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12 essential elements to building website landing pages that sell.

The upcoming Mequoda Summitt 2005 in Boston (see Who, What, When & Where this issue) will include a session on how to use the Mequoda Landing Page Scorecard. It's the method that John Clausen and others at Mequoda use to examine and evaluate landing pages.

The scorecard system forces you to look objectively at the whole website, not just the part that you like or the part that interests you.

Mequoda president Don Nicholas and his colleagues and consultants have isolated 12 essential elements of a successful landing page sales letter.

Here are the 12 elements for your review. But, in order to implement them effectively (read: profitably) we'd recommend that you attend the Mequoda Summit.

1. A great headline engages the reader with a compelling user benefit. Believe it or not, far too many landing pages die a quick death simply because their headline doesn't answer the question on every reader's mind: "What's in it for me?'

2. You have to be a storyteller. Don't just string together a mass of cliched "marketing" language and expect the reader to do your bidding.

3. Webify your content. By this we mean use every appropriate technological bell and whistle that's at your disposal. Just make sure the technology fits both your selling purposes and your budget.

4. Use clear language. If your landing page is full of industry jargon and computer-speak, there's a good chance you'll lose your audience. This seems like a no-brainer, but a mind-boggling number of websites are stupendously confusing in terms of language.

5. Capture some email. This is extremely important and often overlooked. The Mequoda System offers a great way to capture emails and build relationships with visitors.

6. Use testimonials. Don't just list your testimonials and leave it at that. Bring the testimonial copy into the text of your letter to help with the storytelling. And, please ... give the reader some credible identification: "John Smith from Ogden, Utah" is a heck of a lot more compelling that "John S., Utah."

7. Keep your links easy to identify and easy to use. Make sure that your links to your order page are well designed and easy to understand. Launching a landing page without well-done links is like opening a Wal-Mart without cash registers. It just doesn't make sense.

8. Make your site readable. This goes beyond mere language. Typeface and layout are extremely important. Don't make scrolling through your content a daunting task for your readers. And make sure that your graphics are well integrated with your sales letter's natural flow.

9. Keep it current and fresh. Nothing kills a reader's likelihood of buying more efficiently than sales letter content that is obviously out of date.

10. Load Time is Crucial. We live in an era of instant gratification. Load times that would have been considered blinding speed a couple years ago now seem absolutely glacial. Your goal should be a loading time of less than 15 seconds on a 56K connection.

11. Make your landing page look nice. Again, this seems like an obvious thing. But our experience has taught us that it isn't. Aesthetics are very important. Would you buy anything from a department store that had trash in its display window?

12. Make it easy to order. A prime feature of your landing page should be a usable online order flow. You should include toll-free numbers and a printable fax order form, as well as an option to have a sales representative contact the reader to take an order.

Mequoda, Don Nicholas, 121 Boston Post Road, Sudbury, MA 01776, 978-440-8037, fax 508-881-5604; Kim Mateus, 215 High Street, Bristol, RI 02809, 401-396-9677, fax 401-633-6057,
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Title Annotation:Online publishing
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Aug 31, 2005
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