How to Avoid the Top 5 Landing Page Mistakes

The most important part of the search-driven sales process is the top of the landing page.

You've got about 7 seconds to prove to your prospect – who may have just cost you $5 if they clicked your ad – that they should stick around and consider doing business with you.

Most landing pages kind of suck at this.

Here are the most common mistakes:

1. No Headline or Irrelevant Headline

Approach: "Prospects have all day, so I'll take my time in revealing why they should do business with me. If I get around to it."

Result: Prospect spends 5 seconds trying to find the "scent trail" to their goal, fail, and go back to Google for another try.



2. Overwhelming the visitor with features and jargon

Approach: "I don't know exactly who you are or what's important to you, so I'll hit you hard with everything I've got."

Result: Prospect is overwhelmed, confused, and bored. Leaves so fact you can see skid marks on their monitor.



3. Rejecting every known principle of user-centered design

Approach: "The more color and bold fonts I use, the more you'll want to read it."

Result: Prospect reaches for Advil and throws away their reading glasses.



4. Wasting space on big logos, irrelevant stock photos of happy multi-racial teams and young women wearing headsets, and meaningless marketing pablum

Approach: "I'll impress you with the graphical professionalism of my site."

Result: Prospect can't find anything interesting or unique, yawns, and possibly drools once or twice as they struggle to stay awake long enough to hit the Back button.



5. Trying to make the sale before establishing the know-like-trust factor

Approach: "If I just get right down to business, your rational mind will obviously see the benefits of choosing me.

Result: Prospect sees the benefits, but doesn't have a good "gut feeling" and so continues searching.



How to Create an Effective Landing Page

You must start with the question, "What does my prospect believe I've promised them on this page?" 

The landing page must instantly demonstrate that you didn't "Bait and Switch" them with your ad. 

But beyond that, you need to develop the Know-Like-Trust factor very quickly.

And you have to understand what's most important to your prospect – their current "Point of Pain." And explain quickly and powerfully how your solution can eliminate that pain.

Video is one tool that can quickly build a relationship, hold interest, and highlight the big promise. But most online video is either overproduced and "salesy," or grossly amateurish and visually boring (I plead guilty to the latter).

Video Done Right

Recently I came across a company, Epipheo Studios, that produces some of the smartest, most entertaining, and most effective videos I've seen online. You can check out their video portfolio here.

Yesterday I spoke to Managing Director Ben Crawford about their approach. We spoke for 40 minutes, during which he revealed his formula for distilling a company's entire story into an easy-to-grasp three minute video. The key, Ben says, is to aim to create an epiphany – a moment where someone's beliefs change dramatically.

Once that happens, the prospect knows, likes and trusts you, understands why they should do business with you, and may spread your video virally with others.

The full interview is available for download for members of the Ring of Fire, the AdWords and Online Marketing Coaching Club available at (Try it for as little as $20/month.)

Click the play arrow below to listen to the first 20 minutes, plus a short Ring of Fire promo at the end :)

Hope to see you in the Ring of Fire soon!

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  1. #1 • Kim McGinnis said on January 22 2010:

    Hi Howie! You are sooo right about the landing page – and this goes for ecommerce, information sites, and service sites. As you know (remember us?) Mark and I loved your 'PPC For Dummies Book' and proudly 'push it' on one of our websites (glad to do it cause it really is that good!). Mark and I live in Colorado now and we are shooting a feature length film (in the middle of production right now) with a very savvy business man and inspirational speaker, Andy Feld. How cool is that? Just wanted to let you know and drop in and say hi!
    All the Best, Kim