I was perusing the interwebs today when I stumbled upon an article by the very funny Oli Gardner on unbounce.com called “Marketing FAIL – 7 Newbie Landing Page Mistakes.” In it, Oli lays out the 7 most common errors made by marketers new to landing pages. Brilliant stuff. Here’s my take on Oli’s seven deadly sins as they apply to video landing pages:
FAIL #1: Message Mismatch
Oli talks about confusing the content of the message, but I’d like to take this opportunity to speak a little bit about tone. It’s the fundamental tenet of multi-channel marketing: Keep your voice. That goes for video landing pages, too. If you’re using a professionally-shot and -edited video, don’t muck things up with shoddy copy from a greenback fresh out of college (unless she’s incredibly talented). Hire a writer, if you don’t have one on staff.
Likewise, if you’ve got a thirty-second video clip, keep the copy punchy. I don’t want to invest more time reading than viewing — that will bore me. If the video is all-business, include all-business copy. If the video is funny, the copy can be funny, too. (Though here especially I stress the importance of finding someone who writes professionally — CMO’s often make really bad joke-tellers.) However your video is presented, the voice in the video should be the same as the voice in the text.
FAIL #2: Broken Lead Generation Forms
Oli is right to point out this little shortcoming. The point of this part of his excellent post is that landing pages — video or otherwise — need to be tested before they go live. The more interactive elements your landing page features, the more rigorous your testing should be.
Video landing pages are certainly no exception. Depending on your format of choice, you will need to test your video player in a number of different browsers (I can think of five big ones off the top of my head – talk to your tech guy if you can’t think of that many). You’ll also want to test the video at varying connection speeds, over wired and wireless connections, on computers with different processors and graphic cards, and at varying times of the day. A tall order? Sure. But you’ll be singing my praises when your top competitor pulls you aside at the next industry conference and asks you how you make your landing pages work so well.
FAIL #3: Advertising Something Other Than Your Main Objective
If you want your customer to download a white paper, why on earth would you give him the option to do anything else? Your video is geared toward getting someone to do something specific. Is it being sabotaged by your other big, shiny links? Try this. Create a landing page with only three things: a video, a link, and your company logo. You can make it look all fancy, if you like, as long as the only thing a viewer can do after the video is done is click that link. This is the foundation of a successful landing page. Anything more than this is really just decoration.
FAIL #4: Leaving Watermarks on Stolen Stock Photos
- Don’t steal images or videos.
- If you do steal, at least make an attempt at hiding the fact that you stole; and
- Stop stealing images or videos.
FAIL #5: Asking if I Really Want to Leave This Page
This is just common sense. Put on your Joe Web-Browser hat for a second. Don’t you hate those little pop-ups that say, “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” Of course you do. Like babies crying, those little windows are seemingly designed for the sole purpose of annoying the crap out of you. Don’t use them. Chances are I didn’t click the big red X by accident. If you’re worried about people navigating away from your video landing page, build better content. It’s really that simple.
FAIL #6: Playing Hide-and-Seek with the Call to Action (CTA)
I love Oli’s analogy in this section about being in an airport. But his point reminded me of something my father used to say to me when trying to get me to understand a complex idea. “Pretend I’m an idiot,” he’d say. “What do I need to know?”
So, if we’re pretending I’m an idiot: Big flashy video. Big shiny button. Company logo. That’s all I need to know.
FAIL #7: Recreating War and Peace
I’m verbose by nature. I like to write a lot. And I harbor an illusion that my stuff is so good that people will want to read all of it, no matter how long it takes. That’s simply not the case. (Ouch! My ego!)
There’s a quote inaccurately ascribed to Mark Twain which reads, “Murder your darlings.” What the author of this quote means is that your writing becomes more effective when you look at the passages that you like, but which serve no higher purpose, and cut them out. You can apply this approach to editing video as well as text. Oh, and extraneous links, too. (I really hate those.)
The moral of this story is that when it comes to video landing pages, quality control and simplicity will often win the day. Avoid these seven mistakes, and you’re sure to find landing page success. Or, at least, you won’t find utter landing page disaster.