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Aug 02, 2004
Blog Post

Rant: Why Rand McNally's New $495 Sub Site Marketing Page Will Have Bad Conversions

SUMMARY: No summary available.
This weekend as I did the final edits to our upcoming Search Marketing Metrics Guide (coming Wed am), I was horrified by multiple stat reports showing only about 6% of people who click on search engine links to pages offering "register for something free" actually convert to registering.

So, 94% of traffic bails. Then when plowing though PR email this AM, I clicked on a promo link to Rand McNally's new sub offering landing page. And I can tell you why 94% of traffic bails.... Please don't copy their mistakes:

- Headline and subhead are graphics, not text. This means no search engine spider will "read" the copy and put it in organic listings. If your site is optimized, you average 73% more traffic. Yeah, I've got hard data on that.

- The headline copy is empty puffery: "Introducing a New Way to Map Your Future!" There's no benefit, no selling proposition, and no way to know what on earth the page is actually offering. Tells me the marketing team aren't quite sure why anyone would want to buy this thing, so they focused on generic excitement instead.

- In an effort to keep important sales copy "above the fold" (which we applaud), all of the body copy is in 7.5 point Verdana. If there's a human being who will bother to read more than a word or two of 7.5 point anything online, I have yet to meet him/her.

- The body copy does contain some sales points various prospects would care about... one point for each type of prospect. Guess what? Nobody reads bullet lists looking for the one point that applies to them. If you have multiple target audiences, then you *must* create a landing page for each of them with only the info they care about on it (in the headline please.)

Hello - this isn't print DM where to save bucks you combine copy points for multiple targets in your color brochure. Landing pages are super-cheap (free in fact if you have in-house web folks.) Do a templated format, and then write alternate copy for each target.

If you need one generic page for general promos (such as press releases) then, make it one which tells every niche where to click for their info ("HR people click here, Manufacturing plant managers click here, etc."

Anyway, this jumbled mess 'o points makes me assume Rand McNally isn't quite sure who'll want to subscribe, so they're ladling up a pile of random info hoping to appeal to anyone.

- The action item dominating the page is a log-on form for existing users. You have to look way down in the lower right corner to find a free trial offer... which, unlike the existing user log-on, you have to click to. Making trial prospects leap through hoops is not how you build a sub base.

- Last but not least, the page has 16 hotlinks to stuff that's not directly related to converting landing page visitors into trial subs, and hence into sub buyers.

Would you include a copy of your annual report in a direct mail piece to promote a subscription offering? Of course not. So why is all this extraneous stuff linked to on this landing page, where it will serve to distract any traffic that didn't click away the second they saw the 7.5 Verdana.
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