Landing Page Battles Of The Flat Foreheaded

We've identified the cause of flat forehead syndrome. It's landing page development.

If you run into a marketer with a flat forehead, odds are that they have been working on landing pages.

Landing pages are are a fantastic conversion tool. Because they are so often tested, we know a great deal about what is likely to work on a landing page.

Unfortunately, managers and designers prefer their own rules.

You can show them all the data, studies, and Search Engine Land articles you want. They still want to do things the way they do on every page. You’re banging your head against a wall.

Hence, the flat forehead.

You won’t get the perfect page without fighting some battles, and you won’t win all of the battles. If you are ready for these fights, your conversion rates will benefit.

Here are some of the most epic battles.

The Battle For Continuity

Landing pages work best when they deliver on a promise, a promise often made by an advertisement. Conflict begins when the people writing the ads aren’t part of your team.

Your landing page headline should match the promise in their ad and this means that there should a unique landing page for each type of ad they create. To the ad campaign people, this may sound like a lot of unnecessary work.

It is necessary. When the offer and design of a landing page doesn’t match the ad clicked, the visitor loses continuity, and often feels like they’ve gotten the old “bait and switch.”

For this reason, ad campaigns that are focused on clicks and link to generic landing pages will have lower conversion rates. This makes all of your advertising more expensive.

Clicks take money out of your pocket. Conversions put money in your pocket. Elevate performance metrics from clicks to conversions. This is no small feat, as it can be tough to track a lead to the purchase for many businesses. Get as close as you can and don’t let management settle for clicks.

The Battle Of The Single-Minded Purpose

The most effective landing pages make one offer and have one call to action. This makes management nervous.

“What about all of those people who aren’t interested in that offer?” they say. “Shouldn’t we offer some other stuff too?” Well, no.

A page that offers many options is called a home page. Limit your landing pages to one offer, one action. When you focus on one outcome, your landing page copy can be very persuasive. Plus, people freak out (that is, abandon) when you give them choices.

NOTE: If you are building a house list, and investing in email, you might consider adding a teaser for your email list.

The Battle Against Distractions

Inevitably, your business is exploring social media. Social media works better as you get more friends, followers and connections. Thus, it makes sense to put invitations to “connect” everywhere.

Not on a landing page. Your landing page is different.

Slash distractions from your landing pages. Here are some things that don’t belong on landing pages:

  • Your corporate Web site’s navigation bar
  • Invitations to subscribe to your newsletter if you aren’t using email to sell
  • Links to your blog
  • Twitter streams or Facebook widgets
  • Links to pictures of your last company party

If you need to provide more information to visitors, create a multi-page landing site that keeps the visitor in the decision-making process. If you send them to the corporate site or blog, they may never return.

The Battle With Regulatory & Compliance

Regulatory and Compliance departments are found in regulated industries like financial services and health care. The departments are lawyers with the moral authority of the Pope. They are the counselors that, in medieval times, recommended that the peasants be placed outside the castle walls when an enemy army is approaching. Your visitors are the peasants and they will suffer greatly at the hands of compliance and regulatory.

This is your Alamo. You can expect to lose this battle.

The Battle To Submit

If your landing page is promoting the services of a Dominatrix, “Submit” is exactly what you want on your action button.

Otherwise, use text that will make people want to click on it. Tell them what they’ll get. Tell them where they will go. Tell them what exciting thing will happen. Leave submission to the after-hours landing pages.

The Battle Against Stock Photography

Courtesy Radiosity-3000

©Radiosity. This company sells paint that reflects heat. This image makes the point about how effective the product is.

Smiling professionals; two hands shaking; gleaming office buildings against a blue sky. Stock photography has become the cliché of the business landing page and it is a wasted opportunity.

Call out your designers for their laziness because that is what it is. Insist on images that help your visitor imagine taking action.

  • Show the product. Even if it is a PDF report, render it as a paper report.
  • Show the presenter.
  • Display logos of customers.
  • Brand the site with trust symbols that ensure your site is safe and secure.
  • Show a screenshot (if you must) .
  • Show customers… real customers.
  • Show employees… real employees.

Get creative.

NOTE: Always use captions under your pictures. They get read.

The Battle Of The Word Processor

A friend of mine was famous for saying, “I can’t be out of money. I still have checks.”

In a similar way, every manager believes, “I must be a writer. I have Microsoft Word.”

If you have a copywriter that knows something of persuasive writing, protect them from being bled to death by the red ink of editors who have written little more than proposals their entire professional lives. It will pay off.

The Battle Of The Company Logo

You will find brand marketers who insist that the company or product logo be the most prominent thing on the page – every page.

For landing pages, you want the headline or the call to action – often the button – to be the most visible item on the page. Don’t let the company logo dominate the top of the page, or worse, push the headline below the fold.

Instead, offer to have the logo professionally painted on the brand marketer’s house. That’ll drive awareness!

Your Landing Page Waterloo

In truth, all marketing is a compromise, even if you’re the only person involved. Indecision and conflicting goals are inevitable.

However, if you find yourself in a battle to save some semblance of your conversion rate, consider using one of the following assurances:

  1. “Great idea! We’ll test that.”
  2. “We’re holding that back to test later.”
  3. “We’re featuring that on the confirmation page.”
  4. “I don’t think that will make it past regulatory.”

Tell us what battles you’re fighting in the comments.

Photos courtesy of familylife and Radiosity Radiant Barriers.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Search & Conversion


About The Author: is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences and author of Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Forumulas of The Conversion Scientist. Follow Brian at The Conversion Scientist blog and on Twitter @bmassey

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • Aaron Bradley

    Great article Brian. My forehead has indeed suffered from much banging as a result of propelling landing page improvements forward (or – much forehead pain – from *failing* to make progress with landing pages). But that’s what analgesics are for, right? Because as you point out, you must indeed be prepared to fight these battles, even if you can’t win ‘em all.

  • Brian Massey

    “HEAD ON! Apply directly to the forehead!”

    Aaron, you brought this classic ad to mind. Thanks for the comment.

  • Leah Kinthaert

    thanks for the article. Would have been great to see some “good” examples as this tells us what a “bad” landing page has.

  • Jeremy Arnone

    Good stuff, Brian. Agree that testing is usually the best response to, ahem, creative suggestions or pushback. That a senior-level sponsor who helps ensure the tests get discussed, prioritized, and recapped post test. Often it takes just a couple of wins to show the $ value of optimization, at which point it’s the status-quo that gets defensive.

  • Brian Massey


    You point about having a senior-level sponsor is a great one, for internal and external marketing people. We always gauge the success of a project on the quality of our champion.

  • renbyrd

    I agree with most of what you’re saying, Brian, but I have to add one note: social media integration on event-based landing pages are effective. We recently tested this on a client (a casino) by plugging in a comment wall with a prompt (such as, “Which George Benson song is your favorite?”) and saw a spike in the amount of Buy Ticket clicks. Thought you would be interested in that data.


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