You might be asking what this has to do with landing pages. Conversion, practice, testing? Surely that's obvious. (Image wiki commons)
You have a landing page. Just sitting there, staring at you with a level of conversion reminiscent of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ kicker Jeff Reed in 2009’s Sunday Night game against the Chicago Bears.
Your creative team, or self-indulgent entrepreneurial mind got you within what you assumed was winning range with a brilliant idea and a killer design. Then for some reason it just doesn’t work! What’s wrong with your landing page? Should you take it down and cancel the campaign? Should the Steelers dump Reed? No, of course not. Chill out for a second.
Just because one small part of your team or idea or page or plan isn’t functioning temporarily isn’t reason for dismissal.
So what to do?
Stand back and follow some basic first principles before bringing in the backup.
10 Plays You Can Call When Your Landing Page Isn’t Named Tom Brady
- Stand back in the pocket. Look at your landing page design from an impartial perspective about 15ft behind your offensive line. Does it seem focused or cluttered? Aim straight ahead, point your customers right between those blocking line men – and no staring at the attractive girl in the stands. If it looks solid from a distance, it probably is.
- Bench the copy. I’ve said it a couple of times now, don’t be precious about your writing and remove any unnecessary verbiage. I will read this post tomorrow and re-edit when I see elongated and bloated sentence structures that meander aimlessly to a point I’m not really sure of. You hearing me? Read it out loud and if it feels awkward (like the last sentence – it was intentional and I hope you noticed that) then re-write until it slips off your tongue.
- Bring in the backup. This isn’t quite a benching, it’s more of a test. Who’s the best on any given Sunday. Have a meeting (not too many people) to discuss some improvements, then run an A|B test with your number 2 page.
I’d like to pause and raise a touchdown salute to congratulate myself on maintaining the football theme throughout this post. And also to acknowledge that it may start to wane from this point forward.
- Try 2 Quarterbacks. If you are seeing some results, but they’re not as good as you’d hoped, maybe the offer isn’t that good. Try doubling the value briefly, give away 2-for-1. If it works for Shamwow and SlapChop, it can work for you. Just think about Brady and Breese together! That’s a winning proposition.
- Change which foot you kick with. Sometimes the simplest change of perspective can be inspirational. Look at your design in a mirror, or more easily, flip it around quickly in Photoshop. If you are targeting a westernized audience they read left to right, so place your CTA or lead-gen form in the right column so they finish their visual thoughts in that locale. In photography, the biggest difference between success and failure can be where the person behind the camera positions their feet. Start thinking about getting up and moving around until you find the perfect angle.
- Blitz.I wouldn’t normally advocate just sending in more players, or in this case traffic. But if you’re not looking at statistically relevant amounts of data, then there is always the chance that the conversion rate will improve if you ramp up your PPC campaign. If you have only had 60 unique visitors and assuming (with future vision) that your conversion rate will be an industry average 3%, then there is a chance that you just haven’t hit those few people yet. Give the numbers time to prove themselves viable.
- Admit when you fumble. Sometimes the concept just sucks. Be prepared to admit you got it wrong and give the ball to another team.
- Forget the Extra Point. It’s called a point after conversion for a reason. You don’t need to think about that extra thing you’d love to achieve with this campaign. Do one thing at a time and do it well. Focus on the goal line and not what’s coming next. What this means is that you should remove distractions; ads, other links like navigation and only show a single focused purpose.
- Play some defense. If your campaign is losing horribly, be willing to turn off the PPC tap before it’s too late.
- The Hail Mary. If all else fail and your campaign is mission critical and time sensitive, stick all of your best designers (or your best interaction architect) on the case. Pile them into the end zone and pray for a perfect ending. This may mean starting from scratch and getting the people who you couldn’t initially get on the project involved for a last ditch effort. Crossing your fingers is a classic technique for moments like this.
Give your landing page a timeout with these 10 plays and you should see some marked improvement in your conversions. And hopefully I’ll get a ticket in the first class cabin on the analogy train next time I do an impulse post.
Enjoy kicking the pigskin out of your landing pages. (Too much?)
— Oli Gardner
The Jeff Reed Challenge
Football Analogies that work for Landing Pages
I enjoyed writing this post, so if you got a kick out of reading it let me know if you’ve got an 11th idea for the playbook.