Web: After the Click
Anyone involved in target marketing knows that a landing page can make or break a campaign. Getting people to click on your email link or banner offer is irrelevant if they don't see what they expected to see, can't find what they came for or are just plain turned off by your landing page.
And the unfortunate truth is, few Web designers, or even digital marketers, have specific training in conversion optimization. Fortunately, the principles of creating a high-performing website are universal, regardless of whether your conversion action is a form-fill, trial offer, sale or anything else. Forget about features and benefits—if you want to increase the number of visitors moving through your conversion funnel, you need to persuade with emotion, clarity and trust.
Persuasion Isn't Logical
Visitors will arrive at your website with their own needs, perspectives and emotions. You probably have very specific demographic and behavioral data points on the audience that you're targeting, but you still don't know anything about them individually. Yet, within a fraction of a second, you need to persuade them to stay on your page.
There's actually a huge disconnect between how the human brain takes in and processes data and how most websites are organized. Surprisingly, it's usually not the most artistically designed websites that convert the highest, and certainly not the websites that have the most detailed and targeted marketing campaigns, either. Why? Because there are a litany of complex emotions and gut feelings that visitors process before consciously turning their attention to the things that they think "matter." In other words, the subconscious brain is moving much faster than the part of the brain that controls logic and reason.
The first step to optimizing your post-click path to conversion is to understand that customers don't care about all the intellectual reasons why they should buy from you, despite what they might have told you in surveys and focus groups. The part of the brain that makes purchase decisions is emotionally driven, not rational or logical. The more senses you can trigger and associate with your product or service, the more effective you'll be in influencing your visitors' buying behavior. In particular, your landing page must quickly and immediately establish an emotional connection in order to influence a visitor to stay on your site.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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