As promised, here is a review for Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook Second Edition. I read the entire pdf in about a day, a hard copy is still on its way in the mail. I think that it was released earlier this month, Shawn Collins made a blog post about it and somehow I missed it.
The reviews are trickling in, but I hope this one will be comprehensive enough for my audience. If you have any questions, just ask them in the comments of this post.
For beginners — why landing pages matter a lot
Landing page optimization is the quickest way to increase your web site’s revenues. A visitor arrives at your web site and based on countless variables decides to either buy something or not. A few changes and tests can double or even triple your earnings. This is a heck of a lot easier than doubling the number of targeted visitors arriving at your site. Surprisingly, many web business owners still do not take landing pages seriously.
A landing page isn’t just about making a sale. It is the foundation to all goal driven web sites, be it signing up for an e-mail newsletter, joining a forum, subscribing to an RSS feed, or arriving at a parked domain and clicking ads. Like it or not, your web site is just a bunch of landing pages.
If you are hesitant to spend the money there are lots of free articles and case studies that you can read online. I’d recommend reading this blog post first, which highlights the two simple rules I follow biblically myself.
The best part: ideas
This guide has lots content. Everything is laid out as straightforward guidelines and explanations with extensive charts and data to back it up. Just like with Marketing Sherpa’s case studies you will see images of pre and post-optimized landing pages along with the exact conversion rates for both. (If you want to see some cited case studies used in the guide, check out the links in this post from Jonathan Mendez at Optimize & Prophesize.)
Should their suggestions be memorized and followed exactly? Of course not. What you should do is read the handbook, make note of the new ideas you see, and then test them out. You may very well find that what they wrote doesn’t work for your particular site.
One of the parts I was really impressed with was a radio advertising case studio. I have never done anything with radio, but when I do, I will know exactly where to start. Again, I can run my own tests, but this information gives me a great starting point rather than attempting a blind entry all on my own.
Just as with radio, The Landing Page Handbook is not just about what is on your landing page. The chapters cover how the landing page relates and correlates with your traffic sources — banner, email, search, TV, radio. For me thats a plus, however for others it might be considered filler.
Downsides? While they do mention Google’s quality score, you won’t learn much about it. Given how complex and rapidly changing their walls of “deception” are, its probably better Marketing Sherpa avoids the topic. Additionally, if you are a smaller affiliate marketer, much of this information will not be helpful either since you can not control external landing pages (but thats not to say you will walk away empty handed.)
The Landing Page Handbook is just that, a handbook. It is not an end-all source or the holy grail to building landing pages. Anyone from a beginner to experienced web developer/marketer will learn new stuff from reading it. All but the most veteran of experts should be able to grab at least an idea or two from the book.
Just starting out, have no product or traffic? Then it might be best to avoid it and come back later when you do.
If you want to see a detailed table of contents or buy your copy (immediate pdf download with a hard copy following in the mail) check out The Landing Page Handbook’s own landing page. (not an affiliate link, by the way.)