Would you like to work with me? Drop me a note.

Landing pages should be part of your strategy too

We get so caught up in targeting that we forget that landing pages are just as important. I’d argue that they’re more important than the targeting and the creatives of the ad. Because their main objective is to make the sale of the promise you made in the ad.

I look at search queries as questions: Someone is looking for an answer. They might be after more information, or they might want to buy something to solve a problem. Your ad is the first answer to that question. It’s the: “Yes, we have what you need”.

But that answer is not enough. You need to answer with more detail and that’s where your landing page comes in. It allows you to explain point by point why your solution to their problem is best.

This is where trouble starts. We take so much time creating campaign structures, A/B test camel cased ads, and then we let people land on a generic landing page. Sometimes we let them land on a category page, or even the homepage… But how can these pages give a clear answer to the question that people have.

Two queries, two landing pages

Let’s say that someone is searching for “Best Widget Provider”. That means we need to convince them that our widgets are the best. We can’t do that on a generic page with generic information on widgets.

But if we let them land on a variation of that page:

  • Showing off your independent reviews and ratings
  • Talking about awards you’ve won
  • Having customers talk about why they love your widgets

Same widget provider, but a different query. This one is for “Cheap Widget Provider”. Now we need to shine a light on the cost of those widgets. That means:

  • Talking about prices, and what X buys you.
  • Talk about added services that are free.
  • Showcase discounts.
  • Highlight customers talking about how inexpensive our widgets are.

Let’s say your widgets aren’t cheap at all: You might talk about how inexpensive widgets are a bad decision. That allows you to steer the conversation in a way that highlights your strengths.

Landing pages are your only shot to hook potential customers. You have their undivided attention for a few seconds, so you need to make the most of that time. You know what they’re looking for, use that information and make the sale.

How to introduce your company

How do you introduce your company to prospects? I’ve spend the past few months looking for frameworks to streamline our offerings to customers. One of these frameworks that I use a lot is the Perfect Pitch by Robert Craven.

I like it because it’s a very simple framework to get to the perfect pitch. That’s because it introduces limits to the people you serve, identifies the problem you can help with, and why they should choose you. There are five parts to introducing your company:

  1. We work with…
  2. Who have a problem with…
  3. What we do is…
  4. So that…
  5. Which means that…

Let’s go into detail for each of these steps:

We work with…

This is where you limit the sort of customers you want to attract. No-one is able to serve an entire market, so what you’re looking for is a lovely niche to carve out for yourself.

For the company I work for this would be: We work with small & mid sized businesses. (It’s not the best niche, but we’re still optimising that part.)

Who have a problem with…

This is where you want prospects to go: “That’s me! I have the same problem”. That means that you’ll need to get fairly specific.

The company I work for has: Who have a problem with their online marketing. It’s hard to see what works, even harder to chose from what’s possible.

What we do is…

No-one cares about what you do. Say that again: Nobody cares. This bit is only about setting up the last two parts of the introduction. So make a promise, that you’ll deliver on later.

Let’s use us as an example once again: What we do is clearing up the black box of online marketing: Showing you where there’s potential, and how it works.

So that…

After we introduce what we do it’s time to bring everything home. This is where people get their interest back because this part is all about benefits. Wait a moment before bringing out the big guns. This part is for the direct benefit of working with you.

The company I work for could use: So that you’re never out of touch with what’s been done, what’s worked, what hasn’t and where you should focus on next.

Which means that…

This is your final chance to score, and it would be a shame to miss because we’ve gone through all that set-up. I like to say that this part should get B2B people promoted, and give B2C people bragging rights in the pub. This is the secondary, but more powerful benefit of working with you.

So the company I work for would have: Which means that you’ll never miss an opportunity to sell more to more people.

Bonus: Just ask…

Why would I ever believe what you claim? Show me some proof! So brag about the thousands of customers who bought from you, or the awards you won, or even the cases that prove your point.

One last example: Just ask the 100 companies we currently work for. They’ll tell you that they saw an average improvement of 267%

Let’s put all of that together: We work with small & mid sized businesses. Who have a problem with their online marketing: It’s hard to see what works, even harder to chose from what’s possible. What we do is clear up the black box of online marketing: Showing you where there’s potential, and how it works. So that you’re never out of touch with what’s been done, what’s worked, what hasn’t and where you should focus on next. Which means that you’ll never miss an opportunity to sell more to more people. Just ask the 100 companies we currently work for. They’ll tell you that they saw an average improvement of 267%

Avoiding confirmation bias

Confirmation bias happens when you only look for the facts that support your idea. It’s something I come across far too often. It happens because it’s so very human to only see what we want to see. It’s one of the main culprits of bad decision making.

We look for signs that match our initial idea because we like and want to be right. This is one of the reasons why the spread of fake news is so hard to contain. It’s also why it’s so difficult to persuade someone they might be wrong. An effect that’s even stronger when you were the one that went looking for the information in the first place.

The Belgian justice system certainly isn’t perfect. It does have one thing going for it: Investigators are obligated to actively look for facts to incriminate and/or absolve someone. Countries that allow the justice system to only look for incriminating evidence have a higher wrongful conviction rate.

That means a simple trick helps avoid confirmation bias:

“What would I see if I am wrong?”

Don’t just look for evidence that you’re right, take a few moments to look for evidence that you’re wrong. It’s surprising to see how quickly you find it. Finding it doesn’t mean you’re wrong, it just means there’s more to it than you thought.

If you do find a few things that go against your thinking, talk to someone about what you’re seeing. It allows you to make everything click in your head, and you get input from others as an added bonus.

In my experience taking those few minutes is enough to gradually take better decisions. Most people will not actively look for it, so you’re already improving on their confirmation bias.

Want to learn more about making better decisions? Farnam Street is one of my favourite blogs on decision making. They explain over 110 mental models.

The horrors of the middle

“Can’t we just go for the middle?” They asked. I started to search for a friendly way to say: “No, we can’t”.

The middle is a clear indicator that you don’t stand for anything. That’s the cardinal sin in any campaign: Not communicating why people should choose you.

Choosing to stand for something forces people to actively chose you. You’re no longer chosen because you’re the cheapest, the most convenient,… You’re chosen because you’re you. They’re on board with your story.

So no, we can’t meet in the middle. The middle is overcrowded by brands who are too afraid of being disliked. The irony of course is that very few people will actually like these brands.

So stay clear of the middle and take a stand.