Let's assume you've put up your first website or landing page. You're excited and can almost taste the delicious Pusser's Rum you'll be sipping on the deck of the new catamaran you're going to purchase with your muse earnings.
Before you cast off, though, let's drop some tough knowledge on you like a Danforth anchor: no visitor is going to read your site, let alone buy your product.
Wait a frigging minute, you sputter, I thought I just had to put up a site that describes my product! What do you mean no one's going to show up?!?
Before you have a nutty, realize that I said no visitor is going to read your site, not that no one will visit. It's a huge distinction, one that will make the difference between you piloting your new catamaran to strange shores and sitting at home watching "Glee".
Web users, particularly first-time visitors, do not read text. If there's anything more than a word or two on your landing page it will be skipped over like a hobbit waiting to be chosen for a Tuesday night pickup game.
Look at your landing page. Is there a sentence on it? Smack yourself on the knuckles. Is there more than one sentence? Close your head in the refrigerator door. Are there more than 5 sentences? Brace yourself, this is gonna hurt.
You get the idea.
In order to create an effective landing page, you must do two critical things, all the while keeping your text to a bare-assed minimum:
1) Tell the visitor what your product does
2) Spark the visitor's emotional need for your product
The first is pretty clear, yes? Let's discuss the second.
Visitors and potential customers do not give a damn what your product does. They do not care that it cleans collars better than other stainlifters. Or helps maintain neutral buoyancy while floating over a reef 100 'down. Or can teach them to build a security system out of an XBox Kinect device.
They care only about this: does your product satisfy a deep emotional need?
- A young professional might have a deep separated desire to be taken more seriously by her colleagues, and having sparkling clean shirts may help satisfy that need
- An inexperienced diver setting off on his first boat ride may be worried about looking like an epileptic grouper, but your buoyancy product may soothe his fear
- A geek Mom concerned about the safety of her newborn may find two burning emotional desires satisfied by your home-roled security system: her family is safe and she immediately becomes the coolest nerd in the herd for hacking it together herself
This is what your landing page must achieve to keep a visitor around long enough to investigate and buy your product. To do it, follow these steps:
1) Determine who your target audience is (nb: if your answer is something as broad as "car owners", see "refrigerator door" activity above)
2) Do a deep empathetic move into your target audience to find out what their emotional needs are. What do they want most in the world? What gets their loins burning? What terrifies them?
3) Determine which of the emotional needs in (2) are satisfied by your product. If more than one, choose the one you think burns the strongest.
4) Put together a set of images, colors, and text that conveys the emotional need your product is targeting and how it will fill that need. Use as simple a palette as possible and perfect not by adding, but by removing. Revise, reexamine, redesign.
Once you're satisfied with the design for your new landing page, get quantitative and quantitative data about its performance through usability testing and split testing, respectively. (We'll cover both in later posts, so hang on for the ride)
If your design does its job, a visitor in your target audience will be intrigued by your landing page and driven to get more information about your product: How does it do it? Have other people had success with it? Who created it? What's it made of? How much is it?
How can I buy it?
Start chilling the rum.