I have a saying that I often apply to many situations in life: “Don’t go to China to get to California.”
How does that apply to online marketing? More often than not, we determine an online campaign’s success through some high value action, like lead capture, video view, or something similar. But just as often, and even though these actions are at the heart of a campaign’s success, those actions are hidden or put at the end of a process or banner.
Critical messages and calls to action are obscured by creative, images, and messaging, and they’re relegated to the back of the visual and click-path sequence. Yet those items’ resulting metrics are the first thing people look at when evaluating a campaign’s key performance indicators (define). This is done for a variety of reasons, such as simple ignorance of best practices, an aversion to asking people for what you want, extraneous pages and content, or an overly hard sell that focuses on selling a product rather than the escalating or high value action on a landing page. The result is always the same: users are forced to jump through more hoops to engage in the behavior we want and conversion rates go down. Users are being forced to go to China to get to California.
Below are six tips to helping your users get to California by a more direct route:
- Promote and deliver on benefits and offers. Google did a study a couple years back showing that 70 percent of what influences clicks in its text ads are the benefit and offer statements. Our agency has found this fact applies to most things online; tell people how you will help them and what you can give them right then and there. Display benefits and offers in your banners, deliver on them on your landing pages, and watch your conversion and action rates go up.
- Use a reverse-pyramid message structure. Typically, good creative people love building to a crescendo. Lead with a tease, then deliver the payoff with a bang. This may be good for a mystery novel or an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but for banners and landing pages it’s not so good. When trying to get people to take action online, lead with the payoff and get right to the point. Most people won’t sit through :15 animation frames to get to the offer. You need to grab them right away with the wow factor, then follow up with the facts. Sizzle, then steak.