What are You Really Selling on Your Landing Page? [CASE STUDY]

What is your landing page selling?

You can answer this question in one of three ways:

  1. It’s selling what I promised in an ad or email
  2. It’s selling my company and its services
  3. All of the above

The right answer is number one.

Number two is an About Us page. Number three is a typical home page.

If this was a poll, we’d see heavy voting for two and three. Why the disconnect?

I spent some time on the phone with John Colasante of ManhattanTechSupport.com to understand why his landing pages were under-delivering. It was pretty clear that he had chosen door number two.

Take a look at one of their test landing pages built on the Unbounce platform.

Original Unbounce Landing Page

One ManhattanTechSupport.com Landing Page. Click for a larger image.

This page served PPC ads promising to help mid-sized businesses choose a managed IT provider. What is the promise found on the landing page?

“Transform your IT Experience!”
Few if any CTOs have woken in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat thinking, “I need to transform my IT experience!”
The sub-headline takes a bold step. “Outsource your IT Department to ManhattanTechSupport.com.”
This is the sort of suggestion you make to someone who is hypnotized, maybe.

We would expect a high bounce rate because this landing page doesn’t keep the promise of the ads, and hasn’t addressed the fundamental question of qualified visitors, “How do I choose the right managed IT provider?”
This landing page sounds like their home page.

The promise of a home page is "We'll tell you about our company." Not so for a landing page.

The promise of a home page is “We’ll tell you about our company.” Not so for a landing page.

What is this landing page really selling?

A landing page has two very focused jobs:

  1. Keep the promise made in the ad, email or link that brings visitors to the page. We call this the Offer.
  2. Get the visitor to take action on the offer.

The promise here is to help visitors choose an IT provider. The offer, however, is “Fill out this form.” Not particularly compelling.

Reading on, the offer is for ManhattanTechSupport.com to “get back to you same day during business hours.”
Is this a consultation? A sales call? A chance to hear about the CEO’s vacation?

Can filling out a form really transform my IT experience?

John clarified this for me. It is a consultation with someone who knows the space.

Now that’s an offer.

Retargeting Your Landing Pages

How would we turn this page into a true landing page?

It’s usually the job of the headline to keep the promise of the ad. This is also why landing pages are powerful: we know what the visitor is interested in, so get to design a very targeted page.

ManhattanTechSupport.com may want to change this to “Let an experienced IT consultant answer your questions on managed IT services.” Another might be “Free Managing IT Services Consultation.”
Now we need to tell them about the offer, not the company. Our sub-headline is designed to get them to read the next paragraph.

“In thirty minutes, you will discover the key to cutting the time you spend on IT by 85%.”
I gotta find out more about this!
Unfortunately, the paragraph starts we-weing all over itself: “ManhattanTechSupport.com is your premier…”.

We want to know about the offer.

How long will the consultation be? What qualifications will the consultant have? What key questions will be answered? Will I get the hard sell? Do you have a proprietary evaluation process? Will I get a freebie just for speaking with them?

When to Talk About Your Company, Products or Services

There is often another question on the visitors’ minds: “Who are you?”
It’s OK to talk about yourself to support the offer, to build trust. But you must provide proof.

Don’t tell me that you are the “leader” or the “premier” provider in your space. What awards have you won? What famous media outlets have declared you to be top of the heap? Have you been seen partying with Justin Bieber?

The ManhattanTechSupport.com page provides some trust-builders by using logos of well-known partners below the form.

There are many proof points and trust builders you can use.

  • How many years have you been in business?
  • What is your specialization? ManhattanTechSupport.com only serves business in Manhattan.
  • Are you close to me?
  • How many customers do you have?
  • Do you have testimonials from people like me? Why are others happy with your service?
  • What are your guarantees?

ManhattanTechSupport.com lists four differentiators on their page: No contracts, Everything is included, We are proactive, and We are 24/7.

Once the value of the offer is established – the value of the consultation – this is fair game to make the visitor feel comfortable taking action.

Bring it Home

The form and call to action button bring the offer home.

The form and call to action button bring the offer home.

The form and button text must bring the offer home. We really don’t need to tell anyone to fill out a form. If we had to, then how good of an IT customer would the really be?

We could start the form with a call to action like, “Request your free consultation now.”

Copyhackers Joanna Wiebe has tested button text and recommends that it match the headline. So, we might rewrite the button to say, “Have a Consultant Contact Me.”
The form fields you choose will affect the number of conversions as well as the quality of your requests.

ManhattanTechSupport.com asks for “Company Size.” Why are they asking this? If it’s a qualifying question then are there some companies that won’t get called? Will I get an email that says, “Sorry, you’re too small for us”?

On the flip side, small companies may be reluctant to answer this question and may decide not to take the offer. This could mean higher quality prospects. It could also chase away visitors who aren’t really committed.

Your Landing Page in a Paragraph

The story of our landing page should be straight forward. For ManhattanTechSupport.com, it could read:

“Get a free consultation from one of our experienced IT managers. They will show you get back 85% of the time you spend on IT. The call is only 30 minutes and we promise not to give you the hard sell. We only work with companies in Manhattan. We’ve work with very discerning partners and have the experience to give you good advice. Tell us how to get in touch with you and we’ll make you an expert at choosing a managed IT service.”

That’s a pretty compelling offer, if I do say so myself.

A Few Bonus Tips

Here are a few bonus tips for this page.

I recommend that you limit the “knock-out” text, or light text on a dark background. Those of us over 40 with failing eyes will have more trouble focusing on and reading this text.

If you want people to pick up the phone and call, give them the number in the headline and at the top of the form. For ManhattanTechSupport.com, we’d use a headline like, “Call to speak to an experienced managed IT consultant. 646-762-7649.” The form headline would read, “For immediate answers, call 646-762-7649, or we’ll use this form to request a call within one business day.”

To solicit calls, don't put the number off to the side.

To solicit calls, don’t put the number off to the side.

Use steps and bullets. Don’t be afraid to let visitors know they are going to get a sales pitch.

The ManhattanTechSupport.com page may offer this guidance:

When you contact us
(1) We will ask you a few questions to assess your situation.

(2) We make recommendations and answer your questions.

(3) If appropriate, we will provide a quote for our managed IT services.

Focused Landing Pages are Easier to Write

I hope that this column has taken some of the burden out creating landing pages for you. When you focus on the promise, the page gets much easier to write. With a reasonable design and the right traffic, you should have  a high-converting landing page.

Share your landing page with us here and let us know what your questions are.

Brian Massey
12 replies
  1. Alex Whalley says:

    Definitely true that the call to action needs to be consistent throughout the funnel, from ad copy to the final thank you page – but I think there is also an element that is missing and it relates to the lack of any discernible funnel (read: ZMOT)
    Understanding what the customer is asking and providing relevant content/targeted display ads at EVERY stage of the buying process is paramount if you want to convert.
    Yes you need to make sure your landing page provides the answer or follows on from the original CTA but without proper content gap analysis and understanding of your customers buying cycle you will be screwed.
    No use holding the most awesome converting landing page and ad copy if you have no idea where, when, and to whom you should be targeting it.
    Reading through your course articles now…. (I’ll be the judge thank you very much. LOL) ;)
    Cheers mate, came through on a reocmmendation from Norma Rickman so that in my book is more kudos than anything (y)

  2. Zack Bedingfield says:

    Howdy Brian,
    If I were looking to drive ONLY form submissions because I don’t have the new Google tracking number implemented (the one that allows me to attribute call conversions on the page back to keywords), would you suggest removing the phone number completely? Or perhaps just moving it down, maybe below the button, so that calling is presented as an option if someone would rather call than submit their info via the form?
    Thanks. Love the site. Good number of typos in this post though.

    • Brian Massey says:

      Because of the value of a phone call, I would recommend leaving the phone number for those who want to call, even if you can’t track to Adwords.
      Placing the phone number below the call to action would in theory increase phone calls. Recommending that they call above the form has been shown in our tests to significantly increase phone calls over form fills.
      Thanks for the kind words!

  3. Warren Whitlock says:

    I’ve always taught the same, but focus it in a way that describes EVERY page. (and much else in customer experience and LIFE).
    1. You are in the right place
    2. Here’s the best thing to do next
    Perhaps a little broader than what you say here.. but I think of all of life as connections and stories. We want to be seen as “cool” (whatever that means to each of us) smart and not screwing up. Offer an open connection and a chance to be part of your story and they will love you every time :)

    • Brian Massey says:

      “You are in the right place” is such an important message for any page to send, I’m glad you pointed it out. Nielsen famously talks about “scent” as a prospect moves through the information gathering process.
      We all need a story to invite prospects into.

  4. Kostas Chiotis says:

    Thanks for this Brian, I think it is certainly true that when you have a particular focus you will find it much easier to create a really good landing page. In fact, the same is true no matter what sort of content you are creating.


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