This is the next segment of our series on how a dating profile is like a business landing page. This series is written by Conversion Scientist Megan Hoover.
A few weeks ago when I decided it was time to optimize my dating life, I took the first step by creating a list of the qualities I’d like to attract with my profile. It’s an approach I also take in optimizing websites. I need to understand the qualities of an ideal business prospect, one that is likely to convert on the site.
Once I knew who I was looking for, I had to figure out how I’d find him in the sea of non-contenders. I came up with the (quite literal) Formula For Love.
P(first date) = db x (∑ti x 2∑tomg)
Here, P is the probability of a first date. The variable db is a one or zero, zero if there is a deal breaker. The variables ti and tomg are scores for traits that are important, and very important respectively.
Now that I know how I’ll qualify a lead, it’s time to get out my beakers and scales and use the chemistry of landing pages formula to create the landing page of me – aka fill out the big scary blank profile that will attract the kind of man I’d like to go out with.
A blank page. It might be time to refill our wine glasses. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
The dating site I’ve chosen, OkCupid, gives me a series of open ended questions to fill out. There’s the vague “Self-Summary” section, the slightly less vague “What I’m doing with my life” section followed by a few more sections with more directed prompts: “The six things I could never do without”, “I’m really good at”, “The first thing people usually notice about me”, and “My favorite books, movies, shows, etc.”.
At the very end of the template is my offer and a way to take action, which I will discuss below.
As a girl faced with the daunting task of creating a dating profile, the template is a huge relief. If you’ve ever been tasked with creating a landing page — or writing a blog post — you’ve probably been intimidated by the blank page, too. Your palms sweat, you get up 15 times to use the restroom and refill your coffee. So a corporate web template is the blank-page-sweaty-palm cure, right? It’s not so blank.
It may help with your dating profile, but it’s not a good idea for a business landing page. In the formula for creating a winning landing page, a template is not your friend. In fact, it’s likely to cause a massive chain reaction that will cause the whole experiment to fail.
Like a dating profile, a business landing page should be singularly focused. If you start with your corporate template, it’s already full of stuff like unrelated navigation and social media icons. In other words, it’s full of distractions that can take a visitor away from your primary purpose.
If the right guy is on my dating profile, I want him to message me, not go check me out on Facebook. If he does, the chances of me converting my dream guy into a date go way down.
We want to start our landing page with a clean slate, a pure webpage. Then add an offer and a form.
Have a Great Offer
I’m stuck using a template on OKCupid, against my scientific knowledge. At least OkCupid’s template gives me a form with the call to action “Send a message” and a place to create an offer: the “You should message if” section.
As a marketer, it’s my job to make the offer compelling so that my dream suitors click that little blue button and make first contact.
Rule number one of a landing page is that the offer should keep a promise. Don’t break the promise that got your visitor to the page. In the case of a dating profile, the promise is a my main profile photo, user name, age and location. I’ll need to choose a photo that best represents my personality and will line up with what I present in my profile.
The Offer Should Match the Ad
For your business, make sure to think about where your visitors are coming from. Are they coming from an ad where the image displays a purple t-shirt? Then they should see a purple t-shirt on the landing page. Did you advertise 50% off of $1 bills, then your landing page needs to offer 50% off of $1 bills. Keep your promise.
Forms that Convert and Qualify
What about the form? I’m still using OkCupid’s template, so I don’t have any control over the form. In a perfect world I customize my form to help me pre-qualify some of my leads. Consider what information you actually need or want from you leads/purchasers. Sometimes, asking for more information can raise the barrier to entry and lower the number of leads you’ll receive.
- Is phone number AND email necessary? Or would one suffice?
- Full address or just zip code?
- What about a bare bones form?
- Can I get away with just a name and email?
Think carefully about what information is absolutely necessary for the next step as you create your form. And don’t be afraid to A/B test form length and content. Sometimes more is better, but sometimes less is. Start with a well thought out form with all relevant information to get your visitor to the next step and then test more or less information.
So now what? I’ve got an offer and I’ve got a form. I’m done right?
Technically, yes, I’ve got a dating profile and you’ve got a landing page, but will it convert?
It’s time for us to dig out our goggles because we’re about to heat things up and add the catalysts.
Put your protective gloves on for this one, we’re about to add a dash of proof.
We have to demonstrate that what we’re saying is true. Have you sold 13 billion hamburgers? Say that. It’s even better if you say 13,982,534,121 hamburgers sold. Do you have a customer that is well known or willing to lend you a quote or their logo?
I asked a few ex-boyfriends if they’d give a reference, but thought better of actually posting those on my profile.
Since posting logos or quotes on a dating profile isn’t going to work, I have to rely heavily on copy to provide proof. The more specific I get the better proof I’ll provide. Instead of saying, “I enjoy mountain biking” I can say, “I ride my Contessa Scott every Sunday at Walnut Creek Park”.
Instead of “I enjoy volunteering with animals,” I would say “Jake the Tank is my favorite four-legged Jog-a-Dog companion.”
I can utilize profile photographs. “I love to travel” is vague, but a photo of me on top of the Great Wall of China is better proof of that enjoyment. We’ll talk more about images in a minute.
Proof makes visitors feel more comfortable taking action by overcoming their objections. It’s the logical argument that supports an emotional decision.
So what are my potential dates’ objections? Do I have anything in common with this person? If I message her will she respond? Is she looking for the same thing I am? Will I be wasting my time by messaging her? Is she even a real person?
In your business, what are your visitors’ potential objections? What would stop a visitor from filling out your form or making a purchase on your site?
In the online dating world a big red flag is a blank profile. How serious is a guy if he can’t even be bothered to write a few paragraphs about himself? The same goes for businesses. A blank page with nothing but a form isn’t enough for a visitor to take you seriously.
When writing copy for a landing page there should be just enough to overcome objections and no more. Dating profiles are no different. Data shows that shorter profiles in a conversational style get far more attention than long resume-style profiles do.
My most powerful trust builder will also be copy. The tone of my copy needs to be friendly and approachable, overcoming the fear of rejection, and I need to make sure I mention exactly what I’m looking for and some specific things my ideal date would have in common with me.
Some common visual ways to add trust to your business landing pages are your company logo, recognized affiliate logos – Visa/Mastercard are common in eCommerace – and certifications. Do you have a Better Business Accreditation? What about Norton antivirus?
A word of caution on trust symbols: too much can come off sketchy. Have you ever been to a site that just rams trust down your throat with pop-ups, stickies, and giant logos? It starts to feel like you’re on a used car lot and not one of the fancy “certified pre-owned” ones.
In my dating profile I’ll need to avoid ramming my niceness, smarts or creativity down anyone’s throat. If I mention in each section that “I’m super nice” by the time they get the message portion they might be wondering if I’ve just set them up to receive a really insulting reply.
OkCupid has another trust tool that often gets overlooked: the “how often do they respond” bar. If one of the biggest fears of dating is rejection, having a yellow or green bar can up the chances of a person messaging. Being too selective with replies can tear away trust that you’re serious or could send the signal that only models with Ph.Ds should apply.
Do you respond within 24 hours to all inquires? Do you have a chat or phone number customers can utilize? These types of communication standards go a long way to assure visitors that they can trust your business.
We’ve overcome most of our visitors’ major objections by building trust with copy and images, and they’re almost ready to contact us or buy from us. How can we push them over the edge?
Show the Product
The final component of a landing page is the images. Studies show that it is the most important component of a dating profile, and it’s the first thing on a dating profile.Rule number 1 for images – Show the product.
One of the biggest fears people have in online dating is their date looking totally different in person than they do online. I can build trust by choosing recent photos without any fancy filters and by adding a date to my photos to assure nervous suitors that I probably haven’t gained 100 pounds since March of 2015, and that I look okay without the wonders of photoshop.
This is true for both online dating sites and your business landing page. OkCupid won’t even show my profile to users if I don’t have a photo.
If your product is tangible it’s pretty easy. But if you offer a service or a downloadable PDF it might be more difficult. Choose an image that allows visitors to imagine what it will be like after they’ve completed the offer.
Video is classified just an image delivered at 30 frames per second usually with audio.
The same goes for my dating profile. To attract the kind of man I want to date I need to choose images that are fun, active, and show me – no photos of that hot friend I talked about earlier. I need my potential suitors to be able to imagine meeting me in person and having a good time doing something we both love. Your photos should capture the same feelings.
A Complete Page
If you want to get a reaction from your visitors, you have to have all of the components. We started with a pure webpage (or as pure as possible) and added and created an offer and a form thinking carefully about how our potential customers/suiters arrived at this landing page. We spruced the landing page up with a bit of proof and trust and carefully added appropriate images. Voila! We’ve mixed up the perfect landing page (aka dating profile) to attract the customer we want – in my case someone to hold my lab coat.
Megan Hoover is a Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences.