Can You Catch 4 Ping Pong Balls? – How Too Many Messages Can Kill Your Conversion Rate

By | Google+ , May 3rd, 2010 in Landing Pages | 20 comments

What do ping pong balls have to do with conversion rates? It’s all about focus and “message reception”.

Recently, Rick and I have been giving landing page workshops to small businesses and start-ups, and we always kick things off with a game that involves ping pong balls… and an unwitting volunteer. Our purpose is to illustrate the importance of focused messaging on your landing pages.

With so many messages on your homepage, the purpose of your upstream ad gets lost in the clutter. (Graphic produced using wordle.net).

Grab Some Balls and Throw Them at Your Colleagues

If you’re the type that has ping pong balls lying around, pick ‘em up and join in. Quick tip: don’t use golf balls as a replacement, they hurt. (If we meet in person, ask me to explain the golf ball incident).

Step 1

First, throw a single ping pong ball at the volunteer. Typically they’ll catch this ball – representing a customer dealing with, and receiving, a single focused message.

Step 2

Next, throw 4 balls at the same time. Most people will catch one or two, some miss them all entirely. You get the point – juggling is hard.

To be extra clear. The point is that by sending your marketing traffic to an unfocused landing experience you risk them missing your message.

Your Homepage is No Place to Send Advertising Traffic

It’s not rocket science, marketing science, or even particularly complicated. It’s simply a matter of attention and focus. Despite the proliferation of Yoga here on the west coast, we’re still part of the Ritalin-infused attention deficit generation – which means the brains of our potential customers can absorb only a finite amount of information in the few seconds they are willing to spend on our websites.

If you want to increase your conversion rate, make sure your customers only have one thing to do at a time.

A Comparison – CampaignMonitor.com

Campaign Monitor have a beautifully designed site. And they also do a cracking job of producing focused landing page experiences. Let’s take a look at their homepage vs. a landing page.

 


Both pages look great, have well targeted messaging, and fit the brand. But let’s compare them based on the number of interaction points they present to a new visitor:

Homepage   Landing Page
41 interaction points   1 interaction point
This is how a homepage should be. Clear navigation and multiple methods of self-exploratory interaction. But it’s too indirect to be the destination of a marketing campaign. (Despite how good a job they’ve done here).   By contrast, the landing page has only 1 thing to click on! The call to action (CTA) is clear and prominent, and there is enough supporting information to allow you to make an informed choice.

The Solution to A.D.D.?

Simply stated. You should use a landing page for every promotion you run. This effort is wasted though, if you don’t ensure that the messaging sticks to one concept at a time. So, for your next campaign, try following these 3 guidelines:

  1. Guideline 1: Always begin with the product or service you are marketing and create a concept based on this.
  2. Guideline 2: Create a landing page that distills your offer into it’s simplest form. Use 1 primary call to action.
  3. Guideline 3: Only now should you work on your ad messaging (banners, PPC, email). The message match between ad and landing page is critical. You may have to go back and forth to tweak ad and landing page copy until they work well in unison.

How to Break the Habit

Short of electric shock therapy, and other forms of negative reinforcement, the best way to break the cycle of throwing marketing money down the toilet is simply to try something different. Try building a landing page and start driving your traffic through a more focused marketing funnel.

Once you start seeing higher conversions and a more flexible environment for changing & testing your message, you’ll never go back.

Oli Gardner

About The Author

Photo of Oli Gardner

Co-Founder of Unbounce. Oli has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He is an opinionated writer and international speaker on Conversion Centered Design. You should follow Oli on Twitter
» More blog posts by

Comments

  1. [...] With so many messages on your homepage, the purpose of your upstream ad gets lost in the clutter. (Graphic produced using wordle.net). [read] [...]

  2. [...] I mentioned in a recent post about how too many messages can kill your conversion rate, CampaignMonitor do a great job on this page of reducing the number of interactive elements (the [...]

  3. Craig Stern says:

    Great article Oli. It would have been even better if you showed the matching message match between the ad and landing page.

  4. oligardner says:

    Thanks Craig, do you mean the ads that come in to the CampaignMonitor site, or a metaphorical representation based on the ping pong ball analogy?

    (I'll try and dig out some banners or links for the Campaign Monitor one if I can) :)

  5. oligardner says:

    Just did some digging. This post beautifully illustrates their creative and testing process – complete with conversion numbers. – http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/post/2779/p

    It shows the ad and winning landing page.

  6. oligardner says:

    This is another little gem, directly from the designers of the pages himself. Check it out , great example of iteration.

    http://www.31three.com/notebook/archive/campaig

  7. [...] INSIGHT: Your customers can’t handle moe than one message at a time. Read this post on focused marketing messaging to learn more about simplifying your [...]

  8. [...] INSIGHT: Your customers can’t handle moe than one message at a time. Read this post on focused marketing messaging to learn more about simplifying your [...]

  9. [...] operation can’t hoop moe than a singular summary during a time. Read this post upon focused selling messaging to distinctness some-more about simplifying your pages.27. WRITE AN EBOOKThis is where calm [...]

  10. [...] INSIGHT: Your customers can’t handle moe than one message at a time. Read this post on focused marketing messaging to learn more about simplifying your [...]

  11. [...] INSIGHT: Your customers can’t handle moe than one message at a time. Read this post on focused marketing messaging to learn more about simplifying your [...]

  12. [...] INSIGHT: Your customers can’t handle moe than one message at a time. Read this post on focused marketing messaging to learn more about simplifying your [...]

  13. [...] INSIGHT: Your customers can’t handle moe than one message at a time. Read this post on focused marketing messaging to learn more about simplifying your [...]

  14. [...] People can get lost of wander off without proper guidance. An online analogy would be comparing a homepage (which has many different points of interaction – leading to many user paths) to a landing page focused on a single purpose with a single clear call to action. To learn more about this concept, read “Can You Catch 4 Ping Pong Balls? – How Too Many Messages Can Kill Your Conversion Rate“. [...]

  15. [...] INSIGHT: Your customers can’t handle more than one message at a time. Read this post onfocused marketing messaging to learn more about simplifying your [...]

  16. Alexander says:

    Since a landing page in terms of marketing and advertising is a page separate from the website. Once it is created, what do you do with it? Must it have it’s own url?

  17. Linda Willis says:

    Enjoyed your article, Oli. Your ping pong ball analogy/ metaphor really makes the point about landing page messages. I’ve been trying to educate myself on landing pages for the past several days and got here via Unbounce’s webinar and e-book on the Ultimate Guide to LPO and your analysis of the good and bad in a number of them. Really appreciate your sharing your knowledge – and in so understandable a way. Thank you!

x
Get actionable optimization tips delivered straight to your inbox.

You'll learn:

  • What it takes to build successful marketing campaigns
  • Why your landing page design and copy might be working against you
  • How to increase conversions while delighting leads and customers