing your client sees
Current internet users have shorter attention spans than ever before. Unlike offline customers, internet users are always just one click away from the next shop. Research shows that it takes only 2.6 seconds for the viewer’s eyes to land on the part of the website that shapes their first impression and after that, only 0.05 seconds to form an opinion. So if you don’t convince your client right away that your page is relevant to them, they’re gone. That’s why your message must be clear and simple and your viewers must see it immediately.
The first screen your browser displays is critical. If you don’t win your client’s heart on this one, they’ll never get to the second or third scrolled screens. Most internet users don’t like to work hard. If your client needs to sweat to decipher your page and understand your offer, it’s on to the next Google result. We’ve all heard that if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t really understand it. This is true for value propositions more than anything. In my experience, simple messages have always worked the best. This creates trust and confidence – the “buying temperature” that leads to high conversion. Confusion, on the other hand, is the worst state to put your client in. Confused or overwhelmed clients tend to drop sales and go elsewhere.
Make your clients visualize your offer
A few weeks ago I was sitting on the beach when a food vendor walked by. He was loud and energetic, asking everyone on the beach to buy his fruit salads and soda. Almost no-one replied. Then another vendor came. This one had an open tray where you could see his tasty-looking snacks. Without much effort, half the people on the beach bought from him! Vision is by far our dominant sense. Up to 80% of all learning takes place through a visual process, and you can bet it has a huge influence on buying patterns. If you make the page visitors literally see the value of your product or offer, you boost your chance of a conversion. Try to understand the real value of your product and express it in graphics. These days, even if your product isn’t super photogenic, you don’t usually need to hire a professional to create original graphics. There are plenty of royalty-free commercial images out there. Once you pinpoint the value, just use a stock photo database.
Call to action: how to prevent cold feet in the critical moment
The call to action is the actual button or link that your visitors press to buy your product or get your service. It’s very important since the critical point of the conversion process rests on it. If your viewer has come this far, it means that they want your product. There are just two factors that could mess things up now: trust and gain.
- Trust: Up to this point in your dialogue with the client, there was no commitment – and no risk. Now your client is being asked to give away money or personal information. To make that step easier you need to give some last-minute assurance that this is a good decision. Testimonial, security seals and reviews are most effective when displayed close to the call to action. These elements create trust and help your visitors to make the jump.
- Gain: Another important aspect is offering value in the call to action itself. Reminding the visitor of the value they get at the call to action phase is proven to improve conversion. Your client should feel that pressing the button will give him some benefits. Calls to action like “Get discount” or “Receive the benefits” usually perform much better than ones that just say “Submit” or “Click here.”
Creating a highly effective campaign sometimes takes sweat, blood, and tears. You need to use creativity, analytic skills and patience to create a money maker. And you may not get it right the first time. However, if you are persistent and methodical, you’re sure to hit the nail on the head sooner or later. Some of the tips in this article are general principles and long-term practices, while others are quick fixes. It’s good to apply both approaches so you can get immediate benefits that last.