Landing Pages: Stop Selling and Take the Order Already! by John Caldwell @jacaldwell

Stop Selling and Take the Order Already!

Landing Pages: Stop Selling and Take the Order Already!

Once upon another time in a world before Graphic User Interface (GUI) I used to sell things.  I won’t bore you with my progress from nightclub DJ to retail high-end home HiFi, to car stereos (sold enough to buy a house), to outside sales, but let’s just say that for all intents and purposes, sales is sales….

One of the key things that separates a good sales person from a not-so-good sales person is that the good sales person is never afraid to ask for the order – and the money!

So what does that have to do with email marketing?  I’m glad you asked….

First we need to get on the same page on a couple of things.

  1. Marketing is everything that you do to that brings qualified customers to your door
  2. Sales is collecting the money in exchange for a product or service

Next we need to understand some basic functions of an email marketing message.

  1. After sender recognition, the Subject Line causes a message to be opened (Note: sender recognition alone is not enough to cause a message to be opened)
  2. A Value Proposition gives the recipient a reason to want to purchase
  3. The Call To Action drives clicks
  4. Conversions happen at the landing page

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on….

One of the more common situations that I hear is, “We get great open rates and lots of clicks, but not very many conversions…. Why?”

It’s gotten to the point that I hardly have to look anymore to diagnose the problem – they’re still selling on the landing page!

Selling at the landing page works for things like search or ad placements, but for email it’s different.  Why?  Because you’ve already “sold” in the email message.  The landing page is there to take the order and that should be its primary purpose.

This is email marketing, people, not Direct Response TV with “But wait, there’s more!“  Asking for the order is Sales 101!

You’ve given the recipient a reason to open your message with your subject line.  You’ve captured their attention and explained what’s in it for them with your value proposition.  They’ve got their credit card in their hand while clicking on your call to action, and you want to keep selling them something that they’re already ready to buy?  And you wonder why people don’t convert….

This ain’t rocket science.  I know this because my step-father is a rocket scientist and he tells me that if he has his money in his hand and is ready to buy he’s done being sold.  He doesn’t need any more speeches, pitches, or convincing.  If he did he wouldn’t have pulled his money out, and if the sales person would rather keep pitching the sale rather than taking the order, he’ll leave.  Plain and simple; and I’d bet many of you would do the same.

Take a look at your landing pages.

Is the landing page a copy of your email message with an order form?

Is it lit up like the Vegas strip on a Saturday night having more distractions than a teenage boy at an all girls school?

Are you giving a bevy of options that lead away from the desired action – like giving you money?

Are you more concerned with making your landing page SEO/SEM friendly than you are taking the order?

Seriously, what is the core purpose of your landing pages?

So here’s my challenge to those of you that have good open and click rates, but fall down on conversions using the types of landing pages I’ve just described:  Strip out all of the crap and focus on taking the order and see what happens.

If your conversions increase, let me know.  And if they don’t, well, I’ll give you your money back….

Takeaway: The landing page is there to take the order and that should be its primary purpose.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this! Leave a comment and let’s talk!

Meet the author:



Active in the email marketing and operations space since 1996, John Caldwell is an innovative marketing executive experienced in integrated and tactical email marketing and operations. As an independent consultant John has brought his utilization of email marketing best practices, including customer segmentation and profiling, and operational analysis, to a number of major clients including Teleflora, eHarmony, Experian Consumer Direct (, and more. While at Experian, prior to becoming a consultant, John created and implemented the company’s strategic email marketing plans. He designed the company’s email marketing guidelines and developed comprehensive reporting matrices to measure the operational statistics of email programs and campaigns providing actionable intelligence to Business. John has spoken at Industry events on deliverability and other topics, and is a Member of the Email Experience Council of the Direct marketing Association, where he is actively involved on the Measurement Accuracy Roundtable as 2009 & 2010 Co-Chair.

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