Common Landing Page Mistakes: Too simple of a landing page for a complex sale
“Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
Well, actually, that’s not exactly what he said. Here’s the exact quote from a lecture delivered at Oxford, June 10, 1933 — “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.”
So, in other words, Einstein’s quote on simplicity is not so simple. Because that not simpler part is key.
The same applies to landing pages for a complex sale. True, many B2B landing pages are overly complex thanks to interdepartmental turf wars and websites focused around what technical experts think is important, not what truly matters to the customer …
… and there are fair reasons to keep your pages simple, such as having a busy audience that thinks time is money …
… but, in the end, you’re still asking these people for a lot of money.
“Many of the rule-based and Web 3.0 design-centric websites look really nice and seek a more minimal design,” said Adam Lapp, Associate Director of Optimization, MECLABS. “But what are you really saying to your customers? ‘Check out our pretty site and give us your information regarding this $10,000 product.’ ‘Read this one paragraph and three bullets and apply for a bank account.’”
A complex sale often requires a complex amount of information. Here are some so-called Internet marketing rules that Adam thinks are overused and, frankly, abused on complex sale landing pages:
Keep the call-to-action above the fold
“There is no fold,” said Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS. “This isn’t a newspaper, and this isn’t 1956.”
If you have a complex sale, you likely have to give the visitor more information before they are willing to act. Even if all you’re looking for is a lead, the visitor knows he is starting a process that will ultimately lead to a sales call and other disruptions from the company once they become a lead, so you need to provide some real value to the potential customer before you hit them with the call-to-action.
“This is a rule for lazy people who don’t want to work to get the visitor down the page,” Adam said.
Not too much copy
Again, the key concept to focus on is “… but not simpler.” Sure, there are heinous sites out there with endless information that is irrelevant to the potential customer.
But, if your sale is complex, it’s going to take more than a tag line to communicate the value to the visitor.
Form on the top right
“The form in the right column now competes for attention: Is the visitor to continue reading, or has all the requisite information been provided already?” Boris Grinkot said in this conversion analysis of a complex sale landing page.
Again, if you ask too early, without providing enough information for why someone should act, you’re very unlikely to convince the visitor to, in fact, take that action.
Hah! We got you now! You’re trapped. Wait, no, why is your mouse moving to that “back arrow” in your browser?
Sure, there are benefits to removing navigation. For one, you’re keeping your audience focused on the conversion objective. However… “Sometimes you remove navigation that might help your audience,” Adam said.
If your audience isn’t yet ready to commit to a conversion, and is merely doing some research, by removing navigation you’re essentially convincing them to bounce from your site.
Mistakes beyond the rules
Beyond rotely following rules, sometimes our high aesthetic as marketers gets in the way of conversion. “Design-centric landing page that are created because they look cool, but don’t ever factor in what the visitor will think, can hurt conversion,” Adam said.
“Whether it’s a big decision because of cost or impact to your life or business, you don’t make a page that simply looks nice. For example, a bank account is a big decision for an individual, I need more than three bullet points to know if I should apply,” Adam said.
And that’s what it comes down to. Forget about rules. Forget about aesthetics. Focus on helping your customer navigate through making this complex purchase decision. Hey, with some of these decisions, their career or financial security is on the line.
And what do they want from you? Information.
Information that will help them determine if your solution and the action you want them to take is right for them (hey, it’s not always, and you need to let them know that as well).
Information that will show them how you can help them take advantage of that opportunity, or avoid a downside risk. Information they need to share with influencers and decision makers on their team to help them make the right decision.
This is what impacts conversion on a complex sales page, not tired rules of thumb or graphic design masterpieces.
“You need to understand the psychology of the user, what’s inside their heads,” Adam concluded.
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I think you’re right, Daniel. For larger sales, many people prefer to get all the facts and then make “their own decision.” You guide them toward the sale only by getting the elements you mentioned out of the way. If they suspect they are being “sold to” they feel uncomfortable. For complex sales, good copy is critical. Thanks for the reminders.
Thank you for this post, I must admit that I am guilty of making some of the mistakes mentioned in this article, it looks like I have quite a bit of work to do to correct them.
Nice article. I used to put call to action above the post all the time.
But now it’s not enugh, we have to give more reasons before people buy/ opt in.
I agree with all except for “No Navigation.” For us, showing navigation has always negatively affected conversion rate. Of course, bounce rates are higher, but that’s a trade-off that in our case is worth it.
Our experience has also shown that removing navigation increases conversion. We’ve also found that forms on the top right hand side of the page work best.
100% agree on the simplicity point, quality and engaging content always works with simple to understand highlighting points; like visitor landing on your page after couple of seconds it should be crystal clear what you are offering and what benefits visitor can expect from your web page, I also believe that good pictures worth 1000 words; your landing page should represent pictorial representation at a glance.