Friday, February 25, 2005

Landing Page Study

I mentioned that I listened in on a conference call hosted by Marketing Sherpa. It's true, I did. The call included Greg Edwards from Eyetools with Anne Holland and Stefan Tornquist from Marketing Sherpa.

The call focused on the results of a study of landing pages conducted by Eyetools for Marketing Sherpa. The study tracked people's eye movements as they navigated through a series of landing pages designed for the study. Here are a few useful tips I wrote down during the call:

First, some basic guidelines: Your main points must be readable so make your text a little bigger (10-12pt instead of 8-9). Black text is best. Align your titles (and text for that matter) to the left. Long, centered titles are harder for people to follow.

Your Title Should Be Like This

Your Title Should Not
Be At All Like
This One

You get the idea. On to other things. A product page needs a "hero shot" (that would be the product image). People ALWAYS look at that. Text next to such an image also has a high likelihood of being read. In addition, images are often clicked, so you may want to link it to something useful like a larger image or more complete description.

For a non-product page, a picture of a person (their face being most important) will attract attention. However, pictures of real people are better than models (unless your site is about models...). People can tell that your smooth corporate images are fake and, consequently, they don't care about them that much. In fact, such images could be wasting the precious time you have to get a visitor's attention before they leave your site. In conclusion, put key text next to the picture of the real person.

That leads into an important point. You have very little time to tell a visitor that yes, this is the page that they want. Therefore, if you are advertising something, the landing page should correspond closely to the ad. For example, if you're advertising on Google and your ad is titled, "Heavy Green Widgets", your landing page should begin with (you guessed it!), "Heavy Green Widgets". That text should probably be right next to the picture of the product. If you do this, it is more likely that your visitor (that you just paid for) is going to say, "Aha!" and not, "Wha?". That's good for ROI.

By the way, your landing page should probably not be your home page. When someone clicks on "Heavy Green Widgets" they should not find, "Welcome to the McDorfus Company Website".

Something else that I thought was very interesting was this: An "Add to Cart" button is better than a "Buy it Now!" button. Why? Because "Buy it Now" kinda scares some people. "Add to Cart" is still active, but gives more control to your visitor.

My final point has to do with forms. If you're trying to get people to sign up for something, make it as easy as possible. Basically, more questions leads to less sign-ups, so cut anything you can. For example, why ask for a fax number if you're already getting their phone number? Do you really need both?

Privacy policies are important to people. However, they do not have to be long. In fact, they should be short if possible. Also, put a small privacy statement right next to the e-mail box. Like so:

Name: [------------------]
E-mail: [------------------] *Your e-mail will be kept private (privacy policy)
Weight: [----------------]

Don't wait until the bottom of the page to tell people about your privacy policy. They want to see it, but they probably won't hunt around for it (and if they don't find it your probably won't get there address). The wording there is not set in stone, but the message should be brief. Also, you should probably not ask for people's weight...

Overall, the call was well worth my time. If you're interested in hearing it yourself, you're in luck because it was recorded and can be downloaded here. It is in mp3 format. There is a PDF document that goes along with it. That is available here. Enjoy.


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