Is your Landing Page not Converting? Here’s why.

Two weeks ago I offered free Landing Page MVP feedback to our Customer Development Labs community. What I saw was 40+ beautifully designed pages but…

Virtually every founder was making the same 2 mistakes.

Those mistakes were leading to lower conversion rates.

Mistake #1: Product vs Problem

Of course, you’re selling a product, but here’s the thing about products…

Customers don’t buy products. Customers buy solutions to problems.CLICK TO TWEET

We know your customers will buy your product because it will create a change for them – solve a problem for them, change their emotional state, etc.

The mistake founders make is that you “know” the above to be true, but your landing page doesn’t reflect it.

When your landing page MVP talks about your product more than the problem…that’s a problem.

Take a look at the video above for a pile of examples from real landing pages.

The Fix

To solve any Product vs Problem mistakes, all you need to do is:

Lead with the problem.

When the headline of your landing page speaks directly to your customers’ problems, they’ll immediately buy-in:

Save thousands on your student debt
The above is a fantastic example of leading with the problem.

Once customers know you’re going to solve their problem, you’ll have all the time in the world to tell them about your product.

Next Steps

To figure out what problems your customers are trying to solve, and more importantly, the words they use to describe those problems, you need to talk with them via 1-on-1 interviews.

In fact, the words customers use to describe their problems will be the basis of your headlines:

Your customers will write your landing page copy for you.

For details on customer interviews see my articles on:

If you want some help figuring out where/how to find customers to interview, check out the FOCUS FrameworkExercise 1.4: Where are Your Early Adopters?

Your Early AdoptersThat exercise will show you exactly where to find customers who are willing to be interviewed, and how to approach them.

If you already know the words your customers use to describe their problems but want help converting them into effective landing page copy, check out FOCUS Exercise 2.4: Offer Design.

The Offer Design exercise will help you transform your interviews into emotionally-driven landing page copy, that converts.

Mistake #2: Flying Car Syndrome

The 2nd most common mistake I see is landing pages that promise to solve several different types of customer’s problems, and in doing so, solve none of them.

I call this the “Flying Car Syndrome.”

Flying cars suckFlying cars are an amazing idea, and have existed for decades – so why don’t we use them?

Because flying cars suck.

By trying to be too many things, for too many people, the flying car is simultaneously a crappy car, and a crappy plane.

What you don’t realize is that by building a landing page that appeals to more than one type of customer, you’ve created a digital version of a flying car.

Your landing page isn’t converting because you’re selling to pilots and drivers at the same time.CLICK TO TWEET

Watch the video above for what this looks like on real-world landing pages, so you can avoid it.

Put another way, if you know you need to lead with the problem not the product (see Mistake #1), what problem does a flying car solve?

  • Helping drivers avoid rush hour traffic? Nope. Not unless they’ve got a landing strip near where they’re going to and from.
  • Helping drivers save money? No. They’ll burn way more fuel keeping that hunk of junk in the sky.
  • Helping pilots be able to fly more than they normally do? Yes, until they die…then no. Flying small planes is already dangerous – strapping wings to a Geo Metro is only going to make it worse.

Once you start focusing on the problem you solve for customers, you quickly realize…

Each type of customer has a different type of problem.

If you want to speak to any of your customers, you must speak to only one of your customers. One landing page, solving one problem, for one type of customer.

As soon as you start combining problems from multiple segments at once, you end up describing no one’s problems well – and turn your landing page into an “interesting idea” that no one wants <cough>flying car</cough>.

The Fix

The remedy for this mistake is simple:

Sell cars. Then sell planes.

Niche to win.Start by solving a single segment’s problems. Solve that small segment’s problems in an incredible way. That small segment will help spread the word and tell your next segment, which will help spread the word with your next segment.

Eventually you’ll serve both drivers and pilots (a la Rolls-Royce) but you’ll do it with great cars and great airline engines…not with a sub-par combination of the two.

I know it feels scary to only target one customer segment. I know it feels like there’s no way that one segment is big enough for you to be able to start a successful company. I also know…

The only way to get big, is to start small.CLICK TO TWEET

Facebook didn’t start as the preferred social media tool for 1 billion people around the world. It didn’t start as the preferred social media tool for the US. It didn’t start as the preferred tool in colleges. It didn’t even start as the preferred social media tool for Ivy League colleges.

Facebook started at one college…Harvard.

From there it gained traction at Ivy League schools, then colleges around the US, then the general US population, and now the world.

Facebook didn’t start trying to serve everyone. It started by serving just one.

Watch the video above for an example of how Apple followed the same path.

Bring customers back to your store without the messy punchards
This is a great example of focusing on just one customer – retailers who hate “messy” punch cards – not all retailers. Also the headline doesn’t mention loyalty programs, apps, revolutionizing shopping, etc.

Note: for details on picking which side of a two-sided market to start with, click here.

Next Steps

To alleviate “Flying Car Syndrome”, you need to:

  1. Prioritize your customer segments
  2. Pick the single best segment to start testing with
  3. Create a landing page MVP just for that segment

scaleIf you want help with the prioritization process, you can either use the SPA Treatment, or you can use the updated version: SCALE-ing your Segments – Exercise #1.5 in FOCUS.

SCALE will help you prioritize your segments based on the factors I’ve found most important for identifying true Early Adopters within your market.


Creating the highest converting landing-pages possible is straight forward:

  1. Always lead with your customer’s problem
  2. Focus on just one type of customer at a time

Do that, and you’ll avoid the most common Landing Page MVP mistakes and you’ll maximize your currency.

Want More MVP Articles?

This is the 4th article in my MVP series. You can check out the others below:

  1. What is an MVP?
  2. The 5 MVPs of Product-Market Fit
  3. My 9 Favorite Tools for Building Landing Page MVPs
  4. (This one) Is your Landing Page not Converting? Here’s why.

Credit: With thanks again to Justin Wilcox of Customer Development Labs, for allowing me to re-publish his article on

Nobody’s upselling? There’s a practical answer!

“The final sales problem is that nobody is upselling. “Many AEs don’t want to call their old clients and upsell them,” says Harris. “They hate it. They can’t stand it. They’re afraid they’re going to get sucker punched with a, ‘Oh I really love you guys, but this thing is broken. Can you help me fix it?’” … (Richard Harris AA-ISP’s TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals in 2015.)

That “thing is broken” problem Richard Harris raises in the quote above is a very real issue, which I’ve come across very recently. There is an answer, which unites sales and marketing as a team. It’s about creating practical customer-centric content that directly helps existing clients solve the “thing” that is broken.

For example in my last role at Causeway there were plenty of existing clients in our CRM, and which our accounts execs had a relationship with we could upsell to. Our CEO Phil reminded us all at an ‘offsite’ at Stoke Park (where they filmed Goldfinger) that ‘farming your patch’ (upselling to existing customers) was the way to pick up most sales.

Farm Your Patch? Click the pic for my piece ‘Growth hacking within the enterprise – a simple, effective exercise!’

What I realised was there was an opportunity especially in Telematics to better upsell (subject to testing) by creating how-to type content that helped existing clients get a better ROI from their existing investment. One tactic to help this happen efficiently is to proactively gather feedback from clients as part of account management. As from experience part of the connected problem is that each customer thinks their issues with your product is entirely specific to them. And in turn account execs are not surprisingly put off from asking about an existing client’s problems in this context. Again there is an upside. The more you know about the specifics the more you can map out more general content for the top of the pipeline which highlights mistakes than even the best industry players might be making,

I was also helped and inspired in this respect by David Lennon at LinkedIn, who directed me to a case study (pdf, 2mb) from VistaVu which produces business management software for the oil industry which came up with a problem solving approach to lead generation – focusing on common operational mistakes:

“The company leveraged a thought provoking and unconventional advertisement with the heading “The 7 Deadly Sins of Oilfield Services Companies,” aimed at intriguing readers by providing a special report on common, yet costly, operational mistakes that even well-run companies can make.

“Within one week, the Display Ads campaign generated four to five times more leads than with any other online display advertising campaign across any network, on any site for VistaVu. Of the 20 new leads received, 19 were qualified for the sales team to pursue. Overall campaign cost per lead was also one-fifth of the cost that VistaVu typically spends for marketing qualified leads.

“In addition, the lead conversion rate was 2.4 times better (18.2%) than its benchmark with other online trade media display advertising. What’s more, VistaVu’s cost per lead (CPL) was approximately 75% lower when compared to its average CPL with other online advertising channels.”

So now you have two integrated content approaches to both generating new leads, and upselling to existing customers, that focuses on generic problems for new leads and specific ROI problems with your solution with existing clients. But back to the original point of this post, upselling by solving existing customer problems. How do you go about that?

If you want to find out my tailored suggestion on how to go about that for your business drop me a line below. I’m happy to chat!

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