Landing Page Makeover Clinic #15: TheWeddingLens.com

Landing Page Makeover

This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.

Chuck Templeton had a vision. A place where the bridal couple and party and wedding guests, in addition to the traditional wedding photographer, could take, upload and share their photos in a private, online album to be enjoyed by the bride and groom (or bride-bride/groom-groom) and all invitees.

And not just the wedding either. Folks can add photos from rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, bachelor parties – even tasteful honeymoon shots, if so inclined. There’s a premium version (no online ads) that sells for $49.95/year as well as a free version which incorporates online advertising.

But even with a free version, Chuck isn’t converting his traffic. When he submitted his info to me, he was getting 5 sign-ups a week, 1-2 for paid albums.

Overall, this is a pretty and pleasing-to-view site, but an attractive color scheme does not a conversion make. So let’s review and see what we can do to pop the cork on conversions for The Wedding Lens.

  • The Goal:
    Increase premium (paid for) albums to 15/week; 100 a week for the free albums.
  • The Problem:
    Good traffic to site, but conversions (both to paid and free versions) are weak.
  • The Current Landing Page:
    http://www.theweddinglens.com
  • The Cost:
    $49.95/year for premium album

The Maven’s 10-Point Critique

The Wedding LensClick image for larger view

#1 – Rethink the annual subscription model for this service. Seriously.

I’ll discuss other key site elements that need some tweaking in subsequent points, but this one is the biggest, most significant stopper in my mind. Here’s me thinking like the bride (I’ve been a bride twice, so I really have the mind-think down cold.):

“Why should I pay an annual subscription fee for access to my own photos when I can build my own albums in any number of free sites (e.g. Picasa) – or – a site like Shutterfly which also gives me easy access to a wide range of photo related gifts and services?”

You’ve got a huge amount of competition for the digital photo album market. That doesn’t mean you give up, but it does mean you need to make a strong and obvious case as to why WL is the best place for couples to build their online wedding albums, free or paid. THEN, once they’re all excited and ready to begin, you’ve got to make an even stronger case as to how and why your couples need to renew their commitment every year. Right now, I’m not seeing it. So make your case or consider a flat fee or other kind of fee structure.

You also need to answer what happens to my pictures if I DON’T renew.

#2 – Focus on WL’s “green”, ease and affordability.

You have a link about green wedding tips in the bottom navigation (more on that later.) It occurs to me that these qualities would help differentiate WL in especially positive and attractive terms, especially for those couples looking for eco-friendly as well as inexpensive ways to celebrate their special day.

#3 – Show me how this whole thing actually works.

If there was ever a site that should employ video, yours would be on the top of my list. Why? Because, even for the freebie album, your prospect is being asked to provide a lot of personal information and the information of their friends/family. I’d want to see precisely how thing whole thing works before I sign-up. Think about a simple series of videos that could walk the prospect through the process, answer the obvious questions, and help your prospects feel confident … and start them right off the bat on the homepage with the first video.

#4 – Update testimonials to late 2008, early 2009 on the homepage.

Everyone knows how much I love good testimonials, but your laundry list is too long and isn’t as current as it should be. Appearing current is important. It communicates to your visitor, especially in today’s uncertain retail climate, that you’re an ongoing concern who’ll be around awhile – especially if they’re going to trust your site with their wedding photos! Sprinkle the testimonials liberally everywhere.

#5 – Don’t hide your media reviews toward the bottom of a long scroll.

Pull those press raves from the netherworld and get at least a few of them into the first screen. Media reviews are almost as important as testimonials.

#6 – Revise your primary navigation to include more of the top-of-the-mind concerns prospects bring.

Right now your top navigation reads:

Why Couples Love Us | Features | Sign Up For Free | Login

And here’s the bottom navigation several screens down on the homepage:

The Wedding LensClick image for larger view

What’s wrong with this picture? Lots. First, update the copyright line for the same reasons as you want current testimonials. If it looks like you haven’t updated your site from last year you risk looking like you’re going out of business. Second move Home, FAQ, Why? (should read “Why Wedding Lens?”), About Us, and I’d Add “We respect your personal information”, too. In making a decision to move forward, prospects need to know the what, the why, and the who of who they’re about to do business with. I’d also add the your blog link, Share with a Friend/Feedback links in the first screen, as well.

I’d also expand the Why page to include the chart info you now have buried in the Online Photo Sharing Sites link. Add Shutterfly and others like it to your comparison chart. (Comparison charts are easy and magical when trying to communicate what’s good about you and not so good about your competition.)

#7 – Streamline the bottom navigation.

While not as critical to your site’s ability to close a sale, the bottom navigation represents an opportunity to show visitors the breadth and depth of your information and bolster credibility. I’d look for ways to better organize your articles, e.g. Clothing, Decor, Invitations, whatever makes sense as directories and then add relevant articles underneath. Vendor directories would work well here, too.

#8 – Strengthen your credibility with full contact info.

Also, my prospects -myself included – won’t do business with a company that doesn’t list a phone number and a physical or postal address. Get a PO box if you need to but let your customers know where you are.

#9 – Make sure your most important messages match link to link.

This is also from your header area: Get 600 free photos from your wedding, which links to your order page. Okay, that’s sounds good. But when I get to the order page, I don’t see any reference to the 600. Is 600 the maximum I’m allowed? That’s fine since you can always say – You can put as many as 600 photos into one single album! But reference it you must. Otherwise you confuse and confound your potential customers.

#10 – More on message matching!

The Wedding LensClick image for larger view

I really like the album graphic, but the problem I have is the dissonance between this and the sample pages video. Those samples don’t look like an album. The sample pages look like a standard gallery page of thumbnails. That’s fine, of course, if I haven’t been cued to expect a “bookier” experience. You want to use consistent imagery and messaging to keep prospects focused. (Also, too, will my actual album have WL navigation, etc. as the framing? If so, that’s a turn-off. I don’t want to see that in my album. So, again, make sure the sample pages appear EXACTLY as you’ve cued the visitor to expect them.)

Lastly, the non-bulleted bullets on this page are siren-singing me to click them, but they don’t click. Maybe they should click to something relevant and explanatory.

My thanks to Chuck Templeton for his supreme patience and support of Heifer International. Look for my next makeover in approximately 2 weeks.

Here’s your chance to be the Copywriting Maven’s next landing page makeover!

Got a landing page that’s more poop than pop? Willing to share with Copyblogger readers? Prepared to put a little of your own “skin in the game” for a Maven Makeover? Then follow your click to Maven’s Landing Page Makeover page for all the details.

(The response to the return of the Copywriting Maven Makeovers has been tremendous – thank you! The downside is I’m booked for new gratis critiques until 6/1/09. If you’re interested in a private critique/makeover or other services, please email me directly.)

About the Author: Roberta Rosenberg is The Copywriting Maven at MGP Direct, Inc.

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Comments

  1. How about a $49.95 one time fee instead of annual subscription?

    I agree, the issue of answering the question, what happens to the photos if you don’t renew – that has got to be addressed.

    Great looking site!

  2. Thanks for the critique. I don’t mean to nitpick, but there are few important points about the site that I feel are missing.

    1) In the first paragraph it talks about the differentiation between free and premium. While no-ads is one of them, premium’s more distinguishing feature is the ability to bulk download full-resolution photos from the album. Most other photos sites don’t really let you download photos easily, and especially not the full-resolution ones. This is really important to wedding couples since they want to preserve all the photos digitally. And for us, how can we get this point across better? We have never been able to effectively get this across well.

    2) In your first bullet point, you discuss the differentiation between The Wedding Lens and other photo services. One our most biggest advantages is that the couple can invite as many guests to their album as they want and have them all upload an unlimited number of full-size photos to the album, all without having to register for the service. Free services like flickr and picasa don’t allow this. Also, an area that we have not been able to articulate well.

    I recognize that we should probably make these points more clear on our website (if they were clear you probably would have caught them!), but I think it’d be good to include them in your analysis to make it a more accurate one. And any feedback is welcome.

    Thanks.

  3. Great tips. I’m going to take a few of those pointers to heart and apply them myself. Thanks for the information!

  4. Hi Chuck, your comments aren’t nit-picking but you’re absolutely right. If I didn’t see them, then you’re not making your message clear enough. (No one reads your site as closely as you do. But the trick is seeing your site through the eyes of brand-new visitors. They have to get the ‘joke’ quickly and easily or you lose them. My makeover is based on being that visitor.)

    To points #1 and #2 – perhaps that’s where a video could be helpful. Getting the point across in a way that is easily received and understood by your visitors.

  5. I guy in Milwaukee I know owns a service that caters to a wedding market. This man built a business with one simple tool. Party Thrower 101 video. A requirement before he signed and “contract” was clients had to watch this video, so he could educate them. Educate them on what he did, how he did it, and what he needed from them in order for the event to be successful. This is nothing more than what I call an “Up Front” Contract, with a commercial using Pavlovian stimulus, response “education.”

    He had just educated his client and gave them a map of how things were suppose to go. More importantly, he just conditioned his client by giving them a positive viewing experience. If the client wants the same type of experience, they now know how to behave and what the will be expected to do in order to get what they want. When we came up with this video idea, I wanted to go a step farther with Pavlov. I wanted some negative reinforcement from a “bad event.” An event that happens when U don’t invest in the right creative service for one of the coolest days of your lives.

    We left if out, thinking attention span being that of gnats for most folks these days, it would be better to end positive,and be shorter in length. We made a second video using negative examples of events from hell, and what can go wrong if you let your bitchy, close friend tell U she knows someone who can do everything for much less, maybe even free, so long as the bar remains, “open.”

    Ok, so back to my little role play exercise here…the clients were required to watch Party Thrower 101…and were encouraged to bring family, event members, who ever was going to be at the event, including kids. We wanted to educate as many as possible, to help map behavior.

    Not only behavior at the event, but the behavior we expected when they were done watching the video. In other words, all that was left was a closing question. Ask for the order, and Shut Up.

    Well, Todd’s business took off. I laugh now, cause when we put the video together, I didn’t charge him a dime. He’s a friend, it was an experiment, and I had a hypothesis. That video was made almost 17 years ago. 3 months after production, Todd had to increase the number of “shows” he was able to do at once to 6. He didn’t add 6 shows after 3 months…He needed enough gear and peoplepower to do 6 shows at once. 2 years later, he had to have enough to be able on any given weekend to do 40 shows. Obviously, a bean counter came in and did some of that figuring they do to figure out the best way for Todd to grow. In other words, Todd was running the most efficiently he ever had with the biggest profit margin and less head aches simply because he was able to hold up his end of what he promised to do for people, and they had be shown how to do what they promised to do…they had be educated.

    So, this long winded memory of mine is simply my way of saying this.
    In todays day and age, video, media, all of the “sizzle” stuff must be incorporated in what you do. Especially in an endeavor where you are a photo based business. Photographs, as I recall, used to line up one after the other to make “film.” It surprises me you don’t offer this as a service also, especially since it’s a way to up-sell projects. I love up-selling. Best of Luck in your business.

  6. These are not page makeover comments but don’t sell album access at all…

    1. Make album access free with an easy way for viewers to forward a link to others.

    2. Enable an efficient process to sell individual/groups of photos to the viewers (family, friends, etc). Family members will want to have some photos of their own but it is a headache for the bride/groom to have to facilitate the reorder process. Viewers order photos through an album shopping cart and the print order is automatically sent to a photo finisher for printing and shipment (easy, efficient, lots of residual revenue potential).

    3. Promote your photographic services through the album

    Just my thoughts…

    John

    follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeaston1

  7. Some more non-makeover comments. Part of the problem is that you’re not clearly differentiating yourself from services that do this for free. So, you need to do something that’s different, and worth talking about.

    My brother got married recently, and the process of getting the albums was a nightmare.

    Why not offer something that makes it easier to get pictures and share them?

    1) Wedding meets Lulu. Customers upload their images (formal wedding, rehearsal, after-party, next day, etc.) and can order books with the pictures. Two-tiered pricing: $ for do-it-yourself brides, $$ if your company designs the book, add extra options for size, print run, paper quality, etc.

    2) CDs or DVDs of the albums. They can be produced cheaply and get around the “what happens if my membership lapses” issue. You can add extra options for additional cost, such as fade in/fade out, music, titles, etc.

    3) As Bruce said, offer videos guiding people through the process and showing finished products.

  8. Reading your post is such a great education, Roberta. I’m working on a fan page for my collaborative writing project about romance that is easy to understand, once explained, but it’s tough to do that succinctly. Through Chuck’s makeover, I learned that each step that could lead to a question (confused minds say no) must be addressed in a brief, clear way. Seems like the basic journalist questions- who, what, where, when, why- are a good guide for everyone.

    Thanks for giving me a lot to think about. ;) Dina

  9. Perhaps up the price and make it a flat fee. I agree with Jodi on the books and DVDs, and maybe make more to send to select family and friends for additional fees or part of the package.

  10. @all – As many of you have noted, crafting the “offer” – the actual package of “what I get” combo of stuff/services is critical. It should also be part of an ongoing process of testing what works and what doesn’t.

    @Dina – I’m a big believer that great content/copy comes from responding to the challenge questions – “Oh yeah?”, “So what?”, and my favorite, “… but what if I [SOME ACTION HERE], then what?”

    Answer those and you’ve got something. :)

  11. As a photographer, thanks for paying attention to our copyright, it’s much appreciated and increasingly rare.

    The target market of friends & family is a good angle to pursue, but you really need to focus on the immediate release of the wedding images. Pros take time, though the new influx of SB&R photographers really lessens your advantage. (Shoot, Burn & Run)

    Why not start a ticker for your clients, kind of a sideways testimonial: # Days I’ve been waiting for my wedding photos: ___

    Put this in a table format for all to see and maybe toss a few bones to the “leaders”, free goodies or services.

    You could also pair this with a “___ photos of my wedding online for ___ days with Wedding Lens”

    Why not offer “Remember the date cards”, a simple post card with a client photo and instructions for the guests to upload photos to their gallery. Set these out next to the guest book. You could also go the business card route and provide these for free.

    Tell your clients to ask the venue for internet access and allow the guests to upload files via laptop before they leave- or at least suggest the laptop for capture and have the client upload them later.

    Create an iPhone app

    With flash based memory so cheap, you can offer a mail in service that removes the upload process- many wedding guests won’t even try to upload, especially the older ones.

    You can charge for this in advance and mail out a thumb drive with instructions, return address/postage. Many services for photographers follow this same formula.

    And one last reminder, I know you’re taking copyright serious, but your clients won’t and that can leave you exposed. You might scan the meta data and even run a service like tineye on suspected images to document your efforts.

    Part of PPA membership (Professional Photographer’s Association) is essentially free legal service for copyright infringement. All it takes is one, and it can cost you a lot of time and money to defend, even if you’re right.

  12. I would change the “Get Started!” to say “See Plans and Pricing.” There was a blog about how 37Signals increased their conversion by 200% by changing the button on the home page to something less direct. For instance, “Get Started!” speaks directly to people who are ready to get started. What if I’m still thinking about it and not sure? So changing the button on the home page to something less direct … like “See Plans” or “See Pricing Plans” might get more people to click through, thus, more people to sign up.

  13. Great tips. I’m going to take a few of those pointers to heart and apply them myself. Thanks for the information!