Mequoda Sales Letter Landing Page Guidelines

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
— John Wanamaker (1838-1922)

Building the Best Landing Pages with the Mequoda Scorecard

Evaluating any kind of advertising or sales pitch has always been a difficult task, subject to a host of unruly variables and seasoned by one’s own sense of what might work. The technology available to us today only makes it more difficult, with hyperlinks and streaming video and all the other electronic gizmos available to an enthusiastic programmer/designer. Therefore we decided to develop our own landing page guidelines to help those who use the Mequoda Method in creating powerful sales letter landing pages.

We constructed the Mequoda Sales Letter Landing Page Scorecard by asking a panel of online marketing experts what they believe constitutes a well-done landing page. Each of the experts is a recognized industry leader with an impressive portfolio. As you might imagine it was a lively series of conversations. At the end of the exercise, the panel had isolated 12 essential elements for a landing page sales letter to be successful. Using their recommendations, we created four true or false criteria to use when evaluating each of the elements. The result is an easy-to-understand framework you’ll find below. We’re confident  you’ll find it an invaluable tool with in improving the conversion rates of your sales letter landing pages.

Find out the CMS features that publishers require to manage an online publishing business. Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways Haven Wordpress Goes Beyond Wordpress, and discover the features all publishers should have access to for a bigger audience, greater revenue, and higher profits.

Here’s how the grading system operates. An answer of “true” to any of the four landing page guidelines in each category constitutes a single point, with each category having a possible best score of four points. After answering all of the true or false questions, we average the number of points and assign a letter grade. Four points equal an “A,” three points a “B,” two points a “C” and a single point a “D.” An “F” would be granted if none of the objectives were met.

Here are the categories and landing page guidelines:

1. Headline (Strategic Intent) Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing page guidelines for headlines

2. Story and Content Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing Page Guidelines for story and content

3. Content Webification Landing Page Guidelines

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 replace it.

Landing Page Guidelines for content webification

4. Email Capture (Relationship Building) Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing Page Guidelines for email capture

5. User Testimonial Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing Page Guidelines for user testimonials

6. Links to Order Flow Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing Page Guidelines for links to order flow

7. Labeling and Language Landing Page Guidelines

Have you ever seen a sales letter that included a bulleted list of items… and the last item in the list said, “and much, much more?” Well, here’s a news flash…nobody with an IQ higher than room temperature believes  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.

Landing Page Guidelines for labeling and language

8. Readability & Content Density Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing Page Guidelines for readability and content density

9. Content Freshness & Urgency Landing Page Guidelines

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?

Landing Page Guidelines for content freshness and urgency

10. Load Time Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing Page Guidelines for load time

11. Aesthetics Landing Page Guidelines

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.

Landing Page Guidelines for aesthetics

12. Order Options Landing Page Guidelines

Posting a landing page with a confusing or inadequate order mechanism is like opening a new Walmart, 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.

Landing Page Guidelines for order options


The Mequoda Landing Page Scorecard™ encourages you to score your own landing page using each of the 12 Mequoda Best Practice Landing Page Guidelines, add them together and arrive at a cumulative score. The goal is to emphasize the importance of effective landing pages that sell. Your landing page should achieve respectable scores in all areas, rather than over-emphasizing a single area or two, or omitting other areas completely.

This scorecard was written with the help of John Clausen, Peter A. Schaible and Bob Bly.

Mequoda Sales Landing Page Scorecard Index

Mequoda has reviewed numerous sales letter landing pages using the these landing page guidelines. You can access all of our landing page reviews here:

Harvard Health Letter Sales Letter

America’s Test Kitchen

The Investment U Course’s Online Success Blueprint Workshop’s The Definitive Guide to Google Adwords’s Boost Business With Your Own Ezine

Dan Kennedy Free Gift

Internet Marketing Center

The South Beach Diet Newsletter

AWAIOnline Copywriting Course’s The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing

Instant Real Estate Newsletter

Web Usability for Senior Citizens

Doctor Douglass’ Real Health Breakthroughs

Jose Silva’s UltraMind System

21st Century Investor

Tax Loopholes of the Rich

American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI)

The Hume Report

The Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor

The Whole Dog Journal

Hideaway Report

Wall Street Journal 20-Free Issues

Mayo Clinic Health Letter Sales Letter

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

The Blaylock Wellness Report

Rukeyser Mutual Funds Sales Letter

The Samsung SyncMaster 710MP’s FundInvestor™ Sales Letter

The Richebacher Letter


Leave a Reply