In-Depth Tutorial: “HC3” Membership Landing Page

Biblical Archaeology Society All Access Charter Membership

Have you ever heard the expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”? Well, in direct marketing with subscription and membership offers, imagine if you bring the horse to the water—your order landing page—and you’re able to get him to drink all the water—order your products or services—with persuasive tactics that are irresistible. Done! It’s called designing and deploying a compelling Landing Page, and—when executed properly—it works to boost orders, revenue, and profits!

With this Template Tutorial, we’ll review an HC3 Landing Page that uses a hard offer to pitch new subscriptions. But first, what is an HC3 Landing Page? HC3 is our acronym for “Horizontal Choice-3,” which means the page is visually presented in horizontal-across-the-page, pillar-like fashion with 3 ordering options. And we’re featuring an HC3 Landing Page from the Biblical Archaeology Society—a page that offers a print-only option, a digital-only option, and their All-Access option that includes everything.

The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS), founded in 1974, is a nonprofit, nondenominational, educational organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about archaeology in the Bible lands—and BAS publishes Biblical Archaeology Review magazine.

Biblical Archaeology Review is a primary business driver for subscriptions and membership in BAS, and the magazine helps build a customer base that is upsold to high-ticket tours and seminars, providing exclusive access to biblical scholars and experts—and networking opportunities with fellow members at special events.

HC3 Landing Page, with Hard Offer for a Subscription

When BAS executed this HC3 Landing Page and included the print-ordering option, net results increased 39%! With proper testing protocols, you can also test an HC3 Landing Page and watch your results soar.

Now, let’s take a look at BAS’s HC3 Landing Page, and we’ll rank it based on our checklist of core components that can help connect with prospects and make the sale!

Nameplate Header

If you’re like BAS and most other publishers, prospects for your premium offers can come to your Order Landing Page in a multitude of ways including email, site navigation, organic search, affiliate-partner promotions, paid-media efforts, direct mail, and more. One thing you want all Order Landing Page visitors to immediately know is who you are—and the best way to convey your identity is to use a page header that displays your nameplate logo with your tag line, a succinct and effective way to present your brand. And when you’re driving page visitors from email messages that include your nameplate logo, displaying the same logo on your Order Landing Page is a confirming credibility-builder.

BAS does the job well with this component of the HC3 Landing Page!

Testing Ideas

While opportunities to “test” your brand’s main logo and tag line may seem limited, by focusing on this element, you might brainstorm new ways to position your brand (with a new, more powerful tag line, for example). Or you might have reason to test sprucing up your nameplate with call-out elements, such as a starburst, that highlight momentous events—a company anniversary or winning an important award. Examples: “45th Anniversary: 1974-2019” or “Rocket Award Winner: Fastest-Growing Website.”

Headline

After your nameplate header that identifies your business, a prominent headline is in order—to help page visitors know the general nature of your offer. These headlines should be short, pithy, explanatory, and not distracting. Here, BAS conveys the urgency of their offer with “Limited Time” language and explains that the offer is for new members only, highlighted in yellow. With a legacy print-subscriber business, it’s sometimes important to make it clear that some offers are for new members only—and your customer service department can separately deal with any new subscribers who might stumble upon this Order Landing Page.

BAS earns points for their crystal-clear headline!

Testing Ideas

Besides the nameplate header, your headline is often one of the first things a prospect sees when visiting this page. Headline testing can help you find winning or better-performing messages, and you should try testing things such as offer, premium, or urgency specificity in your headline. Examples:

  • Just 99¢—Special Deal for You, Today Only!
  • FREE! Get Top 10 People, Places & Events in the Bible, When You Act Now!
  • Special Easter Holiday Sale—99¢ Introductory Deal, Expires at Midnight Tonight

Yes checkmark” testing—under the headline, try testing the addition of a “yes checkmark” statement, above the pillars, that is first-person affirmative and a succinct summary of key benefits of ordering. Example:

Yes, I want a year of Biblical Archaeology Review, to learn more about the Bible than anyone else I know. I’ll stay up-to-date on new archaeological digs and finds, and I’ll get behind-the-scenes previews of rare artifacts about Bible history. Sign me up for just 99¢ a month!

Offer/price testing—as with any subscription or membership offer, testing introductory pricing is a great way to gauge the marketplace’s willingness to order your products or services at various price points and various terms. Successful introductory offers that we’ve seen working include “30 days for $1”; “14 days FREE”; and “12 weeks for $12”—or test including a premium incentive for new-subscription orders. Digital downloads of curated popular content are a great way to make your offer more appealing to new subscribers.

Pillar #1

Pillar #1 with “Learn More” details revealed.

Presenting the Order Landing Page in horizontal fashion with pillars that highlight key components of your offer follows the logical way that humans read, left to right. And Pillar #1 is all-important, so that’s why it contains the All-Access offer—the option in an HC3 Landing Page that you want all prospects to take, your highest-price option. Here are some key best-practice elements of this pillar:

  • Call out this option as the “best value” deal—BAS includes a yellow corner banner with bold red type that accomplishes this.
  • Include imagery that depicts everything subscribers get with this offer option—BAS includes a computer-screen of the digital library, tablet and mobile-phone depictions of a magazine issue, and an image of a print-edition cover.
  • State the offer components in clear and concise language—BAS states “All Access” and briefly describes what you get, the total dollar value, and the savings percentage.
  • Provide further details of the offer—BAS includes a “Learn More” link that opens an on-page dialogue box window, giving all the details of the All-Access offer.
  • Feature a clearly visible call-to-action button—BAS’s order button spans the width of the pillar and is affirmative with “Select All Access” copy in the button.
  • Restate the offer option in the best manner possible—BAS includes an easy-to-understand statement of the offer at the bottom of the pillar—“99¢/month, billed annually” is a great way to break the $1 barrier and present the offer in understandable monthly terms. And you’ll notice a contrast-pricing strategy visually deployed here—get everything for just 99¢/month, only 10¢/month more than individually ordering digital-only or print-only subscriptions, which your eyes can quickly scan and compare across the 3 pillars

BAS nails it with Pillar #1!

Testing Ideas

Since Pillar #1 is so important, it’s worthy of testing! With the All-Access ordering option included in Pillar #1, one test you should try is to make this pillar bigger—and pillars #2 and #3 smaller—to give Pillar #1 more space for featuring and describing your “best deal” offer. We call this an HC3-Big Landing Page, and it’s proven to boost response with some products and offers—a common deployment is to make Pillar #1 40% of the page width, with Pillar #2 and Pillar #3 each 30% of the page width.

Pillar #2

Pillar #2 with “Learn More” details revealed.

Pillar #2 does its job of succinctly presenting the digital-only ordering option on this HC3 Landing Page. Best-practice elements of this pillar include:

  • Display imagery that depicts items subscribers get with this offer option—BAS includes a computer-screen of the digital library, and tablet and mobile-phone depictions of a magazine issue cover. This is the same image as Pillar #1, minus the depiction of a print-edition magazine cover.
  • State the offer components in clear and concise language—BAS states “Digital” and briefly describes what you get and the digital-delivery methods.
  • Provide further details of the offer—BAS includes a “Learn More” link that opens an on-page dialogue box window, giving all the details of the Digital offer.
  • Feature a clearly visible call-to-action button—BAS’s order button spans the width of the pillar and is affirmative with “Select Digital” copy in the button.
  • Restate the offer option in the best manner possible—BAS includes an easy-to-understand statement of the offer at the bottom of the pillar—“89¢/month, billed annually.”

BAS gets the job done with Pillar #2!

Testing Ideas

While the “Learn More” links in all of the pillars provide instant on-page access to details about the product components and offer, you can try testing eliminating this functionality and forcing product features to be described more succinctly in the space provided inside the pillar.

Pillar #3

Pillar #3 with “Learn More” details revealed.

Pillar #3 presents the print-only ordering option on this HC3 Landing Page. Best-practice elements of this pillar include:

  • Display imagery that depicts what subscribers get with this offer option—BAS only an image of a print-edition magazine cover, because that’s all you get with this option.
  • State the offer component in clear and concise language—BAS states “Print” and briefly describes what you get, a “one-year subscription delivered straight to your door.”
  • Provide further details of the offer—BAS includes a “Learn More” link that opens an on-page dialogue box window, giving all the details of the Print offer.
  • Feature a clearly visible call-to-action button—BAS’s order button spans the width of the pillar and is affirmative with “Select Print” copy in the button.
  • Restate the offer option in the best manner possible—BAS includes an easy-to-understand statement of the offer at the bottom of the pillar—“89¢/month, billed annually.”

BAS scores with Pillar #3!

Testing Ideas

One easy test is to switch around the order of the pillars. You could try making the far-right pillar your best-offer deal—or simply switch pillar #2 and pillar #3, to gauge whether the sequencing of order options is important to your prospect audience.

Order Total Box

The Order Total Box is an essential component of an HC3 Landing Page, to summarize for ordering customers exactly what is being ordered and how much it costs. Unlike multi-page shopping-cart order flows, this single HC3 Landing Page for subscription or membership offers allows you to accomplish “order summary” on one page—when one of the 3 pillar’s ordering options is selected, the Order Total Box is automatically populated. And with the pillars displaying pricing in monthly terms, this box calculates the entire year’s subscription cost and includes which option has been chosen—this helps avoid customer confusion about the exact dollar amount of the imminent credit-card charge.

BAS scores again with a clear-and-concise Order Total Box!

Continuous-Service Language

Thanks to the burgeoning membership economy, the now-very-common practice of consumers signing up for products and services with auto-renewing continuous service makes subscription and membership retention for marketers and publishers an easier goal to reach.

With an annual term for BAS’s subscription offer, the conversion pricing doesn’t need to be disclosed here—30+ days before the auto renewal in a year, customers will be notified of the upcoming renewal and the cost. Resist the temptation to complicate this HC3 Landing Page by disclosing conversion pricing when you’re offering an annual service—not only can it suppress initial orders, it could lock you in on a pricing promise and prohibit your ability to change or increase pricing later.

And BAS includes options in their Continuous Service Guarantee language for contacting their customer service department, both a toll-free number and a clickable link to send an email message.

Note: Some states have passed laws governing how businesses must handle and display continuous-service terms for their products and services—this is an area of the law that is frequently changing, so please consult your legal counsel to ensure you’re compliant with current laws. Hopefully, to make requirements universal, the federal government will act to preempt all the state initiatives—stay tuned on that!

BAS follows best practices with their Continuous-Service Language!

Summary

Bingo! BAS has followed the Mequoda HC3 Landing Page Checklist—the real proof of success is in the 39% boost in net response that BAS achieved for gaining new subscribers.

Here’s a review of BAS’s checklist performance for their HC3 Landing Page!

HC3 Landing Page Checklist

Element Criteria Done?
Nameplate Header Reinforce brand recognition.
Head/Subhead Hype primary offer in headline.
No mention of conversion pricing or conversion term.
Yes! Statement Include a Yes Statement written in affirmatory first person.
Pillars Pillar #1 (main pillar) should be 40% of screen width; 2 and 3, 30% each.
State the product in the headline.
Describe features with copy and images.
No mention of conversion pricing or term.
Include Call to Action button.
Order Total Box Restate the initial offer and product ordered.
No mention of conversion pricing or term.
Continuous Service Language Provide continuous service message. Notify subscribers of conversion rate at renewal time—30+ days before auto-renewal.
Email Privacy Statement State overview of policy and provide link to privacy statement.
Make sure the privacy statement opens in a new window so you don't lose your order.
Test, test, test! One element at a time!

Bottom Line: If you want to boost new-subscription orders 39% or more—just like BAS—take a page out of their playbook and test your own version of this HC3 Landing Page today! You’ll clinch more sales on-the-spot and minimize Order Landing Page abandons when you follow these best practices.

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