When some marketers hear that word they only think of a website. And to be sure, landing page design is a crucial element of usability.
True usability should include a potential customer’s ability to understand and make use of your landing pages, yes, but also your processes and your products and services themselves. Marketers can help improve that usability with clearer communication and achieve better results because of it.
To help you do just that, we bring you examples from an in-terminal airport suites service, manufacturer of commercial-grade mowers, and pet gift company.
“Value is derived from a limited view of reality, and thus it is often appraised differently. We presume value...but we have to help them [customers] see it,” said Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute in The Prospect’s Perception Gap: How to bridge the dangerous gap between the results we want and the results we have (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).
To win a customer, marketers must carefully guide the prospect’s perception process. Here is an analogy. While marketers and others that work at the business have a documentary-length, IMAX-wide-screen-level understanding about the company’s products, services, and processes, the customer has just a narrow window that they only peek through for a few moments.
So it is imperative marketers do everything in their power to help guide potential customers to perceive the value of their offerings – to improve the designs of our landing pages and the usability of not just our websites, but our processes, products, and services as well. Because if customers can better understand the value we provide, they can more effectively use our products and services to overcome their own pain points and reach their own goals.
To help you guide customers, we bring you quick case studies of a company that used A/B testing to make the process for creating a personalized product simpler to understand and execute, a travel-based company that helped customers understand how its value proposition was even more powerful during the Covid-19 pandemic, and a manufacturer that created a consistent customer journey from a corporate brand website to the independent dealers the customer would ultimately buy from.
“While working at a large insurance company, I was part of a small team that worked with MECLABS consultants, and the experience was eye-opening to me regarding how much of a performance difference could be attributed to small tweaks on a landing page. This was also in the early days of eye and mouse/cursor tracking. MECLABS ran some experiments in which several heat maps were handed over to us to aid in the creation of our challenger landing page. I’ve since tried to incorporate heat maps whenever possible when testing a new app with a focus group or performing A/B or multivariate tests,” said Adam Greene, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Cuddle Clones.
Greene used those lessons he learned about A/B testing throughout his career, including at Cuddle Clones. The company celebrates the joy of pet ownership by creating custom plush replicas of people’s “fur babies,” and helping to make being away – whether due to travel, college, military or the sad loss of a dear pet – easier to bear. Proceeds from every purchase go to buy food, medicine and toys for shelter pets around the country. “[We have] made the Inc. 5000 list of the country’s fastest growing private companies three years in a row, ranking 2,621 with an impressive growth rate of 155.52 percent. Only 10 percent of the companies manage to make the list three consecutive times,” said Greene.
One tactic that helped fuel that impressive growth is A/B testing. For example, the team tested its Custom Pet Pajamas product landing page.
Creative Sample #1: Control (original) product landing page for pet gift company
For the treatment (challenger) page, they:
Creative Sample #2: Treatment (challenger) product landing page for pet gift company
For the treatment, the team also changed the background selection from a series of expanding columns to all options being on the screen at one time for improved usability. Here is a closer look.
Creative Sample #3: New “select background” functionality on challenger (treatment) page for pet gift company
The test ran for 32 days. The treatment (challenger) version garnered an 18 percent higher clickthrough rate and nine percent higher conversion rate at 99 percent statistical confidence.
"I would hypothesize that the treatment received better results primarily because the upload photo button and the background selection button/modal were easier to use in the treatment," Greene said.
"Some small design or functional changes to a landing page can make a big difference," he continued. "You don’t have to go big out of the gate. Perform a series of smaller lift A/B tests and incrementally improve your landing pages rather than spend four to six months building a completely new landing page or a super-involved multivariate test that takes three months to reach statistical relevance. If you have smaller tests every month and incrementally improve the page – have a 'new control' – that’ll almost ensure some positive improvement over time rather than risking that same timeframe on one big redesigned landing page test. When you start experiencing diminishing returns on the minor and medium tweaks with your testing, THEN perform a dramatic design and/or functional change to the landing page and/or funnel."
Minute Suites had to shut down when Covid hit last March. Since it is an airport-based business, the team knew that its marketing campaign would have to be revamped to fit the “new normal” of traveling. To increase the usability of its service, potential customers would have to perceive the same value the company always offered through the new lens of Covid-19 avoidance.
The in-terminal airport suites service gives travelers a place to nap, relax, and work during a layover. The team considers it one of the cleanest places in the airport and the only place travelers can completely social distance in the airport. Once the locations re-opened, the team focused its marketing plan on communicating these newly important elements of value using SEO-optimized blog posts, videos with medical professionals talking about the cleaning regimen, and social posts and ads promoting the privacy aspects of the service.
The company’s locations were shut down from late March 2020 until July 2020. In this four-month span, they adapted two new slogans for the company – “Clean & Serene” and “Unmask & Relax in a Private Suite.”
Creative Sample #4: Facebook ad for airport-based suites service
For “Clean & Serene,” the team filmed and edited interviews with doctors about why customers stay at a Minute Suites location. “Our two videos got 2,000 views on YouTube, over 7,000 views each on Facebook, and our ads for the videos, with a spend of only $100 each, reached over 70,000 people each. Not too bad for the low spend,” said Danielle Hollembaek, Marketing Manager, Minute Suites.
SEO efforts focused on ranking for “social distancing in airports” and “cleanest place in the airport” as those terms became hot for travelers. Blog posts with primary and secondary keywords with this focus reached the top three search results for these terms in less than 90 days of publishing and are still first-page results for both searches. The team also optimized its landing pages and the rest of the website with related keywords to highlight that Minute Suites is a safe, relaxing place to stay during a customer’s layover throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our business has been recovering very well considering that airport traffic has been down nationally over 60% since April 2020,” Hollembaek said. Suite sales have been close to 70% of the usual occupancy of a normal year in some locations with less trafficked locations seeing closer to 60%. During the holiday season and spring break travel, sales have been closer to the usual averages.
“Many customers tell us how relieved they are to find our service and get a private escape from the airport terminal to take off their mask and breathe easy knowing they are in a clean and sanitized environment,” she said.
Grasshopper Mowers is a manufacturer of commercial-grade mowers sold exclusively through a network of approximately 1,000 independent dealers nationwide. The company knew there was an opportunity to attract new customers and grow its market share. That opportunity was in the hands of local dealers.
Previously, when potential customers explored product lines on the Grasshopper website, sales opportunities diluted as they clicked through to local dealer sites due to poor usability and a landing page design that did not stay consistent throughout the customer’s journey. The Grasshopper branding disappeared, and dealer sites showed competing equipment lines that lacked localized store information, causing customer confusion. As a result, dealers struggled to bring in online leads and sales.
Over six months, Grasshopper optimized its brand-to-local journey by focusing on leads, creating digital brand consistency, applying automation, and supporting in-market dealer efforts. Grasshopper increased leads by 500% and online lead-generated sales by 80% in the first year. Here’s how.
In 2017, Grasshopper attempted local display advertising that helped with impressions and visibility but did little in terms of conversions, leads, and ROI due to the poor usability and inconsistent landing page design. The company quickly understood it needed a strategy and process for getting more leads to their dealers directly.
“We needed to take hold of the conversation. So much interest and intent faded away as customers clicked for more, and we knew there had to be a way to hold on to that interest and intent, drive foot traffic, and close the local sale,” said Mike Simmon, Marketing Communications Specialist, Grasshopper. “Simply put, we don’t sell mowers if we don’t get leads.” So the team chose leads at its primary KPI (key performance indicator).
To get more leads to dealers, the team created a uniform brand presence that followed customers through their online to in-store purchase journeys. Using the PowerChord platform, the team created messaging and visual consistency across its brand and dealer websites. Grasshopper branding now stayed front and center with every customer click, eliminating frustration, confusion, and drop-off along the way.
On the backend, the team also used the platform to automate lead capture and distribution, funneling them to Grasshopper and local dealers. It allowed the Grasshopper team to track each dealer’s lead engagement. These data-driven insights opened the door to mutually beneficial conversations between Grasshopper and local dealers to see how else they could help close the local sale.
On one end, helping close the sale means Grasshopper runs ongoing local digital marketing campaigns to support lead capture and conversion with monthly promotions. On another, Grasshopper gives dealers a turnkey way to promote their hours and store specific information on a mobile-friendly page. This push-pull dynamic gets Grasshopper and local dealers in front of customers, gets them ready to walk through a door, and shows them which door to walk through and when.
“Focus on how you can break down barriers between brands, dealers and customers through automation, local targeting and direct results,” added Nikki Vegenski, Chief Strategy Officer, PowerChord.
Next up for Grasshopper is to increase the number of participating dealers. It also plans to use data analysis to move from a quantity to a quality of leads approach.
“Ultimately, what I want to happen is that whenever a dealer sees a lead from us, they drop everything to close the sale because they trust it’ll drive their bottom line,” added Simmon.
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