Note from Millie:

In June I attended the 2017 Unbounce CTA Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Several weeks later, I’m still processing many of the ideas I gathered from the line up of top-tier speakers.

One of my favourite things about the presentations was the emphasis on genuinely actionable insights. Each speaker shared materials that we could immediately (or almost immediately) take away and apply to our businesses.

So as a way of ensuring these ideas aren't tucked away in the "great ideas I had at a conference" file I'm processing them here and hope that you, our Showcase audience, can take something away from them too.

This is the first post in the five-part CTA Series where I'll recap my favourite talks, Cliff's note style. So without further ado …

Increase Your Landing Page Conversions With These Tips

As Marketers, we can learn something from successful salespeople when it comes to treating customers right.

The best salespeople I know are good at evaluating a customer’s needs and then exceeding expectations throughout the sales cycle.

But over in marketing, we often think about the message we want to communicate, rather than what our customer wants or expects from us.

In her talk at CTA Conf entitled “Designing World-Class, High-Converting Landing Pages for Your Clients and Their Customers,” Allison Otting shared some really smart tips for creating landing pages that get better marketing results.

I believe, though, that these lessons can be applied to almost every element in our marketing campaigns.

Be Relevant

“Message matching” is a term I learned from our resident copywriter (and my CTA Conf companion), and it came up in Allison’s talk on landing pages as well. It’s the practice of matching the copy and design elements to the message being communicated, and then matching those elements to each of the assets in the sales cycle.

In simpler terms, make the copy and design appropriate to the marketing message — and then make sure they match from one step to the next.

For example, say you have an ad with the headline “Best New Zealand beer!” A picture of a frothy pint would be appropriate for the message. Now if a prospect clicks on the ad, the landing page they arrive on should have that same headline and image.

Why is this important? Relevance. Each element is relevant to the other.

When the headline and copy relate to each other, and the landing page is clearly relevant to the ad I clicked on, I feel confident that I'm in the right place and it's easy for me to progress.

Now what would happen if, when a prospect clicked on that ad, they arrived on a landing page with the headline “Star Wars memorabilia for sale” and an image of The Millennium Falcon?

Relevance goes out the window.

The difference doesn’t have to be that extreme, of course, to make a prospect feel like they’re going down the wrong path.

The lesson is that you need to not only be crystal clear that your offer is relevant to the prospect but also that every step in the buying process is relevant and linked to the step before.

Here’s the kicker from this part of Allison’s talk, though: We can supercharge the impact of message matching by using real and obvious imagery.

Instead of using stock photos, have real, professional photos taken of your product, solution or company and use them in your marketing assets.

Allison saw a 13% increase in conversions for landing pages that used real imagery instead of stock photos.

Be Transparent

Another thing your prospects expect as they travel down the sales funnel from one marketing asset to the next is clear direction. They want to know what’s going to happen next.

Imagine you have a button on your website that simply says “Click me.” There is no other copy around it, and no visuals to indicate what will happen when you click that button.

Your target customer is not going to click that button. No one is going to click that button.

Not knowing what happens next triggers anxiety — not the incentive to buy.

In Allison’s talk, she mentioned that SurveyMonkey found that simply adding a progress bar to surveys increased completion rates. I did my due diligence and found SurveyMonkey’s post on the topic here for your reading pleasure. It’s very interesting to note that a progress bar at the bottom, without page numbers or percentage of completion, improved completion rates the most.

Also on the topic of transparency, Allison noted that showing a visual representation of what the visitor will get when they fill out that opt-in form will go a long way toward improving your conversion rates.

For example, show a mockup of that white paper you’re offering in exchange for the visitor’s email address. You can create a beautiful visual using Photoshop action packages from PSDCovers.

Come to Their Rescue

Finally, the part where I get to the Popeye story.

During the Great Depression in the U.S., spinach was not a hot commodity. Then along came Popeye. The canned-spinach-guzzling cartoon sailor single-handedly increased U.S. spinach sales 33% by illustrating the benefits of eating spinach.

Popeye ate a can of spinach and instantly became strong enough to defeat his rival, Bluto, and rescue Olive Oyl. Audiences associated the leafy green with strength and success … and they bought it like it was going out of style.


We all know we need to talk about benefits before features in our marketing copy. That’s marketing 101. The most important benefits, however, are the ones that rescue your customers.

First, you have to understand the most pressing problems your customers are facing. What questions are your customers asking? Talk to your sales reps and customer service teams and find out what customers are saying to them.

Then you have to explain exactly how the features of your solution solve those problems. How does your solution answer the customer’s questions? Put these answers in your marketing content! Exceed expectations by answering your customers' questions before they even come up.

Strong to the Finish …

‘Cause I eats me spinach …

The marketing takeaways from Allison’s CTA Conf talk were simple but powerful:

  • Be relevant.
  • Be transparent.
  • Be the rescue.

Remember these three things and you’ll exceed your customers’ expectations at every step in the buying journey.

Header Image: “Popeye Spinach In A Can”
by Michael 1952 is licensed under CC BY 2.0