Let’s cut to the chase, do landing pages even work? - Showtime Digital

Let’s cut to the chase, do landing pages even work?

16 May 2016 Read 1483 times

If there’s one word to define landing pages it’s - FOCUS.

In business as in life you get what you focus on and no business can survive without focusing on client acquisition. Yet the online environments many companies rely on resemble limp handshakes rather than any real commitment to the consumer relationship.

Here we’re going to show you how to focus on separate and very distinct user segments. We’re going to explore the use of landing pages in the mortgage broking industry but this same strategy can be applied to any number of industries. There are three reasons we’ve chosen this industry –

  1. As a business to consumer category it receives lots of traffic.
  2. Buyers convert online every day.
  3. User groups buy for different reasons.

Consumers looking in the mortgage broking category are 1st home buyers, 2nd or 3rd home buyers, they’re investors, and downsizers or they’re simply looking to refinance. They’re in different stages of their life, each age group speaks a different language and they hold to diverse value systems. So how on earth can one page (a homepage) speak to so many people at once?

Read this eBook to discover the details behind creating landing pages which convert in the finance sector.

Much of the industry, like most industries focuses their attention on themselves, not the consumer, they tell consumers, ‘this is what we do’ to which consumer’s may say, ‘who cares’!

A typical headline may be the ‘we give better service’ call to action, ‘We take pride in our ability to effectively guide our clients through the often stressful process of borrowing for a new home’. Or the, ‘we specialise in everything’ approach, ‘We believe in giving good service and are specialists in property financing for 1st home buyers, 2nd and 3rd home buyers, investment loans and refinancing throughout Australia’, blah, blah, blah.

It’s a vanilla approach which won’t exclude anyone but it won’t motivate anyone either. This is what that shotgun approach looks like.


The ‘what we do’ approach


The ‘what we do’ approach


It’s a simple strategy and the return on investment is low. Ask the consumer to pick the difference between any of the mortgage brokers approaching the market in this manner and you’ll get a blank stare. Heck, most of the companies themselves can’t find a difference! To create better cut through some of them are able to advertise on TV. But most mortgage providers don’t have the luxury of having a TV budget.

Instead they rely on their lowest interest rate to encourage buyers to come forth. However because all the lollies come from the same jar the buyer can determine in 30 seconds the rate they are looking at is virtually no different to 4-5 competing websites. The other flaw in this ‘rate first’ strategy is only 16% of home owners know what rate they’re currently paying, so there’s no reference point to start with. Where it does come into play is as a rate for comparison for competing websites and we don’t want to give consumers the need to do that, do we. This ‘finance first’ strategy is a little more structured and looks like this.


The finance first model


The finance first model


In this model finance binds them all and the areas where the circles intersect work best with this approach. The strategy has moved from ‘what we do’ to focus more on ‘how we do it’. It’s more about making it easier for the consumer and the simplicity of the process.

With this approach a person might be a 2nd home buyer and wanting finance or they’re downsizing and want finance. If each circle theoretically accounts for 20% of the entire market then your ability to be relevant to consumers with high buyer intent is around 10% for each buyer category and 40% for the total amount of refinancing consumers.


Websites focused on a rate offer do well in these areas


But what we believe the consumer wants (finance) is only a very small part of the picture. This strategy doesn’t identify who they are (the subset) and it doesn’t determine why they want the finance.

As a rates first strategy it’s created by finance people and founded in logic. But consumers aren’t finance people, they don’t really want a mortgage and none of them want to make repayments. Because of this the strategy establishes virtually no emotional connection which is why this strategy is so weak.

When you go to a restaurant do you pay the bill first? No, you order the meal, you take in the atmosphere and enjoy every mouthful then you pay the bill. You’ve satisfied the diner emotionally.

It asks the question of whether a mortgage broking company is a finance company first or a sales company first. Are they shouting the wrong message from the rooftops?

Rather than focusing on finance what if you placed the focus on each consumer group, how would that look?


The Consumer first model


The Consumer first model


Finance still unites them all but here we’re focused on the consumer first. In this mortgage broking model landing pages focus on each buyer set. It’s moving from the ‘how we do it’ to a premise of WHY. Why do you want finance, what are your hopes and dreams and why’s that important to you? But before you think we’ve gone all fluffy on you let me explain.

As opposed to the finance binds them all approach, the consumer first strategy matches the need to the buyer a lot more effectively. The reason for this is you’re emotionally targeting consumers before logically displaying rates. Reaching out emotively shows the consumer respect, it says that you ‘get’ them. It also helps them to believe in something greater than their existing situation.

While there will invariably be some crossover in the real world the model takes into account that no buyer set intersects. A first home buyer has no mental comprehension of a couple in their late 50’s who are downsizing and a second home buyer who’s accommodating the family’s growth may not understand the needs of an investor. Invariably in each buyer set a different language has relevance and the copy and imagery on each page needs to change to reflect their needs.

It takes time and effort to optimise but there is a huge reward for those who are prepared to follow the consumer down the rabbit hole.


Be aspirational

The following page was created specifically with this strategy in mind. It emotionally targets the consumer, placing them in the moment and then backing this story up with logic. We’ve taken out all reference to the client.


Be aspirational


As mentioned no one wants a mortgage but they do make the commitment to pay one off for 25 years. You’ve got to ask why that is. Is it the feeling of security or is it, like this page portrays, to spend time with friends and family and to be proud of their new purchase? What this page does is future pace the consumer and it frames their vision of an ideal tomorrow.

Show people a better version of their situation.

This page was one of four created for the client to target specific buyers in the category. This specific page helps people realise their dream and asks them to ‘search for the home, not the loan’. And this headline also has another more powerful subtext. It infers, ‘we have a great rate’, and you don’t need to look any further, you’ve already found us. It’s a hook which connects with consumers on two very important levels and it says it all in seven simple words. There’s always a reason behind the reason, but it’s never what you think it is and it’s your job to identify what that motivation is.


The market potential on any given day

Another way to look at the different approaches is to see them in relation to the entire market on any given day. There are 10% of the market which will always convert and 10% of those who will never buy. The middle ground, the 80%, is made up of buyers who can be swayed if given a good reason. Specifically the companies using the ‘what we do’ strategy never get to see most of that market. Those are the business owners you hear saying, ‘Google Adwords doesn’t work’ when you know for a fact it does.

The rates first advertiser does get to see it partially and this is based on the buyer intent and the level of need. This is also where TV advertising can help push a greater number of consumers over the line. In fact given the current state of the advertising in the industry you could argue the rates based advertisers are winning the lion share of the buyers by default. What it doesn’t take into account is buyers are always looking for more, more information, a better experience and a deeper connection. It’s an ingredient buyers desperately need in most categories and we feel the home loan industry is ripe for change.

This middle ground is where the majority of your buyers reside if you can connect to them. In this sector you can either sell them a logical rates based argument or you can present a consumer focused model they buy into. If they buy into an image of themselves you’ve successfully made that connection.


Markey buyers


How do the stats stack up?

The following graphs represent the potential conversion rates for the rates first and the consumer first approaches. These figures are simply an illustration of the differences in the two strategies.

Rates first model


Rates first Share of market search Page match to buyer intent Converted buyers
1st home buyers 20% 10% 2.0%
2nd home buyers 20% 10% 2.0%
Downsizing 20% 10% 2.0%
Investors 20% 10% 2.0%
Refinancing 20% 40% 8.0%
Totals 100% 16% 3%


As we’ve seen the finance focused strategy doubles up at each intersecting point between the 5 circles. For the sake of the exercise we’ve approximated each intersection (page match to buyer intent) at 10%. Because it’s a finance focused model refinancing takes the lion share of the buyer intent. This doesn’t mean a person outside of the intersecting part of the circle won’t become a buyer. It does mean a logical point of view will attract numbers people but there are many more people who are visual and willing to convert if they can believe in an idea.

Consumer first model


Consumer first Share of market search Page match to buyer intent Converted buyers
1st home buyers 25% 33% 8.3%
2nd home buyers 25% 33% 8.3%
Downsizing 25% 33% 8.3%
Investors 25% 33% 8.3%
Totals 100% 33% 8%


The consumer first model speaks to each buyer group and triggers specific emotional needs and desires. If not activated effectively this model is as flawed in its approach as the finance first approach, certain online mechanisms work better than others with this strategy. But when you do serve the right page to the applicable buyer you have a greater opportunity to convert because the page speaks directly to them.

Whereas the converted buyers in the rates first model comes to 3% (the average conversion rate nationally) the converted buyers in the consumer first model increases almost 300%. In the real world these are conservative and achievable outcomes.


So do landing pages work?

Mark Bouris has a great talk about when he was selling part of Wizard Home Loans to the Packer family and Kerry Packer told him you’re in the business of selling hopes and dreams.

Landing pages focused on rates will work to a degree and they’ll probably pay the bills but they come into their own when you continually optimise to emotionally connect to the consumer. Your goal is to focus on understanding why the life changing event of buying a home is so important to them, that’s when consumer focused landing pages really come alive.

If you can determine the reason behind the reason of why your consumers convert you’ve literally got the keys to the kingdom and that’s where true wealth resides.

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer is the Joint Founder and CEO of Showtime Digital. Steve has been in B2B sales since 1997 but influencing people and behavioural science has been a long-term passion.

The magic he brings to his clients is in knowing how to engage their audience. His goal is to help businesses understand the deeper reasons of why consumers convert online with them.