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The Tale of Two Landing Pages: One Was Inspiring and One... Disappointing

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

If You Have High Traffic and Low Conversion, You Might Be Disappointing...

My legs ache. My lungs burn. My head throbs. But finally I reach the top of the ridge and peer out over Look Out Meadow. My tired feet, numb hands, and sore back agree.

It wasn’t worth it...

Have you ever followed someone you hardly know down - or up - a path on little more than the hope and your guide’s say-so that just over that rise is something better?

That’s what your customers do when they click through to your landing page. They are trusting you to take them safely, comfortably on a path that eases their pains and solves their problems.

If your landing page gets high traffic and low conversions, you need to check your landing page design and copy to make sure you are speaking to your ideal client and setting proper expectations.

What Is a Landing Page?

A landing page is persuasive writing that defines, qualifies, and then asks your customer to take a specific, desired action.

Think of it as a trail that is a complex emotional journey. The emotions ranges between “I can’t wait to get to the top'' to “This had better be worth it.”

Compared to something like a blog or a home page, a landing page is a short journey that takes your customer from passively reading to actively participating.

A good landing page:

  • Empathizes with your ideal customer – Let them know that you’re on their side!

  • Qualifies them for your solution – define the perfect customer to avoid disappointment

  • Stimulates their emotions – people buy on emotion. But don’t needlessly manipulate or overstimulate.

  • Handles objections – It’s easier to think up a reason why they shouldn’t act than to act. Overcome those objections with benefits. Heal their pain. Solve their problem.

  • Gives testimonials – show them how it’s worked for others just like them.

  • Provides peace of mind – Eliminate as much risk as possible.

How Does a Landing Page Work in a Sales Funnel?

Landing pages are an essential part of any digital marketing sales funnel.

A potential customer clicks on an ad via social media or a link in an email.

That ad takes them to a landing page that further qualifies the customer, peaks their interest with the benefits of the product or service, and asks them to act.

Their action leads them to the next step in the funnel, usually a sales page or a product description.

Finally, they buy your product and become a happy, paying customer.

There can also be multiple landing pages in a sales funnel depending on the product, but remember, you lose customers every time you ask them to take the next action. The fewer the clicks the higher the conversion.

Let’s look back on one of my backpacking treks to see how a good “landing page” inspired me to take the next steps. And how the next “landing page” disappointed me.

The guides on my trek function as a landing page. One persuaded me to act and delivered on her promise. The next...did not.

A landing page is a persuasive guide on your trek that leads your emotions on the path it wants you to take.

The Tale of Two Landing Pages

I was on the coveted backpacking trek through Philmont Scout Reservation that few scouts ever get to go on.

It’s the second day out on our trek. Mari, an athletic girl with more energy than the energizer bunny, leads the group today under the guidance of our guide of course. After setting our course, she starts walking at a good pace.

By mid morning our guides figure we’re about half way, and I am optimistic that we’re making good time. Even if my poor Florida lungs are working hard to keep up.

We eat our lunch on some boulders, and I ask where we go from here because I can’t see a trail. One guide exchanges a glance with the other and points up the side of a cliff.

They laugh at my skeptical stare up the side of the mountain. My flat Florida brain tries to comprehend how I’m supposed to scale that while wearing a backpack.

One guide assures me that it’s not as steep as it looks. The cliff isn’t 90 degrees straight up. It’s actually more like 120 degrees...which brings no comfort to my poor Florida lungs. They are already having trouble keeping up on an inclined trail, and now this!

She continues to reassure me that she’s right behind me, and won’t let me fall. She says she’s done it several times with a less fit group than we have today. Everyone of them made it, and when we get to the top there’ll be a nice place to rest.

“When we start,” she says, “just take one step at a time. One foot in front of the other, and you’ll make it. I promise,” she states confidently, “It’s worth it.”

And in that testament, I placed my hope and faith.

Two hours of hard, steep trekking – I’m talking hands clawing the trail before me as if I were climbing a ladder kind of steep – and I see my group stopping up ahead. Thank goodness! We’re finally taking a break, I think.

I step up next to the others and look out over a breathtaking scene. The kind you read about in the Louis L’Amour westerns and dream of seeing for yourself.

A long valley of bright green grass opens wide before us. The rays of the afternoon sun peak over the crest of the mountains around, and butterflies float on the breeze. I can hear a stream of water rushing down to the valley where it cuts a deep meandering path through the long grass.

It is a rich, serene place to camp after that difficult climb. They don’t call it Lower Bonita for nothing.

And yes, the climb is worth it.

It’s also still early enough in the day to just set and enjoy the serenity before dinner duties call. My faith in my guide paid off. Or so I thought...

We descend into the valley and follow the swift flowing stream to where the boys’ group sets up camp. That’s when our second guide informs us that we have one more hike up to Look Out Meadow.

I'm not the only one who is visibly disappointed. Why go on? This place is beautiful! And there’s more than enough space for the two groups.

The guide assures us that the relatively short hike to Lookout Meadow is worth it! It’s not as hard as the trail we just did. And the quicker we get there the sooner we can relax and enjoy it. Lower Bonita doesn’t even compare to that high meadow.

Besides, protocol and itineraries are clear. We are to stay in Lookout Meadow tonight.

So after a brief respite where we filter more water, we say farewell to Lower Bonita and our buddy group.

No, I don’t have to use my hands to climb this trail, but it’s a straight up no switch back trail all the same.

My thighs ache. My lungs burn. My head throbs. I crest the ridge and peer into Lookout Meadow prepared for the awe inspiring scene my guide promised.

Instead, I catch a whiff of cow manure, and see a smaller meadow of cropped grass. There’s no peaceful meandering stream. No butterflies flutter on the breeze. But there are horseflies. Huge ones!

Really the only thing Lookout Meadow has going for it over Lower Bonita is the view of the setting sun on the New Mexican horizon. That is gorgeous...But momentary, and it certainly does not make up for the flaws.

No. The climb wasn’t worth it.

Set Proper Expectations with Landing Pages

I still remember it like it was yesterday! The elation of seeing Lower Bonita after that first arduous climb, and the disappointment of smelling Lookout Meadow.

Did you see how the two different guides triggered two very different emotions?

The first guide (or "landing page"):

  • Empathized with me. She knows it looks really steep, but it’s not.

  • Encouraged me with her experience saying others like me have done it.

  • Engaged my emotions by saying she’s got my back.

  • Overcame my objections with the benefits.

  • Reassured me that the benefits are worth it.

The second guide:

  • Did not deliver. She made a promise that led to disappointment.

  • Did not empathize with our aches and pains to let us know she was on our side.

  • Listed features (the itinerary and protocol) instead of the benefits

  • Oh yeah, and she didn’t apologize when we got to the top, and her promise failed.

So if you're getting the traffic, but your leads aren't taking action...

Make sure your landing page sets the right expectations by defining and qualifying who your product or service is best for.

Empathize with your customer’s pains and problems because they need to know you get it. That’s how you build trust.

Don’t abuse their emotions. When you overstimulate your customers and then don’t deliver, you betray the trust you just earned.

Highlight the benefits on the landing page not the features. I see this so many times. I even go back and correct myself sometimes. A benefit is the most basic form of how your product or service solves your customer's problem.

The benefit of Lower Bonita was not that it was beautiful. Or that it had cold running water close to camp. Or that the campsite was spacious. Those are features that make the benefit possible.

The benefit was that I could rest peacefully after a long hard hike.

Years later I remember the emotions. Emotions are powerful. Make sure your landing page triggers the right emotions. Does it motivate or disappoint?

If you read this and you're overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to write your landing pages. I get it. Writing demands a lot of time. You need time to...

  • Research your audience

  • Formulate the benefits

  • Craft a story that clearly articulates why your product is right for them

  • And edit your work

I know how exhausting that process can be because that's what I go through when I write for my clients. And I'm only writing! I can't imagine how overwhelming it must be to write and run the other aspects of your business.

So save yourself some stress. And book your 15 minute consultation with me today.

We'll discuss:

  1. Who your ideal client is.

  2. What your specific goal is.

  3. And how I can help you reach that goal with excellent copy.

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