This guest post is by Anshul Dayal of www.nichesense.com.
It is often said that lead generation is the lifeline of any online business big or small. Correct?
Allow me to explain this further. In a traditional business we often look at three or four key performance indicators when it comes to gauging success and profitability. They are leads, conversions, sales, and profits.
Brad Sugars, a very successful (and somewhat controversial) Australian entrepreneur, describes his “5 ways business chassis” as:
Number Of Leads X Conversion Rate = Customers X # of transactions X Avg. $$$ Sale = Revenue X Profit Margins = Profit
- Number of leads = every person who is interested in purchasing from you
- Coversion rate = percentage of leads that make purchase
- Customers = every lead that makes a purchase
- # of transactions = number of purchases made by every customer
- Avg $$$ Sale = money spent every time a customer buys from you
- Revenue = your total dollar value of sales
- Profit margins = your “markup” percentage or simply the purchase price of your product minus the acquisition cost
Simple enough? Now let me ask you a question: which one of those variables should you be increasing to boost your profits quickly and efficiently?
Here is the key. Most people will tell you that it is the number of leads or customers. In reality, it is one humble little number many business owners often overlook, yet it is the easiest the way to boost profits without spending an extra cent on acquiring new leads.
Let’s see how.
Here is the equation again with some real numbers:
Now, lets simply double the “# of transactions” to 2 (easy enough?)
Suddenly our profits have doubled without acquiring a single extra customer! That’s exciting, right?
Let’s now apply this analogy to an online business.
I offer consulting services to a small group of private clients who seek me out to develop an online strategy, optimize conversions, and boost profits. More often than not I find them making one common mistake which often results in a major lost opportunity when it comes to making money for their offer or services.
The majority of people are wrongly fixated on traffic generation.
Traffic generation is only one part of the equation. Sure, you use a number of well-documented strategies to generate traffic, but what happens when that traffic arrives on your website? Do you have a clear plan for turning that traffic to potential customers you can sell to again and again?
For the majority of website owners, traffic generation is the end of their online strategy. In reality, it should really be the start.
So now the big question is, what is the easiest way to convert this traffic to customers? Simple: get them to subscribe to your email list!
The next big question? What is the most effective way to get visitors to convert to email subscribers? Well, we don’t need to look very far at all to find the answer to that. In fact, many of you have probably used this method of lead capture at some stage in your business.
A landing or a squeeze page is one of the easiest ways you can convert visitors to prospects and customers. A carefully crafted landing page can go a long way in converting that traffic to email-subscribed customers you can sell to over and over again.
So, is there really a science behind creating a high-converting landing page? The short answer is yes. In fact, it’s relatively simple, yet I find a number of business owners committing one or all of the five fatal mistakes I am about to reveal to you.
Fatal mistake #1: Poor headline
We often associate big, fat headlines with hyped up, bold-red text used by internet marketers, but in reality this is really your value proposition. More often than not, you may only get a few seconds of your visitors’ attention before they hit the Back button on the browser. This big, fat headline will go a long way towards grabbing your prospects’ attention and enticing them to take the next step.
Remember, the purpose of a headline is to skillfully answer one simple question: “What’s in it for me?”
An ideal headline should convey your value proposition in as few words as possible. Let’s look at some good and bad examples. The headline below is simply too long and does not offer a clear value proposition as to how using this business coaching service could help my business.
On the other hand, this headline captures your attention straight away with a clear benefit and value proposition—a rewarding career:
Fatal mistake #2: Missing the call to action
Now that you have got the visitors’ attention, it’s absolutely imperative that you have a clear and easy-to-follow call to action to capture their details.
I see a number businesses wasting valuable advertising dollars only to have people land on confusing homepages that lack a call to action, or even a basic value proposition. Now, I don’t know about you, but as a prospect landing on such a page, I will probably be reaching for the Back button on my browser as soon as possible.
Here is a web design firm advertising on Facebook. Unfortunately, clicking on the ad goes straight to the default fanpage timeline—there’s no attempt to get me take any specific action. I seriously questions if this is a good use of your advertising dollars.
Here’s a slightly better use of your paid traffic: visitors are directed to a fanpage squeeze page app designed to capture the prospects’ email addresses with a clear call to action:
If you are an affiliate promoting offers, find offers with a clear call to action when you search for good affiliate offers to promote. Also, use them as good examples of landing pages that you can learn from.
As an affiliate marketer myself, one of the products that has done exceptionally well for me as an affiliate is a hair loss treatment which I currently promote using the Markethealth program.
A quick look at the product’s landing page indicates a clearly defined sales funnel for prospects, with key elements in place: the simple value proposition, benefits, and a very clear call to action.
As an affiliate, I would be quite comfortable promoting such an offer. It is likely to convert extremely well given the quality of the landing page.
Fatal mistake #3: Placing your call to action below the fold
What is “above the fold”? It is essentially all the content that your visitors get to see before using the scroll bars on a web page. As a matter of fact, 80% of your visitors will simply never scroll to the bottom of the page if you fail to capture their attention in the first few minutes.
I regularly come across landing pages where I like the offer, but find myself searching for more information on how to take the next step.
An ideal layout for placing your headline and call to action is what I describe as the “double barrel” layout. This works best with a video, or at least bullet points that explain the key benefits of your offer.
Such aoften includes your bold headline, a video (or bullet points) and a simple opt-in box stacked next to the video (similar to the hair-loss example above). Using such a layout, you can essentially include your headline, benefits and call to action above the fold.
If you are using a blog-style layout for your business website, then having an opt-in box on the sidebar widget above fold can also be highly effective.
Fatal mistake #4: Offering too many options
A well crafted landing page should be designed to do one thing and one thing only: capturing your prospects’ details as soon as possible. The best and easiest way to do this is to ensure that you are offering them as few options as possible so that they reach for the opt-in box.
A well structured landing page will typically contain the big, fat headline (your value proposition), key benefits, and clear call to action. Yet we all see examples of websites offering too much information and too many links on their landing pages.
Such a layout is guaranteed not to help your prospects take any action at all—they’ll simply wander away once they have had a quick scan of the landing page.
Fatal mistake #5: Not using a customized “thank you” page
One of the golden rules of a successful marketing funnel is to get your visitors to take the next step. A “thank you” page is often considered by many people as the last step in your marketing funnel where you have captured your visitors details and are now congratulating yourself on a job well done.
In reality, if you skimp on this, you are missing a golden opportunity to offer your visitors numerous other ways to engage with your content. Remember, at this point, your prospects are most interested in what you have to offer, as they have just given you their name and email address and are looking forward to receiving that information you promised on your landing page.
You can use the “thank you” page in many different ways. If you have a “premium” version of the product you are offering for free, then why not use a customized page to offer that premium product as a one-time offer for a low price?
If you have another free product, then a customized thank you page can also be highly effective for getting interested visitors to double opt-in to another offer. This way, you can promote a separate set of targeted offers relevant to another product you are offering.
This is a powerful yet badly underutilized strategy for making the most of your prospects’ eagerness to consume your products when they first offer you their name and email address.
Tools and tips for a better landing page
Now that you have had some insights into some of the mistakes to avoid when creating a well converting landing page, let’s look at some handy tools you can use to create high quality landing pages and opt-in boxes in a breeze. My favorites are:
If you find that even though your landing page structure is good, your conversions are poor, then I recommend split-testing your headline. Most of the premium themes mentioned above offer readymade functionality for split-testing headlines and page structures.
Last but not least, if you’re capturing leads through multiple landing pages, make sure to segment them using your autoresponder service. This will allow you to send relevant and targeted information and offers to prospects in specific categories, with specific interests.
How are your landing pages looking? And what tips can you add? Share your secrets to success with us in the comments.