It happens all too often: You stumble upon a product to promote, or someone’s personal website and it looks like it was created in 1999. You cringe and move on, and you know what sucks for that person? Their potential buyers and leads do as well. Everyone may think that their site is the special snowflake exception, and that it has a sort of old fashioned charm, but then everyone would be mistaken.
Landing pages change in effectiveness with consumer trends and buying habits, so it’s important to make changes to your own pages to reflect these. Here are a couple of major changes that have happened in the last 5-10 years, which affect how people buy online:
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1. People are more sensitive to BS. Every landing page used to begin with a giant claim:
“WHO ELSE WANTS TO BE ABLE TO DO X IN ONLY Y HOURS – WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR BED!”
In short, headlines were sensational. They sounded exciting, but people have been let down enough to times to want to avoid them. In general, as customers got more comfortable online, they realized that anyone could say anything they wanted about themselves, and that they often did. While this increased aversion to sensationalism may or may not have affected your target market to a large degree yet, it’s coming, so make changes accordingly: Honesty beats sensationalism in many markets now.
2. People expect more of design.
Websites now generally look a lot better than they did even just a few years ago. Design software that’s suable by just about anyone has meant that it’s become increasingly easy to not have a sucky page, and people have come to expect this.
If someone lands on a page with the standard sales letter formatting with non-flat elements and giant, multicolored text everywhere, they’re going to bounce and never come back. Often times, seeing on of these pages makes people think that it has been abandoned or is no longer relevant – why else would the owner have left it looking so poorly?
3. Text isn’t your only option.
Remember when everyone started using video landing pages? The buzz of their effectiveness would soon spread like wildfire. The reality is that using different types of media on your site helps to engage different kinds of users, and accommodating all of them can help you achieve higher conversions. While you want one intended path through a page to be clear, it’s a good idea to still give users who want to learn about your product or offering in a different way the option to go somewhere and do so.
Finally, let’s stress something that hasn’t changed: Benefits vs features. Yes, the old adage holds true, people are much more likely to respond to specifics about how their life will be changed by making a purchase decision than they are to hearing about all of the bells and whistles your product has.
Of course, it’s a good idea to avoid that sensationalist trap here as well. Honesty and value win in 2016.