Tom Starley Consultancy

Content & design working together, CTA’s & talking to customers.

So, all good things must come to an end! …And this is the last blog post in my mini-series revealing the secrets behind the best converting landing pages In case you missed parts 1-3, here’s where you can find them but there’s a bunch of useful pointers here too, so let’s get right on it and rock on through numbers 16 – 20!

16. Content and design must work together.

Now I’m a UX ‘designer,’ and that role is always changing (it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy what I do so much.) I love design but I have to appreciate how important content is – it is vital to a successful page. As much as it pains me to say it, a poor design with great content will beat an amazing design with pants content any day of the week. This is why it’s so important to spend lots of time on content, most likely much more than you are used to.

However, to ace the job you have got to shoot for both. For example If you have great content but the font’s too small on the page then people just won’t read it. If you use too many colours or use a palette that clashes people will lose trust in your product. Your design should delight and surprise the user at every turn, it’s what consumers are coming to expect from companies and at times it can be tricky to keep up. If your page is a little off balance or feels kinda, well, just not quite right, a prospect will pick up on this too and churn to a better looking competitor.

Good design templates are now, more than ever accessible to businesses enabling you to create fast, great looking sales pages, branded to be in keeping with your business, without needing developers. Your designer will have no problem crafting a sales page without the use of developer, up until SEO and deploying of the page.

These templates provide a lot of power to you, as they allow you to get something up fast but also qualify and improve as you go without using your developer, cutting the cost. With the huge variety of content management systems available, you and your support team can make tweaks on fly as you learn more quickly about your audience.

If you have the team and can afford to develop a complete set of custom landing pages then great! But don’t underestimate the time it takes to narrow down your audience and craft the right content… I think i might have mentioned this before?!

17. Create great CTA’s.

There’s a few pitfalls to watch out for when creating great calls to action:

  • Asking too soon – If you’re selling an expensive enterprise solution, don’t ask me to commit straight away, you need to show me why I need your product first. I need to be invested before saying “YEAH GIMMIE!”
  • Asking to often – Don’t look desperate, we get it, you’re trying to sell us your product but if you keep adding CTA after CTA to your page, you’re going to confuse the prospect and you’ll lose the all important trust.
  • Not asking very well – A call to action is your instruction to your prospect that now is the time to go for it, you’ve spent loads of time on your content and your design, and now you need to get them to act! Like with creating the perfect tagline, crafting a great CTA takes practice. In fact I use the same formula for my CTA as my taglines with awesome results. Try it and see!
  • Asking for the wrong thing in the wrong place – There’s nothing like getting down to the bottom of a beautifully crafted sales page to find a totally irrelevant call to action. For example, let’s say you’re selling a new, all singing, all dancing men’s razor – great! But when your customer scrolls to the bottom of the page, the call to action reads “get your free hair gel now!” The goal and the CTA need to connect, your sales page must link up perfectly with your users desired action or emotion.
  • Not asking at all! – This is surprisingly common, there may just be a generic button in the header that reads buy or download which could be useful, but you miss the opportunity to tap into your prospects thought process by pre-empting their next desired action or emotion. Add a clear CTA to your page and watch your conversion rates increase.

18. Show empathy.

We have an amazing opportunity, we stand in an age where we can create products that truly help this world and make it a better place. Closer to home we are in a position where we can create products that people truly love to use and find genuinely useful. This is what drives me as an individual and I like to get that across in what I do, be it with the people I meet or the companies I work with. I make apps easier and more fun to use, however instilling this way of thinking, this way of living into our products and into the way we work is a little tricky and uncomfortable at times. To convert I need to connect with you. To connect, I need to feel real emotion; in the language you use, the mission your business projects, in the images and graphics you use and the problem your product solves. Creating something with feeling takes soul and the vast majority of websites just don’t have this. Value the individual that can bring soul to your business and promote this in every corner of your product. Tap into this now and not only will you increase conversion but discover a new sense of personal drive.

19. Talk with your users.

“User testing is expensive and takes ages” – this my friend is just not the case. The more likely truth is, “Since user testing, we have found out there’s loooots more we need to do and we don’t have the time to do it!” But never the less, you need to suck it up and do it anyway!

A hard truth: As with your app, your sales pages are never finished, there is always more to do and as your sales pages are at the top of your sales funnel, it’s a good idea to give them a heavy dose of ongoing improvements and amends, constantly working to move the needle and increase conversion.

Businesses are chaotic places, there’s always a lot happening and it’s tricky to find the time for what’s important. Find the time to induct a user testing process into your sales pages and your product.

“If you don’t talk to your customers, how will you know how to talk to your customers?”

— Will Evans

Back away from google analytics and start talking with real customers. You will not only learn more quickly, which is vital for staying ahead of competitors but you will uncover key qualitative data that your best metrics software just can’t tell you. If you have users, you can talk with them, you just have to make it happen. And by talking I mean actually talking, face to face, email just won’t cut it.

The regularity of testing depends what you’re trying to achieve. The general rule of thumb being you can uncover all major pain points with 5 user tests. Fix those, test again and repeat.

I have helped many businesses get to grips with user testing and have found there’s usually two areas that people find difficult.

  1.  Bias – As a product owner remaining totally unbiased when user testing is a real art. And you have to be unbiased or you will act on the wrong data. The amount of times I’ve seen a tester say something like. “We had this great idea for a new menu and here it is do you love it like we do?” Tester replies “…….YES I LOVE IT!” When what she actually means is “That is absolutely god awful WHY DID YOU CHANGE IT!?!”
  2. Which issues to fix – I’ve been a part of some amazing user testing to only see the boss get hold of the results and completely fixate on the wrong problem. The general rule of thumb here is to start at the top of your product funnel and work down. There’s no point fixing the look of your payment page if only 1% users get to it. (This is also why it is so important to get your personas, initial validation and user testing done early on – the sooner you do it, the sooner you can focus on what’ll make the difference!)

The key to user testing is to accept it never ends, treat it as away to get into bed with your customers and learn what they want so you can provide a product they love! Which leads us nicely onto…

20. Don’t underestimate how long everything takes to do.

This all takes a lot of time and tech companies are renowned for making waste in their pursuit of more users and figuring out their path to success. Everything always takes longer to do than you think. It’s always more involved than you first thought, but if you have laid strong foundations and move forward one step at a time, you’ll get there! Have the confidence to say stop, why are we doing this? Do we need to? Do we know if we should be? How can we find out? Then you’ll start to reduce the waste created. When optimising any page you’ll probably have a good idea that something is wrong even if you’re not sure what it is. From my past experience, if this is the case, it’s good to start further back in the funnel. If you take this approach, it’s likely you’ll be able to figure out whereabouts your problem is so that you can set about fixing it.


This has only been a very brief dip into the world of UX and optimising sales and landing pages but the points covered should set you well on your way to making big improvements! To paraphrase, some crucially important takeaways from this series are:

  1. Get your foundations solid – ensure you know your target audience as this will have a huge knock on effect with literally everything else you do.
  2. In real life, when contending with everyday distractions and when deep, strategic thinking is involved, everything just takes longer than you think it will, accept it and set aside more time than you think you could possibly need for your written content.
  3. Instil emotion and personality into your pages through use of tone and language to reap rewards.
  4. Validate what you’re doing with your target audience – user testing should be embraced not avoided!
  5. Ensure that your site comes across as trustworthy at all times.
  6. Build your content around a solid strategy to ensure that it undeniably resonates with your intended audience.
  7. Understand now that a landing page is never finished. You should be constantly iterating, finding out what people do and don’t like/what works, making improvements, increasing conversion etc.

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Hi, I'm Tom! A UX/UI specialist and founder. I'm passionate about increasing conversion and revenue for growing online companies through expert UX/UI design and consultancy.

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