Why Your Landing Page Turns Me Off

23 replies
When I end up on a landing page and I see a big red headline at the top, a bunch of bullet points, a sob story all located in a white box approximately 600 pixels wide centered in the middle of my browser I automatically close the screen.

Why?

My mind has become conditioned to associate these sorts of pages with low quality products and individuals desperate to make a quick buck.

Why do I think this?

My conditioned beliefs

- If a product is so good, then it'll practically sell itself. I don't need all the hype I just need something that works.

- I believe what my friends and family say but I can't trust testimonials or reviews on a landing page no matter how good they are because the person who created the landing page is invested in the product

- This proven sales format is used to make up for lack of product quality

- Anything that claims to be exclusive, the next big thing, or a limited time offer is automatically flagged in my mind as a cheap sales trick


NOW I am not saying that all pages that have this template sell poor quality products. I am simply relaying to you what thought processes were going through my head when I landed on countless of these pages throughout my internet using career before I even knew what the words 'Internet Marketing' meant.

I see so many templates for squeeze pages or pre-sales pages that all follow this same format. Johnston box, big red headline, bullet points, etc... etc... even now when I see these pages the format itself is enough to turn me off even if the product is amazing. The question in my mind is then why is this format so common?

The only answer I can think of, because it works.

Well if it works, then why hasn't it worked on me when I knew nothing of IM?
#landing #page #turns
  • Profile picture of the author Micah Medina
    Marketing is a numbers game. The techniques you see the pros use have been really highly refined to appeal to the broadest amount of people. If you're the type of person to automatically reject something that seems "salesy", then the marketer doesn't want you as a long term customer anyway - because the goal is usually to get you to buy more stuff!
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi Hearts Frozen,

      Originally Posted by Hearts Frozen View Post

      The techniques you see the pros use have been really highly refined to appeal to the broadest amount of people.
      I understand why you say this, but I don't believe that it's actually accurate.

      I believe that it's actually a common mistake that people make earlier on in their career as a seller, because they need sales and are often desperate for them. 'Pros' are more concerned with increasing conversion rate - IE - increasing profits from the same amount of expenditure, or even less.

      I think that if you examine 'the pros', you will see that instead they focus in on a target market and tailor their message specifically for that highly-targetted group.

      There are many benefits to this, one being that because their message is so targetted, powerful and likely to be well received by their audience, they can charge higher prices than if they targetted a broad group.

      By trying to appeal to the broadest amount of people, the power of the message is diluted which causes all sorts of issues - advertising cost grows and conversion rate dips, because the audience is less receptive to the message, refunds are a problem as many of the prospects don't have a burning desire/need for the product...does that make sense?
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    • Profile picture of the author sal64
      Originally Posted by Hearts Frozen View Post

      Marketing is a numbers game. The techniques you see the pros use have been really highly refined to appeal to the broadest amount of people. If you're the type of person to automatically reject something that seems "salesy", then the marketer doesn't want you as a long term customer anyway - because the goal is usually to get you to buy more stuff!
      Actually, that's not exact;y correct.

      The squeeze pages we see have been tested to convert better for us.

      I know for a fact that there are often 2 or 3 versions of the same page used to target different demographics.

      That's why I no longer use the standard same old mini site for my websites any more.
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  • Profile picture of the author ExRat
    Hi twilightofidols,

    With respect, you are contradicting yourself a little.

    My mind has become conditioned to associate these sorts of pages with low quality products and individuals desperate to make a quick buck.
    In other words, your experience of internet marketing has conditioned you to think a certain way.

    Well if it works, then why hasn't it worked on me when I knew nothing of IM?
    Presumeably it did work - IE - you presumeably bought some products (or at least a product) that were/was low quality.

    That is experience.

    The question in my mind is then why is this format so common?

    The only answer I can think of, because it works.
    Yes. It works on people who haven't become conditioned with the same beliefs that you have - IE - the majority.

    Also -

    If a product is so good, then it'll practically sell itself. I don't need all the hype I just need something that works.
    How does a product sell itself? The only way I know of is via word of mouth recommendation and in that scenario, you still have to believe that the people recommending are independent, rather than being shills or the vendor themself.

    Otherwise, the only way a product can sell itself is by allowing prospective buyers to look inside. This is not practical most of the time, therefore the typical way to sell a product is via a salesletter of some sort, in which case you have to try and establish trust with the prospect and most people concentrate on turning it into an emotional decision as opposed to a logical one - which generally requires all of the classic features of a salespage -

    a big red headline at the top, a bunch of bullet points, a sob story all located in a white box approximately 600 pixels wide centered in the middle of my browser
    Personally, I don't think that some of those things are imperative, but I don't think you should underestimate the power of bullet points used to summarise the hot-buttons of a product - those bullets often provide the nudge that tips the prospect into a buyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aviator Joe
    sometimes ugly landing pages outperform nice looking landing pages, it's definitely worth split testing ugly landing pages along with your pretty looking ones
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  • Profile picture of the author sal64
    I say good luck with your IM career.

    Oh, and before I forget... you are not your customer.

    Sal
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  • Profile picture of the author RAMarketing
    Then you weren't the target of that landing page; it served its purpose.
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  • Profile picture of the author Micah Medina
    ExRat, I think I might have been misunderstood. Always good to clarify though!

    Copy is written to appeal to the broadest number of people who have qualified themselves by showing enough interest in the offer to arrive at the sales page.

    Obviously, a weight-loss product is tailored to people who are interested in health and fitness. And there are plenty of similar products out there that are copywritten in different styles and designed to cater towards different demographics. It's not hard to imagine differences in a product catered towards 20 year old men and 50 year old women, for example.

    I meant to allude to stuff like split testing. If you see a bunch of pages that are 600 pixels wide with a big yellow headline, it's because somebody out there has tried 580 and 620 and found that neither work quite as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author twilightofidols
    Let me clear a few things up, yes I've bought low quality products in the past. No I have never bought any products from these sorts of landing pages

    I am saying that I have had in the past an unconscious assumption that these sorts of pages sell low quality products.


    Why? I often see them associated with things like - Weight Loss, Make Money Fast, Get Out Of Debt... and I have been conditioned to respond to all such claims with skepticism whereas buying a t-shirt online doesn't arouse the same suspicions to me.

    I didn't post this to say that anybody's method is wrong or that these pages don't work. Admittedly, they do work on many people. Admittedly, I am sure many quality products are sold on pages that look like this.

    The purpose of this post was to offer you guys some insight into how my experience on the internet has conditioned me to look at these sort of landing pages with suspicion.

    It may be that they are higher converting and work on the broadest number of people. What I am suggesting is that it can have the opposite effect on some consumers i.e. the minority i.e. me. And yes to everyone who said so I am aware that I was not the target of that landing page.

    I do not oppose using these landing pages whatsoever. I do not intend to market products to myself, I am trying to market to my target markets whatever method they respond to.
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  • Profile picture of the author FrankRumbauskas
    As a longtime experienced marketer I would have to go with the OP on this one. But for different reasons.

    A few years ago, yes, the "typical" IM sales-letter pages worked best. But times change and the market changes. Early this year I split-tested many site designs and the one that pulled best - BY FAR - is a corporate-type site.

    This was a shocker because I had been doing this about every other year and the "typical" IM sales letter type page always worked best.

    The bottom line is that you must always continue testing and trying new ideas. Just because something worked best last year doesn't mean the market will respond to it the same this year.
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  • Profile picture of the author shawoon98
    My conditioned beliefs

    - If a product is so good, then it'll practically sell itself. I don't need all the hype I just need something that works.
    Why don't you create the best of the best product and put it somewhere without marketing as well as marketing tricks and strategies...... you'll correct your beliefs very soon...

    - I believe what my friends and family say but I can't trust testimonials or reviews on a landing page no matter how good they are because the person who created the landing page is invested in the product
    Same applicable for both GOOD & BAD PRODUCTS. It doesn't mean there's no good product around.

    - This proven sales format is used to make up for lack of product quality
    It's actually to make up customer's easy-visibility, scanability so the customer can quickly scan-find-decide whether he/she needs the product or not. Again, nobody wants to lose one customer just because the sales page didn't communicate with the customer properly. Customers are very costly.

    - Anything that claims to be exclusive, the next big thing, or a limited time offer is automatically flagged in my mind as a cheap sales trick
    When you see a product like that, please come to WF product review section and create a post about that particular product. You'll find many honest user reviews.

    First, follow the current rules, be one with the market and Earn some. Only after that you can experiment with your beliefs and creative ideas. At that time you'll have experience and confidence. And with these two, you can spread your beliefs among others and have better success.

    Wish you all the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Why No One Cares That The Landing Page Turns You Off

    It converts.
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    • Profile picture of the author NicoleBeckett
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      It converts.
      Hopefully, for the owner of the page, it does. I'm with the OP on this one. I don't think that you need a ton of hype and giant red letters to sell a product. To me, sales copy like that is all fluff, and it doesn't work on me.

      Maybe I'm just not in the target market for products like these :confused:, but I'm a firm believer that you can write sales copy that offers genuine facts and figures (that also convinces people to buy), without being cheesy. Just my $0.02, I suppose
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      • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
        Here's why you might want to consider changing your conditioned beliefs...

        - If a product is so good, then it'll practically sell itself. I don't need all the hype I just need something that works.
        That's the same kind of thinking as, "if you build it, they will come" and we all know that isn't true. Nothing sells itself unless it's already established and has momentum toward going viral.

        - I believe what my friends and family say but I can't trust testimonials or reviews on a landing page no matter how good they are because the person who created the landing page is invested in the product
        I'm more skeptical about testimonials from people I don't know, and more often than not I don't bother reading them. However, if I'm on the fence about a product then I will read them. Sometimes you'll learn something about the product that isn't in the sales copy, and that can tip you to one side of the fence or the other.

        - This proven sales format is used to make up for lack of product quality
        No, a proven sales format is used because it's proven. I should think this is obvious.

        - Anything that claims to be exclusive, the next big thing, or a limited time offer is automatically flagged in my mind as a cheap sales trick
        Sometimes that is a sales tactic. Cheap is subjective. Sometimes the claims are true. You're throwing out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

        Conditioned beliefs, in this case, means you've made up your mind about products and people before you know anything about them. There's a danger of missing opportunities, and needs and desires going unmet, by holding that attitude, and it spreads well beyond sales pages.

        PS - I don't use landing pages like you described, so I'm not defending my own sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author QuickSurf
    Not really landing pages, but I find it hilarious when once in awhile you'll see WSO creators use the "rags to riches sob story", except they get caught in their own lie. Something like this: "10 months ago I was broke, working as a pizza man, couldn't support my kids yada yada yad.... when I discovered the secret to making 10k a month..." .... then they come out with another WSO that tells either the same sob story with a different timeline (6 months ago) or now they were a broke and laid off supermarket employee 6 months ago when they discovered how to make 5k a month, so in 4 months they went from discovering how to make 10k+ a month to working at a supermarket and being fired haha.... and yet people still fall for that bs lol
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  • Profile picture of the author AllanWard
    Those types of sales pages have been around for years and will continue to be around, because they work (for some people). You're perhaps not the target market they're aimed at.

    I do agree that there's perhaps a better way to design sales pages. Over the past 12 months I've seen more pages that feature video - either video only or video and text. People seemed to accept that this method worked and it gained in popularity.

    I think there's a danger in assuming that people test as comprehensively as they should. Many will copy one successful sales page and assume it'll produce the same results as them.

    I don't subscribe to the view that the current stereotypical sales page is the 'best' way to go. Sure it works, but over the coming years I'm sure we'll see pages develop as more innovative ideas come to the fore.
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  • Profile picture of the author nm5419
    I click away from these types of pages or "websites" as well, just like I change the channel when an infomercial comes on the tv. It's all the same.

    They make me think of Don Lapre, the famous "get rich with tiny classified ads" guy. Not a pretty ending, there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    If a product is so good, then it'll practically sell itself.
    Whenever I see this comment, and I have seen it here hundreds of times over the years, my first thought is, "What is this person thinking?" Then I delete the first word from the sentence for a more useful and relevant question.

    That statement, by itself, removes any credibility the person making it might have had for any other comment on marketing.

    Products do not sell themselves. Advertising sells them.
    My mind has become conditioned
    Translation: You have formed a prejudice, and everything after that is an effort to justify that prejudice in some logical way. Posting this here is a call for others to agree, so you can feel like you've "made a good decision."


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    • Profile picture of the author MikeTucker
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post


      Products do not sell themselves. Advertising sells them.
      Paul
      +10

      Where is that example from... The one about the pretty ladies marketing cars and failing, and it takes the closer to come in and seal the deal? Oh yes, I think it's from The Closers, isn't it? Anyone remember? I am getting old.
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      • Profile picture of the author twilightofidols
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by twilightofidols View Post

          I've gotten some very hostile responses on this thread from some individuals who I am sure are very talented marketers. ... Many of you decided to take me to the trenches over my humble confession.
          ... I am very disappointed by the response I got from some members on this thread who have clearly misunderstood my intentions.
          I didn't notice any particularly hostile replies. What I saw was a difference of opinion. That's the nature of a discussion forum.

          What did you expect?
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          • Profile picture of the author Rick88
            Advertising legend Claude Hopkins settles it this way:

            "Advertising arguments should only be settled by testing, not arguments around a conference table."

            I have adopted this as my motto.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeTucker
    I can appreciate what you are trying to say with your OP. And perhaps there is a market for advertising to all of the other people who, like you, are getting "turned off" by classic landing pages.


    But consider this: One of the great things these landing pages do is weed-out all of the people we don't want on our lists, so that we are only dealing with the people we want to deal with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tommy Smith
    Your hunches about testimonials are true. They are just written with the same person or a fabricated sharing. I know it because my friends online job is just to write testimonials even he doesn't know a thing about the product. I am sorry if somebody here got offended but that is the blatant truth.
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