As a child you likely heard the fairy tale of Goldilocks. The golden-haired girl is in the forest and comes upon the residence of the 3 bears. She enters the house and proceeds to make herself at home. Sampling the porridge she finds one too hot, one too cold and one is just right. The same goes for the beds; one is too hard, one is too soft and one is just right.

Landing pages must achieve a similar balance. If your landing page is too simple, the prospect wont know what they're getting or wont trust you enough to convert. Put too much on the landing page and the prospect will be distracted and/or overwhelmed. Your landing page has to be just right.

Now for the reality check. You probably don't have sufficient traffic to do multivariate testing. Validating an A/B test can take weeks or months. So how can the SMB accomplish this delicate balance? Consider the following examples:

The Local Service Provider

I performed a search for salt lake plumber and clicked the top ad for Neerings Plumbing. This is the page:
Neerings Plumbing
As Goldilocks might say, "Too much." Here is my analysis:

  • Two phone numbers? Which one am I supposed to call?
  • Red, red, everywhere. If you emphasize too many things you emphasize nothing.
  • Cluttered with images & too much text

Sadly I see a lot of SMBs with landing pages like this. It's as if they modeled their landing page after a brochure or direct mail piece (usually because the same designer did both). I could write an entire post with best practices for landing page design, but I'd rather show you with examples of big businesses doing their landing pages right.

Feature the Call to Action (CTA)

As soon as you arrive at this page you know what they want you to do: Try SEOMoz free for 30 days. No navigation above it. Very little text above the fold.

Make It Easy

Raven SEO Tools
The message is concise and clear: Raven provides professional SEO tools. The form only asks for 3 pieces of information. You want them to convert, so make it easy.

Use Color to Focus Attention

ion interactive
Looking at this page you can't help but focus on the orange box...and that's where the call to action is. Notice that they even greyed out the company logos along the bottom so they wouldn't pull attention away from the main objective.

Minimize the Copy

The Adobe Digital Marketing Suite is a huge bundle of product offerings that can cost millions of dollars/year. But notice they still kept their message to a headline, a subhead and two paragraphs. Heck, the form is longer than the copy (which is opposite of our 2nd point above, but Adobe uses those fields to weed out unqualified leads)

Learn from the Big Boys

In summary, to help your landing page be "just right", test the following:

  • Place the call to action/main offer right at the top of the page so it's the first thing your prospect sees/reads.
  • Make it easy for a prospect to make the first step. Get the vital info and nothing more.
  • Contrasting colors draw attention. Use it to your advantage (but not too much or the effect is lost).
  • Minimize the copy until it could reasonably be skimmed (don't expect detailed reading) in less than 30 seconds.

Learn more about landing pages: