Pain Reliever Pages

I’ve been thinking a lot about landing pages lately. Last time, I talked about getting multivariate landing page testing straight. Today, I’ll look at a specialized offer technique that employs what I’ll call a Pain Reliever Page (PRP). A PRP is problem-based (or pain-specific). It addresses a specific consumer issue and attempts to alleviate a consumer pain point. The page, if well executed, taps into the psyche of a buyer and convinces them to make a purchase. In this article, I’ll outline key steps in designing a PRP and provide short examples from Apollo Health. (Fortunately for the marketer, in medical fields, the pain felt by prospects is often all too real and physical.)

Research consumer issue(s) for your product/service

The first step in this process is to uncover problems or pain points that are reaching the point of frustration for your prospect. Below, I’ve provided a few suggestions on how to gain insight. Some companies hire market research companies to do this work but, with a little elbow grease, you can do it on your own. I prefer primary sources of data as the information is specific to your customers and your product and/or services.

  • Post-sale questionnaire A post-sale questionnaire of three to four questions can be an effective way to get customer information (if applicable for your business). For one question, simply ask why customers bought your product/service. Or, in a question, list two or three customer pain points and ask customers if they’re applicable (use this if you already have a good idea of what your customers pain points are). With the latter question, leave room to ask if there are any additional reasons they bought your product (in case you missed one).
  • Mini focus groups An official focus group is an option but focus groups don’t need to be extensive. Gather a few people and ask questions. Or, ask friends, colleagues or people you are in contact with everyday. I tend ask for feedback on projects from people in my immediate circle. It enables me to “keep my ear to the ground” as well as provides me with viewpoints I may have not have considered myself. It also makes a great icebreaker at a cocktail party: “How do you tackle jet lag?” or, to a new mother, “Do you find you have trouble going to sleep when you have quiet hours available?”
  • Tap into analytical data Look at backend PPC analytic information and try to piece together to a “picture” of what a customer looks like. Among other data points (like demographic information), keyword phrases queried before customers make a purchase can provide clues into the mind of buyers. With Apollo Health, a company that sells light therapy devices geared towards people with depression, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), jet lag, sleep disorders, etc., we were able to learn people were querying terms like “depression”, “seasonal affective disorder”, “sleep disorders”, “jet lag”, “bipolar disorder”, “postpartum depression”, etc. This obviously provided tremendous insight into what people were thinking and we build a PPC strategy around it (more on this below).

    Hone your marketing message(s)

    In this step, target features that have the biggest impact (in terms of pain points) with your customers. For example, paper towel manufacturers understand their product help clean up household messes, spills, kids sticky faces, etc. They tout features like “45% more absorbent” and “25% thicker” as they speak directly to the consumer issue and help customers deal with messes in a faster, and more effective manner. They obviously wouldn’t be effectively tapping into customer issues if they simply touted different paper towel colors or patterns. There are two steps in this process: 1) determine unique selling propositions (USPs) and 2) phrase USP in feature and benefit speak. To explain these steps, I’ll refer to Apollo Health.

  • Determine USPs (unique selling propositions) Take a look at competitors and figure out what makes you different from them. In the case of Apollo Health, a key difference between them and their competitors is they use blue light technology to treat depression, SAD, jet lag, sleep disorders, etc. They tout the blue light spectrum can be used at a lower intensities and/or for shorter periods of time than devices that use the full light spectrum.
  • Feature and benefit speak The next step is to phrase USPs in feature/benefit speak. Here is an example of feature/benefit speak for Apollo Health. On the landing page, we highlighted features and tied them back to specific consumer benefits. Take a look at the following examples:

    BLUEWAVE® (Apollo Health’s blue light technology) produces 100% of the recommended blue light for maximum benefit, so you’ll feel better faster.

    BLUEWAVE® does not produce damaging ultraviolet light, so it’s very safe to use.

    Apollo Health PPC strategy

    As a part of our PPC strategy, we designed landing pages that spoke to elements such as depression, SAD, jet lag, sleep disorders, etc. In our PPC account, we added issue-related terms (like “depression”, “seasonal affective disorder”, etc. to our campaign. After running tests, we found the depression and the SAD ad groups converted best. Take a look at the following examples:

    • Depression converted at 1:24 spend/sales
    • SAD converted at 1:10 spend/sales

    Here are some additional points to consider:

    • In general, PPC is an excellent test medium. If you’re unsure, test different ideas and simply discontinue advertising if ad groups do not convert. We’ve uncovered some killer PPC strategies using this type of testing.
    • We were able to determine the success of the ad groups after one month of testing. The length of tests will depend on account/ad group volume. You may have to run tests for a longer period of time to for statistical significance.

    When it comes to developing landing pages that address consumer pain points, you shouldn’t guess at what pain points are. In addition, it’s clear that your competitors will be going after the most obvious, generic benefits: if you have a weight loss product or system, sorry, but it won’t cut it if you simply tout the benefit of “losing weight.” If possible, drill down and get more specific and granular. It helps greatly to use research methodologies – even informal ones – to provide additional information about how prospects lead their lives, and specifics about features and benefits make them feel like their problems could be demonstrably solved.

    Mona Elesseily is director of marketing strategy at Page Zero Media, focusing on paid search campaigns and conversion improvement. She’s also the author of Page Zero’s Mastering Panama: A special report on Yahoo!’s new search marketing platform (August 2007). The Paid Search column appears Mondays at Search Engine Land.

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

    Related Topics: Channel: SEM | How To: PPC | Paid Search Column

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    About The Author: was recently voted the 2013 Most influential SEM. She is the Vice President of Online Marketing Strategy at Page Zero Media where she focuses on search engine marketing strategy, landing page optimization (LPO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

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