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6 Mortal Sins of Landing Page Copy

I just recorded this video as part of an ongoing series to help women entrepreneurs.  This one is called, “The Six Mortal Sins of Landing Page Copy.”

Find out:

  • why you need a landing page
  • how a boring headline can kill your sales
  • the reasons your landing page should barely mention your own name or company
  • why you need a copywriter (rather than doing it yourself)
  • the most common mistakes business owners make when promoting their products


Once you watch the  video, click here for a free mini landing page review.

Are You Marketing Like a Republican?

People in bubbles

People in bubbles (Photo credit: viralbus)

A few days ago, the United States re-elected our president.  Most media predictions were for a tight race.  Republicans were crowing that they would win.

On election night, Republican advisor Karl Rove was stunned when the statisticians on Fox News called the state of Ohio for Obama. It was a massive disaster for the Republican party.

The next morning, radio host Rush Limbaugh seemed dazed. Instead of talking crow, they were eating it.

What caused this disastrous marketing campaign failure?

They were in a bubble.   All they heard were their own opinions and the views of other people who shared the same ideas.  They called other outlets the “lamestream media” or “liberals” (their synonym for dirty rotten scoundrels).

The Republicans kept trying to appeal to a shrinking demographic of older white men.  They kept beating the drums, throwing “red meat” to their party base; and never stopped to ask anyone else for an opinion.

The growing minority majority of Latinos, women, and African-Americans were appalled by calls to deport themselves, attempts to restrict voting, and medieval views on women’s rights.

They all voted for Obama  in huge numbers.

The Republicans lost.

Staying in your own bubble can be dangerous for political parties.  It’s hazardous for businesses as well.

Research your market

Think for a moment about your own business.  We can get caught up in our own bubbles too.  We know our products and services cold.  Our staff and partners know it.  We believe we should be hired over our competition.

Know your “why”

Is it clear to them how your product works?  Do they know about your special expertise in say, business-to-government selling?  Or are they aware of the successful email campaign you ran?  The one you had to stop promoting because it was a fire hazard.

Have you reached out to them?  Listened to their concerns?  Or just passed your new app back and forth between your engineers and your friends? Have you created a bra dryer? or an Iphone?

Send a survey occasionally  Or call for no particular reason.

Stand for something your customers care about and stick to it

Instead of stooping to the lowest level, or switching views every other day, stand for something.  Be different, and follow through.  If you say you’re great at customer service, then show it.  Percolate that mindset through every level of your company.

True story: Google sent a popular blogger a new Nexus tablet to review.  When he asked them when he should return it, they told him to keep it (and wished him an early happy birthday!).

Fix their problems

Republicans spent a lot of time talking about voter fraud.  There isn’t much.  They wanted to make the tragedy in Benghazi a talking point.  Then they kept supporting men who said almost unbelievably stupid things about women, veterans, and non-heterosexuals.

The country didn’t care about those things.  We cared about jobs.  And the economy.  And getting help from our national government when a natural disaster hit.

Delight your customers

Look at your own marketing efforts.  What compelling story do you tell?  What big (or even small, but annoying) problem do you solve?

How do you delight your customers?  I know a graphic designer who sends coasters (with her own original artwork) to her clients each holiday season.  Her clients love them, and eagerly await the new ones every year.

Another example of both delight and great service.  I bought something recently from Bare Necessities, washed it, and it turned horrid colors (like a bruise).  I emailed the company, they apologized, told me to send it back, and sent me a new one (with free shipping).  And, they delivered in the middle of a storm.

Guts or data?

Republicans relied on “gut feelings”, big donors, and lots of money.

Democrats went for data.  Time magazine reported that the Obama campaign had a huge data-crunching operation.  They tested email marketing subject lines.  They micro-targeted specific populations and counties.  They checked to see which appeals worked best for different demographics, and used them accordingly.

The campaign bought ads the same way, ignoring conventional news programming and opting for commercials on programs such as The Walking Dead.  Instead of gut feelings, they used hard data to find the right message, get that message to the right people, and get out the vote.

When you market your business, test your assumptions.  Create the perfect landing page.  Use different channels.  Test new offers.  Change prices.  Don’t assume you know what works (unless it’s worked before). Obama’s data team had pools on what would work.  Their guesses were often wrong.

Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, a chemical company, a store owner, or a graphic designer, you can’t succeed or stay in business without listening, researching, and testing.  Now go try something.

Is Your Business a Kite Builder or a Hamster?

Spherical Kite

Spherical Kite (Photo credit: Syntopia)

Last week, in a comment on my post How to Legally Steal Great Ideas,  Tom Bentley followed my suggestion to combine ideas and came up with “hamsters lecturing to an audience of kite builders.”

At first, I laughed.  Then, I thought about if for a minute and it gave me an idea.

So, Tom, this post is for you!

Spinning your wheels or growing a business?

Hamsters and kite builders would seem to have little in common with businesses.  But I think they can both teach something (at least metaphorically).

Hamsters are known for climbing into wheels and running in circles.  They expend quite a bit of energy too.  And all they do is go round and round and round. There’s plenty of activity, but not much forward progress.  They don’t look up or around much.  Just straight ahead, on the wheel, over and over again.

Signs you may be a hamster

If you’re a hamster business, you may be doing the same thing over and over just because that’s the way you’ve always done it.  You spend money traveling to a trade show, post updates to Facebook or Twitter, or do the same promotions every year.

Hamsters don’t test (they just run).  They also don’t check to see if they’re getting business from the trade show, or stop to change their strategies or product offerings.

Spending hours on social media without a particular purpose or strategy is like being a hamster. Just going round and round and round.

Hamsters do have one strong trait though.  They are persistent.  They’ll go on that wheel and keep going and going.  Use that persistence to your advantage.  Just don’t be as narrowly focused as the hamster.  Test new landing pages.  Try a different pitch at that trade show.  Listen to your current clients and find out if there are additional problems you can solve for them.

Signs you are a kite builder

Kite builders behave differently.  They have more “vision” than hamsters do.  They love new ideas and new designs.  They want bigger kites.  Or faster ones.  Or kites that are more complicated or difficult to fly.

Unlike hamsters, their actions are tempered with real-world testing, and lots of trial and error.  After all, if your kite design isn’t just right, you’ll find out pretty quickly when it crashes. They look up quite a bit (rather than concentrate just on what’s right in front of them).

Hamsters don’t have to worry too much about physics and structural engineering (unless they eat too much hamster chow and get too  big to run on the wheel).  A 900 foot kite may be a great idea, but it has too much drag to fly.  If a kite isn’t built solidly enough, a strong gust of wind can tear it to bits.

A kite builder’s downfall is focusing too much on the sky and not enough on that really big tree in the way.  It can be easy to get distracted by something bright and shiny…ooooh spherical!…and not see what’s right in front of you. Go for the big ideas, but watch out for that tree!

So, which are you?  Hamster or Kite Builder?


Tuesday Travels: Online Advertising Survival Kit

A Ready-to-Go 3 day emergency rations kit prod...

Emergency rations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find out if those Facebook promoted posts really work, how to be an Adwords master, and some new rules for Adwords.

10 Lessons on Effective Facebook Marketing – How to prove the value of your ads, measure performance, and set effective goals (Avinash Kaushik, who is referred to in the article, writes the Occam’s Razor blog and is a web analytics expert).

Do Promoted Posts on Facebook Work? – A case study to try to find out.

Adwords Cracks Down on Dynamic Keyword Insertion in Ads – That means those ads that change depending on what people search for. This can (I have found) sometimes lead to very odd results, such as offering me the chance to buy a person I was looking for.

Google Adwords How To – A roundup of videos (collected by Denis Labelle), showing you how to run an Adwords campaign.

How Facebook LIkes Really Work – Turns out, it’s not just “likes”!

How to Legally Steal Great Ideas


Crackers (Photo credit: elhombredenegro)

Even creative people get stumped occasionally.  Somehow, your brain just runs dry.  There are days when you think you may never have another great idea again.

It happens.  However, if you’re prepared, you’ll never run out of ideas again.

In fact, there are great ideas lying all around you. Other people’s ideas.  Even your  own ideas that you’ve completely forgotten about.

All you have to do is look around for them, and then steal them.  Here are six of my favorite completely legal ways to do that.

Keep a swipe file

A swipe file is an old copywriter’s trick.  When an article, a blog post, a an email promotion, an ad, or a headline catches your eye, put in in its own folder (virtual or real).  When you’re stuck, pull the folder out and look through it.

Steal from yourself

When you produce something yourself, keep a copy of it in its own folder, binder, or box (I have stacks of these).  When you need inspiration, pull them off the shelf and sort through them.  With some tweaking, that promotion you used for client A might just work for client B too.

Rearrange existing ideas

If you can’t get a headline or a tagline to work, write each word down on separate slips of paper.  Then move them around on your desk. That’s how GE came up with “we bring good things to life.”  Take the ideas, words, or concepts you already have (that don’t work on their own) and mix them up.  Move the pieces around.  The red bar at the top might look better on the bottom.  I find this works best with actual paper (physically holding it my hands, rather than moving it around digitally.

This works with both design and words, even longer pieces of copy.  Sometimes the best idea in your sales letter or your blog post is buried in the second paragraph.


Scratching is what Twyla Tharp calls germs of ideas.  A few moves or steps that she files away for future use.  Since it’s hard to write down dance moves, she records herself on video.  When she needs an idea, she pulls out the file, runs through her ideas, and builds on them.

If you have a thought, an inspiration, or something catches  your eye, write it down, record it, send yourself a voice mail, or type it into a note file (I use Evernote for this).  When you need an idea, pull one out.


Take two seemingly unrelated ideas and put them together.  People ate meat and baked bread for years, but it wasn’t until 1762 that someone thought to put them together and create the sandwich. Write down a random bunch of words or concepts, don’t think, just write. Then move them around and put them together (cats and space, aliens and cheeseburgers, movies and the internet).

Institutional memory

Your long-term staff is full of ideas; they’ve been around long enough to see the good, the bad, and the really hard.  Go ask them for their input, rather than trying to figure out everything yourself.

Try these out.  You may never feel stuck again.