The Will Critchlow checklist school of landing page design

SEOmoz yesterday released the long-awaited results of their landing page competition where members of the community competed to create the best landing page they could for SEOmoz premium membership. Prior to the contest, the conversion rate was only 0.5% so they felt there was a lot of scope for improvement.

There is a small story in the great improvement the best landing page has offered - converting more like 2.5% of all visitors (and beating the next best conversion rate by a not-to-be-sniffed-at 7%). More interestingly for those of us ego-surfing this week (that would be me, then!) is actually that 'nearly as good' second place page - nicknamed 'The Will Critchlow checklist' internally at SEOmoz (which wasn't designed by us, I hasten to add).

This landing page competition has some important lessons for all of us in the business of converting visitors into customers (and who isn't?). SEOmoz had to keep the competition running longer than they had anticipated in order to get a statistically significant sample to differentiate the top two best-performing pages. These two pages had very similar performance, but are quite different in approach and execution:

##The Will Critchlow checklist

The runner-up was a short-form page (by Carlos) with only two main elements:

1. a testimonial with headshot (of me!) 2. a checklist of benefits of premium membership

This landing page was incredibly successful at getting people into the sign-up funnel (at 12.8% vs 9.1% from the eventual winner) - probably (in my opinion, obviously without the benefit of additional multi-variate testing) because of the simplicity and short-form coupled with the confidence-giving testimonial (ahem). There is very little to do on this page other than continue through the sign-up.

Unfortunately (for this page's author) a larger proportion of visitors failed to complete the signup process after starting on this page. It may be that this is not rectifiable and is simply a consequence of inviting visitors in too hard, but it wouldn't surprise me if this could be boosted by bringing some elements of the eventual winner into the latter stages of the process - using the best of each technique to create a 'super-converter'. If I were Rand, I would next trial introducing some of the confidence-building elements of the overall winner (e.g. the large media organisation logos or a photo of Rand himself) into the later stages of the signup process.

##The Scroll Forever

The eventual winner was a long-form page with a lot of text and many complementary confidence-building techniques (by inflatemouse) including:

1. a personal-sounding letter from Rand (+ photo) 2. press coverage with logos of well-recognised media organisations 3. quite a lot of 'free' information 4. a money-back guarantee 5. a requirement you to 'invest in yourself' 6. limiting the offer to 7,000 people 7. requiring you to keep it confidential 8. a call to action of 'enroll [sic] today' - sounding like you are going to be learning and bettering yourself 9. examples of tools and other value-added benefits of membership

The long-form copy letter is a classic in direct marketing, and this is a great example of it - I think the only problem with it is that it doesn't have my photo on it ;)

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About the author
Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow

Will founded Distilled with Duncan in 2005. Since then, he has consulted with some of the world’s largest organisations and most famous websites, spoken at most major industry events and regularly appeared in local and national press. For the...   read more