Josh Ledgard

5 Important New Online Marketing Trends

Any Webmaster worth their salt will tell attest to the speed that marketing trends can change in the digital world. If you’re not keeping abreast of the most recent changes then there’s a high chance you’re going to get left behind.

With the bleak possibility of being abandoned in a world of outdated internet processes, what can you do to keep on top of your internet marketing?

1 – Get on the Mobile Bandwagon

Spend any time in a public place and you’ll notice that every man and his dog are unable to go 5 minutes without checking a mobile device. Phones and tablets are rapidly taking pole position as the public’s favored media outlet and whilst the death of the desktop hasn’t hit yet, but you’d be a fool to ignore the importance of mobile devices.

For the campaigns that we run here at KickoffLabs, a whopping 45% of the traffic is mobile. If you’re campaigns are not mobile ready, you’re going to miss out.

2 – Video Marketing

With mobile device use on the rise and attention spans becoming shorter what can you do to really engage your audience? Video content. It draws attention and appeals to the ever shortening attention span, not to mention how easy it is compared to reading text when on a mobile device.

If you’re still not convinced, maybe this study from Cisco predicting that by 2018 video traffic will constitute 79% of all consumer Internet traffic will change your mind. Producing quality video content ain’t easy, get a head start by checking out our piece on producing a product promo video for under $200!

If you’ve got a useful webinar planned, why not record it and make it available for all future traffic.

3 – Email Marketing with Segmentation

Email marketing may seem like a slightly outdated model, it definitely doesn’t sound as modern or sexy as social media or SEO. It may not sound sexy or be a part of the latest trend but it provides higher conversion rates than any other method, which in our book makes it the sexiest option out there.

Grabbing subscribers and maintaining lists is key to success here. Generally speaking, anyone who’s subscribed will already have some sort of an interest in your product or business, an interest that can be turned into a sale.

You may think that social media is soon to take over and become the most effective option for making sales. We disagree. Getting likes is great for your brands image and visibility, but try to convert those clicks into actual sales and you’ll probably end up disappointed.

An email address is worth countless likes. It allows you to tailor your sales pitch to those on the list, something that will pay dividends when it comes to your future conversions.

The trick to high conversion rates? Personalization.

If you’ve got a subscriber list of 10,000 a generic campaign to all subscribers is going to yield poor results. Separate the list into more manageable groups, a fashion company may split their list into male and female and perhaps further divide the list by age allowing for specific deals to those it would appeal to.

To save yourself the effort of separating an already established list, create various forms for different landing pages, each one tailored to a different demographic and linked to from a different ad campaign. This should help create targetable lists for high conversion rates.

4 – Content Marketing

The idea of content marketing is nothing new. Offering free advice and tips to your potential client base may seem counter productive, after all, if you’re good at something you should never do it for free.

Truth is, good content marketing not only establishes you as a trustworthy and reliable source but can help with your SEO driving you towards that ever desirable first page of the SERPs.

As you’re working your way through the SERPs with regular updates you’ll also be increasing your brand visibility, establishing a connection with your audience and instilling confidence.

Done well, there’s really no down side to content marketing.

5 – A/B Testing

Whether you’re implementing a new campaign or trying that new chili recipe, the chances you’ll make no mistakes on your first attempt are next to zero.

Trial and error is a huge part of finding the best procedure for pretty much everything in life. Thankfully, A/B testing can drastically cut down on the time needed by allowing you to implement numerous strategies simultaneously and tracking which is most successful.

Sometimes something as simple as changing the color of text can increase your conversion rates, however, without A/B testing this could go undiscovered for months leaving you seriously out of pocket.

For both small and large changes, A/B testing is still the most reliable and easily measured method for bringing about big change to your campaign. Armed with the knowledge of these trends you should be well aware of how to make your campaign far more effective.

Which marketing bandwagon will you be jumping on this year or do you have an insider tip for a great trend not listed above?

 

Thanks for reading and for sharing!

-Josh Ledgard,

Co-founder of KickoffLabs

Launch like a PRO: 8 Hacks for Building Your Audience

Be sure to check out the video for plenty more hidden marketing gems!


Let’s start things off with a quote (because who doesn’t love a good quote?)…

“…it’s more important to serve a customer than it is to build a product. Remember: you’re here to solve a problem…”

-Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot CTO and Founder

One of the core beliefs we have at KickoffLabs is that supporting customers, even if our product can’t do something and finding a way for them to do it and solve their problem is always going to lead to more success down the road.

  1. If you keep having to do this, you’re going to eventually build it into your product.
  2. It creates a way to get engaged with customers.

We personally emailed our first 1,000 customers offering personalized suggestions for their landing pages and continue to do so. This is something that gives us a huge advantage.

It’s important to remember as you go through the launch to get more personally engaged with people, than not to.

#1 – Hack validation

1_Hack_validation

A lot of people use our product to validate an idea. But let’s dive into a little more specifically about what it means…There are several different parts of validation:

Copy

Quick story: a customer of ours (who shall go nameless), got about 5,000 page views but only around 30 signups. If you’re wondering, that’s a ridiculously low conversion rate. When I looked at their page, it was easy to understand why…

The page only said something along the lines of “Coming Soon. Improve your business.” with an email capture form below it.

There was no validation happening there… of course everybody would like to improve their business! The only thing they validated was that a vague launch page is not enough these days to get people to sign up for your idea.

One of the most important things you want to do, and some people have even found it helpful to do before you put up the launch page, is to take your pitch and refine it down to a short email, find 10 people that are potential customers and email them that pitch saying “hey, does this make sense to you?” “Do you understand what we’re going after?”

Price

It’s one thing to have a great idea. But if you’re going to be charging money for it you don’t necessarily have to put the price up front, at least put some indications that it is going to be a paid service. Either by offering a discount for people that sign up, or by putting up some arbitrary price as a way to indicate the paid options.

One of the worst things that you can do is capture 5,000 emails from people who all thought it was going to be free… you’ll realize that no one wants to pay money because they all signed up for something they thought was going to be free. It’s a huge mistake we see people make all the time!

Incentive

Validate that you’ve got a proper incentive for people to sign up today, right now for something. And if you think about it, there’s a lot you can do to get those people to sign up.

You could take a couple blog posts and put them into a PDF and say “hey, download my 5 free tips. Just give me your email address and I’ll give you this. My product is not ready, but I’ll give you 5 tips anyways on how to make your life easier”.

Landing Page

The key is that your launch page doesn’t have to be about your product, it can be about solving the customers problem in another way.

Some of the best converting launch pages are ones that do this; where they take an idea and say “here’s how I’m going to solve your problem in advance. And when we launch, we’ll have an even better way to do it!”…

Landscapely

This landing page is from one of our recent customers, Landscapely.

  • The pitch is simple. So it talks about the problem and the benefit the customers get.
  • It talks about price. Landscaping from $35.
  • An incentive. Early access to the app and 25% off your first service.
  • Form is minimal. etc…

They have a great landing page, but the point is that by using this page, by viewing their conversion rate they are now able to validate:

  • Is this the right copy?
  • Do people sign up for the price?
  • Are people incentived by 25% off?

And they got all that within the package of a really simple launch page that converts well for them!

The big vision of this hack: Don’t skip talking to customers first!

#2 – Hack the incentive

2_Hack_the_incentive

Talking about incentives, we’re going to dive a little deeper into what I mean by having a proper incentive, because it’s so important!

Relevant

The incentive should be related to your business, but more importantly; should solve a problem.

Offers free value

If you want to capture the email address, you need to provide something of free value. Yes, that means giving something away.

Immediate

The “25% off when we launch” from our previous example doesn’t fit that immediate bill. Something more immediate could have been “5 Ways To Reduce Your Lawn Care Costs” as a downloadable PDF would be something more immediate, in addition to the percentage off.

Simple

Here’s another example of a recent customer: NiceRide, they are sort of a competitor to the classic AAA motor club. And they are basically saying that if you join their launch list, you get a free year of roadside assistance and member benefits when they launch.

It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s something that people will be incentived to get. They also change the CTA button text to say “Get It Free” to give more emphasis to the benefit.

The best incentive would be to combine these 4 hacks into a super incentive.

#3 – Hack the big boys

3_Hack_the_big_boys

Find them

When I say “hack the big boys”, what I’m talking about here is finding where your customers live. Chances are you have almost no audience today. And even if you’ve got 10,000 email addresses, assuming you’re addressing a sizeable market; 10,000 emails still equates to “you have no audience” in the grand scheme of things.

There are other people who have a larger audience built that service your customers today. Their either related or their directly competing with you. Your goal is to find out where your customers hang out. You can do that with Google search, look for forums, etc.

Cultivate relationships

When you find these places where discussions are happening, start engaging with them and cultivating relationships.

Be a guide

Start answering their questions, start becoming known as an expert in that community.

I did it for KickoffLabs

If you’re wondering what the results can be from something like that, we’ve tried this with several communities, but I’ll just take one: There’s a lot of marketers and entrepreneurs on Quora (which is a Q&A based community).

Both before and after our launch, even through today, we go and participate in these communities. And when I say “participate”, I want to be clear that over a long time span, I’ve posted just over 90 answers to questions. So it’s not a ton of work, and from those 90 answers we’ve netted almost $100K in revenue so far :)

This is just one community, one location, 90 posts. If someone just told you that if you were to post 90 things in a forum, and you could make a hundred thousand dollars… I think you’d say yes!

quora_revenue

The work is not that hard it’s actually kind of fun to go in and see what problems your customers have that are; either related directly (those are the best questions), or even indirectly to the product or service that you’re offering to those customers. It’s not only yielded us direct revenue, it’s yielded us relationships in the space, contacts with other companies, etc.

Like I said, we did this up to launch to build a reputation. So pre-launch we we’re focused more on learning about the entrepreneur and internet marketing customer that was in our space. Post-launch, we started shifting the participation to answering questions that were beneficial to both the customers and us.

Totally worth it… And don’t think that there’s not a place for you to participate and benefit potential customers. For every space you’re in, there’s a gathering of people somewhere online that you can leverage before and after launch.

#4 – Hack someone else’s tribe

4_Hack_somone_elses_tribe

Unless you are doing something that is completely unique and does not exist today… there is a competitor in the space. Not only that, there are probably people that range the spectrum from competitors to frenemies (people that do very similar, related things but don’t directly compete with you) that already exist.

If a competitor does not exist, I would personally question whether you’ve done enough research or whether or not there’s money in the space. As soon as someone proves there is money, there is a competitor.

Spec out the competition

So first you have to go out and find the competition. Use tools like Moz or UberSuggest and use keywords to locate competitors.

Engage their customers

We literally would look for tweets with people that were frustrated with a competitor and personally ask them what other frustrations they had. There wasn’t some spambot on Twitter replying to everything, I had a scheduled item on my tasks lists to look through the queries, where there would be 50-100 complaints a day, and pick out a handful of them and respond to their questions.

When you start identifying the problems and frustrations people have from your competitors, you can start to figure out where you can differentiate yourself and how you can speak better to them through your landing page copy.

Look through their support forums

This is an easy win. What questions do people have that go unanswered? What things can you help out with? I’ve even answered questions about our competitors product, just because I know the answer. The kudos you get from doing that paid dividends in the end.

Predict opportunities and trends

When you’re engaging with potential customers through communities, forums, and social you can see what the opportunities for you to stand out are.

#5 – Hack virality

5_Hack_virality

Be realistic

Something that a lot of people forget, is making sure that your launch has a viral component. When a lot of people think about virality, there tend to be 2 different answers you get from people:

  1. Really not understanding what it means.
  2. People who think the only way something viral is a success is if you get 10 million hits on YouTube and getting that “hockey stick growth”.

Hockey stick growth is not unheard of, it’s just something that you shouldn’t necessarily think of as the only form of success in virality.

If, for example, every 1 person that you sign up brings on .3 additional people – you are still getting a nice boost from having virality built into your launch and app.

It’s not all or nothing… Set a realistic goal to get people to share what you’re doing.

Personalize it

Making it associated with your brand, with your rewards.

Just ask

Don’t forget to ask people to share. On the landing page, thank you screen, and on the email.

Focus on 3

I tend to tell people to focus on the three core communities, so Facebook, Twitter and Email. If you’re a B2B app, then perhaps you also want to focus on LinkedIn as well.

Here’s a great example from a customer of ours named Curate…

Engage your sign ups

When you get to their thank you screen, they immediately offer an incentive. Invite 3 people and get into the beta sooner. They make it ridiculously easy by providing the share links and a counter that show how many people have joined.

If your page just sends somebody to the standard Mailchimp “Thank You” screen after joining your list, I would consider that a gigantic lost opportunity.

Why? Over 35% of leads we’ve generated (thats 4 million+ leads!) have come from people clicking on one of our referral links and sharing it out.

That means that our customers on average are getting an additional 35% lift that they would NOT have gotten, had they just sent somebody to a “Thank you for signing up. We’ll be in touch soon.” style page. That boost can make a huge difference in the bottom line long-term, both through your launch and through revenue growth.

This is something we use to differentiate ourselves (yep, it’s a KickoffLabs exclusive feature), something that we make easy, and is something that we believe in as a key to success.

#6 – Hack scarcity and urgency

6_Hack_scarcity_and_urgency

Create an illusion

Whether real or not, it does produce real results. Just today, our other KickoffLabs co-founder, Scott, sent me an email about the new Mailbox app offering up 1 of his 3 invites.

They could probably let everyone in today, they’re owned by DropBox so there’s no limitation. They are creating the illusion of scarcity where each person can only invite 3 people into their beta and I’m sure that it’s helping them.

Put up a wall

They are also putting up an artificial wall that makes people that “get in” feel part of an exclusive club. That’s a powerful psychological trick!

The way it works is dealing with people’s feelings of loss to something they might not have even had.

Gamify your launch

“Hey! Here’s something great! BUT you might not get it!”

That impact on conversion rate can be incredible because it’s a powerful motivational force for anyone. It’s a trick that people use all the time to make people want things more, and it can be really simple.

Join now or lose out

Here’s an example from our customer, HostelRocket who are using a simple countdown to create a sense of urgency.

hostel_rocket_urgency_with_countdown

Ideally, if you’re going to make this a core component of your campaign, as you get within each week you would be sending email updates to people reminding that t. Each closer step you get, assuming you’re growing your list along the way, you’ll see people taking that next step to whatever it is you want them to do.

#7 – Hack social insights

7_Hack_social_insights

Learn more

The more you know about your customers, the more you can refine your copy, offer and pitch.

Get more personal

The more you personalize your emails, the more you can segment your emails.

Ask for less

If you understand your customers, you’re asking for less data over time.

Our report

This is a KickoffLabs report of our webinar audience. We didn’t have to ask our audience about any of their demographic information, but we’ve got it broken down into actionable data. These are great generalizations to use for segmenting your audience!

social_insights_hack

We capture a lot of this data whenever somebody signs up to your landing page, and this can be incredibly powerful. If you know that a majority of your audience is within a certain demographic, there are things you can do to appeal to them by changing your message. The name of the game is keeping your list more personal and engaging.

#8 – Hack pre / post launch

8_Hack_pre_post_launch

I’ve mentioned this several times before, so it must be important…

Keep in the loop

It’s about keeping your signups engaged by letting them know what you’re company is up to.

Get feedback

Don’t forget to ask questions as you send email updates.

Slow launch

You want to let them in. There’s the concept of the “slow launch” of just letting something like 10 people in at a time, so you can get more feedback as you go.

Deliver the goods

Ultimately, you want to ship something amazing…

Here’s an awesome example of a great email that keeps people in the loop:

pre_post_launch_hack


 

Note: The second half of the presentation was meant to be led by our in-house growth hacker, Izzy Palmerin. But due to some technical difficulties with Google Hangouts, things didn’t work out as planned. Still there’s nothing to prevent you from learning from these additional growth tactics.

Bonus hacks

9_Bonus_Hacks

*easy hack: Change your CTA text

Make your call-to-action text directly related to the incentive. That seems to work best.

Things that don’t work well are when it says “Join”, or “Sign Up”, or the worst case “Submit” – because it’s not related to what you’re doing. You can have some fun with the call-to-action text!

Optimize your ads

If you’re running ads, through retargeting, Facebook ads, Google, etc… Those are some of the best places to try out copy before putting it up on the landing page.

If all of a sudden you try out a different headline in your ad that gets you twice the clickthrough rate, you should match that headline on the landing page to leverage what worked for that variation of the ad – and vice versa, make a change to your landing page that works well, try those changes to your ad.

Submit your launch

There’s a lot of place where you can submit pre-launch companies. Especially if you’re targeting early adopters and startups, there’s places like BetaList, StartupList, Show Hacker News, there’s a ton of communities!

But the best community to announce your pre-launch is the original niche community you’ve found (using our 3rd Hack). Just simply doing a post that says “I’m doing something you might find interesting, I’d love to get your feedback”. That approach is not spammy and won’t get you kicked out of message boards. Above all, it gets you a chance to engage with people and get real feedback as you’re going.

For a nicely compiled list of places to submit your launch, check out this post on Hacker News.

Launch soon

Although I’d love for you to use our service and take forever to launch. The truth is the sooner you get through launch, the sooner you can start using our other tools to continually build your email list.

Launch a little bit before you’re ready, because you need that feedback.

Hack fails

hack_fails

Our general take on some of these past “successful” launches: they had generic launch pages that didn’t explain what they were doing and they got a ton of signups. But guess what? None of these companies are still in business!

What did they do wrong?

The reality is you want people to sign up that are going to understand what they’re getting into that are eventually going to take the next step of purchasing something, engaging with your app, working with your product, etc.

What happened in all of these cases is that people didn’t know what they were signing up for. They didn’t have that context. You could signup hundreds of thousands of people, but if you’re not engaging with them and providing with them that context, they are not ultimately going to buy or use your offering.

Second to not getting ANY attention to your page, the biggest failure is getting the wrong attention.

Hack wins

hack_wins

Dropbox

Look at DropBox’s classic win of setting up a great explainer video and inviting friends.

SpringSled

Went from 0 to 138,790 users in less than 40 days, check out the case study here.

Robinhood

300,000 signups for a product that isn’t even released yet, check out the case study here..

What you’ll notice about all of these examples, is that they clearly define their audience, they only ask for something really simple (an email address), and they really do push and encourage the sharing.

Other than DropBox, they’re not necessarily getting a greater than 1 viral factor, but they are getting enough people to share where it makes a huge difference in their contributions.


 

“The best launch is if you have a product that other people like using so much that they tell other people about it.”

-Robert Scoble, tech evangelist

It’s a great quote and I’m a fan of Robert’s, but I would modify this quote to: “The best launch is if you have an EXPERIENCE that other people like so much they tell other people about it.”

It’s not just about the copy on your landing page, not just about capturing the email address, not just about the product – it’s the complete experience.

Did people feel like there was a connection? Do people feel like they can trust you?

That’s what you need to think through. And part of thinking through that, is if there are parts that you can make easier on yourself, like using a landing page builder to make the landing page so you can spend your time on both the product and the experience that goes around the launch landing page.

 

Thanks for reading and for sharing!

-Josh Ledgard,

Co-Founder of KickofflLabs

 

P.S. If you like what you’ve learned here, don’t miss what we have in store for you during our next Live Marketing Chats webinar.

We’d love for you to join us! Reserve your spot here and bring us your most toughest marketing questions.

It’s 2014 – Are you listening to the best marketing and business podcasts?

I grew up with a parent who was a talk radio addict in the car. We rarely listened to music. Instead my ears were fed a diet of NPR, Larry King, and news, and sports talk. Podcasts are the talk radio of our generation. Sure, there are music based podcasts, but that’s not where the medium really shines in my opinion.

Whether you’re in the car, working out, cleaning house, or relaxing at home – podcasts give you easy access to all of the news, information, and education you’re looking for, and you don’t even have to stop what you’re doing.

The challenge, with podcasts, is that the selection is huge. Practically anyone can start a podcast today so it’s hard to know which ones are worth your time.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of some of our favorites! This list has a set of podcasts that have consistently demonstrated value over the last year for our own business.

Startup Focussed Podcasts

These podcasts are for anyone looking to start or grow their businesses.

Startups for the Rest of Us – Rob Walling and Mike Taber have both launched several successful ventures and host an amazing conference for bootstrapped entrepreneurs twice a year. The show is tight, to the point, and packed with nuggets for anyone starting or growing their new business.

sftrou-logo1

Bootstrapped with Kids – Scott and Brecht rock. I met them both at Microconf and can attest to how down to earth, genuinely good people they are. Every week now I listen in to find out if Brecht’s family has survived the most recent part of his bootstrapped journey across the country in a giant airstream trailer.

Bootstrapped.fm – Had a chance to meet Ian of Ian Landsman and Andrey Burtov at Microconf this year and it’s clear they’ve got the experience and knowledge to back up the advice they share with their journey. Give them a listen.

This Week in Startups – A weekly podcast hosted by Jason Calacanis. Whether you’re looking for insider tips and tricks, or just want to know what’s going on in Silicon Valley, Calacanis offers his listeners an insider’s look into the tech industry.

Mixergy – There are some really good interviews here, but some even more awesome classes taught by really neat founders.

Entrepreneur on Fire – John Lee Dumas provides his listeners with a new podcast episode 7 days a week. Each episode features a new entrepreneur who shares their successes, failures, best kept secrets, and more! This one is a favorite or mine. :)

Seth Godin’s Startup School – In this podcast mini-series, Seth Godin guides 30 entrepreneurs through a workshop to turn their startup dreams into successful realities. Although it’s no longer in production, it’s definitely worth a listen to be part of that class. Listen to the whole series.

Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner – Entrepreneurship Corner only produces podcasts during school months, but with over 3,000 to choose from, I think there is plenty to keep anyone busy during the summer breaks. Pick and choose from the best ones in the catalog here.

TropicalMBA – Dan and Ian’s show brings you the inside story of bootstrappers travelling the world while working to make their businesses profitable and successful. You have to learn how people selling cat furniture made more money than you right?

The Rocketship Podcast – They have now passed 50 20 minute interviews with successful entrepreneurs.  Every one I’ve heard contains several useful gems.

 

Marketing Focused Podcasts

The BeanCast – The BeanCast is the self-proclaimed “best marketing podcast anywhere” – well, it made this list, so it’s got to be doing something right. Listen in as Bob Knorpp brings you a weekly episode full of the best of the best in marketing, advertising, and public relations.

beancast

Marketing Smarts – A 30 minute, weekly podcast that interviews marketer’s from all walks of life. Listen in as the folks at Marketing Profs teach you how to market smarter.

Marketing over Coffee – Chris Penn and John Wall give their listeners bite-sized shows that are designed to be listened to while you drink your morning cup of coffee. Don’t let the show length fool you, you’ll hear everything from what’s new in technology to information interviews with industry.

HBR Ideacast– A weekly podcast by Harvard Business Review that features the leading thinkers in business and management.

Internet Business Mastery – A weekly podcast that focuses on becoming successful in Internet marketing and online business. Internet Business Mastery touches on everything you may ever need to know about running your own online business – step by step, from the beginning.

The Lede by CopyBlogger – Copyblogger’s Director of Content, Jerod Morris, hosts a short weekly podcast in which he interviews Copyblogger staff and a variety of special guests to bring you everything you want to know about copywriting, content marketing, Email marketing, and more!

Six Pixels of Separation – Mitch Joel from Twist Image blog discusses the complex world of social media and digital marketing, bringing you marketing and communications insights “from the edge”.

Internet Marketing – One of the UK’s most popular Internet marketing podcasts, Internet Marketing focuses mostly on digital and SEO marketing. Andy White interviews the likes of Avinash Kaushik and Seth Godin (to name a few).

SEO101 – If you are even slightly interested in learning about SEO, this is a must-hear podcast. Ross Dunn and John Carcutt break down the enigma that is SEO and teach you the ins and outs, from square one.

Smart Passive Income – Host by Pat Flynn teaches you how he has built his business to be able to support his family with passive income alone, so that you can do the same.

 

When You Need an Inspirational Break…

Sometimes you just need a good story or laugh in between all the quick hitting tips and tricks. Balance your listening out with the following:

Freakonomics Radio- Brought to you by the men who brought us Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Freakonomics Radio continues where the books left off by bringing you the things you never thought you wanted to know, and revealing that you may not know as much as you think!

FreakRadio-sbanner

This American Life – This weekly podcast is one of the most popular podcasts in the country. The podcast mainly features true stories about everyday people and the lives they live. Some notable subjects are babysitting, life aboard the USS Stennis, stories about summer camp, children switched at birth – the list is really endless and you’re bound to find a new appreciation for the people around you just by listening.

Ted Radio Hour – This podcast is based on the show TEDTalks. Guy Raz takes his listeners on a journey to discover Ideas Worth Spreading. You’ll learn about interesting new inventions, new solutions to old problems, and maybe even get a fresh perspective on how to create your own new ideas.

RadioLab from WNYC – RadioLab weaves compelling stories with music to create something truly captivating. Host Jad Abumrad will take you on a journey through science, philosophy and human experience meant to enlighten and broaden your mind.

 

What do you think?

Did we miss any?  I should also include a shameless plug for our regular marketing chats. You can join them live at http://grow.kickofflabs.com/live Not technically a podcast… but can watch the archive and participate in new shows. :)

July 2014 Landing Page Analytics & Our Favorite Pages

We spend a lot of time analyzing landing pages at KickoffLabs. We know that the more successful our customer become the more likely they are to tell their friends about us… so this stuff matters. It’s also information we thought you might find valuable.

July Conversion Rate

19%

This is the conversion rate across all the landing pages on our platform. This means that for every 100 unique visitors to a landing page 19 of them gave their email address to the page owner in exchange for something.

July Viral Boost

27%

That means 27% of the leads captured by KickoffLabs came from our refer a friend viral tools. If you aren’t encouraging leads to share your landing page it’s clear that you are missing out. BTW – we make this really easy.

July Age Groups

july_age

Almost one third of the people that signed up on a landing page in July were between the ages of 25 and 35. 36 to 45 was the second highest grouping.

July Gender

july_gender

July belonged to campaigns targeted at women as over 70% of the leads generated were female.

 

July’s Favorite Pages

These are some of our favorite pages for the month of July.

Favorite Contest Page

july_scoperks

Scoperks hosted a fitbit giveaway that yielded some great results with our “Three Step” contest theme.

Favorite Launch Page

team_page

I loved the Team launch page so much we used them as an example in one of our webinars. They used our “Small Box” launch theme, but really made it their own.

Favorite Lead Generation Page

tattawards

I loved seeing someone use the KickoffLabs “Grand Headline” page to drum up nominations for an upcoming awards show.

 

That’s it for now.  If you aren’t getting a viral boost with your landing page and would like to get one…

Check out KickoffLabs Today

9 Landing Page Designs Reviewed: w/ Conversion Rate Optimization Advice

I truly love looking at (and tearing down) landing pages. Seriously, I could do it all day!

Having said that, it’s always a great experience helping people better their businesses by optimizing their online presentation card: the landing page.

During last weeks live chats webinar, I had the opportunity to review 7 brand new pages, as well as re-review 2 pages that have recently been improved. So let’s get straight to business…

The Landing Page Reviews

Be sure to check out the video for plenty more hidden marketing gems!


1. PlayTank

What I like

  • Playful colors and imagery that play well with the brand.
  • The page is appealing in the way things are presented.
  • Problem focused copy, which is good but I have some suggestions.
  • The page is mobile responsive.

PlayTank-Landing-Page-Design-Review

Things to improve

#1 – Tie down good copy with a good headline. My biggest challenge with the page was that it took me a lot reading copy to understand what they were after. This is where get into a problem of context on landing pages where people who are writing the landing pages (the marketer, business owner, etc) doesn’t understand exactly how little people know about your product when they come to your page.

When I first landed on the page it striked me as sort of an edu-tainment type of product. Something that my kids can play with, until I got to the description…

I feel like it should be higher up on the page. There needs to be some sort of central tagline or headline on the page that says either what it is or something else that gets the point across.

#2 – There is no clear call-to-action. There is a signup bar at the top, which is great, but since the color is blue with al lot of blues in the background, it doesn’t stand out as something that I should do right away.

Apart from that, there are no buttons on the page; where people’s eyes are normally drawn to. I would use this space to include a strong CTA. If you’re looking to keep the page clean, you can even use a button that opens a modal popup and not include a form on the page.

#3 – Use detailed headlines. One word headlines look good, but I think it’s important to give it that second word to answer the “what”. There needs to be a little bit more text, because you can’t assume that people know what the benefits they’re getting out of it are.

#4 – Images can break user flow, if… The other thing I notice are when I click on any of the screenshots they take me to the plain image link that opens in the same browser window. For one, the image isn’t that much bigger, and two, I just lost my place on the page!

When you include screenshots, I’d try to have open in a new window or, ideally have them popup with a lightbox. That way you’re not interfering with your visitors flow. Don’t make people click back to the page just because they wanted a closer look at the screenshot.

#5 – Avoid distracting elements. The website turns the mouse cursor into a big funky purple pointer. I found it distracting and initially couldn’t figure out where my mouse was. I just thought it was part of the landing page.

I think it’s just one of those playful things that aren’t necessary. I haven’t seen any studies or done any tests to know whether or not doing this would lower or increase conversion rates. I just found it personally distracting.

 

http://playtank.net/

 

2. Nudge mobile app

What I like

  • Another responsive page, which is huge because there’s a large % of views coming in through mobile. Sometimes up to 45-50%, based on our internal data!
  • The use of a countdown to create a sense of urgency*.
  • Based on the screenshots, it’s clear that it’s an app.
  • The background image is great because there is nothing about it that draws attention, but I feel like it pulls your eyes in. Nice pic!

Nudge_App_-_iphone_nudgemobileapp_com

Things to improve

#1 –  Use scarcity… scarcely. While the intention to create scarcity is good. I don’t think that in this case the progress bar isn’t being used for anything. I would just cut the progress bar.

#2 – Make your text readable. The text color is a little too off-white for the background and I feel like the contrast is a little bit lower than it should be.

So either the background should be darker or the text should be whiter. The text basically needs to be easier to read on the page.

#3 – Choose one solid product image. I felt that having two images squeezing the text makes the page feel really complex. One quick solution would be to just cut out 1 of the 2 images, and to move the copy and signup form to be on the right side of the 1 image.

I think you only really need one screenshot to get the point of the app across if the text is good. Both screenshots are very similar anyways, and are competing for the same attention on the page (and taking away attention from the center call-to-action).

#4 – Explain the benefits. There’s a lot of talk in the copy and I have a hard time understanding what the difference is from this to something like Yelp. You need to make that difference clear to really stand out in a mobile app space.

The app is activity focused, so maybe that should be front and center. You need to explain to people why they should sign up. Features are fine, but benefits are better.

#5 – Use terms that your target market can understand. The product uses the term: “preference based context driven search”. I’d love to see that phrase tested against your target market to see if they actually understand what that means.

Don’t over-complicate the copy. You could simply say “Easy search to find great activities”, and that could even be your tagline.

#6 – You need a real incentive. There’s no reason that I should sign up today. If I sign up before the counter is up, what do I get? Do I get extra kudos on my profile? Early access to the app? Inclusion as a beta tester? There needs to be some sort of incentive to sign up for the list.

There’s also no incentive for sharing. So if someone decides to sign up, there is nothing they get from referring their friends!

 

http://iphone.nudgemobileapp.com/

 

3. Tai Creation

What I like

  • Page has a simple, clean look.
  • The button color on the form clearly stands out.
  • Clicking on images opens up a larger view in a lightbox.

Start_Your_Online_Business_-_www_taicreation_com

Things to improve

#1 – Get to the point. I had to read a lot of the copy to understand what they’re offering. The page starts off with the claim that they’ll “help you start your online business”… Thing is so can just about any other service where you can buy a domain or put up a website.

Anybody can use a generic sales term, but you need to explain what you are doing specifically?

#2 – Highlight your strengths. Reading through the page I discover their niche is that they’re best at taking a retail store, integrating with a point-of-sale device, and putting the store online.

I think that is a real value proposition that can be really specific. “Put your retail store online today”, would be a much better title for the page because it gets to exactly what you’re offering and to where you’ve had success in the business so far.

#3 – Add context to images. The other thing that I would do is add some captions to the images. You’ll help explain the service a lot better with a bit of helper text underneath your images.

#4 – Cut down on form fields. The form feels a little lengthy. Do you need to collect all that information in one swoop? I’m not sure you need the message field, and it would pull the CTA button up higher if you removed this field.

You could probably guess the company name from their email address – if they have a company email address. So I would probably remove that too. Once you do that the button will line up more with the bottom of the images in the desktop view for a cleaner look.

By the way, if you’re using KickoffLabs we automagically retrieve a lot of the information you’re asking for, so no need for conversion-killing clutter!

#5 – Show off your customer successes. I would say “See stores we’ve made”, something that mentions that these are examples of customers you’ve worked with.

#6 – Use relevant copy. Where it says “Check this out”. I would update this to say “What we do”, because that’s what you’re saying here.

Say what you do and who you’ve done it for, and that’ll fit a lot better on the page in this case.

 

http://www.taicreation.com/

 

4. Konsolidate

What I like

  • Nice big headline, with a clear CTA.
  • Perfect subheadline layout.

Konsolidate_I_Student_Loan_Experts_-_www_konsolidate_org-22

Things to improve

#1 – Readability is top priority. The header text, because of the clouds, is a little hard to read. It also contrasts with the green grass, making the white text harder to read over that.

I would maybe use a shadow on the font to make the white stand out, or even just use a darker background image that allows the copy to stand out.

#2 – Choose a CTA and make it stand out. The “Take Action” button is really buried and doesn’t use a contrasting color. You’d maybe want to take one of the colors of your logo; like a nice orange that everyone seems to agree is the universal color of conversion!

#3 – Clearly define user interactions. There are conflicting interests on the page… You’ve got “Calculate my payment”, but it doesn’t popup a payment calculator, it just pops up a form. Your call-to-action should line up with what you’re asking people to do.

#4 – Always have a visible CTA. I’ve said this a few times in the reviews, but it’s worth mentioning again:

You don’t know which piece of copy will get people to take action and thus the next step.

But what you do know, is that when people decide they want to take the next step, it needs to be obvious where that is. That’s why you see pages with multiple buttons and call-to-actions.

 

http://www.konsolidate.org/

 

5. U Street Pub Crawls

What I like

  • Great example where the background helps reinforce the message.
  • Logo clearly describes what’s going on.
  • Image comes to life with animation by hovering over the form, (that’s a KickoffLabs theme).
  • Clear description of “What” it is and “Who” it’s for.

UStreetPubCrawls_l_Something_Exciting_is_Coming_to_U_Street__-_www_ustreetpubcrawls_com

Things to improve

#1 – Answer the “why” people should sign up. People want to know what’s in it for them, now! Every landing page and signup form needs an incentive.

I would offer up a coupon code, a free list on top pubs, or something else that creates immediate value for your signups. Use the space below the form and put the incentive there. You need to clearly explain to people why they should sign up.

#2 – Match your brand colors. The call-to-action is loud (which is good), though I think it should be a bright orange instead of the bright green to kind of go with the overall landing page color scheme. That’s probably a minor thing but helps to achieve a more balanced look of the page.

#3 – Personalize your CTA button. I think that “Notify Me’ could be “Start Crawling” or something more playful to go with the main message. Something that relates to the action that signups are taking.

#4 You should take off our branding from the page. We’ve tried branding on the bottom, we’ve tried branding on the top, etc. Pretty much any 3rd party branding will lower your conversion rate by about 35%.

If you care about conversion rates at all, you should remove the branding on your landing pages. Whether you use us or another paid solution, it’s worth it.

 

http://www.ustreetpubcrawls.com/

 

6. Purple Slate

What I like

  • It’s got a really clean and simple look.
  • CTA button stands out on the page*, see suggestion #1.
  • Second CTA at the bottom, for people who scroll through.
  • Page talks to the person. Uses “you”, not “we”.

PurpleSlate_I_Free_invitation_maker_-_www_mypurpleslate_com

Things to improve

#1 – Optimize the form. It’s a great CTA, but I think that the button could be bigger and also the full width of the form. I would also personalize the sign up button with some playful, action-based copy.

#2 – Big videos can be distracting. I’m not a huge fan of video backgrounds on pages. Not a fan at all. Haven’t seen a test or any research on how landing pages with or without the video background can affect conversions…

I just personally find it distracting. Anything that potentially takes away attention from your main CTA is a no-go in my book. I actually think that a still photo would probably work better. That and the site would load a little faster too!

#3 –  Lead with your strongest headlines. As I go through the copy, the first headline I see is “Easy sign in to our Mobile App”… Is this really the headline you want to lead with? I mean, really hope that it’s easy to sign in to.

Those are just specific features that don’t work to engage visitors. I would move that headline down the page as just a bullet point and not focus on that being a key reason to use the app.

#4 – Define your core value proposition. I’m not 100% sure what the app does… I get that it’s a free invitation maker, but what’s the key differentiator from other apps doing the same thing?

I would use something that explains the benefit more clearly, like: “Create invitations on the go with our mobile app”.. Whatever it is people get out of using your product, you need to make that immediate and obvious.

 

http://www.mypurpleslate.com/

 

7. Grey Campus

This is an updated page based on some feedback we gave during a previous live landing page teardowns.

Before:

greycampus-3

After:

What I like

  • It’s much simpler than it previously was, before it was cluttered.
  • I can now understand what they’re offering.
  • Nifty templates for convincing upper management to try the service.

Grey-Campus-Landing-Page-Design-Review

This page is a significant improvement on the first page we had a look at! Here are a few more suggestions:

Things to improve

#1 – Good spacing increases readability. I think you can add a little bit more space between the headline and the top of the page.

#2 – Don’t confuse with secondary CTA’s. I thought that the form was a required step for signing up, but then I noticed that it’s for finding a location near me, and that there’s another call-to-action on the page that says “Enroll”.

You need to decide which call-to-action you want people to take. Do you want them to select a training location, or to enroll? It’s okay to have a secondary call-to-action on the page, just be sure to properly differentiate between the two.

#3 – Provide a solid second option. I also think that you’re asking people for a lot of money right off the bat. If I click “Enroll”, there’s no secondary call-to-action to capture email addresses.

I would use a signup widget, a form, etc… just something that’ll help grab emails because not everybody is going to sign up right away. First you’ve got some convincing to do!

You might as well start a relationship by sending them some tips, a pdf ebook, etc. Getting more leads in the marketing funnel should be one of your primary goals.

#4 – Animations do not help conversion rates! People ask us to include these in their pages all the time! It does not help conversion rates, if anything it lowers them.

When I load the site, the page looks blank for a split second. As I scroll down, the page also looks blank for a second. This does not help engage people and it’s just for show.

You’re better off just having your content appear normally on the page and not having stuff appear like this. I guarantee you’ll do better without having the animation. 99% of the time it’s not visually pleasing, it’s just distracting.

#5 – Include a proper incentive. The second call-to-action on the page is to receive a sales call. Trust me, a sales call is not a reason to give my information… You need to provide a real incentive for collecting people’s information. If I’m getting something in return and then you follow up with a sales call – that’s a much better exchange.

 

http://marketing.greycampus.com/pmp-certification-classroom-training-usa/

 

8. Wine Awesomeness

I really like the changes they made and it’s a huge step forward from when we first reviewed their page.

Before:

Wine Awesomeness Landing Page Review

After:

What I like

  • The copy now gets to the point.
  • Not asking for too much information on the form (like they were before)
  • Sponsors have good placement on the page.

The_Gentleman_s_Charleston_Escape_-_wineawesomeness_com_landing_test_index_html

Things to improve

#1 – Text should be easy on the eyes. The page uses some great background images, but the lightness of the text box makes the text hard to read. I would try making the box a little more opaque and less transparent.

#2 – Add support copy. To reinforce the prizes and contest partners, I would include the text “Contest includes great prizes from.. ” and then name the sponsors.

This will help provide a secondary backup to what you’re offering. You’ll get people more excited if you explain who the prizes come from.

Going after the page with a focus on readability is the next step!

 

http://wineawesomeness.com/

 

9. Crully

What I like

  • A six-letter domain, so it couldn’t have been cheap.
  • Big primary call-to-action.
  • Good concept of using video for apartment listings.

Crully_I_Find_apartment_or_room_for_rent_in_New_York_I_Video_-_crully_com

Things to improve

#1 – Don’t hide your navigation. Do you really need the menu “sandwiched” in desktop mode? Would people know to click the menu to get more options? I would perhaps place the logo a little more to the left and place the menu items directly in the navigation bar.

#2 – Better explain the product. I think you should explain the “why” a little better. Why should people use your app for finding listings? Why should landlords use the service to rent out apartments? This product has a little explaining to do and with good reason: there’s something unique about the app. Speak to the benefit of why you’re “better, easier and faster”.

#3 – Give people a secondary call-to-action. There’s no call-to-action on the page other than the search. Which seems to be the primary goal. But what do I do if I want to rent an apartment?

#4 – Optimize the user experience. I wish the video popped up as opposed to sending me to the listings page.

 

http://crully.com/

 

In Closing

The aim with these landing page reviews has been to help people optimize their pages for maximum conversion rates. Hopefully, you’re also able to take away some good advice and tips that you can implement on your own landing pages and marketing campaigns.

What did you think about the reviews? Do you have any suggestions for improving landing page conversion?

Be sure to give us a shout out via social to let us know!

Thanks for reading!

-Josh Ledgard,
Co-Founder – KickoffLabs

P.S. If you’re ready to start building smarter campaigns, you really should give KickoffLabs a shot. We offer a more detailed, hands-on conversion rate optimization for all of our paid customers. Give us a try, you’ll be glad you did!

 

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!

If you enjoyed these Landing Page Teardowns, be sure to let the world know by using the share buttons below!

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