This is a quote from Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick. I recommend it.
Rob talks about your readers... They have bought your book for its promise, not its prose. They don't care about how many thousand words you've written. They want what you promised on the cover.
He suggests you front-load the value your book offers so that readers get to the a-ha moment as soon as possible. You see, if they don’t get value they won’t keep reading.
This advice is perfect for lead-generation landing pages.
Front-load your landing pages
Your visitor clicked your ad because it promised a solution to her problem. The a-ha moment is when she realises that you can help her, and she see how to get that help.
The sooner you give her the a-ha moment the better.
This is even more critical on a landing page than in a book. A reader might struggle through a few sluggish pages to get to the good stuff. But a website visitor will hit the back button if you don't offer value in the first few seconds.
A while ago I consulted with a lawyer about a non-performing landing page. His offer was good: a free initial consultation and no-win no-fee agreement. This kind of offer to targeted Google Ads traffic usually gets >10% conversion rate easily. But he hadn't got a single lead. He was about to pull the plug on his Google Ads.
The a-ha moment was buried
The landing wasn't terrible, but there was one huge problem: the a-ha moment was buried. It was the last thing on the page, just above the copyright notice in the footer.
A visitor might possibly find it if she ...
- scrolled past a full-screen stock photo of some mountains,
- read the lawyer’s biography,
- admired his trophy wall,
- marvelled at his publicity headshot
- and suffered through 3 full screens of excruciating gray drivel about the industry.
But, I couldn’t tell him this.
Here’s an odd thing. People pay me to tell them why their landing page isn’t converting. When I tell them they argue with me.
I understand why. Nobody wants their work to be criticised. It feels like they’re being judged not the landing page.
So I came up with an exercise to help my clients be more comfortable accepting advice about their landing pages. I send it to them before our report-back meeting. You might find it useful.
Here is a list of things you might see on a landing page. Please rank them in how useful they are to a first-time visitor. From most useful to least useful.
- The name of the business.
- A headline saying what product or service this landing page is about.
- Company mission statement.
- A list of the kind of customers the business normally works with.
- Company history.
- An enquiry form or contact form.
- A logo.
- A beautiful background image.
- A factual description of each of the products of services you offer.
- A marketing blurb about each product or service explaining why it’s better than any other similar product or service.
- A stock photo of a smiling call-centre lady.
- A link to the privacy page
- A link to the about us page.
- A link to the contact us page.
- A map to the premises.
- A form to sign up to the company newsletter.
- A list of awards the business has won.
- A list of company values.
- A photo of the business premises.
- A photo of the actual products the business sells.
- The opening hours.
- A phone number.
- A list of products or services the business offers.
I sent the exercise to the lawyer. A few days later we met to go over my suggestions for his page. I knew he’d got the point because he started talking before Zoom had finished connecting his audio.
He said that he thought the list of cases he handled and the free consult offer should be moved to the top of the page. His biography, awards and picture could go below that to convince people he was legit. The text about the industry would be moved to the bottom.
I agreed, and he did some copy pasting to rearrange the landing page right there.
That was all he did. He didn't pay for an expensive redesign. He didn't re-write the copy. He didn't get better photos or a new logo. And, it worked. About a week later he signed his first client from Google Ads.
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