Interview with Oli Gardner, speaker at GPeC Summit: One of the 5 essential elements of a structurally sound landing page is social proof

Oli Gardner Oli Gardner (Co-fondator Unbounce) is one of the top speakers at GPeC Summit (November 24th). Find out more about him in this interview.

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GPeC: What is the first thing that catches your eye when you get on a new landing page?

Oli Gardner: Typically it’s the headline and the primary photo (hero shot). This is because they are the two things that most quickly establish context and whether or not the landing page is delivering on the promise of ad, banner, email that was clicked to arrive at the landing page. This is based on the concept of message match and design match. When they are strongly aligned – the headline of the landing page matches the ad, and the primary imagery matched the ad creative, a visitor knows they are in the right place and will then relax into shopping mode – whether it’s actually paying for something or filling in a form to request something.

GPeC: You wrote hundreds of articles about landing pages and online marketing. Is content marketing efficient in e-commerce?

Oli Gardner: It depends heavily on the price, perceived value, and buying/sales cycle of the item. It it’s a CD, or a book, or dress, then most likely not. But when the item being purchased requires thoughtful consideration, content in the form of reports, whitepapers, infographics with data, can all be useful in taking someone from problem aware to solution aware, which is where your product or service comes in if you have established the trust as a leader in that specific subject matter.

GPeC: Can you tell us the top 3 landing pages that you worked on at Unbounce?

Oli Gardner: That’s a tough one. We create the landing pages we use for our campaigns based on best practices, and then tested the shit out of them to make them better. Better by changing headlines, layout, button copy, and relevance to the campaigns we use to drive traffic to the pages, and now we have predictable results from them which is a pretty nice thing to see in your marketing, because it lets you focus on other things when you know something is working.

Showing you a simple webinar registration page or ebook download page that we created is a bit boring, so instead I’d like to share one of my all-time favourite landing pages. It came from Michael Aagaard, who we just hired at Unbounce, all the way from Denmark. As a rule at Unbounce, we don’t accept resumes/CVs. Instead we ask that you create a landing page to explain why we should hire you. Michael’s was awesome: So much so that we turned it into a template inside the Unbounce app.

On the funnier side of landing pages, back in 2011 we launched which was an April Fool’s joke suggesting that data wasn’t important “A/B testing is dead, ask a HiPPO instead”. One of the 5 essential elements of a structurally sound landing page is social proof, so we used our advisory panel (including Rand Fishkin, Chris Goward and Dan Martell) to act as fake testimonials for this preposterous notion. The landing page had only one thing to do – as high performance landing pages do – and we had hundreds of people filling in the form trying to ask a HiPPO for marketing advice. That was an epic landing page, and an example of how you can be successful by focusing your campaign on a targeted and dedicated landing experience.

GPeC: Can you give us more information about your presentation? 

Oli Gardner: In a nutshell, I’m going to talk about how you can run marketing campaign in a better way, to create more delightful experiences that convert more visitors into people who want to engage with you and your business. I value your (you as an attendee) brand and the business you are building, and want to give you the quickest possible path to optimizing the performance of your marketing campaigns.

GPeC: Were you joking about changing your name to Landing Page? Or is personal branding that important in 2015? 

Oli Gardner: Not at all, I was looking at legally changing my full name to be Landing Page. Personal branding – and branding in general is incredibly important. Important being the operative word. If you want to be important, and be perceived as being important you should obsess over branding. I’ll explain that in more detail in my talk. Social media is a venue to share your thoughts, content and opinions – and more importantly to have relationships with people. But if you don’t have any content (a blog etc.) then you’re just going to be talking about cats and Game of Thrones. Everything you can add to your personal brand impacts your business in a positive way, and also lends itself to personal career longevity.