Too often internet marketers and website owners fall into the trap of optimizing pages. They worry about fonts, colors, images, placement of text, white space, contrast, “feel” and myriad other factors. But think about how your visitor will view the web page.
What are they looking for?
Question 1. Does this page have an answer/solution to my problem?
Question 2. Does it provide a valuable benefit that outweighs the cost?
Question 3. Is it credible?
All the perfectly selected and placed fonts, colors, images in the world won’t influence whether the page solves the reader’s problem or provides value. If you’re not addressing these questions first, you’re probably losing readers.
So, how can you optimize the thought process?
Let’s look at a couple examples for the search term: “SEO Software”. What is this person looking for? Most likely they understand the value of SEO and are looking for a software to help them with their SEO.
How to Do It Well
Headline – “SEOmoz PRO – SEO & Social Software” speaks directly to Question #1 because it confirms to the visitor that SEO software is being offered
3 bullet points – Quickly explains what you get with the software, thus cementing an answer to Question 1.
Free Trial – Not only does this use the psychological power of “free”, it speaks directly to Question 2. You get to use the full product free for 30 days. That’s great value.
Additional copy – Many people will act quickly, sign up for the free trial, and then get additional information once they’re in the software, but notice how much additional information is provided below the first call to action (CTA) to answer Question 3. You’ve got screenshots of the product which helps take the nebulous term “software” and make it more concrete, and a customer testimonial from Chris Winfield with his real picture. I’ve met him, so I can vouch it’s really him. And don’t forget, another CTA to get the free trial.
This landing page from SEOmoz clearly answers each of our visitor’s 3 main questions. They quickly point out they have an SEO software solution that can help the visitor, they demonstrate their value with a full 30 day trial, and they establish their credibility with a testimonial, screenshots and profession design. Boom!
What Not To Do
Let’s look at search result #2 from our search results above: rio seo. Their ad also states that they offer SEO software. Let’s see how their landing page answers our 3 questions.
Headline – “Rio SEO is ‘The Only Leader’”. What does that even mean? The only leader of what? Even the subhead below it doesn’t answer Question 1 clearly. Do they have SEO software or not?
Download the Report – Why would a user want to download a report? They searched for SEO software, not a report.
Rotating Content – As you can see in the screenshots below, the page is actually a gigantic slider with 2 other messages: “Solutions for SEO Automation” and “Drive traffic through Hyperlocal SEO”. I would argue that SEO automation is closer to the original search for SEO software, but when you put it #2 in the slider, you obviously don’t think it’s the #1 priority. I’m not a believer in sliders and this is another example why.
This landing page fails to present a solution because it doesn’t clearly state how their offer can solve the inherent question behind the “SEO software” search query. It fails to provide a valuable benefit because it doesn’t articulate the value of the report it offers. They do address the question of credibility further down the page by showing logos of Fortune 500 companies using their software. By not addressing the first two issues though, most users will be long gone.
When optimizing your landing pages you need to focus on optimizing the thought process of your customer. This involves answering their main questions: do they have a solution to my problem, is it valuable, and is it credible. If you answer these questions clearly, in the proper order, you’ll get more visitors to progress to conversion and become valued customers.
Robert Brady is the PPC expert at Trafficado, a company that provides PPC management, and conversion rate optimization services for SMBs. He is a Google AdWords Certified Partner and is certified with Marketing Experiments for Online Testing and Landing Page Optimization.
He currently resides in Provo, Utah and can often be found skiing the greatest snow on earth, mountain biking through the Wasatch mountains or playing ultimate Frisbee at the park on a Saturday morning. The best way to say hello is through Twitter, where you can find him @robert_brady You can also reach Robert on Google+