Sunday, January 24, 2016

By David Alpern

Crafting an effective landing page is not as simple as one might think. There are many elements to address, being mindful of the psychology lurking beneath the surface as it relates to what the prospect ultimately wants and expects, and there is no practical and universal step-by-step guide that is applicable across industries.
Keep in mind that at the end of the day your company’s landing page is unique so you need to understand your target audience in the context of the 5 keys presented below. Yet, some things do remain constant across high-converting landing pages:
Key #1: Powerful and Compelling Headline
The headline is the magnet. That is true in any environment, in print, in an email subject line, as well as on a landing page. It needs to grab the reader’s attention with a short, punchy message that informs the reader what the product or service is all about. If you feel too limited in accomplishing this with just a headline, it is okay to also include a persuasive sub-headline. If the headline makes one look, the sub-headline should be designed to lure them to stay and go into slightly more depth.
Key #2: Pictures
Not just for the design enhancement of balancing the written content on your landing page, the brain actually processes images 60,000 times faster than text. The reader will be affected by the image(s) immediately. Best practices include using high-quality large pictures, have them be relevant (so using a cute baby, if irrelevant to your product or service is not effective), and making sure the image is not subtle. It needs to drive attention and stimulate.
Key #3: Explain the Value Proposition
Provide a straightforward explanation about your product or service. Interestingly, the explanation need not be integrated with your headline but should have some relation to your picture. An explanation should be benefit-oriented in a user oriented functional manner. For example, in place of “We make advertisements” go with the more compelling, value-oriented: “Get advertising that makes you money.” This addresses the important “What’s in it for me?” question. Another good way to convey the value proposition is through a list of benefits that are clearly focused on the user, rather than talking about yourself as a company. Ultimately, end with the CTA (call to action) with nearby testimonials, if available. CTA placement is a critical component and is okay to place the CTA in multiple locations on a single landing page, typically positioned at the end of various sections on the landing page.
Key #4: Pain & Pleasure
The fear of loss is a much more powerful motivator than the prospect of gain. Humans are wired to avoid pain, so if your landing page can cause the user to think about their pain, that can motivate them subconsciously to seek relief and thereby be more likely to convert. Pain can be communicated by discussing what will be lost as opposed to what will be gained. Pain references can appear in the testimonials as well as in the copy. Be sure to explain how your product or service can relieve the pain, as well as how it provides pleasure. Pleasure is often the by-product of what you are selling. For example, software performs tasks more efficiently, so it in effect is offering freedom, relief, and joy. Clothing is selling not just fabric but respect, trendiness, security, vibrancy, and fulfillment. A successful landing page identifies how to inspire and convey a sense of wonder and surprise.
Key #5: CTA Lead Generation Form + Contact Information
The CTA button is the most significant copy element on your entire landing page. It’s more than a “submit” button, so use a bold color that separates it from the rest of the content on the page. The CTA should be physically big on the page, powerful in value, compelling, and attractive. Yet, some people will want to bypass the CTA and contact you. Make sure you have multiple methods of contacts — phone, address, email, chat feature, as well as that cherished contact form. These help eliminate any friction in the conversion funnel and the physical address and phone help assure that you are a real company.
This post first appeared on December 8, 2015 here -

Thursday, October 1, 2015


I will be presenting at the ERA D2C conference on 10/7/15 on the topic of Retail Synergy Between Broadcast & Digital Advertising -

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Direct Response Writing For Success

EngageWriting for Direct Response requires a different approach as compared with regular retail advertising that focuses on developing a brand and image. While some of the same key approaches are required for any successful radio campaign, I recently published an agency blog post about some of the essential elements a direct response radio script needs.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Why Some Videos Go Viral - Ylvis Case Study

How and why does an online humor bit take off when others online remain the proverbial tree in the forest? My post this week on Marketing Wizards of the West Coast takes a look at Ylvis, which is approaching 400+ million YouTube views.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

The Web’s Best 404 Error Pages

On Average, About 1.1% Of A Website’s Traffic Reaches An Error Page Due To Bad Links, Pulled Content, Etc. The 404 Error Page Provides An Often Overlooked Opportunity To Impact SEO, Minimize Exits, Improve User Experience, And Reinforce A Brand’s Image (And Quirkiness). Here Are Some Of The Best 404 Pages On The Internet:

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SEO In A Nutshell – Yeah Right

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The complete list

Or, you could just write good content…

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Placidly – The Voice of Peace and Desiderata

Abie Nathan was an Israeli philanthropist and a peace activist during the 60s thru 90s in Israel. In the 70s he liquidated most of his assets from his successful run as a owner of the California restaurant in Tel Aviv and bought an old ship which he turned into an off-shore modern radio station that transmitted and promoted peace and love to Israel, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the adjacent Middle East region.
He called his ship: Sfinat Ha’Shalom (The Peace Ship) and its radio station: ‘The Voice of Peace’. Each and every evening towards sunset during the initial years the station was on the air, Abie Nathan broadcast a recording of himself reciting ‘Desiderata’ in his own deep and tranquil voice. For a generation of Israelis, ‘Desiderata’ became a well-known soothing poem associate with its (and the station’s) message of love and peace.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
(sourced from
The author is Max Ehrmann, a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, who lived from 1872 to 1945. It has been reported that Desiderata was inspired by an urge that Ehrmann wrote about in his diary:
“I should like, if I could, to leave a humble gift — a bit of chaste prose that had caught up some noble moods.”
Around 1959, the Rev. Frederick Kates, the rector of St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of devotional materials he compiled for his congregation. (Some years earlier he had come across a copy of Desiderata.) At the top of the handout was the notation, “Old St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore A.C. 1692.” The church was founded in 1692.
As the material was handed from one friend to another, the authorship became clouded. Copies with the “Old St. Paul’s Church” notation were printed and distributed liberally in the years that followed. It is perhaps understandable that a later publisher would interpret this notation as meaning that the poem itself was found in Old St. Paul’s Church, dated 1692. This notation no doubt added to the charm and historic appeal of the poem, despite the fact that the actual language in the poem suggests a more modern origin. The poem was popular prose for the “make peace, not war” movement of the 1960s.
When Adlai Stevenson died in 1965, a guest in his home found a copy of Desiderata near his bedside and discovered that Stevenson had planned to use it in his Christmas cards. The publicity that followed gave widespread fame to the poem as well as the mistaken relationship to St. Paul’s Church.

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