Last week, my partner and brother, Jeffrey and I were doing an in-house training for a large B2B marketing team. At the end of our training, we had them review a bunch of landing pages across the web to see how they could apply what they learned over the two day training. One source of inspiration for the landing pages they reviewed was this list of 30 beautiful landing pages. There were a few good ones (beautiful isn’t good), but the one the team agreed was the best was the Square landing page.
In this column, we’ll take a look at 3 landing pages:
Since they all pretty much sell the same thing, I thought it would be interesting to show several processes we use to review each of these landing pages based on:
- The anatomy of a landing page and the key design elements found.
It might help to review this short video on how your designer and you should be working together to set the priorities for your page:
Here is my analysis of the conversion design of these 3 landing pages (the video takes less than 14 minutes):
Square has focused on simplifying their messaging and conversion process (that appeals to the Competitive and Spontaneous types) over Intuit’s and PayPal. Even the look of the card readers in the product presentation had a great impact on people’s decisions to sign up on these pages or not.
It would appear, if you were to truly dig into the details that both Intuit (for Humanistic types) and PayPal (for Methodical types) might have better offers. However, I am a Square customer and many of the people I asked about the pages agreed Square seemed to be the most effective landing page for converting visitors.
Please give me your feedback.
In addition, I asked several experts for their opinion of these landing pages (without seeing my analysis).
Jeff Sexton,copywriter teacher and messaging consultant shared:
Squareup does a commendable job of pushing their primary sales message, but makes it way too obscure to get more info if you want it. You have to click on the text that reads “2.75% per swipe…” and that text does not appear to be clickable unless you look REALLY hard.” I would recommend they at least test making the text look more clickable, either by turning it blue or underlined or 3-dimensional, or just by making the little horizontal triangle bigger.
Also, because Squareup changes the picture from iPhone to iPad when going from home page to the page on “Square Register,” I half thought that you could only use square register with an iPad. I had to read to figure out that it could be used on an iPhone too. Something to think about
Paypal — If you’re going to have a demonstration video, you should show a miniature video player instead of a button as the clickable call to action. Also the video takes too long to get going — the first 10 seconds or so almost feel like pre-roll. Oh, and I think whoever designed their card reader should be shot — the thing looks fragile and I could never quite figure out if there was a slot in the reader that you swiped the card through, or if you just swiped the card along the back or something. Just look at the hero shot: what’s that blue thingy behind the card? It doesn’t appear in any other picture of the reader does it? Just… distracting really.
Finally, what no one mentions — not square up or paypal or intuit — is that you can take a payment BEFORE you get your reader thingy in the mail. People procrastinate, and they might very well be reading this page because they need to take a payment like, now. I know this because it was exactly the case with my wife Deanie’s photography business. She wanted to take a payment that day and it took me some serious research to figure out that, yes, you could do that with Squareup. Why do they keep it a secret?
Tip: Never underestimate the power and pull of immediacy in today’s world.
P.S. Paypal’s menu at the bottom was nicely done and their “Multiple Ways to Get Paid” tab was brilliant. I think they may want to test bringing more of that messaging into the landing page, if possible, as it’s a solid differentiator between them and Squareup.
Intuit had the best pricing table once you got to it — they at least gave you the “keyed in” card payment charges up front. Of course, they’re relying on you to understand the difference between swiped and keyed in card payments, which isn’t a great assumption, but… why not put some of that data up front? In fact, I think their “How It Works” page might even convert better as a landing page than their current landing page, as it quickly differentiates them from everyone else. Might be worth a test?
Nick Usborne, online copywriter, author and coach:
I can see why they used “Never Miss a Sale”. It’s a benefit, not a feature. That said, during a time when early adopters are trying this technology, I think the direct statement of “Accept credit cards anywhere” might work better. Also, the list of features on the chalkboard in the photo is cute, but breaks a cardinal conversion rule – Put nothing in the way of your message. It’s harder for me to read the text on the chalkboard. Finally, this is a two-stage process. I have to click the ‘Give it a try’ button to get to a page where I can sign up. BTW – ‘Give it a try’ is really lame compared to the line on the Square button – ‘Get a Free Card Reader’. ‘Give it a try’? That’s what I tell my kids when they won’t eat their broccoli.
This is a bit of a mashup of messages, and not in a good way. The headline says ‘Get paid anywhere’, the service is called ‘Paypal Here’,and the button says ‘Get PayPal Here’. The button message is unfortunate, because if I skim over the name of the service and just read the button, I might think, “Get PayPal here? But I already have Paypal.” Interestingly, PayPal offers a free card reader when you download their app. But they hide the offer in small, gray text. Are they afraid every teenager with ask for one? Either make the offer, or don’t. Also under the heading of ‘make up your mind’, PayPal needs to make up its mind whether they want me to ‘Get PayPal Here’ or ‘Watch how it works’. Ask me to choose and I’m likely to choose neither and go back to watching dancing squirrels on YouTube.
Very simple, and follows that basic conversion rule of “Put nothing in the way”. Simple and direct. And, for once, the visual is not just decoration, but provides the second half of the story. One thing I might do is test the “sign up” line as an alternative headline: ‘Sign up and we’ll mail you a free Mobile Card Reader’. By giving them the card reader, Square is removing another obstacle to conversion.
All other things being equal, I would vote for Square. Hands down. But all other things aren’t equal. (Are they ever?) Both Intuit and PayPal have huge brand awareness and a ton of customer trust. That trust alone could compensate for weaker messaging and design and lead to higher conversion rates.
Alex Harris, a landing page & conversion focused designer we have worked with for over a decade gave his input:
Square – This is the best design of the three. Within a few seconds my eyes identify with the photo and I do not need to read any text to know what they are selling.
- The slider ARROWS should may be hidden until you hover over the slider, when clicking the left one I the slide removed the main form area and shows “Text me a link” call to action.
- Or just make each of the slides consistent, keeping the main “Get Free Card Reader” form area on each slide.
- Test adding a signup button in the top right of the page.
- Before signing up for the form or buying this product, I do have concerns about security for my business. Design should demonstrate confidence with security seals & text.
Paypal – The photo is more confusing than the square one, maybe because I know what square is and paypal is known as a different type of version.
- On the left side of the page, the main call to action area seems confusing, even after reading I am confused. Is this an app or hardware?
- I am not ready to give you my mobile number, why is that the conversion action?
Intuit – while the first photo is not necessary, I like the other photos that rotate in the main area. I think the device photos are clear and easy to understand.
- The secondary content that is just above the fold is very intuitive. The middle aligned phone + device + card image reinforces that top photos and easy to understand.
- The call to action text on the button isn’t focused on committing right away so user may feel more comfortable on click it more.
- The subtext using “FREE” is worked into each areas of the content, then a large FREE headline is below. FREE is everywhere, but not done in a cheesy/scammy way.
- The yellow button is the focal point and my eyes are forced to go there.
- All the hyperlinks on the page are not underlined or bold. Savvy web users looking to learning more are the ones that will click these links, others will click yellow button.
How do you think these landing pages compare? Let me know in the comments below please.