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Designing the "Sell" Page (AKA Landing Page)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This is the siren song for poor sell page design: "The page on my site that sells my services is ugly. Can you make it prettier?" Making things "pretty" is only icing on the cake. If one's sell page, AKA landing page, is failing, perhaps it is the cake itself. In this example we are talking about improving a page that attracts non-profit investors.

  1. Stop thinking in terms of "is this pretty or not." A web site exists in furtherance of achieving an entity's goals -- that is the "cake" of it. "Pretty" is not a primary goal, it is the icing on the cake. "Pretty" is the grape flavouring in cough medicine, and we know it is the medicine that achieves the primary goal, with the aid of the flavouring.
  2. Leaving aside all notion of design and emotion, determine up to 3 primary goals that achieve the most wonderfully successful investor page you can imagine. List them in order of importance. An example might be "allow new investors to sign up for XYZ" or "entice possible investors to call us", etc.  Examples of what not to list: "show a cool slideshow with rainbow colours in the background" or "show dancing hamsters - they're fun and everyone loves hamsters"
  3. Go through a Discovery phase to chat about possibilities for meeting primary goals and to discuss if secondary goals are needed and can be met. There may be hidden nuggets of info we dig up during this phase, which is why it is labeled "discovery". For example, if a primary goal is "entice investors to call us" we may need to do further research on what exactly entices your particular type of investor. We may need to survey them, or perhaps you have existing research on the topic. If we don't do this research then we are simply guessing at what entices them, which may lead to failure of that goal.
  4. Once we know the pieces that make our goals more likely to succeed, we put those pieces together into a web page as simple bland functional code. Once we have the pieces in place THEN we begin considering the icing. Everyone cheats this step a bit. Icing creeps into the previous steps usually. As long as we're all aware it just doesn't hold the gravitas most people assume.

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John Barrick rocks.

K. B., Owner Brook Group, LTD
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