Egonomics Can Cost Your Business Money with Landing Page Optimization

October 8th, 2009

Egos in organizationsJust this past Tuesday night, I attended Vancouver’s Search Engine Marketing Meetup and Raquel Hirsh from Wider Funnel presented “The Six Landing Page Success Factors” (also known as landing page optimization). Landing Page optimization has been popular for the last 2 years or so for web savvy marketers, but becoming more of a “buzz word” for traditional business and marketing folks.

For those that are new to this arena, here is Wikipedia’s  definition of  Landing Page Optimization:

“(LPO) is one part of a broader Internet marketing process called Conversion Optimization, or Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), with the goal of improving the percentage of visitors to the website that become sales leads and customers. A landing page is a webpage that is displayed when a potential customer clicks an advertisement or a search engine result link. This webpage typically displays content that is a relevant extension of the advertisement or link. LPO aims to provide page content and appearance that makes the webpage more appealing to target audiences.”

Raquel first went over the best practices of landing pages, which most of the crowd understood and probably try to follow themselves (being a web-savvy group).

The best practices included:

  1. Having a call to action above the fold.
  2. Enlarging your action buttons.
  3. Having a high contrast and clear value proposition.
  4. Cutting copy in half.
  5. Having a limited number of form fields.
  6. Minimizing the number if columns.

It’s not just placement of assets on your page. Matching and delivering relevant content from the ad or campaign to the landing page is key. The better the content is laid out and written, the higher the urgency, the higher the sign-ups or sales will be (vs. causing anxiety, distraction and site abandonment).

Although, Raquel may have lost a few of the attendee’s attention after going over the basics,  she didn’t loose me.  Some may have thought it was basic stuff and they already “knew it”, so they didn’t need to listen much further and would rather chat away amongst themselves. But, it was their loss on missing the main take away!

Best practices are good, but only a starting point.

The main takeaway for myself was:  best practices are good, but it is only a starting point! Best practices can leave you guessing the variables on what will work to increase sales or conversions. It may or may not be the optimal solution and reflect the voice of the customer per se. Raquel points out that you need to take the opinion out of the equation and the only way to do so, is to do statistically valid tests with your website visitors (with tools like Google Optimizer). She is a huge advocate of Google Optimizer, and her whole service offering is based on landing page optimizing and using Google Optimizer.

So let’s just say, landing page optimization:

  • is NOT your hunches, nor opinions.
  • is NOT just best practices.
  • is best practices + statistically valid tests.

For the organizations that have team members that are strong on “knowing” and solely use their opinions and hunches with landing page optimization, may fall into egocentric personalities and actually cost the organization money.

Guy Kawasaki’s post “Are You an Egomaniac? Ten Questions with Steven Smith” (author of egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability) is interesting and backs up this premise.  Here’s a snippet: 

“Over half of all businesspeople estimate ego costs their company six to fifteen percent of annual revenue; many believe that estimate is too conservative. But even if ego were only costing six percent of revenue, the annual cost of ego would be nearly $1.1 billion to the average Fortune 500 company.“

Egocentric vs. Altruistic Landing Page Designer. Which One Are You?

I thought it would be interesting to visually map out the types of landing page designers on a sliding scale of egos (below diagram).  These types are not necessarily web or graphic designers, but can include varying degrees of opinionated personalities with regards to influencing landing page design.

The more egocentric you are, the more expensive you are to the company, so be careful when you ask for a raise.

Which one are you?


  • “Egocentric” Landing Page Designer Personality:
    • Wants information a certain way and doesn’t know why or how it can effect conversion.
    • Marketing seems to be second nature for you.
    • You are a huge fan of the TV show “Madd Men”.
    • You like to throw around buzz words like “landing page optimization” and “conversions” but cannot explain the process because you were too busy checking your emails when attending a seminar on the topic.
    • You generally want to put all possible multiple call to actions on a given web page (e.g. : buy, signup, try, download, watch now).
    • You believe that you are doing landing page design and it isn’t rocket science.
    • Your ideas trump any one else’s and it’s the best by far.
    • “Testing” is done in the boardroom and over coffee, before talking about the important stuff.
    • You think you are the voice of the customer.
    • You disagree with someone’s point just because they’re the one who said it.
    • You see someone you work with as a rival and think about how to “beat” them.
  • “Just Knows It” Landing Page Designer Personality:
    • You may luck out and design a page that actually converts.
    • You know some best practices of design but feel that analytics is unimportant to your role.
    • You compulsively follow a competitors “lead” so you’re not doing anything you’re not.
    • You don’t want to spend time on designing test pages – it is a waste of time. You need to move on to the next important task.
    • You think that landing page design is about visually pleasing colleagues, so they can oh and awe over your masterpiece.
    • You believe having a page laid out that is “really” different, will actually bring the company more money, because it is so cool.
    • You think people are stupid if they can’t figure out where to go when they land on the page.
    • You get upset and take it personally when the “Egocentric Landing Page Designer” wants to stuff a lot of content and call to actions in.
    • You don’t want others to collaborate on the design of the page, but want their thumbs up in the end.
    • You do want the “Egocentric Landing Page Designer” to cut the content in half. Because it gets in the way of your white space.
  • “Studious” Landing Page Designer Personality:
    • You know the best practices of landing page design by heart.
    • Your opinion is not the deciding factor of your decisions. Your try to look at things subjectively.
    • You have tweaked and tracked pages and seen how little changes can really increase conversions.
    • You have read a few online marketing books.
    • You attend seminars and webinars on landing page design and usability.
    • You analyze and understand how web analytics can help the overall web strategy and give you tips on how to increase conversions.
    • You know how to set up goals and funnels in Google Analytics as well as conversion codes for pay-per-click campaigns.
    • You may have a hard time persuading the “Egocentric” and “Just Knows It” landing page designers on your best practices because you don’t have concrete data to really show them.
    • You try to follow the best practices, but scratch your head when it is not surefire solution.
    • You know who Tim Ash is. You purchased his book “Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions” and you started to read it.
    • You think A/B tests are simply doing adwords campaigns with various versions of ad copy.
  • “Altruistic” Landing Page Designer Personality:
    • You are the conversion expert.
    • You know you can ask for a raise and you can back up numbers on why you deserve it.
    • You know the best practices of landing page design, but that is the starting point.
    • You use a tool to test statistics– ruling out all opinions, even your own opinion doesn’t matter.
    • You know that patience is a great quality, landing page optimization is a process and not just a buzz word.
    • You will happily implement “Egocentric” and “Just Knows It” designs as part of the A/B or multivariate tests.  You know the true winner will be in the numbers and it is not about a popularity contest in the board room.
    • You know testing and tweaking designs lead to higher conversions in the end.
    • Your ego is humbled. You don’t care whose idea was what and it all comes down to making the company money.
    • You actually completed Tim Ash’s book.
    • You know the difference from A/B tests and multivariate testing.
    • You know that “Taguchi” is not a sushi dish.
    • You have either tested or used  Google Optimizer OR hired a firm like Wider Funnel to help you with landing page optimization and testing.

Question yourself what kind of landing page designer are you and why.

Want to share you egonomic stories with regards to online marketing? Have some tips. Comment below.

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