Understanding the Fine Art of the Credit Offer Landing Page

As many know, I work with some large financial services clients. My company advertises their products online. As a result, I’ve been studying marketing landing pages lately. Specifically landing pages for loans and credit apps. What is a landing page? Simply put it is a page or site that is designed to direct a consumer to complete an offer or an action.

There are many tactics used with landing pages. It really depends on what the goal of the page is. Most landing pages are designed to guide a user to click through to an affiliate offer, click on a paid click ad, fill out a form, or buy a product.

Some of the worse examples I’ve seen of landing pages are MFA (Made for Adsense) and click arbitrage pages. They are designed to get the user to exit the site by clicking a pay per click ad. Usually, it’s a block of content about cash loans or mortgage applications, and a big block of ads in the middle. Horrible. Simply horrible. I’m not saying they aren’t effective, because arbitragers make bank on those pages, but from a user experience there is a lot to be desired.

A step up from that are offer pages designed to capture leads. These most often are pages filled with tightly-packed, bright, and colorful sales graphics with a small form to fill out. Everything you look at is pointing you to the form and telling you why you should fill out the form immediately. These pages are great for collecting lead data. But the attrition rate is fairly high on most of these sales pages. Users are dropping out after filling out the page because they aren’t getting what they were expecting or what they were “sold”.

In my opinion, my favorite example of an effective landing page happens to come from a credit card offer. See below:

Zero APR Credit Card Landing Page

This example is very effective. Here’s a few reasons why:

1) It displays trustworthy brand names. Discover, Chase, Visa, Citi, Amex, etc. All their products are displayed in plain view for the user to see. I can’t stress how important this is! I’ve seen way too many landing pages that are basically “Apply now for our private labeled credit card that we won’t tell you the name of until after you apply” type of offers. Having the brand names front and center gets users over a big hurdle instantly. They know what they are going to get.

2) The consumer gets to choose. There isn’t just one product being sold, there’s 24! Instead of spending the energy on trying to just sell one card to the user, they are letting the user compare and shop for themselves. All these cards are already similar in that they offer 0% APR on the intro transfer balances, and they do a good job of making the consumer aware of this fact. Now the user gets to click on the card that appeals to them the most since they already have a basic idea of what the offer is.

3) The landing page is informative. Below the fold (the bottom part of the page that you have to scroll down to read) has very detailed information for the consumer to read if they have any questions about what a zero APR is, how the site is helping them and what to look out for. There is also a link to the Credit Card Balance Transfer blog to further educate the consumer. An added bonus to the blog is that it enhances search engine traffic.

4) Easy navigation. On landing pages with multiple pages, it can be difficult for a user to know where to go next or what is available on the page. The above credit card example does a good job of having clear, visible links through out the site, navigation at the top of each page, and a sitemap that helps users and search engines navigate to all the pages on the site. There’s even a Canadian CC Offer page that I found through the sitemap.

5) Friendly design. This site does not scream “SCAM” or “SPAM” to me. It’s one that if I were genuinely looking for a credit card, I’d be very interested in. There is a lot of valuable information and a lot of valuable, targeted offers.

The above landing page is ideal for search engine traffic. I think an email campaign would be moderately successful, but organic SERPS are where its at for that page. It has all the ingredients of a successful search campaign.

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Site Sift: Standing Out Amongst Mediocracy

In the past, whenever I launched a website I’d start by opening a list of directories I kept in bloated excel spreadsheet and start submitting to each directory one by one. Some were paid links and some where free directories. All gave me pretty valuable links (for the Search Engines didn’t focus on duplicate content as much).

That was one of my old strategies. Now I mostly focus on linkbait and viral marketing. But lately I’ve found myself looking back at my old directory list. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s to reminisce on how easy SEO was back in the day. I did find it interesting to see which sites survived and which ones still had my links.  There have been many sub-par directories that no longer exist (some even had expired domains…tempting, tempting). I’m not talking about the DMOZ’s and Yahoo’s.  I’m talking about the smaller guys usually run by a single webmaster. Although I can’t say much for DMOZ and its current state, and we all know what happened to Zeal.com.

Out of the group, one site kept popping up over and over again. My links still existed (making it well worth the one time fee) and the categories that contained my links had jumped in PR. They have renewed my interested in directories because they kept their word of keeping a lifetime link up. The directory that I’m referring to is Site Sift. I’m so impressed that I’m soon to be an active user of their site again.

Site Sift is doing many things right for a directory. First thing they are doing is maintaining the directory. You’d be surprised how many directory owners have slacked off and let the queue of submitted sites grow and grow.

The second thing they are doing is ensuring plenty of incoming links to the site by offering free directory software. When webmasters install this software, a link back to Site-Sift.com appears in the footer of every page of their site. It just takes a handful of successful sites using this software to make this effort well worth maintaining a open source software application.

And finally, they offer those precious lifetime links. So many directories are only letting users buy monthly or annual subscription links. It’s nice to see a few directories keeping the lifetime link in place and set the “de facto” standard for other directories to follow.

I don’t know how much longer directories in general will be a viable option for webmasters, but I do know that if directories can maintain a quality act, they’ll continue to win over their customers.

I’m working on three directories right now. I’m hoping to sell a couple of them off, but I do want to make one of them be as high quality as Site-Sift. I don’t have the software to offer, but I usually can find other ways to make a unique offering.

Tipping Point on the Tip of My Tongue

Have you ever been in a midwestern electrical storm? Talk about freaking amazing!

The day starts of like any other day. Sun is shining, a few puffy white clouds in the sky, birds chirping, kids playing, sprinkling systems sticking to their schedules, everything appears to be normal.

Then, in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, things start to get quiet. Fast.

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Adsense Writers

Found a pretty good plugin for wordpress (if it’s hosted on your own domain) that lets you share Adsense with other authors.

linky doo

Creative Blackout

ARGH! I’m still struggling to come up with a concept for this domain. I grabbed the account early when invites were required and I wanted a presence on wordpress.com. Now I just don’t know what to do with it.

Geeks?
Gaming?
Cars?
A site all about me? (How egotastic!)
Babes?
Gadgets?
Business?
SEO?
Niche Marketing?
Living in Vegas?
See, I’ve done all those in some form or another all ready. And a new site, well I want try something new. I dunno, maybe I’ll just turn it into an ebay-a-day type site. Anyway, this site is a blank slate for the time being. One day (usually about 6 months down the road) I’ll wake up and the “Ah-ha!” will hit me.

Free Links On Me!

Woo hoo! Yay! Alright!

Ok, so I still haven't figured out what I'm doing with this domain.

 In the meantime, on my other site I'm giving away Free Links (go now, they're limited to first 10 people).