Three Landing Page Optimization Tips from the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor Landing Page

This landing page is effective by being understated.

In our Motley Fool Media Network Case Study, we chronicled the company’s admirable history from its humble beginnings as an America Online discussion forum in 1994. And we cited the Gardner brothers’ remarkable business model change in 2001 after the dot-com bust, which enabled the publishing company to rise like a phoenix to do $23 million in gross revenues in 2005.

Our Motley Fool Website Design Review gave them high marks in nearly every category, and we have mentioned the Motley Fool’s exemplary online business practices in numerous Mequoda books, articles and seminars.

The Motley Fools do a few things differently from most other publishers and do lot of them very well. You know you’re dealing with a hybrid publisher when its mission and values statement includes the words, educate, enrich and amuse. You don’t normally see the word amuse in somebody’s mission statement. And, of equal interest, under core values they include freedom to make mistakes.

  • We find that many online publishers use free content to largely just drive traffic to their website. Motley Fool is a great example.
  • Motley Fool produces about 700 free articles a month and sends heavy syndication feeds to the major portals.
  • That’s its single largest source of traffic to their website.
  • When they get a prospective customer to their website, the Fools don’t just let you come there once and generate some traffic and maybe buy something or generate some ad impressions. They do their best to start a relationship.
  • One key to converting casual visitors into paying customers is an effective sales letter landing page.

After looking at just one of the Fools’ seven landing pages, here are few landing page optimization tips Peter Schaible got from reviewing the Stock Advisor landing page with the Mequoda Sales Letter Landing Page Scorecard.

  • The headline is practically nonexistent. Amazingly, “Hello and welcome!” is the headline. The Motley Fool Stock Advisor is the publisher’s flagship print newsletter and it reflects the Gardners’ personal investment philosophy and advice. So it is especially disappointing that this landing page doesn’t engage the first-time visitor with a benefit-laden headline.
  • Specificity enhances credibility. Never say one of your stock picks has tripled since you recommended it. Rather, as the Gardner’s say, “The stock has risen 205 percent since David’s recommendation, turning a $10,000 investment into $30,500.” That’s a lot more specific and convincing.
  • The landing page makes innovative use of interactive technology. Motley Fool has a handy online quotes and data function that enables the user to look up the current price and performance history of hundreds of stocks. When this landing page refers to stocks that it has recommended, the user has an instant hypertext link to the current price and detailed history of that stock.

This landing page is effective by being understated. It is good, but not great.


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