12 Ways to Increase Landing Page Conversion Rates

What criteria would four of America’s most successful copywriters use to create better sales letter landing pages? And how would 26 landing pages from a variety of large and small publishers and authors hold up under their intense scrutiny?

Over the past 12 months, John Clausen, Peter A. Schaible, Robert W. Bly and Peter J. Fogel have used a list of 12 guidelines designed to increase landing page conversion rates to critique 26 successful (and a few not-so-successful) sales letter landing pages for a variety of books, magazines and newsletters for Mequoda’s Creating Landing Pages That Sell.

What follows is a summary of their results and a brief review of the 12 criteria they used to score the 26 carefully selected landing pages we put under the Mequoda Landing Page Scorecard™ microscope. Suffice to say, most of us have a lot of work to do!

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Mequoda: Creating Landing Pages That Sell
Landing Page Scorecard Summary Ranking – Q1 2006
Rank
Product Grade Points Reviewer URL
1
American Writers and Artists Institute
A
3.66
Clausen landing page
2
Investment U
A
3.5
Schaible landing page
3
Sit Stay Fetch
B
3.33
Bly landing page
4
23 Most Costly Mistakes Real Estate Investors Make, And How To Avoid Them
B
3.25
Clausen landing page
5
Tax Loopholes of the Rich
B
3.17
Bly landing page
6
Doctor Douglass’ Real Health Breakthroughs
B
3.17
Clausen landing page
7
Instant Real Estate Newsletter
B
3.17
Fogel landing page
8
Next Generation Agent Newsletter
B
3.08
Bly landing page
9
The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
B
3.08
Fogel landing page
10
The Whole Dog Journal
B
3
Clausen landing page
11
eBook Secrets Exposed
B
3
Fogel landing page
12
21st Century Investor
B
3
Fogel landing page
13
The 7 Great Prayers for an Abundant & Blessed Life
B
2.92
Bly landing page
14
Rukeyser Mutual Funds
B
2.75
Bly landing page
15
Super Affiliate Handbook
B
2.75
Clausen landing page
16
Baby Modeling Secrets
B
2.75
Schaible landing page
17
The Richebacher Letter
B
2.67
Clausen landing page
18
America’s Test Kitchen
B
2.66
Bly landing page
19
Morningstar FundInvestor
B
2.5
Schaible landing page
20
Mayo Clinic Health Letter
B
2.5
Bly landing page
21
Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor
B
2.5
Bly landing page
22
Jose Silva’s UltraMind System
C
2.33
Bly landing page
23
Web Usability for Senior Citizens
C
2.33
Schaible landing page
24
Harvard Health Letter
C
2
Bly landing page
25
Hideaway Report
C
1.92
Schaible landing page
26
Hume Group
C
1.92
Fogel landing page

12 Ways to Increase Landing Page Conversion Rates

1. Landing Page Headline (Strategic Intent)
It may seem hard to believe, but far too many landing pages fail almost immediately by offering up lackluster headlines and subheads. Think benefits and features when putting up your headlines. The visitor who’s reading your landing page wants nothing more than the answer to this question: “What’s in this for me?” Answer that question well and you will make a sale.

2. Landing Page Story and Content
Make sure your landing page contains an interesting, engaging, believable story told by someone your audience can relate to and appreciate. After all, you’re asking them to spend their valuable time reading your pitch… you owe them a good time. Plus, a compelling story will move them smoothly along to the purchasing decision.

3. Landing Page Content Webification
By “Webification” we mean the most efficient use of all the multimedia and interactive technology available. This does not, however, mean using technology just because it’s there. Never let the technology outshine the sales message. Don’t let your readers be so dazzled by the bells and whistles that they forget to buy. Technology should be used to enhance the sales message, not to replace it.

4. Landing Page Email Capture (Relationship Building)
Once you’ve captured your prospect’s interest, it’s important to keep your name, product, and/or service in front of them. Offering a free newsletter or a free report is a handy, non-invasive way to accomplish that. These items have a high-perceived value and are amazingly cheap to produce and distribute. Using effective pop-unders as a mechanism for drawing them in once they’ve decided to abandon you is crucial.

5. Landing Page User Testimonials
A good, credible testimonial is an extremely valuable part of any sales letter. The most credible testimonial messages are those told in the individual’s own words and include a full identification of the person giving the testimonial. Kind words from Tom S. in North Carolina are obviously less valuable than those from Tom Smith in Boone, North Carolina. In fact, under-identified testimonials can inspire suspicion and work against your sales message.

6. Landing Page Links to Order Flow
Links and buttons are the vehicles that allow a prospect to navigate your landing page. Make them as easy as possible to understand and use.

7. Landing Page Labeling and Language
Have you ever seen a sales letter that included a bulletin list of items… and the last item in the list said, “and much, much more?” Well, here’s a news flash… nobody with a higher-than-room temperature IQ believes that there is “much, much more.” If you actually have more benefits or features, put them in the list. Clear language and good grammar are part of good storytelling and so is telling the truth. Don’t try to bamboozle your prospect with tired ad copy cliches.

8. Landing Page Readability & Content Density
This is fairly self-explanatory. If a page is comfortable and easy to read, prospects are far more likely to keep reading and take in your sales message.

9. Landing Page Content Freshness & Urgency
Few things destroy the credibility of a landing page sales letter more quickly and effectively than content that’s out of date. How can we expect the prospect to take our message seriously if we’re not even interested enough in the content to keep it up to date?

10. Landing Page Load Time
Nobody wants to wait for any website to load. Call us spoiled or impatient, but the fact is that the Web-using public doesn’t want to wait at all. If your landing page loads with anything less than instant gratification, you run a serious risk of losing your customer.

11. Landing Page Aesthetics
The way a landing page looks and feels is almost as important as what it says. A favorable decision to purchase your product or service is almost always the result of a sales effort that made the customer feel comfortable and safe.

12. Landing Page Order Options
Posting a landing page with a confusing or inadequate order mechanism is like opening a new Wal-Mart, but forgetting to install cash registers. What’s the point? In direct mail advertising, it is generally conceded that one of the two most important elements of the package is the order form (the other being the outer envelope). If you get everything else right and blow the order mechanism, your sales letter landing page will almost certainly fail miserably.

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