Josh Ledgard

7 In-Depth Landing Page Reviews w/ Examples & Video

We’re back with more landing page reviews! This is a recap from our latest Live Chat: Your Landing Pages Reviewed webinar, which we host every other Thursday. You really should join us sometime.

Here are the landing pages that I reviewed during the live webinar:

Watch the video for marketing tips and strategies that go into greater detail!


#1 – NightFood

nightfood landing page review

What to like:

  • The headline prominently displays the problem statement.
  • People can probably identify with the images.
  • The form stands out, even with a dark background.
  • “As featured in” section increases trust factor.
  • Use of a customer quote with a picture.
  • Copy that creates a sense of urgency.

Things to improve:

1. Don’t confuse customers. Looking at the text, I really like the first headline but feel that the follow up copy is lacking in describing what the product is. If you keep reading, you’ll notice that right away they’re asking for money. It’s only for shipping and handling, but it can feel a little premature. Asking for $4.95 upfront also conflicts with the “Try NightFood for FREE” call-to-action.

You should get to your offer and explain what it is as soon as people are done reading the headline. I would cut out the “pay $4.95 S&H” and include the statement about the free samples right underneath the main headline.

2. Avoid confusing clutter. The top section in general feels very squeezed and cluttered, there is a lot going here. In total, there are 10 different font styles on the page and it can somewhat confuse the brain when reading the page. Cut back on the total number of font sizes and styles to make the page easier for people to digest (no pun intended).

3. Show more of the product. You could also cut back on some copy and use the extra space to feature the product a little more. In this example, the packaging image is too prominent. Let the food speak for itself. I should look at the first part of the page and my mouth should be watering! If you cut out and simplify some of the text, you can feature more images of the product.

4. Use the right imagery for getting your message across. The image that’s labelled “Eating the WRONG THING…”, I felt like this image was going to be chocolate cake and it wasn’t. When I think about wrong foods to eat at night, I think about raiding the candy drawer, not the greek yogurt. I would go with the opposite of what the image currently is.

5. Include more than one CTA. The different page sections are nicely separated. However, when you have a landing page that is more than a couple scrolls, you should have a secondary CTA button so people don’t have to scroll all the way back up to sign up.

You should include a CTA once at the top, once in the middle and once at the end of the page.

 

Site: NightFood.com

#2 – Team

Team Landing Page Review

 What to like:

  • The subtle, elegant, and non-distracting background image that teases the product.
  • Great example of how startups can get across what they’re working on.
  • Keep it simple with fonts, colors, and copy.
  • Page is mobile responsive and will scale to a mobile browser.
  • Well-thought sharing and referral process – they use sharing as a contest.team_sharing_and_referral_process-s
  • Follow up email describes the offer and reinforces the message.

Things to improve:

1. Have fun with your CTA buttons! I always tell people to try and think of something else other than “submit” for the call-to-action button.

Maybe it should say “Join the beta” or just “Join”. Use something that goes more along with your copy and what your product does.

2. Make the CTA stand out more. I hate messing with such a clean design, but if there was a complimentary third color introduced on this page it would be on the button.

Perhaps make the button a complimentary orange to really make the center stand out.

3. Describe who it’s for. I felt like there needed to be a little something added to the copy. There needs to be like a sub-tagline to give a little more information on the product. Something that explains who it’s for. Clearly you’re after a specific segment, I just can’t quite figure out who it’s for.

If you made it a little clearer with an extra word here or maybe an extra subheadline, I don’t think it would take away from the page. I actually think it’ll entice people more.

4. Declare a better incentive to sign up. Nobody wants to join a “list”, but maybe they want to join the beta. There needs to be a hint of an incentive upfront to join, besides just being on somebody’s email list.

 

Site: Team Time Tracking

#3 – Practicia

Practicia Landing Page Example and Review

 What to like:

  • Copy that speaks to the users problem right away.
  • A video that clearly explains what they’re doing.
  • Good CTA button copy that is both the incentive and the message.
  • Page is mobile responsive (of course it is, it’s a KickoffLabs page).

Things to improve:

1. Design for visitor flow. I think the page could flow better by including the problem statement, a quick explanation of what it is in text, the video, and then maybe you’re ready to ask for the sign up.

It just needs a little something to tie the visitor flow of the page together. Think about how visitors start in the top left and then come down the page.

2. Remove unnecessary form fields. I don’t know if many people are filling out the comments section in the form. If you’re only getting 1 out of 10 comments, I would simply just ask for feedback in the follow up email and drop the comment request so the form is a little shorter.

3. Don’t take away from your credibility. Take out the word “future” from the statement “What our future BETA users are saying…”. It makes it sounds like your users are made up.

I’m assuming that this is what real users are saying about the product. So it should probably say “What our BETA users are saying…”. Anything that takes away trust from the statement on the page is something that you should consider removing or changing.

4. Provide consistent images. It’s sometimes hard for pre-release products to talk about features of the product. One of the things that was a little bit jarring as I was going through the sections is all of the images are a different size.

The page would look a lot cleaner if the images were all scaled to the same size. I know it’s hard when you’ve got something in development and trying to perfect screenshots. But just something that makes the page feel a little bit more conducive.

5. Provide an incentive for sharing. When a person submits an email to the page, I would also add some kind of incentive on the share screen. Something that gives people the incentive to use the sharing links.

 

Site: Practicia

BONUS ADVICE: Do people scroll in landing pages?

There’s been a long debate about it… What I say is: Design the top of the page with the assumption that people are NOT going to scroll, BUT expect that they will!

What I mean by that is, the top of the page should be engaging and get across the top point of the page and the goal without the user having to scroll. But people will scroll up and down on pages.

You can install a tool like CrazyEgg that does heatmap tracking to look at how much people are scrolling on your pages.


#4 – Wine Awesomeness Contest

Wine Awesomeness Landing Page Review

What to like:

  • The text is readable and works really well with the background image.
  • A strong headline that stands out (but I think you can repeat it on the page).
  • Clear explanation of the value.
  • The page is “cookied” and remembers whenever I come back so I don’t have to go through the age gate again :)

Things to improve:

1. Make it obvious it’s a contest. I feel like something in the headline needs to say “Win”. Something upfront that implies you’re entering a contest.

2. Put images in their place. The first header row of images has nothing to do with what you want people to do. My eyes were initially drawn to these images and I realized they were links. These would take me away from the page and lower the conversion rate!

You could cut them because they are duplicated beneath the main section. Below the main section is the perfect place for the sponsors and you would actually see it without having to scroll (at least on my large screen size). That way people’s eyes are drawn to the headline.

3. Place your form within the flow. The form is very subdued off to the side. People’s eyes are going to be drawn sort of down the page to where the people in the image are, but you want them to be drawn towards the CTA.

4. Tell people when to activate. The contest end date could be moved up higher, right beneath the “Enter to win” and include the phrase “Enter by”. Having the incentive of limited supplies right next to the button is going to be a strong motivator to get in. That’s really important copy that is missing from the top part of the page.

5. Use images to reinforce explanations. I’m not sure how the rest of the images on the page relates to the contest. I know that they are the prize sponsors, but maybe actually have a section that says “Sponsored by” or “Prizes from”.

Use these images to explain what you’re giving away. First do the summary of the prizes, then the motivation to enter, and as you scroll down you should summarize what the prizes are in the extra space on the page. If you’re going to have extra copy and extra images, make it related to the top.

6. Don’t neglect mobile visitors. The page is not responsive and will not correctly scale down for mobile viewing. Especially if you’re promoting via email or via social networks, people are going to be visiting the page on mobile devices. What’s the experience going to be like for them on a mobile browser?

 

Site: Wine Awesomeness

BONUS ADVICE: Is it better to have fewer form fields when capturing people’s information?

I love this question because it’s one that gets asked a lot. When you’re choosing how much information to capture on the form, I look at it and say: How are you going to use that information? My rule is: if you’re not going to use that information immediately in a way that benefits the person signing up, I wouldn’t ask for it.

Name for example, is an easy win. If you’re going to use the name in an autoresponse email or an email where you follow up with the person later, the name is really great thing to have.

I see pages all the time that ask for a combination of occupation, role, zip code, etc. Yet I feel that they don’t use that information in any way that benefits the person filling it out. It also feels a little lazy. If someone wanted to reach out to me and find out what my occupation was, they could do it with just my email address.

Kickofflabs actually goes out and pulls a bunch of that complimentary information, including peoples LinkedIn profiles, whenever somebody enters an email address. Because we pull in that information, we help you make shorter forms and you don’t have to ask. We call this our Magic Contact Data.

My rule of thumb is, ask for information that is immediately valuable and going to be put to use, by either the person filling out the form or that you are going to use for some reason (it’s required, you need it to take a next step, etc). After you have them engaged to sign up, then you can follow up with a poll that asks some more detailed questions in a medium that’s more intended to ask questions – email.


#5 – WhiteSpace TV

WhiteSpace TV Landing Page Review
This is a page that relates to the previous “do people scroll or not?” question.

What to like:

  • An incredibly clean look.
  • Page is mobile responsive… but the headline renders too small mobile phones.

Things to improve:

1. Include a CTA at the top. What’s missing right away is either a CTA to learn more or to sign up. I think you lose a lot of people on the page that just see it and walk away.

2. Don’t hide content from visitors. The last thing I noticed, is that the main background image is a non playing slideshow. This text should’ve been on the main page without having to hit a slide. I might have never clicked there!

All these are benefits are hidden because it doesn’t play automatically (and I wouldn’t advise it play automatically). You have to know to click there and it takes away from the page. You should be optimizing for people scrolling down on the page instead of for using sliders.

3. Provide more initial information. It wasn’t until I got to the second section that I understood what the page is about. I feel that it’s missing from the top of the page. The top of the page can still be clean if you included the second headline there and it would tie in better with what it is.

I had to scroll quite a bit to find the CTA in the middle of the page. But it’s still not clear to me what I’m signing up for. You need to make it clear what someone is signing up for and what they are getting.

4. Design for usability. As you scroll there is a lot of effort on parallax effects, where the background moves and the text stays in place. Maybe I’m just old, I honestly think it’s a waste of time and design resources because it’s not helping people read the page.

Same goes for using grey font color text on a black page. It’s more difficult to read than it needs to be. It doesn’t have to be shiny bright, but you could bring up the text a few shades to increase readability on the page.

5. Give some context about your launch. It’s cute that you’re using buttons to call out cities where you’re launching. But it doesn’t say: “These are our launch communities”.

6. Use only one form on the page. There are a total of 3 forms on the page, two of which are accessed by clicking either the middle CTA button or the cities list. Yet ALL THREE use different form fields? You could’ve combined all these questions in the main form to simplify the signup process.

7. Design for mobile viewing. The page is responsive. But when I looked at the page with my phone, the top of the page is just image. I’m never going to scroll anywhere when I get to it from my phone.

 

Site: 321 Media

#6 – Endlessly Fit with Gary

Endlessly_Fit_Landing_Page_Example_and_review_-_start

Endlessly_Fit_Landing_Page_Example_and_review_-_end

 What to like:

  • A really clean-looking page.
  • It’s mobile responsive and the headline stands out on small screens.
  • The page and headlines tell a story.
  • Starts visitors down the “yes path”.

Things to improve:

1. Long form sales copy can work if You never know which piece of copy is going to convince somebody to want to sign up. Somewhere within this first section there needs to be a CTA, as you scroll down a bit

2. Add more CTA’s to the page. You get to primary call-to-action until the very end of the page. You could take the “Yes I’m In” text and use that as the CTA at the top of the page. That way, when a person clicks the CTA, they’ll be scrolled to the bottom form and still see that there is a story to be read on the page.

When it’s something to buy, people will be scrolling up and down on the page.

3. Include a secondary CTA. The other thing that I really recommend is whenever you’re asking for somebody to buy, this is exactly the situation where I would have a secondary call-to-action. I might not be interested in buying, but I might be interested in learning more.

The other CTA could be a popup form on the side, or an exit intent that pops up when you go to leave the page. You just need to capture people that are leaving. Whenever you’ve got “Enter you credit card” you’re going to lose a ton of people that you don’t need to be losing when you could be at least starting a relationship with them.

 

Site: Endlessly Fit

#7 – RocketCrowd

RocketCrowd Landing Page Review

 What to like:

  • The people in the image drive attention towards the CTA button.
  • CTA doesn’t take you to another form page.
  • Use of a real customer quote.

Things to improve:

1. Use a better tagline. I don’t think the “Launching Soon” text is needed here. You’ve got the “Early Adopters Rule” text, that is already a good tagline. It’ll get noticed more if you replace it with the former.

2. Give people an opportunity. I’m not convinced by the “This Is Your Kind Of Crowd”. It’s a great tagline but doesn’t explain what it does and doesn’t explain the opportunity. We just met and you haven’t clearly explained the problem that you’re going after. If you start with a problem statement, you’re giving me an opportunity and not just saying I’m part of the crowd.

3. Answer questions before asking for sign up. I think there’s a lot of space on this top of the page devoted to the stock photo. If it’s not stock you can call me out, but it looks like a stock photograph and that’s immediately what my eyes are drawn to. The people in the image are kind of looking down on the laptop, which does bring your eyes to the “Free – Sign Me Up” button.

I feel it’s a little bit out of order because your eyes go from the logo, to the picture, to the signup button. People don’t have time to answer the question: What am I signing up for? An easy change would be flipping the text and the image (and the direction people are facing obviously if the image is mirrored on the other side).

4. Call out the incentive. The incentive text is buried within a paragraph, but should be next to the signup button. Put it to the side or below the sign up button.

5. Shorten your copy. The “How It Works” copy is really wordy. This could all be said simpler in one sentence instead of the longer sentence that is here.

6. Cut back on CTA’s. There are multiple call-to-actions that are almost too close. This might be going a little too far in the other direction of including too many CTA’s on a page.

7. Get the benefits across first. I would swap the “How It Works” for the “How Members Benefit” to include how people benefit higher up on the page. First let people why they should join, then explain how it works.

8. Use customer quotes near signup buttons. I think the customer quote section could be removed and instead include the quote next to the form. You can have the incentive, then the quote and the form right next to those. You’ll have a quote about a customer talking about how great your service is and a signup button right next to it.

9. Optimize signup forms. Looking at the form, this is where I really wonder again: Are all these form fields really needed? I feel like you’re making the person do work. The form also doesn’t have the incentive to fill it out.

 

Site: RocketCrowd

In Closing

There are a plenty more hidden marketing gems and a couple more quality reviews to watch and learn from in the video. Be sure to check it out in your spare time.

For now, here’s what we’d love to know: Are these landing page teardowns helpful for building your own landing pages and campaigns?

If you have a published landing page or even a mock-up that you’d like us to help optimize for a better conversion rate, send it over for our review! And be sure to join us during the next Live Marketing Chats!

Reserve your spot for our next LIVE event by clicking here!

Keep in mind that the # of pages people want us to review keeps increasing, so we’ll be getting to your landing pages as soon as we can…

… but TWEET this and you just might get bumped to the front of the line ;)

Thanks a lot and see you at the event!

-Josh,

Co-Founder – Kickofflabs

9 MORE Landing Page Teardowns Packed w/ Conversion Optimization Tips

We recently presented our 2nd “Your Landing Page Teardowns” live webinar. An event where I review and help optimize peoples landing pages. Normally I review customer landing pages, but this is a chance for anyone to get a professional review for FREE.

Once again, turnout was great and the number of pages submitted far exceeded my expectations. As such, we only had air time to get through 9 pages during the live webinar. Still I made sure that all my advice was helpful, immediate and can apply to enhancing just about any landing page.

There’s a ton of advice packed into every review!

Here’s a look at the pages that I went over during last weeks webinar:

Be sure to watch the full video for plenty more hidden marketing gems!

#1 – GreekRush

Positives

  • Form at the top is clearly the primary goal.
  • Benefits statements are focused on the visitor.
  • Good use of reinforcement copy under the bullets.

Welcome to GreekRush! - greekrush_com

Improvements

1. Match your calls to action. Use the button text to tell people what you’re giving them once they sign up. In this case, they are giving people “early access” to the app. Matching the button call-to-action is a good helpful reminder for people to know what they’re after.

2. Slim down the signup form. If you have a form field that is not required, look at how many leads are filling out that section. If not many people are, it makes sense to remove it so you’re signup form is simpler and smaller. It feel less intimidating if you’re not asking for more information than absolutely necessary.

3. Try combining your brand name and subheadline. You’re brand name and logo may speak directly to you, but not necessarily to a visitor who has just arrived at your site. Try combining your brand name and subheadline into a new headline. The statement could be a headline that goes across the page and helps make the copy more cohesive.

For example, the headline for this page could be “GreekRush helps you build better greek communities”.

4. List the biggest benefits. Highlight one to two of the biggest immediate benefits in signing up NOW… Is it free? Will they get early access? Don’t confuse features with benefits either.

#2 – Fundura

Positives

  • Simplicity of the launch page.
  • Page is responsive and works across all mobile devices.
  • They’re a KickoffLabs customer :)

fundura_com - fundura_com

Improvements

1. Readability of the page is a priority. When it comes time to choose your fonts, colors and images; be sure that all copy is readable on the page. If you use a background image, try using a blur or darken effect. Choose fonts that are easy to read and contrast well against the background. Be aware of how your artistic design impacts overall readability.

2. Give more information prior to sign up. Don’t have it a complete mystery about what you’re doing. Try including some bullet list items or a two sentence explanation beneath your logo and subheadline to give a bit more information about the service. Certain statements might be great to say about your company, but do not clearly describe as to why people should sign up and how your service helps them.

3. Place benefits near the form. Place your most compelling piece of copy (the problem statement) either directly above or below the form. Put it front and center so people know exactly what the main benefit is. Don’t make any assumptions that people know what the page is about just by including buzzwords.

#3 – SSP Mexico

Positives

  • Using a background image slider, but the form still stands out along with the CTA.
  • Call-to-action button clearly stands out.
  • Testimonials add an element of trust to the page.

www_sspmexico_com

Improvements

1. Quicker headlines. Brief headlines work better than longer headlines. Give people short descriptions before they decide to jump in and read the rest of your copy. Try using more subheadlines underneath headlines if you need to add more support copy.

2. Use half as much text as there is on the page right now. Tighten up some of the copy by using bullet lists and summarizing what you offer. There’s no need to give your visitor the complete story now when the goal is to get them to sign up. Use your autoresponse message and newsletters for following up and completing the story.

3. Keep your page and copy updated. Tiny little things, like the copyright date, can influence the overall trust factor of the landing page. You never know what copy is going to convert someone, so it’s best to keep your copy updated and fresh. Maybe they weren’t convinced at the top, but are convinced at the bottom of the page.

#4 – Motorpaneer

Positives

  • Site loads incredibly quickly.
  • Brand is minimized and the copy is much more about the customer.
  • Persistent call-to-action at the top on scroll.

motorpaneer

Improvements

1. Lead your leads. Make sure your copy flows directly towards the signup button or form. That way, you’ll get immediate action from a person who has read the copy and is ready to sign up.

2. Get the email FIRST! Focus on capturing peoples email addresses, especially if the  product requires you collect a good amount of information upfront. You can try breaking up the steps, but will still most likely see a large percentage of drop-offs. By collecting the email address first, you’ll still have direct access to peoples inbox for following up later.

3. Sometimes social proof can actually hurt your conversions. If your service is just starting out, it might not be in your best interest to mention the number of people that have used your service. If it not in the thousands, it probably not worth showing off yet. Most people simply don’t enjoy being the first ones to the party. Instead, try using additional microcopy to increase visitor confidence.

#5 – Golf Lessons Ebook Page

Positives

  • Good leading question and offer for readers.
  • Uses a video to reinforce the pitch.
  • Repeats call-to-action at the bottom of the page.

hf4golf1

Improvements

1. Beware of noticeable page breaks. Using dark background areas or images can cause people to think that the page has ended, when only a section has come to an end. They will stop reading if they come to a large line or page break because mentally, people see it as the end of the page. Give people the chance to know that you have a lot more great information.

We used to see this on our home page. For awhile, the top was completely blue and there was a page break below that. When we looked at heatmap data, people weren’t scrolling because it looked like the page ended!

2. Show them what they’ll learn. If you’re giving away an ebook, go light on the copy and include more than one sample page from the book. These will serve as better visual examples of what’s inside and will entice people to get more.

3. Make it skimmable with great headlines. Some of this pages copy feels a little long. Try making the page easier to read by using bullet points… Be sure that all your headlines are great. There are a lot of things you can say, but you don’t need to necessarily say it all.

#6 – GreyCampus

Positives

  • Good bulleted items that support the benefits.
  • Phone number instills trust and is not distracting.
  • Use of trust statements below the form.

greycampus-3

1. Call out the single next step. Looking at this page, immediately there are five things that attempt to grab my attention. When you give people too many options, in many cases they will not know what to do. You need to focus on ONE primary step before experimenting the others.

2. Don’t ask for the money yet. Especially with this being a high-priced item (at $899!). A better strategy would be to use an incentive – like a discount on the course – for collecting emails. Use the cost as a benefit to let people know the incentive in entering their information now.

3. Tabs hide your content. I’ve never been much of a fan of copy behind tabbed content. Often times, you’re better off having a long-form copy lead page. Where your tabs are broken out into headlines and the page has a longer scroll. Yeah, the page will be longer, but each different section is now more apparent to visitors. Tip: On long-form landing pages, be sure to always have a call-to-action visible on the screen, as well.

#7 – Aegis

  • Page is mobile responsive.
  • A short and snappy headline*
  • A contrasting CTA that’s hard to miss.

Aegis - aegis_kickoffpages_com

#1 – Make the page about your business. Don’t distract people into clicking away from your site. This page is clearly on a free KickoffLabs account. And while we appreciate the free promotion, having any sign of a third party service will drive away visitors and hurt your conversion rate!

#2 – Give away details. The headline is short and snappy BUT* doesn’t really describe what the product does. Don’t leave people guessing… Clearly state exactly what you do and use subheadlines to reinforce your problem statement.

#3 – Don’t rely on images to communicate your message. There are things that should be said with text on the page. You can’t put too much important copy on the background image of a page, you need to put it within the content of the page. Depending on your visitors screen size, images may get buried behind forms or other content. Use images for adding context, not for your explanation.

#8 – BSTea

Positives

  • Call-to-action button stands out.
  • Great use in offering free samples of their physical product.
  • Creating the illusion of scarcity with the incentive.

bstea-3

Improvements

1. Check that your site always loads correctly. If you view the video, you’ll notice that as I was loading the site, there was some sort of CSS loading error. If this happens to people the first time they visit your page, odds are they will abandon ship and will not be coming back…

… Even when I went back to grab a screenshot from the page, I was presented with this error:

bstea-error

Keep your sites performance fast and errors to a minimum!

2. Break up your text. If you have a large block of body text, try extracting some of the copy to create one or more subheadlines. This makes your text more readable and skimmable. Take your story and call it out, then reinforce the benefits further down the page.

3. Focus on the quickest and simplest thing people can do first. If you feel that your product speaks for itself, focus on all the calls-to-action being “Get a sample”, as an example for this page. Once you have their information, you can then share any other programs you offer that people can get involved with. Think about the steps in the funnel you want people to go through and walk them through that on the landing page.

#9 – B8ak

Positives

  • Phone number is highlighted in case people want to call right away.
  • A clear “Help” button for immediate support.
  • Nice, clean design.

B8akcom Landing Page Review

 Improvements

1. Forget the “About”. Answer the “Why”. A lot of sites across the web use a standard “About” us page. I’ll try to put it nicely: People don’t care about you or your company… YET! Tell people “Why” they should choose your company over others. What can you do for them?

2. Be upfront about your call-to-action. It’s not crystal clear what the call-to-action is on the page. Do they want people to call? Do they want people to choose a service? Use headline your copy for specifically directing people into taking the primary desired action.

3. Reduce steps for sign up. This page forces you to choose a service, then the form pops open asking for additional details. I think the page would work better if the form was always visible on the page and as immediate as the phone number. You’ll get better acceptance if you have the form upfront and visible, the less steps the better.

4. Proofread your copy! Nobody wants to be “ASS seen on” anything!.. And I wasn’t going to point this out (actually I didn’t, someone else in the chat during the live webinar did). But even as a foreign company, it’s never okay to have spelling errors. Always proofread your landing page copy to check for mis-spells and grammatical mistakes. Better yet, get someone else to double-check the copy for you.

In Closing

Did you find these kinds of teardowns useful? It’s always a blast helping people optimize their pages for maximum conversion rate! And I’m more than ready to help YOU get more from your landing pages.

Get your landing page reviewed for FREE during our next landing page teardowns! Reserve your spot for the next LIVE event here!

Reserve My Spot For The Next Landing Page Teardowns

Thanks for reading,

-Josh, Co-Founder – KickoffLabs

P.S. Stay posted for more landing page reviews coming very soon!

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Bounce Rate: 14 ways you are driving people away from your landing pages

Ever walk into a bar and know, very quickly, you shouldn’t order anything there?

I’m from a small town in Massachusetts. For a summer living outside of Atlanta, that simply made me a “northerner” or “yankee boy” to the locals so I had to pick my watering holes carefully in the evenings.

It was one of those nights the heat from the pavement was still radiating off the road well past sunset. Enough to make me sweat just walking from my car into a bar I’d just discovered. From the outside, I could see some TVs and a glowing sign for “Wings”. Sounds good, right?

Something was off as soon as I walked in the door. I was greeted by a large gruff looking dude wearing a confederate flag. The TVs were blaring NASCAR.  Above the bar were five $20 confederate bills with a sign that said “Keep your confederate money. South gon’ rise again!”  I’m fairly certain the bartender shot me a look and made proper use of the spittoon that was surrounded by peanut shells on the floor. This was probably not a good time to have been wearing my Boston Red Sox hat.

I took a deep breath and walked out. I’m sure the bar had a type… but it clearly wasn’t me. When I think back on it, there were all kinds of reasons I bounced… but what if I missed out on a great experience?  Did I judge too quickly? What if I’d missed this?

Redneck-swan-dive

Every day people have this same experience on your web site.  The question is: If you wanted more of them to stay and spend money… what could you do?

Your “bounce rate” is when people do this to your website. It’s the percentage of visitors who come to your landing page and leave without engaging with any content, filing out your opt in form, or clicking through to another page. It’s people who just saw the page they landed on and said “nope… that’s not for me.” You want this to be as low as possible. You want to keep people around, get them to engage, and take the next step down your sales funnel.

Ok. Great. So you know what the bounce rate is… but do you know what causes it? Here are the 14 most common causes of a high bounce rate.

1. Slow page load times. People give up after 4 seconds.

“I love slow web pages.” – said no one ever

Want to slow down your landing pages?

  1. Use the cheapest hosting you can find. You pay for what you get.
  2. Add a few of oversized images that can’t be downloaded quickly.
  3. Use too many images that distract from the copy on your page and cause too many requests on each page load.
  4. Use custom fonts that must be downloaded before anyone can even read the page.
  5. Add a lot of fancy sliders and javascript effects that must also be downloaded to work.

All of these factors can lead to slow page loads. The golden rule is that people are going to leave if you make them wait more than 4 seconds for a page to download. Two seconds or less is really the ideal.

How do you know if you’ve gone above 2 seconds? Use one of these two tools to see how quickly the average visitor might see your landing page.

Landing Page Speed Test

If you are over 2 seconds, you should consider looking for low hanging fruit of images, fonts, scripts, or content you could be cutting to lower the page load time. Sometimes less is more… unless you want people to bounce before you even had a chance.

2. Bombarding visitors with alternative offers and intrusive advertisements

I love going to a page that might solve my problem only to be asked to watch a 30 second video that started auto-playing at the highest possible volume first. I stick around to the end of that experience just to see what happens. :)

Certain types of banner ads are also distracting, and they can reduce the amount of trust your visitors feel when on your site. Without trust, they are unlikely to provide you with email addresses, contact information, or payment info. Be careful of the kinds of ads you use: If your site is ad supported make sure that the ads are relevant to the visitor and related to the material on the page.

How you feel about auto play ads.

Intrusive advertisements will reduce the reputation of your landing pages and diminish the value of your content in the eyes of your visitor. If worthless pop-up ads appear within the first five seconds, the visitor is going to bounce higher than Chuck Norris on a trampoline.

Understand that the goal of each individual page is and make sure your ads and secondary calls to action aren’t getting in the way of that.

3. Visitors seeing something unexpected and unrelated to what they came for.

Surprised Vacation

Not everyone likes surprises.

Let’s say you create an ad for “Amazing Dietary Supplements”, but your visitors land on a page that primarily promotes “Faster Weight Loss”.  Now… the faster weight loss may indeed be a benefit to the supplements… but it was the supplements that people came for.

If the ad headline is not front and center on the landing page you created, you will have lost the trust necessary to facilitate a conversion and the visitor is going to bounce higher than the empire state building.

4. Making visitors dig for what they came for with content that’s not skimmable.

Headlines and subheadings help visitors scan blocks of text quickly. The content they expect to find should be located in the appropriate section. If they cannot spot the content by scanning the headlines or subheadings, they will not take the time to search your site.

People do not read online text in the same way they read a book. Your landing page is not Game of Thrones. Most people aren’t going to read it cover to cover. Imagine you are writing for Cliff Notes instead.

Use Cliff Notes Version

Visitors quickly scan blocks of text looking for useful and engaging content, but they will not spend a lot of time trying to locate it. Before publishing your text to the site, have a friend scan the content to see if they catch the most important points. You can also use sites like http://fivesecondtest.com and http://usertesting.com to get 3rd party opinions on whether or not people can quickly understand your pitch.

5. Sending the wrong people to your landing pages

This is right up there with giving visitors something they did not expect. If your landing page sells a product that’s targeted at private music teachers, but you advertise all over communities of public school teachers… you are close… but you’ve missed the mark.

Anyone with a budget can drive a ton of traffic to a landing page… the question is whether or not you can drive the RIGHT traffic to your landing page. The RIGHT traffic means visitors that are primed to convert because they:

  1. Are clearly within your target audience.
  2. Have been primed by your pitch before they came to the landing page.
  3. Ideally have been referred by a friend… because your landing pages make it easy for someone to share after the conversion. Did I mention that’s a specialty of ours at KickoffLabs?

Viral Boost

The right traffic will almost be able to predict what your landing page says because they’ll be expecting it. You’ll earn their trust and their conversions.

6. Filling your landing with poor grammar and terrible spelling mistakes.

I can’t spell. I’ve also got really bad grammar skills. We joke that we should just make that a thing with KickoffLabs. Every page should contain at least one spelling and one grammar mistake. Done properly it may eventually be endearing… Or it could just cause more people to bounce without even trying our service.

Thumbs Down to Spelling

Visitors are looking for any reason not to buy what you are selling and give you their personal information or credit card. Don’t give them ones that are easy to avoid. If you are like me, you should probably employ someone that can actually speak proper English (or language of your choice) to review every written word you produce. There are also a lot of great proofreading services out there including:

7. Producing a lot of low quality content that’s hard to understand.

The quality of copy on your landing page goes well beyond the grammar and spelling. The copy needs to quickly communicate to the visitor that:

  1. You understand their problem.
  2. You have a solution that could be used to solve it.
  3. They need to just take the following next step.

If a visitor fails out at any of these checkpoints, they are going to bounce before they go any further.

8. Making your landing pages hard to read.

Any distracting elements can reduce the credibility of your site, which causes visitors to search for the nearest exit. Most common problems involve issues of legibility. For example, red cursive text on a black background will not read well, and certain kinds of fonts are also difficult to read. People scan content quickly online, so they will not want to work just to read lines of text.

If you choose the wrong font color for your meme You're gonna have a bad time

9. Making your landing pages ugly.

A poor or unpolished visual design can distract visitors to your site, but it can also reduce the amount of time the person is willing to look at the page for purely aesthetic reasons.

We like to look at attractive things, and Web pages are no different from any other object. Attractive items will tend to keep viewers’ attention, and this is exactly what you want. Conversely, pages with bad design, few graphical elements and poor layout tend to provoke high bounce rates.

Now, this is not to say that good design will guarantee a great conversion rate. It doesn’t work that way. But I can say that poor designs will lower your conversion rate from your potential.

10. Making the visitor feel like they are being scammed.

Ever traveled abroad and been approached by people on the street who introduce themselves with the phrase “My friend… my friend… ” followed by their pitch. Did it occur to you that they may have jumped the gun on the use of the word “Friend”? These are probably people you want to avoid when you are traveling in unfamiliar regions. The same is true for visitors to your landing page.

Scam Email?

Within the first few seconds of arriving at a website, visitors will automatically scan for content and design elements that communicate:

• Credibility
• Safety

Many people focus on the overall content of the site to establish the reliability of the second item in the list above. The perceived safety of the site is related to the quality of the content and the appearance of the pages. If they communicate safety, the visitor will be encouraged to stay, explore and may even make a purchase.

If the visitor is not convinced that the site is credible, reliable and safe for any reason, they will bounce from the page within the first few seconds after arriving. The design of the landing page is critical to prevent this bounce rate from affecting your page rankings and future sales.

11. Using lots of attention grabbing images that steal the show from your call to action.

This falls under the concept of a poorly designed page, but I see it often enough that I need to call it out. People spend so much time curating stock art, background images, rotating sliders, thumbnails, and other images that steal attention.

When a landing page is filled with distracting images, it lowers the readability and therefore increases the bounce rate. Images are great, but should be combined with equally great copy that they reenforce with a visual.

Too Many Images

12. Not having a clear next step.

Let’s say you’ve avoided all of the advice so far… you still have a chance to increase your bounce rate by making your primary call to action hard to find. Having a clear call to action means the visitor knows quickly what their next step should be and where it is on the page.

Clear CTA

You can’t miss the call to action in the landing page above.

13. Asking for way too much information.

It’s just rude on a first date to ask for someone’s mother’s maiden name, social security number, bank account, whether they prefer ice cream or frozen yogurt, which side of the bed they want to sleep on, etc.

Your landing page is no different. As a general rule, you should not be asking for information that you are NOT going to actually use to help the potential customer on the next step of their journey.

You don’t need five different ways to contact everyone, but if you are selling desserts… you may want to know their ice cream preference… as long as you are going to start using it to provide them with more personalized offers.

pinks

Now – that may not seem like much information… but when you consider the payoff… would you answer all those questions for 50 cents?

14. Pretending mobile devices don’t exist and everyone is always at their desktop.

You’ve heard the phrase “mobile first” right? If you want to scare people away, just ignore that. Make your landing pages unresponsive so that people have to scroll, pinch, and zoom around to fill out your opt in forms. I’m sure that strategy will keep working for another five years.

Did you know that 45% of our landing page traffic comes from mobile devices? Yeah… neither did I until I looked at our customer numbers. That means that to keep people engaged you have to prepare for that.

In review – Proper Landing Page Etiquette

That’s a lot to take in. Here is a checklist of things to review on your landing pages…

  1. Landing pages load under 2 seconds.
  2. You don’t bombard people with intrusive ads that distract from your primary call to action.
  3. Your headlines match the advertisement that promoted the landing page.
  4. Visitors can quickly find what they are looking for.
  5. You sent the right people to your landing pages.
  6. Spelling and grammar have been checked out.
  7. The content provided is high quality.
  8. The text is clearly readable across devices.
  9. The page isn’t so ugly it erodes trust. Ideally it’s well designed.
  10. The images don’t distract from the call to action.
  11. You avoid creating that icky “I’m being scammed” feeling.
  12. You have a clear next step for the visitor that doesn’t make them choose.
  13. You avoid asking for too much information that you aren’t going to use right away.
  14. Make sure you are ready for the “mobile first” world.

Think of each landing page as a social contact. You want to avoid certain behaviors all of the time, but this is especially important when constructing a landing page because this is where you create a first impression that will encourage the visitor to get to know you better.

One of the biggest problem I see on landing pages today is that the person publishing them looks for ways to cram more “stuff” on the page that isn’t helping with the conversion. Long form landing pages are great… but the focus of those pages is on the text copy and NOT:

  • Fancy sliders with lots of images
  • A huge navigation menu that links everything to your main site
  • Pop-up polls
  • SEO keyword stuffing
  • Advertisements and secondary promotions
  • Chat windows
  • Click to call buttons (that aren’t primary calls to action)
  • Fancy pants animations
  • Social buttons and demands to “like us” before they even know what you are all about.

Simple page layouts can communicate a lot of information in a short period of time. Part of the process of simplification should involve removing all of the crap I mentioned above. This reduces the clutter, and it will make your text blocks easy to read.

Focus on what you really want the visitor to do on your landing page. Make sure all the copy, images, and call to action buttons are gently nudging people in that direction. Visitors will scan your landing page quickly to see if you have what they came to your site to find.

You need to make sure that they can find whatever they need quickly. By doing this, you may also be able to convince them to opt-in, pay up, or click through to the next page in your sales funnel.

Want our help lowering the bounce rate on your landing pages? Why not sign up for a free account, create smarter landing page campaigns, and see what we’re all about.

38 Top Online Marketing Blogs You Need to Be Reading in 2014

Do a Google search for “Marketing Blogs” and you will find yourself looking at pages and pages worth of blogs. As if you weren’t already overwhelmed enough, there are new blogs popping up every day. With so much to choose from, how do you know that you’re getting good information from a reliable source?

To help narrow your search, we’ve put together a list of the TOP online marketing blogs for you and even broken them out by categories. For fun we’ve even declared the top choice in each category for those of you without the time to read all this amazing content.

Best Startup Marketing Blog

Winner

Software By Rob -Rob Walling dishes out amazing insights on a weekly basis via his podcast “Startups for the Rest of Us”, but the blog is also worth subscribing to for more in-depth thoughts and guest posts. This blog wins for it’s consistent delivery of high quality content.

Software By Rob

Runners Up

Steve Blank – While not strictly focussed on marketing Steve’s a huge proponent of lean customer development and his blog features tons of great posts and case studies on how to zero in on your product market fit… which needs to come before marketing anyway.

A Smart Bear – Jason Cohen is the founder of WP Engine and his views on profitability, startup marketing, and building a great organization are worth subscribing to.

Paul Graham Essays – From the guy who started the famous YC incubator. Each lengthy article is like reading the cliff notes on an outstanding book on building amazing startups.

Startup Marketing Blog – Although Sean doesn’t update it frequently this blog is an amazing asset for those who are just starting out. It covers the many aspects of marketing and breaks them down in a way that makes sense to those who may be new to marketing. Startup Marketing Blog focuses on how to grow your startup from the ground up.

Growth Hacking Pro – Jacek Blaut gives his readers the tips and tools they need to successfully grow their startups. His focus is on teaching different tactics to help you grow your lead list and retain your leads.

Onboardly – The Onboardly blog is geared primarily towards PR and content marketing strategies for startups. They do have a good deal of posts on other startup marketing strategies, as well, so even if you’re not interested in content marketing, it is worth your time to read through some of their posts.

Copywriting and Content Marketing Blogs

Winner

CopyHackers – Joanna and her team are great to work with and produce a TON of quality content on their blog and eBooks. Highly recommended. If you follow her advice you’ll get results.

copyhackers

Runners Up

CopyBlogger – Created by Brian Clark and Sonia Simone, CopyBlogger provides its readers with a steady stream of information about anything and everything related to content marketing. If you’re looking to create content that sells, or even if you are just looking to make your content more engaging, CopyBlogger is definitely a blog stop you will want to add to your list.

The Copybot – Whether you’re writing site updates, ads, blog content, creating eBooks, or making up new taglines, The Copybot has information for you. The Copybot is a one-stop shop when it comes to marketing with the written word.

Problogger – Written by the self-proclaimed Problogger himself, Darren Rowse, Problogger focuses on everything you need to know to create a successful blog of your own.

Heidi Cohen – I have to admit being won over by the lead image on her blog featuring a baseball player designed to help you improve the batting average of your marketing efforts.

SEO Blogs

Winner

Moz Blog – Your one stop shop for everything SEO related. They say that when it comes to online marketing, SEO is King. Whether you’re teaching yourself SEO, are looking for a refresher, or just like to stay up to date on what’s new in SEO land – Moz Blog is where you want to be.

Moz Blog

Runners Up

ReelSEO – ReelSEO is a great resource for news, analysis, tips and trends as they pertain to video marketing.

Search Engine Land - Stay up to date on everything that’s going on with search engines.

Search Engine Watch – As one of the oldest SEO blogs out there, Search Engine Watch has earned its place on the list. Search Engine Watch is very choosy in the articles they decide to post, so when something new finds its way to your feed, you know that it’s sure to be a good read.

SEO by the Sea – Bill Slawski examines search engine patents and white papers in order to provide his readers with relevant content on Internet marketing and SEO. In doing this, he’s able to keep readers up to date on what’s working and what’s not in the world of SEO, while also predicting future SEO trends to keep you ahead of the curve.

Social Media Marketing

Winner

Buffer Blog – Buffer is a simple solution to scheduling out your companies social media posts every week. They’ve had a metioric rise that’s, in part, due to the effort they put into customer education on marketing via their blog. The focus on is social media.

buffer blog

Runners Up

Social Media Examiner – In addition to providing its readers with tips and tricks on effectively marketing using social media, Social Media Examiner also helps you to learn how to incorporate these strategies in with the rest of your marketing. Social Media Examiner offers a wide array of content from many different writers, which gives you a lot more variety than some other blogs out there.

Sprout Social – Specializing in content about social media, Sprout Social offers tips and tricks to its readers. Additionally, thousands of brands post content through Sprout Social every day, which offer readers plenty of examples to take into consideration when creating their own content.

Sales Force Marketing Cloud – Here you can read up on social marketing news, social media best practices and social strategy. Because this blog is a part of Radian6, you can also find plenty of information on social analytics.

Mari Smith – Mari is a Facebook marketing expert as evident by her recent post on improving your reach on Facebook in a time when social media reach is at an all time low.

 

Affiliate Marketing

Winner

Affiliate Marketing Blog – Written by Geno Prussakov, Affiliate Marketing blog offers its readers posts and videos to teach the ins and outs of affiliate marketing.

affiliate

Runners Up

Missy Ward – Written by the co-founder of Affiliate Summit, Missy Ward’s blog offers plenty of advice on affiliate marketing – and what you need to know to be successful as an affiliate marketer. Missy Ward’s blog is a great place to stay up to date on affiliate marketing news, tips, advice, and events.

John Chow – Everything from PPC management to general marketing with a focus on affiliate income.

General Online Marketing Blogs

Winner

KISSmetrics – Metrics are the future of marketing and this company delivers a killer blog and even has it’s own iPhone app for hte content. A great resource when it comes to conversion rate optimization and A/B testing. Here you’ll find plenty of content about testing, analytics advice, and converting your site traffic and social media following into leads.  Don’t miss the infographics too.

kissmetrics


Runners Up

Only4Videos – Only4Videos offers tips and recommendations for using videos and vlogging to increase sales, grow Email lists, and increase site traffic – among other things.

Vidyard Video Marketing Blog – Vidyard teaches its readers how to capitalize on video marketing and convert compelling video campaigns into product sales. If you’re interested in video marketing, you definitely need to read this blog.

AnnieLytics – I don’t think anyone knows more about Google Analytics than Annie… not even the product managers at Google.

Occam’s Razor – Written by Avinash Kaushik, Occam’s Razor is hailed as THE best marketing blog for marketing analytics. From here you can learn almost anything you could ever want to know about data-driven marketing strategies.

Analytics Talk – If you’re interested in analytics, Justin Cutroni’s blog Analytics Talk should be on your must-read list. As the Analytics Advocate at Google, you’ve kind of got to assume that he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to analytics.

Seth Godin - He wrote “Permission Marketing”. You need to take what he writes seriously.

Distilled – The majority of Distilled is focused on SEO marketing, with a little bit of social media and mobile marketing thrown in, as well. Distilled is one of the most well-known names in SEO information, so you definitely want to subscribe here to stay “in the know” with what’s working for SEO.

HubSpot – Marketing tips and advice for marketing at any level – from startups to marketing experts. HubSpot has an endless supply of information on anything and everything related to marketing.

Adobe Digital Marketing Blog – The great thing about the Adobe Digital Marketing blog is that it doesn’t just focus on any one specific area. With 10 different categories to choose from, including analytics, social media, Email, and search marketing, you’re sure to find some useful marketing information here.

Brian Solis – Authored by Brian Solis, his blog covers many aspects of marketing, focusing mainly on how emerging technology affects business, marketing, and culture.

Quick Sprout – Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, and Hello Bar. He is considered by many to be a marketing “guru,” which means that any information he is putting out there through his blog is probably something you want to be reading.

Last, but not least…

Our own KickoffLabs Blog – Of course we had to include our own blog, for without it, how would you have ever found this awesome list? Here at KickoffLabs our focus is on landing pages and everything that you can accomplish by using them. We offer you ideas and insight on how to use landing page to gain leads – and keep them. Want to know more? Check out some of our other posts and try our Landing Page and Opt In campaign tools today.

Did we forget your favorite marketing blog from the list? Tweet us @kickofflabs

7 Essential Ingredients For Making Your Contests Go Viral

Viral Contest IngredientsAs of late, it seems as if every company and marketer’s dream is that their campaign will magically catch a viral wave and the content will flood users screens.

Newsflash! In the online world, things don’t work that way.

It’s not as simple as the old “build it and they will come” motto anymore. Nowadays, smart companies and marketer’s know the importance of effectively getting content in front of the right audience. But if you want to potentially reach a larger audience, you need to architect virality…

Virality Is:

When every person that signs up refers a group of friends that also sign up, who in turn refer their group of friends who also sign on, and so on… Every new series of signups gets larger and larger. It’s the forever sought after hockey stick of growth.

The exact reason for this extreme sharing? Well, for each piece of content there can be many variables involved, but all viral content has shared qualities.

The real truth is that there is a formula to creating campaigns with the potential to become viral.

Virality for Contests

So how can you create a viral contest?

Continuing with our contest education series, I’ll be showing you how-to infuse your contests with the different viral elements to get the ultimate signup and sharing boost!

If you happened to miss our previous Part 1: How To Create Contests That Boost Revenues – 7 KickoffLabs Customer Case Studies, Part 2: The Ultimate Guide To Using Autoresponders For Contests & Sales, or Part 3: Step-by-Step Guide on How To Create & Run Successful Online Contests. Be sure to check them out for more actionable advice on running successful contests that convert.

So now let’s begin diving into those secret viral ingredients…

Viral Sauce #1 – Answer the “What’s in it for me?”

Answering the question: “what’s in it for them?” is the first step in capturing people’s attention and building virality into your contest. Explicitly describing the prize that they’ll have a chance at winning is your way of enticing people to enter.

Offer an irresistible prize that plays to the needs of your audience. Sure, you can give away some off-the-shelf prizes to allure unqualified leads into entering. But if you offer your audience something they truly desire, odds are people will be more willing to enter and talk about the contest with their friends.

It goes without saying that people’s attention spans have dropped significantly online and are extremely forgetful. Make sure the prize is both highly desirable and memorable.

The key advice here is to make your contest attractive specifically to your target audience.

Viral Sauce #2 – Create the illusion of scarcity

People dislike missing out on things or events, especially online. Which is why a lot of people have their mobile devices almost plastered to their faces. There is a constant “fear of missing out” (#FOMO) on things that interest us. And it sucks when we don’t get a chance to enter an awesome contest or giveaway.

This is exactly the kind of behavior we’re looking to leverage for our contests… How?

a) By clearly indicating the contest start and end dates. You can even try using a contest countdown timer to give an added visual trigger of the when the contest will be closing.

b) Letting people know how many prizes are being given away or if their chances are increased by sharing.

Be sure it’s obvious to your visitor that there’s a good chance they’ll win, but they better hurry up to enter!

Viral Sauce #3 – Make them feel part of your exclusive club

People that share common interests have been flocking together since the beginning of human evolution. Which means that your potential leads likely identify themselves with certain groups of people or sub-cultures. Plain and simple, we like hanging out with people who are similar to us.

If you play on that and appeal to people that share a common interest, they’ll be much more likely to sign up and share your contest with their friends.

By picking the right prize and incentive, not only will you attract the right kind of people. You’ll help them feel like they’re part of something special and unique.

Looking back on what Wil Reynolds from Seer Interactive recently said about creating exclusivity and how it can benefit your business: “You will get the clicks you want if you build upon cliques”… It’s so true. People yearn to be a part of an exclusive club, YOUR exclusive club.

Building a community aspect into your contest will help amass the most qualified leads.

Viral Sauce #4 – Make the contest fun

Having a great prize might be enough to get people to enter the contest, however adding a sense of gamification to your contest can make the contest more engaging and fun to enter.

Even if contests have been “gamifying” content since before gamification was even a word.

Asking people to participate, for example, by uploading a picture of themselves using your product, will make them feel more involved. It also motivates them to actively interact with and share your contest.

A huge benefit in adding a gamification element to your contest is that you’ll gain better insight about your audience and understand how your customers are using your product or service. We all know that every opportunity to learn about your customers is worthwhile.

Keep in mind that gamification might not work in all contests. Looking at our customers past contests, it seems to indicate that some contests perform better with a simple, one step sign up process. Generally, it depends on the knowledge of your market and takes some experimenting with contests to get find a good balance.

Viral Sauce #5 – Incentivize and reward

How do you combat the downfall to a contest giveaway with an awesome prize, which people may not want to share with friends in order to increase their odds?

Give them the motivation to share!

A lot of our customers, for example, leverage a mechanism that rewards people for sharing. The reward could be a discount for anyone that shares with three friends or simply a contest “the most shares wins X”.

The chance to win a prize shouldn’t be the only thing they’re getting in exchange for their email address and referrals.

Viral Sauce #6 – Introduce the Viral Loop

Today, when competition is steep, you need people spreading the word for you in order to expand reach and boost credibility. This is where virality really kicks in.

a) Adding social media share buttons on the contest and confirmation pages is a must and will help lead your contest to a viral effect. Ideally, you’ll personalize the share message and it should also be super easy to share.

b) Hone in on your influencers and let them know how much you appreciate them. Taking the time to discover and thank those people who are sending you larger numbers of traffic is essential to building trust from your audience.

These are the people that are not only going to actively share, but tend to be friends with others that share common interests. Sending you highly valuable referred leads, which have a higher conversion rate than those who are non-referred.

Let these people know how much you appreciate them for entering and sharing. Influencers are vital to your contest success!

Viral Sauce #7 – Continue the story

When marketing researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and viral scientist, Professor Jonah Berger asked the question “What makes ideas viral and products spread contagiously?”, he uncovered that stories were the content most likely to be shared.

People love reading about (and sharing) stories. If you want people to talk about your contest and your business, you’ve got to give them something worth talking about.

It’s just that sometimes there’s just not enough space (nor should you be crowding your page with copy) to give the complete story.

Use this as a chance to further engage with your contest entries via email and newsletters to talk more about the contest and your business.

Give them something they can easily talk about with their friends to remain top of mind during and after the contest.

Conclusion

Most people love entering contests. But sometimes, even after following our advice, you might not get the response you intended. Just remember that not everything cool goes viral. For everything that “goes viral” there are thousands of other similar things that simply don’t make it.

That’s OK.

It doesn’t mean you should stop trying to follow the proven formulas.

It might take several tries to see what works best but the people you do reach will already be highly targeted to your business. Which in itself is a win.

Plus if they’re sharing, at least a little bit… if, for example, every person that signs up brings 3 more people… that’s a 30% boost you didn’t have before. With past KickoffLabs contests, for example, we’ve seen an average of a 35% “Viral Boost”. That’s 35 more leads for every 100 you had to bring in the hard way!

Try applying any or all of these viral tactics to your contests and see what kind of RESULTS YOU GET.

If you want more insider tips on how to create and run contests that give results, get our FREE “Smart Guide to Successful Contests that Convert” ebook here.

Thanks for reading and all the best in your contest success!

-Josh Ledgard, Co-Founder of KickoffLabs

Ten Examples That Teach You How to Write Remarkable Landing Page Copy

Your landing page will succeed or fail based on the written copy. No matter how well designed your page is… if the copy sucks… no one is going to buy it. Great copy rises above the design to convert visitors into leads.

What makes for great landing page copy? It’s something that piques a readers interest and gets them to read more into the landing page. Great copy starts with the headline. Now lets look at some examples of remarkable landing page copy.

Pinterest

You’d expect the copy to inspire you and it doesn’t disappoint.

They used Pinterest to plan a dream trip. Join Pinterest to find (and save) all the things that inspire you.

Pinterest Landing Page Copy

Beyond the headline they make two other claims:
1. “45 Second to sign up”
2. “25 Billion Pins to explore”

The headline is inspirational and makes the visitor imagine a tangible benefit of using the service. The first sub-headline serves to show how easy it is to sign up and removes friction by answering a common question. The second serves as their social proof. It screams “You won’t be alone! There are 25 Billion Pins!”.

Contently

For a service like Contently, that helps large brands generate content you’d expect the copy to be top notch… and it is.

Contently Landing Page Copy

Make content that matters

Who wants to make content that doesn’t matter? The competition… that’s who. They focus on important content and they are going to make it for you. :)

More Fortune 500 brand publishers use Contently than any other system

This is their social proof statement. Its also aspirational to potential customers… who doesn’t want to take their company to the next level. Most of their customers probably aren’t in the Fortune 500… but this makes them dream as well as know that the content generated will be good enough for them.

Freckle

Freckle is a tool for time tracking.

Freckle Landing Page Copy

 

“Our biggest issue was people forgot to track their time.”

I love this because the headline is a customer quote that focusses on a problem statement rather than their solution. I mean, you could use a stopwatch and paper to track time… but then you might forget to start, stop, or report it. They are going to solve this for you.

While not strictly copy the dots on the top of the page show you actual time tracked with the application when you hover over them. It gives you a glimpse of what you are going to get.

Other great lines here include:

Your business runs on time. It’s the fuel your team uses to start, create, finish projects for yourselves and your clients.
You’ve got to make sure every minute counts… and can be counted:

And did you actually bill your client for all the time actually worked?

The page is filled with a combination of:
* Statements that will cause people to say “yes. I have that problem”
* Questions that lead people down a path of saying “You get me. Take my money!”.

Evernote

Two words.

Remember Everything
I mean, who hasn’t forgotten something important. It’s solution and a mission statement for the company all in one.

The sub-headline drills deeper to describe what and how they are going to do for you.

Evernote apps and products make modern life manageable, by letting you easily collect and find everything that matters.

Evernote Landing Page Copy

It plays on your fear that “OMG – Modern life is complex. I must be forgetting something important… I should save it… but how…”

Apple iPad

Just like the featured product the primary copy is light and remarkable.

iPad Air – The power of lightness

iPad Air Landing Page Copy

It’s a tease that encourages the person to click the arrow and learn exactly what makes it so powerful. Of course the image, and visual, is above the copy and helps illustrate the point by showcasing how thin it is.

Quora

Quora makes an amazing QnA product whose quality puts yahoo answers to shame. The headline implies just that.

Quora Landing Page Copy

Sign up to read Quora.
Quora is your best source for knowledge

What’s good about this headline is that it basically beats you over the head with your next step. They want you to take their call to action and then give you a reason why… “it’s your BEST source for knowledge”. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?

They follow with some social proof with the Facebook widget & the right side that gives you several ways to sign up.

Square

I love square and I’m not even a customer. I just love that our local farmers market no longer requires me to bring cash. That solved a big pain point for me and, ideally, their customers love it because I spend more money with them. :)

Square Landing Page Copy

START SELLING TODAY
Accept credit cards from an iPhone, iPad, or Android with Square. We’ll mail you a free card reader to get started.

Everything, including the images, on this page re-enforces two things.

  1. You can use square to sell things anywhere.
  2. You can set it up quickly, for free, with no commitments.

They start with the three word version, expand to two sentences, then go into details below. The copy flows beautifully as you go down the page.

Pocket

They use a slider… which I dislike, but the copy on the page doesn’t move or change with each slide. The slides just re-enforce the value proposition.

When you find something you want to view later, put it in your pocket.

Pocket Landing Page Copy

They saved the three word description for later on the page and went straight into the one sentence tagline. I think it works well here because the product isn’t something most people are used to. This is also probably why they lead with the extra slides and video to showcase why you need it.

AirBnb

This is a service I’ve used several times with great success. The headline doesn’t complicate anything.

AirBnB Landing Page Copy

Find a place to stay.
Rent from people in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries.

Again, they use sliders, but the text and call to action locations don’t change. The images are real apartments you could stay in.

The primary headline describes exactly what problem they solve… finding a place to stay.

The sub-headline adds that you “rent from people”. That’s a differentiator. You aren’t renting from a single, large, hotel chain.

Then it follows with how many cities and countries you can find them in. The only suggestion I’d make is to highlight the number of rooms available… I know it’s a HUGE number. Maybe they found it too intimidating.

Paper

I’m a terrible artist, but it doesn’t matter with Paper. I love how good this app makes me look.

Paper. Where Ideas Begin.

Paper Landing Page Copy

Unlike other copy we’ve seen I don’t think this stands on it’s own… because you have no idea, without the image, what they are really selling. The image and video, however serve to compliment the text well.

Pick Up Your Tools.

The section on tools holds the meat of their copy and really starts to outline the benefits. Phrases like “Capture ideas”, “Start with a sketch”. and “Think bold”. Probably resonate really well with each target audience. They back up that copy with an image that fits each one.

What have you learned?

When you are thinking about great copy, and looking at these examples, there are several themes that come through:

  1. They all start with very simple, in most cases, three word headlines designed to capture attention in the shortest amount of time.
  2. They are customer focussed. There are no “We” statements. All the copy focusses on “you”… the reader. It’s written in the second person.
  3. They are benefits focussed rather than feature focussed.
  4. The images are complimentary and NOT distracting from the text.
  5. If you use a slider… don’t mess with the copy. Give people a chance to read what you have.
  6. Most copy includes a differentiator.
  7. The primary call to action is never far from the headline text.
  8. Social proof is important and generally included within the first 2 seconds of reading.
  9. They tell a story that starts with 3 words, expands to a sentence, then adds paragraphs. It’s generally a triangle of text.
  10. They are aspirational. They make the visitor imagine how good life could be WITH the product or service they are selling.

Hope you enjoyed these examples. If you did… please share them below with your friends. :)

9 Landing Page Teardowns Packed w/ Optimization Tips

We offer free consultations for new paying customers to help them optimize their landing page conversions. It works great, but what if we expanded that to review anyones landing page? So we decided to host a live webinar and ask people to submit their landing pages for review!

It was awesome! We got WAAAYY MORE entries than we had anticipated for being the very first KickoffLabs webinar. Of course a 1:1 review would cover a lot more, but you can learn a LOT for the changes suggested for these examples. We focused on changes that could be made ASAP designed to have an immediate impact to their conversion rates.

By going through some of the many pages that were submitted by our audience for review, I’m sure you’ll find some advice that will help out with your own landing pages. So let’s start off and go page by page that people have to improve.

The Landing Page Teardowns


Be sure to watch the full video for plenty more hidden marketing gems!

#1 – Davai

Positives

  • A clean and simple design.
  • Mobile responsive and looks appropriately at smaller sizes.
  • Copy is straightforward and clearly describes what the app does.

davai

Improvements

1. Make the page more skimmable. Without a text headline or subheadline, you force people to read small print copy. Call out a strong piece of copy and make the text larger.

2. Use a cheerful background image. The photograph is great, but is of a gloomy day. Including a brighter image can help put people in a better mood when they’re looking at the page. Then again, maybe it’s just me because I live in Seattle and prefer to look at some sunny weather :)

3. Optimize your signup copy. A great post-signup share message can help boost your viral conversions by 30 – 40%. Give people exactly what they asked for and think about an incentive that will get people sharing.

#2 – Blue Apron

Positives

  • The page is extremely visually appealing.
  • Hero image stands on its own and almost doesn’t need any copy to explain the product.
  • Good use of page animations that aren’t distracting to the copy.

blue-apron

Improvements

1. Start A/B testing headlines. Test out different headlines that avoid the use of generic terms like: “a better way to…” or “a simpler solution to…”. Focus on what your value proposition is and give a clearer explanation of why it’s “better” or “simpler”.

2. Use big, contrasting buttons. Can you see the call-to-action buttons if you stand back 10 feet from the page? Kinda. This pages primary color is blue and uses a blue “Join Now” button with pricing in orange. Make sure your buttons stand out by swapping out your primary color for one that is more noticeable.

3. Paid service? Use a secondary call-to-action! When you’re at the stage of people considering to spend money on your product or service, they might feel a little intimidated. At this point, having a secondary call-to-action asking for an email address is critical. You want to start building your audience because a lot of your leads will start out with a free experience (an email course, curated content or recommendations, etc).

We do this on Kickofflabs.com with our Landing Page Course popup widget to draw more attention to our free email course and can say that it’s helped to increase conversions.

4. Optimize for customer purchase flow. Too many form fields or steps can overwhelm people. Reducing the number of steps involved for signup will lower dropoffs. The longer the form, the lower your conversion rate.

#3 – Gameblyr

Positives

  • Great looking logo that catches the eye.
  • Easy to read, highly visible tagline.
  • The phrase “Limited Spots Available” creates the illusion of scarcity.

gameblyr

Improvements

1. Speak to the person reading the page. Imagine a person that just saw that a link posted by a friend… Speak to that individual person instead of just describing your service in general. Don’t make it sound like a pitch, make it sound like a conversation.

2. Features are fine, but benefits are better. Focus your copy on the specific problems that you’ll be solving for people. Describe the benefits in signing up and try using the main problem statement as a headline.

3. Give an incentive to share. After sign up, adding an incentive as to WHY people should share will increase the amount of shares. Even if you’re not providing a free download or product, inviting friends to your service could be the actual incentive.

#4 – FinVox

Positives

  • The page is visually appealing.
  • You can see the CTA 10 feet from the screen.
  • Page scales down and is responsive on mobile devices.

finvox

Improvements

1. Use images that explain your service. Using vague images doesn’t explain to visitors what is going on. If you use images, make sure they include obvious examples of the kind of service you provide.

2. Provoke an immediate response. Rather than having your call-to-action merely scroll to another element on the page, make sure call-to-actions ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. Getting someone to contact you, capturing an email address, or signing up for a service is a call-to-action

3. Don’t hide your signup form. If you bury the email form too far beneath your copy, you might prevent people from signing up. Keep a signup form at the top of the page and use additional text below that supports your case.

#5 – FlockUnlock

Positives

  • Beautiful and modern-looking design.
  • Plenty of call-to-actions on the page.
  • Good descriptive subheadlines.

flockunlock

Improvements

1. Take into account different screen resolutions. On certain resolutions your CTA may be getting lost! Be sure not to obscure the view of your primary call-to-action buttons with odd placement or unnecessary elements. If you’re using chat support widgets, be careful with the positioning so that you don’t cover up something that is important on the page.

2. Show off your service. Use your landing page as an example of your service to reinforce what you’re doing. If you’re launching a company, include an incentive that uses your beta and speaks about your brand. Take your idea and build something from your launch landing page.

3. Wordiness doesn’t lower conversion rates. Use as many words necessary to clearly explain your product or service. You never know what format or copy is going to get people to convert. Repeating certain copy in the body or headlines isn’t going to hurt your conversion rate, it can actually help increase!

#6 – RushTix

Positives

  • Each of the individual header options was good. Pick a good one and drop the animation.
  • The tagline, underneath learn more was good.
  • Narrow focus on one market, for now, good to exclude people and focus on a market.

rushtix

Improvements

1. Isolate important copy and elements. Above the fold space should not be distracting to your primary copy and call-to-action. In this case, there is an oversized slider that is getting in the way and not complimenting the call-to-action. Not everything on the web needs to be animated, especially if it’s preventing people from reading further on down.

2. Exclude people you’re not for. If your business is location based, it’s in your best interest to say “we’re not for these people, but we are for these people”. It makes the people you are for, feel like part of an exclusive club.

3. Copy trumps visuals. You might have a great set of images or videos included at the top of your landing page. But if something is not primary data that you want to get across, save it for later on down the page. Your copy is more important than any visuals on the page.

#7 – ScoPerks

Positives

  • Creates exclusivity in the text “to be considered”, etc.
  • Button clearly stands out to submit the email.
  • The what is nearly defined.. but could be expanded on.

scoperks

Improvements

1. Use font size as a design tool. Your text needs to stand out! Try using large text for the logo, medium text for your headline and small text for your body text. It helps to add more sense of design to the page.

2. Give away information. A lot of new startups have a fear of giving away too much at the beginning. This couldn’t be further from the truth… people love to read about progress and feel as if they’re a real part of your community. Add information and context to let people know what they’re getting into and what they’re signing up for. Don’t make people guess.

3. Include secondary CTA’s in a response email. Take off secondary call-to-actions from the page. When somebody signs up, use an autoresponder email and include links to 2 or 3 of your most recent blog posts that are worth reading. There’s not much of an incentive in “check out our blog”, but there is probably more incentive in some of your blog headlines. Recommend helpful articles in your autoresponder emails to start solving people’s problems will get people to click-through and read the blog.

#8 – Diverge

Positives

  • Nice background image that lights up the page as you hover.
  • Use of a simple, polished form.
  • They’re a KickoffLabs customer :)

diverge

Improvements

1. Make the page obvious. Make sure people know exactly what it is they are looking at. Provide enough obvious context as to what the page is about and maybe try including the “what” as a subheadline.

2. Form placement matters. If you’re giving away some valuable incentives, it’s worth placing the incentive copy above the form to motivate people. Tell people what they’re getting right before you ask for the email address. Even if a small amount, somebody’s email address is still a form of currency.

3. Be clear about what they’re clicking. Instead of using the standard “Notify Me” call-to-action, the button text should match what you’re giving to reinforce what’s on the page.

#9 – GetFeedbac

Positives

  • Leverages potential audience by integrating with popular services.
  • Well spaced form with a CTA that’s hard to miss.
  • Good use of social proof in the form of customer testimonials.

getfeedbac

Improvements

1. Aim directly for your target. You should know who your target customer is and clearly explain the product or service to them. Don’t force people to figure out if it’s right for them or not. Promptly clarify your service/product and message to your visitors.

2. Free trials and betas don’t mix. There’s really no need to emphasize price on a beta release signup page. Highlighting the free early beta access is more than enough to drive valuable early adopters (influencers!) into signing up. After you officially launch, then send out an email to let customers know it’s time to upgrade to a paid account.

3. Highlight how your product is used. This is clearly a video based product, yet the explainer video isn’t as noticeable as it should be. Demonstrating the product is essential for users to gain an understanding of potential use cases. Leave no room for doubt, especially if you’ll later be charging people money for your service!

At Kickofflabs, we call it “Drinking Your Own Champagne”, i.e., dogfooding. We use our own product ALL THE TIME for landing pages, contests, & email capture. People see our campaigns and know exactly what our product is about.

In Closing

Did you find these kinds of teardowns useful? Helping people optimize their pages for first contact and providing solid advice for conversion lifts is always a gratifying experience for me. But by the amount of entries, I know there are still tons of people that are looking for marketing advice on their pages and campaigns…

… Which is why we’re planning on doing more of our Live Marketing Chats!

Would you like us to provide your landing page with some awesome optimization tips that will help boost your conversion rates? Reserve your spot for our next LIVE event here!

Reserve My Spot For The Next Webinar

Thanks to everyone who submitted their page for our review. See you at our next live chat!

-Josh, Co-Founder – KickoffLabs

What qualities are shared by most successful product landing pages?

It’s no accident that so many successful companies have the same basic formula for their landing pages. There are a set of best practices that typically work to convert visitors into leads and then into customers. Here is a collection of 10 qualities shared by successful landing pages.

A Large Descriptive Headline

One line description of what the product/service is all about and written in large letters with high contrast with the background.

“MAKE CUSTOMERS HAPPY, ONE CHAT AT A TIME”. Tells you what Olark does in one second.
Clear Landing Page Headline

This is probably the single most important element to any successful landing page and for some reason gets wildly ignored on many landing pages we’ve seen. You should spend at least as much time crafting this pitch as you do for the rest of the copy on your site.

The number of seconds a landing page has to grab a first-time visitor’s attention is under four seconds.

Bottom line, you need to have a clear, powerful and emotional headline to pull the reader through the computer screen (within their first few seconds on your page) and make them want to stick around.

Some tips for headline writing

When writing headlines we’d try to answer the following questions:

What’s the primary benefit of our product/service for this reader?
How can we write it in a way that clearly describes it at useful, unique, ultra-specific, and urgent?

Focus on “benefits” and NOT “features”. For example.

Product: iPad Air
Feature: 64-bit A7 Chip
Benefit: Apps run faster. Games are more responsive. And everything you do with iPad Air feels quicker, because it is quicker. Up to twice as quick, in fact.

It’s fun to read about how changing a button color increased click-through’s by 300%, but that’s not what commonly boosts conversions on a landing page – by far and away, the headline and initial body paragraph have given our pages more of a lift than any other variable over time.

A Single Clear Call to Action

You can have the CTA in multiple places (“GET STARTED FOR FREE”), but they should all want the user to do the one thing. It’s the rule of one that’s based on the goal of your landing page.

Landing Page with a Clear Call to Action

All of your content should be designed to move people toward that action and design the page so that it’s as easy as possible for them to take that action.

The worst thing you could do is make someone THINK!

It’ll make them question what they’re even doing on your site, it’ll make them second guess the purchasing decision they were about to make, etc.

Designing for the “Rule of One” eliminates all of that indecision, stress and anxiety for your users.

Simple – Less is More

Sticking to just 2–3 colors and very high quality fonts. Avoid distractions by choosing to publish less information. Successful landing pages are very selective in what they show to the users. If the users are attracted, you can always fill in the details later after they complete your call to action.

Dropbox example of a simple landing page

We’ve found, once we reach peak conversions with a particular landing page it can become helpful to start removing things in tests. If you remove something and the conversion rate doesn’t change… keep it off since you didn’t need it!

Designed to Reduce Friction

Reducing friction also means getting inside your user’s head. It means understanding the things that will typically hold someone back from starting your trial, signing up for your email list, or purchasing your product. What questions or concerns will typically come to their mind?

  • Do I really need this?
  • Is this product any good?
  • Who else is using this?
  • What are they doing to do with my email address?
  • Will they steal my credit card?

Check out what BareMetrics does to reduce friction by making signup as simple as one click in order to connect to their service.  This is something that could be really complicated… but they’ve focussed on making it simple:

Landing page with one click signup.

Social Proof – Used By

Nothing says “I’m a real company” better than having heard of their others customers. Having some larger customers also helps say “If it’s good enough for them… it will be great for me!”

Check out what WPEngine Does on their home page.

Landing page showcasing clients.

Social Proof – Testimonials

Check out the great testimonial in the middle of the current GetDrip home page. IMO nobody can speak to your potential customers better than your current customers.

Landing page testimonials

That was seriously the first image on the home page… not the product… but a customer.

Social Proof – As seen in

If you click the image above and scroll down you’ll also see the “As Seen In” section on GetDrip. This helps the visitor believe in the company more than they would have otherwise.

Landing page social proof.

Let the Product Do the Talking

It’s become trendy to include a short video or animated set of images that clearly describe the product. Right now no one does this better than MailChimp:

Animated landing page.

Open the page to really see the effect

Of course you can simply include a brief set of images that relate to sub-headlines and re-enforce the core value proposition of the product. Check out the Blue Apron home page that we recently reviewed

Landing page images

Provide a Secondary Call to Action

If the primary call to action could be intimidating or time consuming (start a trial, pay for something, etc) you should have a secondary call to action whose goal is simply to capture lead information and start a relationship with the visitor. Ideally this is something that helps them solve their problem, for free, and educates them about your product.

secondary_call

In Summary…

  1. Have a large, descriptive headline.
  2. Have a single, clear, call to action.
  3. Keep it simple.
  4. Reduce as much friction as possible.
  5. Include social proof that includes customer testimonials, press mentions, and “used by”.
  6. Let the product do the talking.
  7. Provide a great secondary call to action.

If you enjoyed this article you may enjoy our free email course on landing pages. Check it out!

Step-by-Step Guide on How To Create & Run Successful Online Contests

KickoffLabs-Step-by-Step-Successful-Contests

This is the 3rd installation of our contest education series, with the goal of helping you create successful contests that drive real results (AND PROFITS) for your business.

Highly recommended are Part 1: How To Create Contests That Boost Revenues – 7 KickoffLabs Customer Case Studies & Part 2: The Ultimate Guide To Using Autoresponders For Contests & Sales

In our past articles we went over why contests are an effective means for generating leads and increasing sales through an expanded audience… and have learned how to write awesome autoresponse messages to further engage your leads.

The objective of this article is to answer the questions:

How do I go about creating a high-converting contest?

What would I do to make sure I get a large number of contest entries?

We’ll break down the most critical steps so you can learn how to achieve monumental contest campaign accomplishments by leveraging marketing best practices. You’ll also get an inside look at some of our customers recent contest triumphs. Lookout for their real metrics to demonstrate how effective contests can really be.

We’re confident to have analyzed, dissected and included the most fundamental elements for running contests that convert. And although these tips can be applied to just about any kind of campaign – remember that what works for one business may not work for another. Our advice is to implement these steps and experiment with different ways to find the best strategies for your business.

Step 1: Before the Contest

First things first. Like any other marketing campaign, planning is essential if you don’t want your contest to fail and end up costing more money than you make up in new leads. A well defined strategy can help guarantee contest success, so take the time to document your intended outcome.

When to run a contest?

Contests are a tried-and-true method for growing your business. But when is the best time to run the contest?

a) If you’re just starting out or are simply unhappy with your number of current customers, and want to generate a buzz to extend your audience.

b) If you already have a large audience and plenty of visitors to your site, but want to drive more traffic and make instant sales.

c) For any business looking to generate leads by growing their audience, now is a great time to run a contest.

What kind of campaign to run?

Will you be running a contest? Where people compete for a prize.

A giveaway? Where people enter their information for the chance to win. Usually by random drawing.

Or a promotion? Where there are prizes for everyone who signs up.

As you think through different campaign types, you must think in terms of your customers. How much work should they put in to enter the contest? We’ve seen that the best performing “contests” tend to have less steps to enter. The lower barrier to entry, the more people will likely sign up. So weigh out the pros and cons of each before moving any further.

For the sake of argument, we’ll be using the terms contest, promotion and giveaway interchangeably. Please note that we are talking about the same kind of marketing campaign!

Determine a goal

What are your immediate and post-contest business goals? Starting off with a clear objective will help establish the overall contest strategy.

Ask yourself, do you specifically want to:

  • grow your subscriber list?
  • increase social engagement on Facebook & Twitter?
  • generate immediate sales through coupons and incentives?
  • all of the above?

You’ll also want to keep your audience in mind by answering the questions:

  • Who is your ideal contest entry?
  • What are they going to be interested in?

As you are outlining your goals, identify your KPI’s (key performance indicators) as well. You’ll be using these later to measure your contest success. Some example KPI’s would be an increase in social following, more traffic to your site, or a lift in sales.

If you don’t write anything down, you’ll lose the advantage of analyzing and comparing results with the original goal.

Behind the Scenes

Don’t have an action plan? Not to worry! Even if you don’t know exactly what your objective is, contests will help build brand awareness… which in itself is priceless.Take for example, our customer Startup Pirates. They expressed to us in an email:

“We didn’t have clear goals because it was our first try with a contest, but it definitely exceeded our expectations… especially with our increase in twitter followers.

We knew it wasn’t enough just to set up the contest page and wait for subscribers. Our only plan was to spread the word, and not just by posting it to Facebook either.

You need to understand your audience and know where they are. Engage and try to publish your offer there. Make sure that what you are offering is valuable to them.”

Rafael-StartupPirates-Rafael, Startup Pirates

By the end of the promotion, Startup Pirates were boasting a 30.9% overall conversion rate, had received 361 quality leads, and had gotten detailed insights about their newly gained audience. On top of that, using KickoffLabs Magic Contact Data, a bird’s-eye-view of metrics revealed their most engaged customer demographic!

Startup Pirates ResultsI’d like to emphasize what was highlighted in our 1st contest education series post: It’s not about the number of signups. The real value comes from generating buzz, driving potential customers to discover their brand and honing in on their targeted customer segment.

NOTE: The rest of the items in this list are MEANINGLESS if you don’t get the next 2 tips right: Strive to come up with a great PRIZE and incentive or you will most likely not see any measurable success. Fact of the matter is, amazing prizes and incentives are what produce amazing contests.

What’s the prize?

This is the first most important piece of advice in our checklist…

… What will you be rewarding your winner(s)?

a) Be creative and try to come up with a prize that excites your target audience. Whatever prize your company decides on; make it memorable and desirable to potential leads. It doesn’t have to be a million dollar prize. Just be sure that it’s worth a lot more than the effort of signing up and sharing with friends.

Our advice is to resist giving away prizes that are irrelevant to your business — looking at you free iPad and gift card giveaways! Sure you’ll probably get a ton of signups, but are they going to be the best leads for your business? Not likely. Offering a prize that is related to your industry and generates real enthusiasm is proven to increase targeted contest entries.

b) Make your contest more attractive by giving away multiple, tiered prizes — 1st, 2nd, 3rd place or runner-up rewards. Try giving away one prize at random and another to the person with the most signup referrals. People will feel greater odds of winning and can potentially boost your contest engagement.

What about the incentive?

The second most important piece of advice

There has been a huge culture shift and people have become more and more impatient. If you want people to share your contest, offering an incentive for customer instant gratification is a must. People want to know what’s in it for them NOW. And not just any kind of incentive, it has to be one that inspires people to share and is of value to them.

Be the first to give something of value. Offer up a digital download to an ebook or a discount code for their next purchase. All of your contest participants should receive the incentive. Ensure the incentive is related to your industry or niche.

When setting up incentives, I’m always reminded of this helpful quote by Bryan Eisenberg:

“For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs”

Click here to tweet this advice twitter bird blue 32

Behind the Scenes

Co-Ed Supply recently ran a contest using the KickoffLabs marketing platform. Offering a highly desired prize package, they were able to get exceptional results. The prize itself has a strong appeal and speaks directly to their target audience.

Although they asked us to keep their signup numbers private (just too juicy!)… Using our exclusive Viral Boost feature, Co-Ed Supply garnered a whopping 138% viral boost. This means that each lead conversion brought in an additional average of 1.5 more signups. In plain english: people were sharing like crazy!

coedsupply viral boost

“Give them a reason to share. If you give them value for telling their friend about your brand, they will take on the role of brand advocate for you and tell your story in a more authentic way. “
Marissa-CoEdSupply- Marissa, Co-Ed Supply

Set a budget

How much money is going to be dedicated to the contest campaign?

How much are the contest prizes going to cost your business?

What about expenses for acquiring leads via PPC ads?

You’ll want to calculate all of this ahead of time so you know how much the contest is going to cost you and aren’t over-limit. Use this information later to determine your cost per lead.

We know that most businesses don’t have big bucks to spend on marketing. Heck, we’re a bootstrapped company ourselves. Keep reading for more practical, effective, often costless strategies that you can easily implement with your contests.

Create a reference point

To correctly measure the impact on your business, you’ll want to establish benchmarks for your email list, social accounts and other critical business metrics — such as conversion rate or weekly/monthly visitors. Write these down, or better yet create a spreadsheet and put in your pre-contest numbers there.

Pre-Contest BenchmarksDepending on your type of business, there are several other metrics that you can use to gauge success before running a contest.

Contest duration

Before publishing your contest, you’ll want to settle on how long the contest will be running. Determining the right time frame will help obtain the greatest results from your contests. End the contest too soon and miss out on extra signups. End the contest too far into the future and risk losing the interest of your audience.

As a general practice, we’ve found that anywhere between a minimum of 2 weeks to a maximum of 6 weeks tend to perform the best.

However the absolute, best performing contests are ones that achieve a perfect balance between contest duration and a sense of urgency. Urgency drives action in a world of distractions. Try experimenting with different contest durations to find what works best for your business.

Trademark AntiquesGoing, going, gone… a great example of urgency in contests.

PRO TIP: Consider running continuous monthly or weekly contests to regularly drive traffic and leads. Contests don’t have to be a one time campaign!

Protect your business

Most prizes have a relatively small value – a free ebook, a free product, etc – But if your prize has a high dollar value (and depending on the locale where the contest is run), it may be subject to limitations or taxes.

Avoid creating legal problems down the road and inform yourself with what you can and can’t giveaway.

Also to note, apart from monetary and location restrictions: every social network has their own set of rules for running campaigns. I suggest you familiarize yourself with their contest guidelines as well:

We’ve seen countless contests go off without a hitch. But if you plan on giving away an expensive prize package or other are unsure about country or state limitations, your best bet is to find the right legal advice from an attorney.


Step 2: Setting Up The Contest

Ok, so you’ve figured out the initial campaign strategy. It’s now time to create your contest and ready it for publishing.

While you could technically manage your contest campaign “by-hand”… Taking advantage of the right marketing tools to build, monitor and track the contest will make your make your life a lot easier. Contest marketing platforms, like KickoffLabs :) will help you drive conversions, manage leads and accurately measure success.

Craft awesome copy

Before any kind of design work, start off by writing the copy — the actual words you’ll use to entice and convince people to sign up for your contest. Keeping the copy short and conversational are the keys to higher engagement.

Write a short, understandable description of the contest prize and steps to enter. Don’t leave people guessing what your contest is about!

  • Use bullet points and bolded text to emphasize the benefits in signing up.
  • Pay extra attention to your headlines and calls-to-action.

Once you have your copy written, read it out loud to yourself to see if your words flow naturally. Double-check grammar and use spell-check.

Want some more actionable tips on how to create awesome copy that convinces and more importantly sells? Be sure to sign up for our Landing Pages 107 email course, packed with tips and worksheets to spruce up your copywriting skills.

Create a dedicated landing page for capturing leads

Once the copy is complete, it’s time to design and set up a up a basic, yet intriguing landing page. A lot of your potential contest entries may come from outside of social networks, so ideally this would be where you send people. Driving traffic to a dedicated landing page will give you the power to maximize the effectiveness of the contest.

For the landing page, it’s important that you include these 6 fundamental elements:

  1. Attention-grabbing headline. The title text should immediately capture your visitors interest and briefly describe the unique selling proposition of the contest.
  2. A graphic of your prize. Show people an attractive, high-quality image of the prize and further entice people to enter.
  3. Entry & prize info. Provide some quick details about the prizes and contest mechanics. The primary purpose of this information should be to get people excited!
  4. Contest entry form. It goes without saying that participants need a place to enter. Keep form fields to a minimum by only asking for the essential.
  5. Clear call-to-action. Make it extremely obvious where people should click by using a strong contrasting color to make your button more prominent.
  6. Social proof & social share. Increase chances of your contest going viral by including Facebook Like, Twitter Follow, & Google +1 buttons, and ask people to share promptly after signup.

Take into account that there may be many variations of this design that also work well and your contest page doesn’t need be structured exactly like this. These are simply best practices in terms of the 6 elements that should be on your contest landing pages, but aren’t the only way to build a high converting page!

Start creating your contest now with KickoffLabs :)

If you’re using KickoffLabs (high-fives!) for your contest: to create any new campaign, simply log in to your dashboard and start by clicking “Add Landing Page”.

Start Your KickoffLabs CampaignWhether you plan on directing visitors to a dedicated contest landing page or using our embed and widget options capture leads directly from your site, all campaign data will be accessible from your landing page dashboard.

PRO TIP: Don’t rely on only one marketing channel to generate awareness. Build a landing page and do outreach on multiple online destinations for increased visibility and conversion rates. From the contest landing page get people to sign up, share and follow your social accounts for future marketing efforts.

- OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED -

a) Install the contest as a Facebook Page App (aka custom tab)

Facebook drives a ton of traffic, and it just may be that people haven’t heard about your contest but happen to stumble upon your Facebook Page. Make sure your contest stands out with a Facebook App.

Edit KickoffLabs Facebook Page SettingsTake the time to edit settings to include a Custom Tab Image & Name to draw visual attention to the tab.

Edit KickoffLabs Facebook Page Settings 2

b) Run the contest as an IFrame “inside” of your current site

Contests and giveaways usually attract a lot of incoming links and social shares. Hosting the contest from within your site will help visitors find out about your current promotion. Plus you get the added SEO benefits from having a higher engaged audience directly on your website.

Receive a free designer chair at Mako Haus

c) Add a Widget to your site

Make sure people know about your contest no matter where they are visiting on your website. Widgets are a great way to call attention to your promotions without taking up too much screen real estate and without having to update the site design.

KickoffLabs generates an embed code that you can easily drop into your site so you can add a signup bar…

KickoffLabs Signup Bar

or an embed widget :)

KickoffLabs Embed Widget

KickoffLabs Widgets

Design your images

Beautiful images are key to capturing people’s attention. Cause a visual stir by including one or two custom images that showcase your prizes or contest.

KickoffLabs ContestMake sure the designs are clean, pleasing to the eye and not too distracting from the prime objective = collecting the contest entry!

If you don’t happen to have a designer in-house, try hiring a freelancer on oDesk or Fiverr.

Make sure your contest works on mobile

We’ve mentioned in the past how half of all emails are being read on mobile devices. Which means you might miss out on half of your conversions if your contest isn’t optimized for viewing on mobile devices. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of your contests being fully responsive and translating into a great user experience.

PRO TIP: Facebook gets a little weird when working with apps on mobile. Our suggestion is to direct mobile visitors to your dedicated landing page. Good news is that, unlike a lot of other platforms out there, ALL of our themes are fully responsive and are viewable on every kind of device.

Set up a contest autoresponder

It’s your second chance to make a good impression. An effective autoresponse email will help keep your business top of mind. This is where you’ll include the contest incentive that will automatically be sent to new contest entries. For more in-depth tips on exactly what to include in your messages, be sure to check out our guide on writing powerful autoresponders.


Step 3: Promoting The Contest

This is undeniably an important part in making sure your contest performs well. Contest success depends largely on your marketing efforts. Don’t assume that you will receive traffic just because the prize is highly desired, or the page is designed beautifully… You have to be proactive in generating excitement, before and during the contest. Promote the contest through email, blogs, social media, forums, internal links & ads.

Start off by announcing your upcoming contest a few weeks in advance to build anticipation. Inform your current audience and begin to create a buzz.

The day your contest starts, send out a reminder with the contest links for people to enter.

During the contest, post frequent updates. Use this as an opportunity to build relationships and encourage sharing.

For all your contest promotion messages, be sure to include:

  • contest start and end date
  • contest entry details
  • an image of the prize
  • the incentive details
  • a noticeable call-to-action

Add a link from your website home page

Make sure everyone who visits your site has the opportunity to enter the contest by adding links or widgets to your home page.

Send an email newsletter and announce the contest to your current list

Email is still one of the most effective ways of reaching your audience. Create an email newsletter and reach out to your current subscribers.

KickoffLabs Send A NewsletterThis gives you the opportunity to promote your contest to existing fans and allows your customers to engage with your brand.

Spread the word on social networks

It goes without saying that you should be promoting your contest on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.

Post, tweet and share to as many social networks as you can. Create links to your contest that are relevant to each site – good descriptions and images on Facebook, hashtags on Twitter, images on Pinterest – and help get the word out. It’s an excellent way to turn fans and followers into real leads.

Behind the Scenes

Our customer, PetFlow.com leveraged both their internal email list and their Facebook fans during a 20-day contest to achieve a massive amount of entries.
KickoffLabs Pet Flow Conversions

“We promoted our campaign to our FB page and our internal email list and saw great results. With Kickofflabs it’s super easy to make everything look pretty and very professional. “
Rob-PetFlow- Rob, PetFlow.com

Write a blog post

Write up a nicely detailed blog post about your contest and share the post with your online communities. Add the pertinent links to drive traffic from your blog post to your contest page.

Promote the contest on forums and communities

If you are a member of an online community, and it’s relevant, announce your contest there. Do this in a non-spammy way! It’s not going to look very attractive if you are only promoting your business.

If you just publish without engaging the community, don’t expect them to engage you back. Like all things to do with marketing, you have to earn people’s trust by first providing value.

Reach out to influential bloggers in your niche

Do your homework and only reach out to blogs that revolve around your niche. Don’t push your offer but rather hint at the benefits for their readers.

For a positive response, it helps to have previously engaged with the blogger; whether by commenting or connecting through social. Once again, if you’re only there to promote yourself, don’t expect to see any measurable results.

Use PPC to drive more entries, via Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads & Google AdWords

You don’t need ad spend to run a successful contest… But if you do have the budget to run ads, creating targeted ads specifically for your audience demographics can help give your contest an immediate boost.

Using paid advertising for your contest can be done two ways:

a) If you have NO audience whatsoever and are starting off with a contest to build one.

b) To test effectiveness of contest ideas before releasing the contest to your mass audience.

When creating your ads, be sure to include:

  • A great headline
  • Contest info (i.e. a contest, giveaway, promotion, etc…)
  • Image of your prize or contest
  • Clear CTA’s on how to enter NOW
  • A link back to your contest site

Using Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, or Google AdWords you’ll also be able to set a budget, so that you can acquire potential contest entries without spending too much money.

Behind the Scenes

MakoHaus is another one of our customers that has recently seen strong gains in audience and participation by running contests.

They use an ongoing contest strategy, where they are constantly offering a prize to people who refer friends. To the date, they have collected over 2,700 quality leads and counting!

MakoHaus Leads

“I actually had more entries than I thought… When creating a campaign, the target market has to emotionally relate to the perceived value.

Before sharing the campaign to your mailing list, experiment on facebook ads with strangers to collect data and see if they understand the value. Start small. Once you have good results, then go big and let everyone know about your campaign.

Build. Measure. Adjust!”
Viet-MakoHaus- Viet, MakoHaus

Submit the contest to promotional sites

You could try out submitting your contest to the many aggregate directories. The bad part with this approach is that most people on these sites are only interested in free stuff. Chances of finding quality leads on these sites are quite slim.

But if you insist, here’s a small list of contest directories. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


Step 4: During the Contest

Keep on promoting the contest

On average, only 16 percent of posted content reaches fans and followers. To ensure the campaign reaches as many people as possible, continue sharing the contest across your internal and social channels.

Track resulting conversions and sales

Monitoring your contest is crucial to obtaining accurate results. You’ll be able to measure if you hit your initial campaign goals. KickoffLabs gives you access to the most important metrics for analyzing campaign performance. Track leads in real-time and even be instantly notified for each contest entry signup.

For deeper analytics, you can also connect your Google Analytics account to and get more data and insights about your new customers. Find out how to connect Google Analytics to your KickoffLabs pages here.

Thank influencers for sharing

If someone is helping out your contest by sharing and sending referrals, wouldn’t you want to know who they are? Of course you would! These are the best kinds of customers — the people that generate word-of-mouth marketing on your behalf.

Influencer email

Send influencers a personalized thank you email offering your praise for driving additional contest entries.


Step 5: After the Contest

The contest has come to an end and it’s time to notify your audience of the winner(s). Along with your announcement, try keeping your audience engaged with ongoing promotions that are relevant to your business.

Choose the winner(s)

Notify the winner(s) immediately and ask them for permission to use their picture in the announcement and for possible future marketing material.

Announce the winner(s)

Update the current contest page or create a completely new landing page to showcase the contest winner(s). Make an event of the winners announcement.

Send out the prize

If it’s a digital prize, send an email with the prize download link along with a personalized thank you. If it’s a physical prize, send it out in a beautifully packaged box. Use pen and paper to write a personalized thank you or something that will make the winner feel special. Encourage the winner to share their experience online by creating a review of your product.

Add emails to your subscriber list

Export the emails of your newly gained audience to 3rd party services for additional marketing. Continue the sales process by pushing signups to your Mailchimp, Aweber or other email marketing service and send people through additional autoresponse funnels. With KickoffLabs you can automate the process of following up with different customer types on autopilot.

KickoffLabs_Mailchimp_Aweber_Integration

Leave up the landing page

Leave the contest landing page up indefinitely and generate post contest leads by including calls-to-action that are relevant to your business. We still get a flood of visitors to our past contest pages. Leverage all the traffic your site receives by continually collecting signups through landing pages.

The “I’m Launching In 2014” Contest!

Announce the next contest

Encourage your newly gained audience to stay up-to-date by announcing plans for your next upcoming contest. Will you be running a contest every month? Every other month? Let your audience know and keep them engaged!


Celebrate!

Congratulations, you’ve just planned, created and completed your contest… Hopefully you took each of these steps and made it your own! By that, I mean transforming them to work for your business.

If you want to achieve the full potential of your contests & promotions, remember to use this checklist in combination with the advice from our previous articles:

Part 1: How To Create Contests That Boost Revenues – 7 KickoffLabs Customer Case Studies

&

Part 2: The Ultimate Guide To Using Autoresponders For Contests & Sales

KickoffLabs Roadmap for Contest Success

What makes KickoffLabs the perfect marketing tool for managing your contests and entries?

Find out more about the benefits of running your contest on KickoffLabs here.

  • Launch a beautiful contest page in minutes with our pre-built optimized themes.
  • Analytics and metrics to see how your contest is performing in real-time.
  • Publish to Facebook, WordPress & anywhere else on the web with a single click.
  • Identify and reward influencers that drive the most entries…

These are only a fraction of the powerful features included with your KickoffLabs account.

Ready to start growing your audience?

Signup for your free trial and start building smarter campaigns today!

In Summary

If you create a contest and expect to see great results without putting in the work, you’re destined for failure.

By following the outlined steps above, you’ll greatly increase your chances of a achieving a highly successful, high-converting contest.

And although we’ve researched the best performing elements, you may not need to implement every last detail. Repeating what was mentioned earlier: experiment with what works best for your business and contests can quickly become another indispensable part of your marketing arsenal.

Best of luck with your contests!

If you have any suggestions or would like specific tips for your campaigns? Send us a comment via social or email us and tell us what you’d like to learn about.

P.S. We absolutely love seeing our customers succeed (it’s why we’re in business). If you have a great success you’d like to share with us, drop us a line at support@kickofflabs.com