Landing Page Makeover Clinic #21:
The-100-Best.com

Landing Page Makeover

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

Singapore-based Pearlin Siow is a go-getter! A writer and author of business motivational books, she knows that writing a book can add a nice fat dollop of authority gloss to individuals and businesses.

Her new venture is all about applying that proven tactic and making it pay. Along with her co-writer, Cayden Chang, Pearlin wants to attract business owners who understand the value of proximity. In this instance, having their business article/info/bio adjacent to articles written by well-known Asian entrepreneurs in her upcoming book series, 100 Best Business Ideas To Make You Rich.

Let’s dig right in.

  • The Goal:Get 95 pay-to-play articles
  • The Challenge: Pearlin and Chang want to hit the ground running with their new site launch
  • The Current Landing Page: www.the-100-best.com
  • Value: $998 per article inclusion

image of landing pageClick image for larger view

The Maven’s 10-Point Critique

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

#1 — Make sure your landing page design works for the majority of monitors and screen displays.

I viewed the page on my 20” screen/1680 x 1050 resolution and it looked a little big to me. I then tested it on a 15” monitor with a standard resolution. The page spilled its borders and was completely unreadable. You’ll definitely want to rework the overall design layout so the majority of visitors can read the page comfortably and without a lot of fiddling around.

#2 — Use one strong establishing image ‘above the fold.’

Your header and book cover images are large — too large, in my estimation — and compete with each other. Your headline gets lost sandwiched in-between, and lost means not read. I’d pull back the banner size and simplify it to its essential message. Then I’d crop the cover image to show just the front of the book.

The back cover is too hard to read, even in this super-sized size. Don’t show what visitors can’t digest.

#3 — Be mindful of what a book cover communicates, both directly and indirectly.

You can’t judge a book by its cover but, to one degree or another, all of us do. That’s why smart publishers spend time and money to get their book covers just right.

Your current cover confused me. Why does it look wrinkled? Why the handwriting effect? Why the Tested and Approved badge — by whom? Your cover has to appeal to two markets — buyers of the book product when published AND the business people who will pay to be included in the book. Ask yourself — do you want to appear in a book that looks like that and do you want to pay for the privilege?

$998 is a lot of marketing dough to spend. A high quality, business-elegant book cover will make it easier for your prospects to imagine their own name and article inside.

#4 — Provide an example of what ‘my page’ might look like.

For $998, I want to see a sample of what my page might look like. Offer an attractive mock-up of a typical page. Show me what my investment buys me — my name here, my photo here, my business information (name, URL, etc.) here, etc.

You actually do this but it’s not on the landing page. It’s found buried on your click-through page, Terms and Conditions. You want it on the landing page. Show a portion of a sample page and link to a pop-up window (that keeps the reader on the page) that shows a typical article. Rather than a static PDF, it might be fun to do this as a mini-movie so you can do close-ups, etc.

From an emotional standpoint, this is a vanity project. Therefore you have to help the prospects imagine and visualize themselves in the book and make them say Wow, I want to be a part of that.

#5 — Consider a two-column format so you can run photos of all the famous folks you’ve interviewed for previous books adjacent to your page content.

Consistency may be the hobgoblin of a small mind, but I tend to like bio shots in one basic format and size. I’d think about redoing these images with professional head shots (like Yap uses in your sample interview) and decide on one size for display.

image of landing pageClick image for larger view

COPY CONSIDERATIONS

#6 — Put your core promise upfront.

In the newspaper business, failing to do this is called burying the lead. In marketing, we call it less-than-smart, especially when you have just a few seconds to capture someone’s interest long enough for them to continue to engage with your message.

Right now, you have 4 (4!) screens of warm-up copy and big pictures, but on the bottom of screen 4 I found this:

Wouldn’t it be great to get instant credibility with your clients and customers by being featured in a bestselling business book, called 100 Best Business Ideas To Make You Rich, alongside top entrepreneurs like …”

Not a perfect sentence but it hits the core point — Gain instant credibility by sharing your knowledge alongside other business experts in a new business book. I’d also add something about not having to write a word if you’re not a writer or too busy to do so. We’ll write it for you!

#7 — Don’t underline anything in your copy that’s not a link. And the only links you should have on your page are the calls to action or links that support the calls to action, period.

You underlined your book title, making me want to click it. When nothing happens, I’m frustrated. Feel free to use bold, italics, or color to highlight your title. Just don’t underline them.

Speaking of links, you have several that distract visitors from your page and force them to leave. Links to Amazon might sell a few of your other books, but you’ve just given someone a reason not to proceed toward a $998 pay-off. If you use a link, have it open up on the same page.

Every link has to be 100% focused on helping the visitor make a positive decision toward the desired action. Nothing more, nothing less.

#8 — Be trustworthy. Prove all claims or don’t make ‘em.

Hype makes prospects antsy and mistrustful. That’s why marketers (like you and me), just can’t say anything and have folks believe. Shouting doesn’t make it so, either. So one of the areas I’m particularly honed-in on is language precision.

If you’re calling yourself a best-selling author, prove it by copies sold, Amazon or Barnes & Noble ranking, etc. If you’re, for example, the most successful business author in Singapore, that’s cool. It’s specific and believable. Say that instead.

Also, a book that isn’t yet published can’t be a best-seller. It’s a future/prospective/potential best-seller, but not a best-seller now. So you need to focus on the claims and statements you can make that are provable and believable. Believability leads to trust and trust leads directly to a sale that the customer won’t regret later.

#9 — Consider your audience when highlighting your chosen experts.

I have to be honest to say I haven’t heard of any of the folks you highlight. The fact that I personally haven’t heard of them isn’t important. What is important is whether or not your prospects have.

If you’re going for a strictly Asian market, you might be good to go. If you’re thinking outside Asia, then you’ll want to sprinkle some European, North and South American experts to round out the roster.

#10 — Detail the process for your visitor, step by step, once they’ve paid their $$$. Anticipate their questions.

Okay, so I pay my money and then either submit my article and ancillaries or you interview me and write it up.

Then what happens? Who owns it? Can I use my article on my own blog? How will you market this book? Do I get a cut of the sale price? Do you have an affiliate program? These are the questions running around your prospect’s head that will most certainly need answers.

BONUS 1– Define and clarify your call to action.

Submit your story and Join now are two very different calls to action. (What am I joining?)

Submit your story for review is a better call to action. It lends a little exclusivity to the mix, since you’ve noted that entries will be limited.

BONUS 2 — Clarify the charitable contribution.

I’m all about the pro bono, obviously. But your copy says 100% of the book sales will go to your charity. When I read the linked document, however, it says 40%. Disconnects make me uneasy. :)

My thanks to Pearlin Siow for her patience and support of Heifer International. Look for my next makeover in approximately 4 weeks.

Want to get a future Copywriting Maven 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.

I’m back-logged for gratis “Heifer” critiques until 3/15/10. 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. Find her @CopywriterMaven on Twitter.

Print Friendly

Smarter is Better Solutions for Smarter Content Marketing

Here’s what we’ve got for you:

  • 15 high-impact ebooks on content marketing, SEO, email marketing, landing pages, keyword research, and more.
  • A 20-part Internet marketing course that lays out a comprehensive path for your own online strategy.
  • An organized reference guide to the “best of the best” of Copyblogger.com, and how it all profitably fits together.
Free Registration

Take The Conversation Further ...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Meet us over on Google+ or Twitter to join the conversation right now!

Comments

  1. Three suggestions:

    1. Use WordPress
    2. Buy Thesis Theme
    3. Take a sword to that 37-word title:

    Will the upcoming blockbuster book 100 Best Business Ideas To Make You Rich include YOUR idea?

  2. Nice tips for a product web page design.

  3. Excellent tips. Business is built on trust; trustworthiness should be at the top of the list.

  4. Love this post! I can’t tell you how much I have picked up from this. I will be launching a new book early 2010, and will take this information to heart. Thanks!

  5. Build a short form landing page and test it against this monster I bet it would improve your conversion rates.

  6. Why do you think so, Jake?

  7. Well said Roberta. I think you have laid out most of the tips in my ebook. Thanks for the post.

  8. Catching up with copyblogger after a long time. This is one series I really appreciate on copyblogger. Nice mix of non-trivial theory and interesting case studies.

    I started making a trail of all your landing page series posts. Other readers may enjoy following it to get the whole experience…

    Copyblogger Landing Pages Trail:
    http://bit.ly/6B7kxz (Trail Map: http://bit.ly/8Jlg0K)

    Venkat

    p.s. Full disclosure, I am the product manager of trailmeme.com, where I created this trails. Actually I started making this trail because I was reviewing the material in preparation for redesigning our own (frankly awful) landing page…

  9. Sonia, the short form landing page will convert better for two reasons.

    Due to over use by affiliate marketers the long form screams scam, not the message you want to send with your layout.

    The long form buries your conversion action. Unless your sell was written by Stephenie Meyer’s for a teenage demo the majority of readers won’t stick around long enough to even see it.

    You should always be testing and tweaking your offer. If you are running long copy build a version that is short, run different headline, test your calls to action, test test test.

  10. @Jake – When you’re looking to sell a $998 anything, you need to make a strong case. The long-form sales letter when done well – and this one wasn’t – can do an excellent job. I’ve seen plenty of short-form affiliate landing pages that also scream ‘scam’ because of copy and design. The key, as you’ve rightly pointed out, is to 1/never stop testing your assumptions, and 2/create tests built on actual results. Thanks for your sharing your expertise!

  11. @Venkat – what an interesting way of collating and sharing posts! Thank you for making one of the series. (If you’d like a personal assist on your landing pages, I’m just an email away.)

  12. Hey Venkat, good to see you. Thanks for the trail map!

  13. I love these makeovers, and even though they aren’t my own sites, I learn a ton each and every time.

    Thanks!

  14. Nathan, me too, I’ve always loved them, and I’m super glad Roberta continues to share them with us.

  15. Nathan, I learn a ton writing each and every one of them. I’m happy to share. It’s the mentor in me.

  16. Sonia:

    I plan to be much more regular next year, as I take on more of a marketing role at work. Right now, I read every copyblogger post EXCEPT list posts (“10 tips…”) and the “What X can teach you about…” format. You guys have been doing a lot of those lately :-(.

    Wish you guys would do more single-high-concept posts, with some drill down. But maybe those posts aren’t as popular overall.

    BTW, there is a Trailmeme plugin for wordpress, which would allow you to host trails natively on your site (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordtrails/) but if you are interested in that, I recommend you wait a few days… just about to release a new version.

    Roberta: will make a note to look you up if the design guys on my team aren’t able to pull it off unassisted.

    Venkat

  17. Great tips. Wow, so much to learn! Thank you so much!

  18. Roberta,

    I’m wondering… if you changed your name to Bob Bikerberg, would you get the hundreds more comments these deserve?

    Just sayin’! ;)

  19. Pretty excellent article.Landing pages either make are break you. By focusing a lot on your landing page you can increase your conversion precentage a lot.

  20. @Shane … since I never went undercover with an online male persona, it’s hard to say. Though I’m kinda liking Roberta Bikerbabe – but that would be for a different kind of blog. ;)

  21. @Roberta,

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud! ;)

  22. That should have been ‘Berta Bikerbabe. Better alliteration … and you’re welcome. :)

  23. Hey Roberta, just wanted to let you know that I’ll still love you even if you come out of the closet as Bob. Hopefully not but you never know round here….

    Brilliant crit as usual but I want to contribute 2 small points anyway.

    1. I agree with all you say except for the possible use of italics. I hate seeing these used on the web – they look tack and scream amateur so I say avoid at all costs.
    2. I’ve never seen a good long landing page. I hate scrolling down and would prefer to get my info in smaller bites. Would be interested to see a good long one!

    I’m lying low over Xmas with 3 kids on holiday until February. I’ll be spending more time surfing in the ocean with them that surfing the Net so if I don’t get a chance again just want to say happy hols to all the Copyblogger team and see you next year:)

  24. In the 4th grade Halloween Best Costume competition, a kid name, Joe, and I tied for first place. We both cross-dressed. I was a hobo. He was a French maid. That’s the closest I ever got to ‘Bob.”

    To your other points, I think you can do just about anything as a light accent. But a sea of italics is bloody awful, no doubt about it. AWAI does a pretty good job of the long-form letter format. Clean layout and just enough going on to keep you scrolling through. Still everything should be tested.

    And a very happy holiday to you, too!

  25. Laughing at Halloween. This year I went as a woman but sadly probably looked like a transvestite….

    Is that the American writer’s website? Looking now, thanks. When I worked in an East End London pub they had regular fancy dress nights and I always went as a man complete with penciled on mustache to avoid being leered at. It works:)

  26. Yes, see awaionline.com … they are an aggressive marketing company but are aligned with some copywriter superstars. (Transparency alert – I teach online copywriting classes for them.) There’s a lot you can learn from their programs as well as the constant stream of promotion you’ll receive.

  27. Hehe, I was wondering if you wrote the copy for it. I think it’s quite okay to recommend something you’ve done though:) Looks like an interesting organisation. Right I really am off now! Thanks RR.

  28. I agree with @roberta the price tag demands further study of the offer and this means, more hard-hitting copy-unless-and this is a BIG unless- you were to put
    a sandwhich page up front to get the email address–

    Discover How YOUR Big Ideas Could Generate Gobs
    Of Credibility For You In Your Market-Details Inside

    And then, reveal this info in the sales letter
    and in follow-up emails.

    Thoughts. Don’t be deceitful with this though-make sure you answer what you’ve promised in the landing page.

  29. Jake, I hope you don’t give your clients “one size fits all” advice like that. Dangerous, especially among those of us who *do* test various copy lengths, based on context, not conjecture.

    Tell me, how do your short-copy pages convert better with higher-priced products that require you to overcome multiple anticipated objections? Or do you not know, because that’s not what you do?

    The only thing that screams “scam” is me-too marketers who mimic copy and design approaches from incongruent markets. In other words, most online marketing wannabes.

  30. The book cover is also wrong for English. The front cover should be on the right not the left.

  31. These are all very important tips. All in all, what they see is what they think they’ll get. So do everything to make a very good first impression.

  32. Great articles as always. Personally I think the page currently looks very much like a scam with claims that appear too bold and cheap graphics.

    Jake’s point about long copy versus short copy is interesting as I’ve just started a split test to compare a very short copy against long one. This is not a direct landing page though but rather further down the sales process on a “price” link.

    My current assumption is that by the time people want to look at my prices they’re already quite interested, so having a long sales page overcoming objections is not necessary. Therefore I’m testing it against a much shorter page that has a split page with a much more direct message and the action form on the right-hand-side so it’s on the first fold as recommended here. I’m also trying to take in account the viewers frame of mind when they click on “prices”.

  33. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating; remember that you may not be your customer. In particular, we tend to assume that the reader has already absorbed our sales message from warm-up material, when in fact they may have many questions that remain unanswered.

    Dave Navarro has some very good examples of sales pages that capture attention and answer buyer questions fully without looking hypey or sleazy.

  34. I love reading these makeovers. Roberta, excellent evaluation and recommendations!

  35. Gabe – thank you!
    Sonia – ‘You are not necessarily your customer’ has to be one of the most difficult concepts for clients/business folks to grasp. If you’re not the market for your products/services, make sure you find folks who are and learn from them.

  36. Great point about only linking to the call to action link.
    Landing pages are all too often put together with little thought. Will be interested to see how they do after they implement your suggestions.

  37. Thanks for the landing page idea it really will help me out.

  38. Thanks for sharing. Really great ideas. I am going to work on landing page for an International Event. This ideas and tips will help me to make it effective in terms of Interactivity.

  39. I will follow this article for designing my landing page and will share with my colleagues. Thank you so much for sharing this good article.