Craig Rhode is a digital marketer from Minnesota. In this interview he explains how to grow a business with landing pages and get more leads. He also gives advice on how to get the best ROI from pay per click ads, how to retarget ads, and what to do when someone unsubscribes from your list (best advice ever!) Click here to get his landing page resource guide.
Mandy: Whenever I talk to people about landing pages, especially entrepreneurs, it seems like they all have a different idea about what a landing page is. What’s the difference between a landing page and a regular website page?
Craig: This is how I explain it to clients. A website, basically, is your business. It’s your storefront. It’s your brand. A landing page is designed to act as a funnel to one action.
On a website, there are tons of places to click and tons of forms that you can fill out. Sometimes there are videos to watch. But with a landing page there’s only one call to action, and one form, and there are no outside links.
Take for example someone who is selling fire pits. They just came out with a new custom fire pit. The website would feature all their products. A landing page would only focus on the one product. There’s no other action on that landing page.
Mandy: There are a lot of benefits to using landing pages. Earlier you mentioned that a landing page can help make the sale when the initial answer is no… but it’s a soft no. How can a landing page turn a “maybe” into a “yes”.
Craig: A lot of people would assume that when someone looks at a sales pitch and chooses no, it’s a hard no. It’s a “No, I don’t want anything to do with it. It’s over. I don’t want anything to do with this.” In reality, it’s not a hard no, it’s just that it’s a soft no, where you can maybe nurture it a little bit.
Mandy: A soft no means, “Maybe not now.”
Craig: Maybe not now.
Mandy: Maybe on Thursday when I get paid?
Craig: Yeah, that’s a really good tip. I’ll drop a real good tip on everybody right now. Is that most people get paid on three different dates. On the first, 15, or Friday. If you’re selling a product that cost more than $1,000 nine out of ten people probably don’t have the funds to buy it. But if you were to set up your landing page to deploy an automated email, on the 1st, 15th or on a Friday, it’s been proven that you get more engagement or purchases, because people will have extra cash on those days.
If you’re selling something that’s less than $100, plan on there being a soft no, a yes, and a hard no.
Mandy: What’s the best way to get people to come to a landing page?
Craig: Landing pages are 99% designed to be reached through a pay per click advertisement, or some other sort of marketing.
If you’re doing Google AdWords or Ad Sense or Facebook ads, or anything that requires a funnel to go one link, is that please, for the sake of your pocket book, don’t not have pay per click advertisement go to your home page. You’re just wasting money. There are too many other things to click on in your main website. Always use landing pages for pay per click advertisements. No matter what, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Ad Sense, AdWords, or if you’re just doing guest blogging, never send them to your homepage. Always send them to a landing page, or at least a page that you really want them to focus.
Mandy: Yeah. Pay per click ads have such specific headlines. If you send people to your homepage, people will wonder, “Why am I here?”
Craig: I see so much wasted money out there on these Facebook ads, because they’re being run by people who don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just like, “I’m going to put $400 to this Facebook ad that goes to my homepage,” then all of a sudden you see them on Facebook with a little frowny-face emoji with a status update saying, “Where did all my money go?”
Mandy: Okay, if someone has $400 for their Facebook ads, what should they do? What will actually work?
Craig: Say you have $400 to promote this one product. That’s the budget, that’s all you have. You don’t …
Mandy: I want to stop you and point out something that I like. You’re saying, “I have $400 to promote one product.” Rather than having an ad that says, “Here are all of our services.” Focus on one product at a time.
Craig: If you have that $400, this is how I would do it. I would take $200, and create a Facebook ad. I’ll just kind of summarize it, that $200 that I would take $50 of that, and invest it into creative. I would find stock photos that I could put some copy on. I would do some design that will be appealing. The magic number for Facebook ads is eight. You should always have eight variations.
I always make eight different pieces of content for that Facebook ad, and they’re all going to that one landing page that is designed for that social media. A lot pf people only use one photo and one variation of the copy. The thing is, with Facebook ads, if you have a 20 bucks per day spend it doesn’t take any extra money to send those eight pieces. It’s still $20. I don’t understand why people don’t take advantage of that. When you send eight different versions of the ad, eventually you’re going to see which ads are working and which ads aren’t.
Mandy: Then you can get rid of the ones that don’t work and try to write an even better one?
Craig: Yeah. You just keep building and building and building. You take the ads that aren’t working, and rework them. You keep doing A-B testing. The thing is, it doesn’t effect your budget. You can still stick to your $20 per day, or $10 per day. It takes a lot of patience, and a lot of testing.
People ask me, “Why should I pay for someone to run my Facebook ad?” Facebook ads are pretty easy to do. The thing is that the normal business owner doesn’t have time to spend an hour looking at each variation. You’ll just lose money if you don’t test. Facebook provides all the tools, but people need to take advantage of it. People who don’t have time to take advantage of it, should hire a professional who knows what they’re doing. Not only do you save money on the ad, you will get guaranteed ROI and your ads will work at peak performance.
Mandy: There’s so many pieces of the puzzle. You have to focus on one product at a time, have a landing page, set up Facebook ads that send traffic to that specific landing page. But before you do any of that you need to know what your offer is going to be? How do you recommend people figure out what the offer is?
Craig: You’ve got to treat your landing page as a commercial. You only have 15 seconds for a person to determine whether they are interested in this product or not. For this gold and silver landing page, we had several variations on the headline in the Facebook ads. The first variation was, “Thinking about buying gold and silver?” Okay, I am thinking about buying gold and silver. Let’s move on. Or the B variation is, “Can you afford to lose 42% of your portfolio?” And hopefully somebody reads that and says, “Holy crap, I can’t afford 40% loss. What the hell is this guy talking a bout?” The third one was about how the dollar is becoming worthless. Then they go onto the landing page, where they find that we’re talking about gold and silver.
Mandy: For the readers, Craig and I worked on an e-book and landing page together. I wrote the copy for the ebook, and the landing page, and he designed the ebook and the landing page, and made the Facebook ads. As a copywriter, I wrote the copy but didn’t know what happened next. Anyway, continue.
Craig: Exactly. Those are Facebook ads, but they are also the headlines for the landing pages. I can see what landing pages are working, and what landing pages that aren’t. The only difference between, AB and C, is that the very top line.
The first landing page says “Thinking about gold and silver?”, the second landing page says, “Can you afford to lose 42% of your portfolio?” and the third one says something about how the dollar is becoming worthless. We’re currently right now in a testing phase, we’re actually seeing some really great results from B. We’re not seeing a lot of results from C. A seems to be consistent. What that’s telling me is that people aren’t interested in the dollar, they’re more interesting in protecting their portfolio. After this test, I think we’re going to add another one that’s focused on the portfolio and hopefully that works.
Even if your landing page looks great you have to ask yourself “What’s the one thing that I could change and test that might increase the return my of investment?”
If you are hiring someone to build you a landing page, don’t settle on one landing page. Ask them for three variations. If your guy is really good at designing landing pages, he should be able to say, “no problem.” If he doesn’t, then I would think about finding someone else to design your landing page. A-B-C testing is essential for getting your return on investment. That’s just my advice to everything thinking about getting a landing page, or hiring someone to do it for them.
Mandy: In this landing page, there is an offer where you download the book and you get it. You’re telling me in the weeks since we’ve put it up you’ve been able to gather a lot of information, that tells us how we could write a more effective copy.
Craig: Yeah, it’s all about analytics and data.
Mandy: The first one was sort of a shot in the dark because we didn’t have that data.
Craig: That’s the thing. It is a shot in the dark. Then you find out did it hit? Did it not hit? It’s perfectly fine to take a gamble. It’s that gamble that’s going top open the doors to better copy. Better copy always makes better landing pages.
Mandy: Yeah, definitely. Tell me a little bit about the retargeting efforts that you’ve done.
Craig: Okay, this goes back to like the whole, yes, no, soft no. If a person filled out the form, got an email from your landing page, but they unsubscribed from it, your email software will tell you, “This person unsubscribed.”
You should have an email, already designed, for that person that says, “Listen, I saw that you wanted to unsubscribe from my email list. I just want to say thank you for giving us the time. I really appreciate you taking a look at our information. If by chance you have any more questions about this, feel free to give me a call, or send me an email. I would be happy to talk to you, if you have questions in the future.”
You just reach out to them in a friendly way.
This tells people that this isn’t just another automated click funnel. There’s an actual real person behind it. That soft no, that came from that unsubscribe, can easily be turned into a yes, or a maybe, just by reaching out to that person. Now, the person realized that there’s a real person behind all of this, it’s not a scam, it’s not some sort of automated system. There’s actually a physical person that I could talk to. This strategy is really important for financial advisors, or anybody who needs to have a one-on-one relationship with a person in order to sell something.
If you’re in financial services or home repair or anything like that. As soon as someone unsubscribes from your funnel, you’ve got to reach out to them, and say thank you. Those five minutes that you spend emailing to say thank you, is going to pay off nine out of ten times. That person is going to pump the breaks, and think, “Maybe I made a mistake, maybe I should really take a look at what this person is offering.”
Some will email you back. Sometimes they don’t. It’s okay though. You’re going that extra step. That’s what I kind of like to call personal retargeting.
Mandy: I’m going to use that for my own business. I’ve got a daily email, and people will subscribe and unsubscribe. A lot of times, my attitude is bad and I think “You’ve unsubscribed… see you later.” Maybe they weren’t going to be my customer. But sometimes they were my customer. And I’m like, “Why is this person leaving?” It seems worth it to send out a letter like that.
Craig: I’ve done this a lot. The response I get most is, “Oh my god, I didn’t know I unsubscribed from the news letter. Will you please re-subscribe me?”
Mostly these unsubscribes are by accident, or they might have clicked on something, or maybe they did a select all and junked them. If you respond to them and say, “Thank you for reading my email, really appreciate it”, I’ll put serious money down that one of those emails will get responded back with. “I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to unsubscribe from your news letter. Can you please subscribe me back?” That opens up the door for you to sell something. You can say, “By the way, I have a special offer for new subscribers. I could give you 10% off a service.”
Not only do you make them feel special, but you’ve also made sure that people know there’s a real person behind all that stuff. People want to do business with real people. It’s just a real helpful tip for anybody with an email marketing list.
Mandy: They were interested in it, then they think they’ve just been put on a big list, when they really wanted someone to personally help. That’s maybe why the unsubscribed. Then if you send the personal letter, they realize that you can help them.
Craig: It’s what I call the “Human Element.” Marketing has become so automated and artificial. Not personal. That’s why it’s really important with this type of marketing, to create a relationship that really grows trust between you and your clients, or potential client.
It’s trust that really makes the world go around. Doing that type of strategy, really creates trust. Making sure to add the human element to all your marketing, creates trust which leads to sales. I mean, I could spend 45 more minutes on this. But we also have to talk about Facebook Pixels.
Mandy: Why don’t you walk us through that?
Craig: It’s super simple. There’s tons of guides on Google and Facebook, and even LinkedIn.
If you create a sales funnel and get that no, you can hit them with an ad again on Facebook, and Google, and Pinterest, or maybe LinkedIn or Twitter.
But here’s one thing I hate. Some people will set up campaigns that start right away, so as soon as I click out of Amazon, and log into Facebook, all of a sudden my wall is full of ads for that product.
Mandy: I agree. I just bought a bunk bed for my son. Before I paid I put it into my cart. It was pretty expensive, so I was waiting until I got paid before I bough it. All I did was click on the picture, and boom, this bunk bed was everywhere.
Craig: That’s the thing. This type of marketing can get aggressive. Amazon’s theory behind that is that you are shopping around. If you go to that bunk bed page, and you click away, they realize that you probably went to a competitors’ website to price shop.
Mandy: Absolutely. That’s exactly what I was doing.
Craig: Yeah, they’re trying to bring you back to the page by doing aggressive targeting. But, if you’re doing some sort of landing page and someone engaged with your landing page, I recommend giving them 24 hours. Then hit them again with that retargeting ad.
Mandy: If someone visits your landing page, and you’re saying that it’s a no, does it mean that they didn’t put their information in?
Craig: Yeah, they didn’t put their information.
Mandy: How do you get the ads to them?
Craig: All it is a piece of code you put into the header piece of the website. Facebook and Google will walk you through the steps on how to do this. This isn’t voodoo. Everyone should be doing this for the landing page.
Mandy: It feels like voodoo to some of us.
Craig: Yeah it does. That’s why you call me, the voodoo guy. Craig Rhode.
If you really want to get magical though, with retargeting, I recommend that people take a look at Google Tag Manager. It’s a free tool that Google released maybe a year ago. With Google Tag Manager, instead of polluting your website with tons and tons of scripts, you can just have one script and have Google Tag Manager manage them. There are tons of free tutorials out there on how to use Google Tag Manager with Word Press site, normal landing pages, with Joomla, Shopify.
If you really, really want to start doing retargeting marketing, marketing, you should embrace Google Tag Manager and learn how to use it. It’s simple. Its really easy. Google will completely walk through all these steps.
Mandy: You mentioned adding human elements to your funnel. What other areas in your funnel do you think the human element really needs to be added? Where’s a good place to be a human being?
Craig: Maybe having a live chat plugin installed on your landing page. If someone has a question, they would be able to send a message right away to you. You can answer it right away. I’d like to give you some links to some of the stuff I’m talking about for your listeners. (Click here to get more detailed information about the resources Craig is talking about in this interview). Installing a live chat is a great way to add the human element.
Mandy: What else can you do to add the human element to your funnel?
Craig: Add a short video to your landing page. That’s probably the best way to make that trust connection. If you have a landing page with a video and a live chat you should get a really great response.
Mandy: Thanks. I really appreciate all of the tips on how to make landing pages more effective. It sounds like having you on board can make it possible to get better results.