Paul Cheney

Landing Page Optimization: 3 quick recommendations from the stage at Optimization Summit 2012

June 12th, 2012

“What is the objective of this page?” Dr. Flint McGlaughlin asked audience member Maile Keone at the Pre-Optimization Summit LPO Workshop in Denver.

“To get people to call.”

The problem is the page isn’t achieving the objective — at least not to the extent the marketers (including Maile) at VacationRoost want it to.

The page was plastered on two huge screens at the front of the room here at the Denver Marriott Tech Center with 150 marketers from around the world scrutinizing it.


Click to enlarge


So, to help Maile and her team from VacationRoost, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin offered some recommendations for ways to improve the page.

To begin, we need to ask three critical questions from the perspective of the customer, Dr. McGlaughlin noted:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. Why should I do it?

When we ask these questions, three optimization recommendations for the page come to mind.


Recommendation #1: Remove (or move) the seal at the top of the page

The first problem we see with the page is the large seal at the top of the page. If we are trying to answer the question, “Where am I?” the graphic fails. It does not look like a headline, and it doesn’t do much to engage visitors into a conversation.

The only solution here to fix it is to remove the seal. State plainly that what follows is an offer explaining VacationRoost’s package deal. Because it looks like a seal, the eye automatically skips over it.


Recommendation #2: Don’t use sales language 

When we try to answer the second question, “What can I do here?” we get a message that says, “Save Big.”

“‘Save Big’ does not tell us what we can do here,” Dr. McGlaughlin mentioned from the stage, “‘Save Big’ causes people to put their guard up. There’s a better way to say it.”

Dr. McGlaughlin’s earlier teaching at the Value Proposition session today suggested an approach that involves using more specific data to qualify the idea of big savings.

For example, I might change that line to “Save an average of 15% when you add lift tickets or gear rentals to your lodging purchase.”


Recommendation #3: Don’t make outrageous claims

The last thing a page needs to do when trying to answer the third question (Why should I do it?) is make an outrageous claim. That’s precisely what happens in the text below the main headline on the page:

“Shhh… These deals are so good they are almost a secret.”

“Look at the size of that ad — does it look like it’s a secret?” Dr. McGlaughlin asked. “It’s like saying [to a girl you are trying to start a conversation with] ‘I’m so good I don’t want the other girls to know I‘m talking to you.’”

To sum it up in Dr. McGlaughlin’s words, “This is a classic magazine ad posing as a webpage.”

I should mention here that VacationRoost has a lot of great offers. But unfortunately, they aren’t communicated on this page.

What would you recommend for fixing this page? Let us know in the comments section of this blog post.


Related Resources:

What to Test: 4 sample landing page treatments from Optimization Summit 2012

Landing Page Optimization: 2 charts describing the best page elements to test and how to test them

Landing Page Optimization: Radical redesign leads to 3,566% increase in conversion

Landing Page Optimization: How to start optimization testing and get executive support

Paul Cheney

About Paul Cheney

Paul Cheney, Senior Partnership Content Manager, MECLABS Paul helps turn raw research into easy-to-understand content for MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa readers. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Covenant College. Before joining the MarketingExperiments and Sherpa team, Paul wrote grant proposals and fundraising letters for a mid-size nonprofit in New Jersey. He has also worked as a freelance Internet marketing consultant and copywriter for small businesses. In his spare time, Paul enjoys reading, writing poems, and dating his wife, Callie.

Categories: Website And Landing Page Design Tags: , , ,

  1. June 18th, 2012 at 11:35 | #1

    My recommendation: Sell the actual product!

    Imagine you are looking for a new car. Would your dealer tell you to take model A because you can get the optional CD player for a special price? I don’t think so.

    Your car dealer would try to convince you that model A is the best car in the world for you. And if he’s good, he knows that it’s an emotional thing. He’ll give you facts, but what’s more important: he’ll make you feel good about them!

    So: Sell the lodging, not the lift tickets. Isn’t that the actual reason for the ad – to sell accomodation? So just do it! Why would I want lift tickets when I still need to be charmed into booking a lodge or whatever accomodation is on offer?

  2. Tanya Prior
    June 19th, 2012 at 14:53 | #2

    Christian is absolutely correct in his comment.
    The advert is not selling the product! No matter what the add on deals are, the BIG picture should be to book accommodation!
    As for the small print – we are only allowed to offer these rates in a bundle deal – we are not allowed to publish the rates…. Really? That won’t get me clicking anywhere but ‘close’

  3. November 27th, 2012 at 15:02 | #3

    Pre-sell the headline/offer with an informational lead. Here’s my example…

    Vacation Value Tips

    Tip #1: Quite often vacation packages really are great value. By looking for and taking advantage of the good deals when they come along, you’ll get a lot more value for your vacation dollars.

    Tip #2: Paying up front for a bundled package that combines your travel needs, and saves you money, is a smart vacation value strategy.

    Tip #3: Vacations are good for you, and spending your money wisely will allow you to take more of them.

    Now, here’s a great opportunity to put what you’ve just learned into practice…

    Get Great Vacation Value with our Exclusive Winter Resort Package Deals

    SAVE (15% on average) by adding lift tickets OR gear rentals to your lodging purchase.

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