How to create an Advert and Landing Page that stand a chance.

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How to design a lead capture campaign that works

Who does this apply to?

These instructions are focused more on the reader who has a fairly uncomplicated advertising requirement.  The entire body of knowledge would make a lengthy book, but the principals we discuss are reusable at any scale.

So you want to drive some traffic and you hope they will buy something

If the above attracted your eyes and you didn’t recognise the sarcasm, you are in trouble. Now I know sarcasm doesn’t travel well, so that’s not the message, but what you need to accept right now even if you don’t read a word further, is that driving traffic, even in the unlikely event it is targeted traffic, won’t lead to customers unless you take some important steps to engage them.

There are many frameworks taught to advertisers, marketers and sales-people to illuminate the process of turning a stranger into a customer and they can seem wildly different at times, but one thing is never missing, you must start by getting their attention.

Getting the user’s attention

There is a lot written lately about a state of global ADHD-like behaviour which is blamed on the internet and the avalanche of content coming at us all day every day. Back in the nineties a well-known then colleague of mine described using the internet for information as “Like trying to get a drink from a firehose”.  What would that translate to in 2019? Probably closer to taking a bath in a tsunami.

Walk a mile in her shoes
I mention this, because it is vital to get into your prospective customers frame of mind for a few minutes before you write an advert or design a landing page or any other form of marketing.  My advice is to pick your favourite metaphor, the firehose or the tsunami and print it on the top half of an A4 sheet, then on the bottom half write a default user persona.
– Don’t copy some sad old template from the web, use your own imagination and talk to your friends and then any customer you can get hold of for a few minutes.

-Don’t use a left-over persona from the marketing department or the one used to design the website, these are useless. Why? Well it’s all about where the user is in her journey and Landing pages are for people right at the end of the journey, otherwise, there’s little chance of them buying anything. Websites and “Aren’t we wonderful people” campaigns are irrelevant to this scenario. We’ll return to this subject another time.

You can’t cover all the situations but pick a highly representative one, then describe your customer getting up late, skipping breakfast and just making the train. Standing with one hand holding the rail she uses the other hand to desperately search for a present for her bestie whose birthday is tomorrow and …   You get the picture.   Draw a little cartoon of her and keep this Persona in sight at all times. It’s very important.

What is likely to attract this lady’s attention enough to forego the other listings on her tiny screen and with her one available thumb, visit your landing page or fill a form?

I hope you got the picture. It had better be good and it had better capture attention and not in that order either. Better to capture attention with a bad message …   you don’t need me to explain that surely. This is why you go for the phone number. Also phones especially have pre-filled all this info ready for one thumb activation.
Let me give you a tip, people are insanely selfish, the thing that will get her attention will be totally me focused. I mean her, not you, silly.

A recent study by Professor Thorsten Joachims and colleagues at Cornell University demonstrated that 42% of users clicked the number one result when a panel of judges agreed it was the best result for that question and 34% still clicked it when it was judged to be less than optimal. That tells you that if at all possible, get on that number one spot, but if not be ready to impress her when the landing page she visits first drives her away and she returns to the SERPS (Results page) to read a little more closely.

Headlines are critical naturally.

I could write a whole book easily on this subject, but I’ve already said everything that’s important. Get her attention, no matter what else and it’s all about me .. get the picture?

Don’t Pee Her Off !


Have you ever seen the advert you were looking for, clicked the link and been really angry to find that you’d been had and they were selling something very different to what you expected?

Don’t do that if you want to engage this lady, she has no patience and her destination is getting closer, then she has a meeting. Just don’t do it. In any case it’s just not fair.

The same rule that makes most people start at number one will also send their eyes straight to the top of the page when it arrives, hopefully very quickly, she is not known for patience either.
This is where you need to make it clear to her that she has arrived in the right place and you are about to delight her with exactly what she was looking for. Lucky girl. You should be obviously pleased to see her.
If the headline that attracted her said “Huge Purple Widgets” then your first line must assure her that this is a page about Huge Purple Widgets and we will make you glad you visited this page today.

Just tell her what she wants to hear

Ok, we agreed that we are not trying to sell to everyone, we have this very focused picture for this advert and we know what she likes, we know what scares her and what makes her purr. Don’t waste time or bore her, just tell her what she wants to hear and get on with it. We have a different advert and a different approach for her strange friend, don’t worry about her for now. That’s for Wednesday night. Get the picture

dialogue local v Organic SEO

Get her phone number early

Girls in a super hurry often don’t have time to finish reading and phones are not built for bookmarking so make it easy and attractive to simply enter a phone number or email and receive a coupon, or really useful download. This way if her train goes under a bridge you’ll be able to get back in touch and if she has to rush, she’ll be able to find you again to continue reading when she has more time. Precisely what you offer her should be given some thought in the context of her persona because it can have a huge impact on your long-term results. Remember it is not about selling something, you just need a phone or email and YOU WILL DELETE IT IF SHE DOESN’T WANT TO CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION won’t you.

Just because you have her number doesn’t mean you can’t pop the question today

Nothing a shopper likes better than a pleasant surprise, but of course you won’t have much success with a great offer unless you have first satisfied the key steps, or prerequisites of selling your product.

We already talked about “Attention” as the first and most critical step, but there are others. If you studied marketing, you probably have a favourite and don’t worry they all work and they all do the same thing in principal, it’s just a matter of viewpoints. The oldest and simplest, which I will use as an example is AIDA. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.   You probably guessed it, Action is when you pop the question, but there are a few important stops along the way. Interest refers to the mathematics or the practicalities of your proposition. E.G every guy in the world desires a Ferrari, but few are interested because of practical things like cost and maintenance. To sell a Ferrari, you need to make sure he is genuinely interested and informed before popping that question with any degree of expectation.

 Desire is about the emotional side of selling or buying and after “Attention”, it is the next most important aspect. Here’s the thing though, Desire sometimes overcomes lack of interest, but never the other way around.
 Professionals spend a lot of their persona research budget exploring the emotional drivers and understanding how to appeal to them. The best Marketers segment by emotion rather than easier measures like Geography. E.G. Fear of missing out is an emotional driver, if you have the answer to that you have a powerful motivator. Desire to be recognised for your achievements is another powerful motivator.  Maslov’s hierarchy can provide enough ideas on its own once you give it some thought. If your copy can tap into these emotions and get your prospective customer motivated, you are in with a big chance.

You can’t win them all

When marketers talk about personalisation, especially these annoying nerds with a math degree, some scripting experience and a ready-made algorithm, they make it sound as though you can grab a potential customer, know what she’s thinking and sell her stuff as though it was your God Given Right,  Wrong, you still only sell stuff to people who trust you and want the stuff at that point in time. Often the copy or the presentation will simply discover that this is not a good match right now.

Marketing is about sending out a thousand items or engaging a thousand semi-targeted prospects and doing business with somewhere between less than 1% and maybe 10% of them. The apparently low numbers stem from the fact that only those who match the persona you adapted are likely to buy from you. The odd exception to this rule only moves the needle slightly.  Most of the time you can’t judge which persona is best to use, but with experience and testing you learn and this knowledge can turn a 1% hit rate into a 2% etc. With re-marketing you can try a different persona next time.
The one occasion where this can be improved on dramatically is when you have engaged the prospect and tracked their reading and reactions over a period of days or weeks gradually building a firm idea about her best persona match. In this case you can send very targeted offerings presented absolutely right for her that achieve much higher success rates, another good reason to go for the phone number or email early on.

Questions and Answers

How can I get real persona information online?
You need to implement a profiling solution to do this. And apart from learning to use the solution even a marketer doing this for the first time has a substantial learning curve but ultimately for every £1 spent you can hope for £44 in returns so it’s definitely worth all the trouble.
If my persona is poor will it weaken my chances?
Yes, of course it will, but there are lots of variables so its better to accidentally say the right things to a bad persona than write a great advert for a bad persona and all the other obvious possibilities. It’s a constant learning experience. If you suspect any of the assumptions behind your persona are wrong, then you need to be researching and testing further. Learning and acting upon what you learn is the key to success.

What should I focus on first if I am inexperienced?

Get to talk to a sample of real-life customers. Pay them, beg them, give them discounts or whatever. Walk in their shoes and ask yourself and sometimes them why? Then keep asking, learning and dusting and you will win sooner or later.


How can I build a profile based on content read and emails opened?

Each action tells you some small thing about that user’s attitude to your headline or content and gradually you build up a picture. As you learn you will be able to create conflicting content to help you make better decisions faster about their preferences and needs

What is the optimum number of contacts before I close a deal?

There is not one. The best sales pros always said, ABC meaning Always Be Closing. As long a it is not scary or suspicious and you are obviously interested in opinions, asking for an order will bring about explanations of why not and knowledge needed to increase your success rate.
Statistics say that across email campaigns the optimum number of touch-points is seven, it would be wise not to read too much into that.  Just remember, that calculation included all the people who just walked in and bought, so if you took them out of the equation everything might look very different.


 in summary

Just like you always suspected, marketing and selling is a big challenge, but very achievable when you adjust your expectations and begin to grasp the rules of the game.
It’s about finding that hungry mob and then feeding them and its especially about pandering to their emotions rather their brains.

You can’t guess very well, but you can make your best guess via research and then hone-in your approach.

Coming soon: How to use technology to learn more abut your potential customer faster

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