I was reading comments made by a guy who said he can’t find any decent search marketing help. He is selling a cloud computing service.
The marketers he talked to wanted to create landing pages and copy that read like a Blu Blockers advertisement. Buy now! Two for one deal! Constant calls to action. Twee headlines, along the lines of “They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano But When I Started to Play!”.
They were advising a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all direct marketing approach.
He felt they were totally wrong.
Marketing approaches need to gel with the client, product and the audience. If used with the wrong product and audience – in this example, those who equate a hard sell with low quality – prescriptive direct marketing approaches can have a negative effect.
Apple market to creative, hip individuals, or, more accurately, people who perceive themselves to be creative, hip individuals. Apple is not for everyone, it is “exclusive”. “Think Differently”, not the same as everyone else. Apple frequently invoke modern art and visual design reference points. There’s an elitism about Apple.
This brand positioning comes from understanding the desires of their customers. Apple know their customers aren’t buying on features (Apple’s products often have fewer features than their competitors), price (Apple are often more expensive), or flexibility (Apple tend to lock the user in).
They’re buying into something more universal: a desire to belong, and to be cool. Apple’s entire marketing approach orients around this truth.
Hard Sell = No Sell
Now, imagine a Blu Blocker, hard-sell pitch to this audience? Would it work?
This group would respond to pitches that involve belonging. Of cool. Of indidividuality. A hard-sell “call to action” is unlikely to work on consumers who are making lifestyle choices based not on need, but desire.
Here are a few tips on how to think about landing pages in a less prescriptive way. The key is not to put the cart before the horse. Seek to understand the audience first, then work backwards.
1. Put The Audience First
First, decide who the audience is, and what they want.
The landing page is not simply a device to get someone to react, like an unthinking robot. Click here! Buy now!
A landing page is something that can be used to draw someone deeper into your world. Reflect the audience back at themselves. Reflect their values and desires. Are they urbane? Security conscious? Conservative? Anti-authority? Homely?
Your landing page should look like what your audience expects to see. It should use language that sounds like how your audience talks.
2. Integrate Direct Marketing Tactics Carefully
Take a look at this Apple page.
The Apple aesthetic is strong, as is the sense of community and desirability. They’ve also worked in the price point. The hand grabbing the iPad implies you should purchase one. The pitch is not far removed from a hard sell pitch in terms of what it achieves, but it does so in a rather subtle way.
It doesn’t push too hard.
3. Design Is Important
Your visual design is important.
We’re a visual culture, and react to visual ques. Make sure, like Apple, that your design reflects the values of your audience, and the values of your product, else some of those click backs will come from people – rightly or wrongly – judging a book by it’s cover.
This is not to say all landing pages must have high-end, glossy design.
On the contrary. High-end, glossy design may alienate, say, academic audiences. An academic audience may associate glossy design with the frivolous. A design that is likely to appeal to an academic audience is probably more Wikipedia, less Coca Cola. More depth, less flashy teen culture.
The design, like your pitch, and like your writing, should reflect the values of your audience. Once you understand your audience, take your ideas to a designer, phrased like I did with the Apple description above:
“Apple market to creative, hip individuals, or, more accurately, people who perceive themselves to be creative, hip individuals. Apple is not for everyone, it is “exclusive”. “Think Differently”, not the same as everyone else. Apple frequently invoke modern art and visual design reference points. There’s an elitism about Apple“
….and see what they come up with.
Simply changing the “cover” might get you higher click-thrus and conversions.