Review of Seraph Science’s 7 Elements of the Best Landing Pages

I’ve written last time about how much pain people give themselves by focusing too much on design like button colors and animations. UX is important but in the nascent stages of your website, you need to focus on driving conversion.

There’s a great write up here on the 7 elements of the best landing pages, and I wanted to share my perspective as well.

#1: Removing Navigation

“We (remove navigation) because when we get our visitor on to our landing pages we want them to take a specific action, not to be directed elsewhere and get distracted. Landing pages are fairly middle-of-funnel, and to direct them up the funnel with links to the home or other pages can harm conversions… Instead, we want to focus on the call to action”

My take: I think they key phrase here is not really ‘removing navigation’ but having just 1 call to action. It is imperative that you are clear on what the user is looking for and give her explicitly that. Are you a government site and a user clicked to you to get some forms? If so, show just 1 button to help them get those forms. Are you a enterprise business and a user clicked to you to assess how you can help? If so, well, you’re product is damn complex and you need to give them a number to call — get your account manager to work! Are you a SaaS and your offer solutions to small businesses? If so, they barely have time, get them to try it out ASAP. User psychology is very important and you need to simplify your site and design the CTAs accordingly.

#2: Hero Shot

“Humans are visual creatures, and when it comes to landing pages it’s sometimes hard to illustrate what the user will be receiving. We need to use a relevant hero shot to fill in the visual void.”

My take: Visualization is a great point (and it’s something that was hammered into my brain in my ~5 years in a top marketing company) but this point is linked with element #3, which is….

#3: Benefit-Driven Value Proposition

“What is it that differentiates you from everyone else, or separates you from the competition? Your value proposition is what will get attention in the first instance and compel a visitor to continue their journey on your landing page.”

 

My take: I think the real point here is that you get attention because you are proposing a solution to the user’s pain. Why did the user visit your site in the first place? Because it’s looking for the solution to their very painful problem, whatever it may be. If the user has been squiggling on his notebook his retail inventory and stock levels for the past 10 months, an ‘automated inventory tracking for retailers’ will be a welcome message.

 #4: Test with Video

“Video allows people to consume content with very little effort. Thanks to TV, it’s a format we’ve all become used to, and can really help in reducing friction and increasing conversions. Many of the best landing pages are using video to communicate their value propositions and benefits of their offering with great success.”

My take: Personally, I dislike video. Why? Because it’s not testable. You can test a text proposition and you can test certain design elements, but you can never test a video. There’s so much going on in a video that you will have no idea why it worked or why it didn’t work. I believe in tests as it forces you to create a system that you can iterate over time. Videos, unfortunately, are just not testable unless you have $20,000 to spend on qualitative tests that measure reactions and gathers feedback across a pool of 200 people (which is the right sample size to determine patterns).

#5: Limiting Offers & Call-to-Action

“The format of your calls-to-action are therefore very important. Testing button size, colour and the copy used on them are all things you should try to optimise. Using a button colour that contrasts from the rest of your page will help it to stand out.”

My take: No, just no. I’m not saying this isn’t important. Rather, I’m saying people spend waaay too much time on this. Unless your business is big enough to have dedicated UI/UX designer, stick to templates. Focus on conversion, not on design.

#6: Social Proof

“When you see a testimonial that simply reads “Service X is great and I’m very happy with what they’ve done for us”, it can appear as if it was made up or that the person has been paid to give it. However, something such as “Seraph Science generated 7 figures worth of sales pipeline in 8 weeks for our company” it gives specific numbers and time frames on those results.”

My take: Social proof for me has become a throwaway concept. If you get the fundamentals right (ie. target market with a specific, unmet need, and a solution that is specialized in fixing that need), then there’s no need for social proof stamps. If you think about the intent of social proof, it is to quell any skepticism about the product. Skepticism is usually bred by seeing multiple products offering the same damn thing (eg. project management software). But if you’re a category leader or a solution that aims to fix a specific pain, then there’s no need for this at all.

#7: Perfect Form Length

“Too many fields in your form can cause friction, while asking your users for something such as a phone number at the wrong time can cause anxiety. This anxiety is usually because they don’t trust you enough yet, and that sensitive information will get into the wrong hands.”

My take: I agree with the principle of reducing form length. People naturally want quick wins or quick finishes. Prolonging it is not good for conversion. Personally, this can be abstracted further into “Reducing User Actions”, where form length is a subset of the “Total Number of Actions”. Ideally, it should be just a “visit, read value prop, sign up with just an email”, but be mindful that it may be longer due to context (see #1), so be mindful that there’s no “perfect length” or “perfect number of actions”. Rather, stay with the principle that you need to minimize user actions.

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