Top 5 Bad Things About Landing Pages

Trying to cram as much of it as possible onto one page puts the burden on the respondent to sift through it. Unfortunately, most of the time, they’re just not that into you yet. Scott Brinker reveals the top five bad things about landing pages.

1. Sagging Page Syndrome (SPS), also known as “the kitchen sink.” Some things in life really are so simple that one short page sums it up clearly for everyone. But for the far majority of products and services in the world, there’s a little more to it. Trying to cram as much of it as possible on to one page, puts the burden on the respondent to sift through it.

Unfortunately, most of the time, they’re just not that into you yet. With a landing path, you can jettison the page one clutter—referred to as the 5-seconds to 5-minutes disconnect—and help respondents quickly get to what’s important to them.

2. Rushing for the close. Landing pages that immediately present the respondent with a form to fill out—to subscribe, get a download, request more information, etc.—are just plain rude. A respondent clicked on your ad by expressing a modicum of interest, a willingness to consider what you have to say. If you immediately demand a commitment with their name and email address, or more, it’s like walking into an electronics store and having a salesperson instantly thrust a purchase order in your hands.

Not surprisingly, this approach has a low conversion rate. Good post-click marketing builds trust with a step or two of a “conversation” before popping the question, as any good salesperson would.

3. No segmentation—clicks are treated as a commodity. Not all clicks are created equal. Ad response traffic often contains a spectrum of different audience segments. They clicked on the same ad, yes, but not all for the same reason, not all with the same needs. The one-page format of landing pages makes the same pitch to all of them, oblivious to their distinctions. If the page focuses only on one segment, it disenfranchises the others; if it tries to speak to all segments at once, its passion and relevance to any one segment are watered down.

The best practice of landing paths is to use that first page to induce a one-click directed behavioral segmentation choice — and then speak with conviction and authority to a respondent’s specific interests.

4. Optimizing the deck chairs on the Titanic. Landing page optimization is not unlike Henry Ford’s original production line: you can do any optimization you want, as long as it’s on this one page. Hey, we’re fine with testing which combination of headline, image, and offer button works best, but you can waste a lot of time on minutia (”does this work better with a comma or a semicolon?”), when you should be testing much more important elements of your campaign—such as your audience segmentation and the sequence of your pitch.

With so many niche marketing opportunities competing for your attention, you need the big hits far more than the incremental tweaks.

5. Giving bad brand. Collectively, all of the problems above contribute to making landing pages bad branding experiences. Landing pages are quick and cheap—which is good—but they often look quick and cheap, which is not good. Not good at all. Because it signals quick and cheap for your brand, and unless you’re the Dollar Store, that’s not a good image to put in people’s minds. A landing experience should look, feel, and behave, so as to signal two important things:
• you care about the impressions of that respondent who just clicked and
• they can be assured that you take pride in everything your organization does.

The good news is that fixing these problems in post-click marketing really isn’t that hard. Stop thinking at the page level and start thinking at the path level.

Leverage audience segmentation. And remember that your brand never gets a second chance to make a first impression.

---Source: Scott Brinker is president and CTO of ion interactive (

Melissa Data

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