Tag Archives: stage

A Comprehensive Guide To User Experience Design

(This is a sponsored article.) Having undertaken initial user research and analyzed your research findings, the next phase of the design process is to apply what you’ve learned by developing a series of designs to test your assumptions. In the fourth article in my series for Adobe XD, I’ll be focusing on the initial phase of the design process.
Within this overall series of ten articles, this is the first of three that tie together the design process.

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A Comprehensive Guide To User Experience Design


When Do You Need a Long-Form Sales Page?

Long Jump
How long does your landing page have to be to get prospects to take the long jump toward conversion? Image by Hermitianta Prasetya Putra via Flickr.

The best landing pages are concise and include just enough copy to make the sale – and not a word more.

That’s not to say that, “shorter is better.” Long landing pages definitely have their place.

For example, maybe prospects have never heard of you and need to be educated about your solution. Maybe they’re not even entirely aware of their own pain. Or maybe your offer is particularly complex or super expensive.

In those cases, a long-form sales page could be exactly what you need to tell your story and set the stage for conversion.

So how do you know whether you should be testing a longer-form sales page? And how can you be sure that you’re not falling victim to some of the biggest long-form sales page pitfalls?

Keep reading to get the skinny (and – spoiler alert – to download a free sales page template).

Part I: When your landing page needs long-form copy to make the sale

Before we jump into where long-form sales pages can go wrong, let’s go over some signs that you should be testing a longer sales page.

Your product/service costs a pretty penny

When people are asked to part with larger sums of money, they’re more likely to scrutinize an offer.

A higher price tag leads to an increased sense of commitment and anxiety – and it’s your job to include as much copy as you need to soothe your prospect’s fears.

They want to know where their money is going and if they’ll be getting enough value for how much they’re shelling out. Take the space you need to be crystal-clear about the benefits of your offer and exactly what they’ll get.

A bigger price tag = more objections. Take the time to counter each one on your landing page.
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Your product/service has a lot of moving parts

How easy is it to explain how your product or service works? The more features to your product or pieces to your offer, the more copy you’ll have to go along with it.

Michael Aagaard of Content Verve showed this correlation between cost/complexity of an offering and the length of a landing page.

Long-form vs. short-form treatment via Content Verve.

In the above example, he found that the shorter landing page converted better. Why? The gym membership is relatively inexpensive, the offering is simple, and the perceived level of risk is low. An A/B test revealed that giving people more information isn’t necessary.

However, when he tested a longer version of a landing page for an insulation company where the offer was more complex and with a much higher price tag, the shorter version lost.

For an insulation company with a complicated and expensive offer, more information was necessary to make the sale. Image via Content Verve.

The offer represents a larger investment and directly concerns the prospect’s home and comfort. The thought of making the wrong choice about an insulation company is one that causes anxiety – which in turn requires more explanation about the offer.

As Michael put it, “It’s a complex offer that could result in a large investment in insulation. So there’s a high level of commitment and perceived risk involved.”

Your prospects aren’t yet aware of the solution to their problem

Your prospects may not yet be aware of your offer and how it’ll fix their problem – in fact, they might not even be entirely aware of their problem.

Depending on your prospect’s level of awareness, they’ll need varying degrees of information to get them to hit that buy button.

Joanna Wiebe at CopyHackers does a fantastic job of explaining just that with her post How Long Should Your Pages Be?:

Your page needs to be as long as is necessary to make the argument that will address the prospect in their state of awareness. If you don’t know how aware they are, you need to find out in order to shape your argument…

Basically, the less aware people are of their pain and that a solution exists to relieve it, the more copy is required to make them feel comfortable with the offer.

From the CopyHackers post, How Long Should Your Pages Be?

If your prospect has low awareness, then you need to paint a vivid picture of the pain they’re experiencing before you even mention your offer.

Once you’ve painted that picture, then you’re in a great position to educate them about your solution by showing how their life could be better with it.

The length of a sales page should depend on the state of awareness of visitors.
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Part II: Avoiding long-form sales page pitfalls

Now that you’ve got a better idea of when it’s necessary to test a longer-form sales page, it’s time to look at a few easily fixable mistakes that can make your pages really shine (and convert).

Problem: You’re letting design overpower the message

Let’s just get one thing straight. I do believe you can have gorgeous design on your long-form sales pages. You don’t have to go the ugly or plain Jane route to get conversions.

But if cool graphics and eye-popping photos are getting in the way of quickly getting to the message, there’s a problem.

Take a look at this sales page for a design and copywriting course:

From the Brandgasm 101 long-form sales page.

There’s way too much going on above the fold. Between the multiple font colors, handwritten notes up top and multiple big blocks of text, its easy to go on cognitive overload. Where should my eye go?

This design forces the reader to think way harder than they should have to.

Fix: Make your design support your message

Your priority when designing your long-form sales page should be to give prospects the information they need to make a decision. Any design elements you add to the page they should serve the one goal of the page.

Take a look at this screenshot from just below the fold on the same page:

From the Brandgasm 101 long-form sales page.

The elements are no longer competing for attention – the design, typography and formatting enhance the message without making it take a backseat.

And the most important things are emphasized.

Problem: Your story isn’t compelling your visitors

If you’re selling a $2,000 coaching course and you’re not a household name, simply explaining your offer and providing a few benefit bullet points isn’t going to cut it.

If your prospects need a lot of information in order to convert, your landing page copy had better tell a compelling story.

You need to immediately hook prospects in by keying into their pain and reflecting it back to them with the promise of a solution as they move down the page.

Fix: Take your prospects by the hand and walk them through your why

Especially on long-form sales pages, storytelling is one of the best tactics for persuading your audience.

Every single piece of copy should keep the eyes moving down the page and build on the narrative you’re weaving.

For example, the flow of your argument on the page may be:

  • Setting up the problem
  • Explaining why you’re uniquely qualified to understand (and solve) that problem
  • Explaining how your course will fix the problem
  • Giving the benefits buyers will gain from the course
  • Anticipating any objections your prospects might have
  • Telling your buyers what kind of results they will see after taking the course
  • Laying out exactly what they will get (lessons, tutorials, etc.) after purchase

The screenshot below shows a sub-headline and text from Tara Gentile’s Quiet Power Strategy sales page. Here she begins the process of setting up the problem that many entrepreneurs have: not knowing how to grow their businesses or find the support they need.

From the Quiet Power Strategy long-form sales page.

If you move down the page, you’ll see where each sub-head picks up the thread of her argument as to why her coaching is ideal for her prospects. She does all this while making sure to address their most pressing concerns with FAQs and testimonials peppered throughout.

From the Quiet Power Strategy long-form sales page.

On your sales page, explain the why of your business. Show that you care and understand before you ask prospects to whip out their wallets.

Problem: You don’t adequately convey the value of your offering

This is a biggie. Time and time again, I read survey responses from recent client customers saying they almost didn’t purchase from the landing page because they weren’t convinced of the value.

More often than not, the question of value revolves around price. But time can play a role as well. Everyone’s time is worth something – and your visitors will weigh the amount of time necessary to complete your course or get up to speed using your new product with all the other commitments on their plates.

In their minds, they will be asking themselves questions like:

Will I really have enough time to complete the course?
Will this just be another thing I buy and never use?
Will I gain enough skills to raise my rates and pay for the course?

So how can you address these concerns before they even come up?

Fix: Reframe the cost by breaking it down into a more manageable sum or comparing it to something tangible

One of the most effective ways to convey value is to frame the expense in terms of something else the person can relate to in their everyday life, or to simply break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces.

Have a look at this sales page that I wrote for Girls Gone Strong:

price anchoring-650
From the Girls Gone Strong – Strongest You Coaching long-form sales page.

We addressed the time and cost commitment issue by turning it on its head.

The first two bullet points talk about what value previous coaching clients got out of the program. The third breaks down the cost by the day. Spending $12 a day suddenly seems like a no brainer for everything you get.

Is your sales page ready for primetime?

Take a look at your sales page and take some time to:

  1. Determine if going long-form is the right call. Depending on the particulars of your offer and how aware your prospects are of their problem and the solution, keeping it concise may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
  2. See if your page is suffering from any of the common mistakes cited above. If it is, take the time to rework your design or copy.
  3. A/B test a longer version against a shorter version. No matter how much we’d all love for there to be tried and true best practices, there simply aren’t any. You’ve got to test for yourself.

It may seem like a lot of work. But if it’ll help you bring in more conversions, it’s definitely worth it.

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When Do You Need a Long-Form Sales Page?

Bringing Angry Birds To Facebook

There’s no avoiding those Angry Birds. They are, quite literally, everywhere: toys, snacks, cartoons, plush toys and that wildly addictive game that seemingly everyone has downloaded at some point — 1 billion of us last year alone.
2012 was another landmark year at the Angry Birds aviary, otherwise known as Rovio. The Finnish-based developer not only released a slew of tie-ins — from Green Day to Star Wars — but also went social.

Taken from:

Bringing Angry Birds To Facebook


Introduction To JavaScript Unit Testing

You probably know that testing is good, but the first hurdle to overcome when trying to write unit tests for client-side code is the lack of any actual units; JavaScript code is written for each page of a website or each module of an application and is closely intermixed with back-end logic and related HTML. In the worst case, the code is completely mixed with HTML, as inline events handlers.

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Introduction To JavaScript Unit Testing

The Guide To CSS Animation: Principles and Examples

With CSS animationnow supported in both Firefox and Webkit browsers, there is no better time to give it a try. Regardless of its technical form, whether traditional, computer-generated 3-D, Flash or CSS, animation always follows the same basic principles.
Further reading on Smashing: SVG and CSS animations with clip-path Creating ‘hand-drawn’ Animations With SVG The new Web Animation API Practical Animation Techniques The Math Behind JavaScript Animations UI Animation Guidelines and Examples Designing Animations In Photoshop Fast Prototyping UI Animations In Keynote In this article, we will take our first steps with CSS animation and consider the main guidelines for creating animation with CSS.


The Guide To CSS Animation: Principles and Examples

How To Keep Your Coding Workflow Organized

Oops, we used the word “organized” in the title. Time to switch off — is probably what many would think. Being organized is a somewhat dull, though important, subject. Perhaps it would help to give it a bit of context.
Let’s keep it classy, and imagine we’re building a website for a trendy restaurant / café called “bEat”, catering to the arts community. It’s an atmospheric place with 1920’s art on its interior brick walls, live jazz, and rich patrons.


How To Keep Your Coding Workflow Organized

Redesign: When To Relaunch The Site and Best Practices

Redesigning a website is a big job (needless to say) and should be handled with care. Many of us with a portfolio, blog or other website have probably thought about a redesign or at least know we need one. For many designers, though, that redesign never comes. As big and important as it is, the job can turn into a hugely daunting task that we put straight on the backburner of our to-do list.

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Redesign: When To Relaunch The Site and Best Practices

50 Free High Quality Icon Sets

When it comes to freebie designs, beautiful quality icon sets are tops. Designers scour for these free treasures more than anything else. You can use icon sets in Web applications, website designs and on your desktop. If well designed, they make a great impression on others. Beautifully designed icons also prove the quality of a designer’s work, so many designers make theirs freely available online, thus giving their work more exposure.

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50 Free High Quality Icon Sets