Landing Page Design: The Secret Sauce, Reducing the Anxiety Factor

secret-sauceWhen you’re preparing to build a landing page for a campaign, one of the first considerations is the content. A quick shopping list comes to mind: compelling headline, compelling body copy extolling the benefits,
urgency clause, credibility elements (testimonials and logos from client companies), call to action and sign-up form.

Add an attractive image and you’re done, right? Not exactly. We have all the elements, but where’s the secret sauce? Why do visitors buy from one landing page over another when the product or service is the same?

Experienced marketers will tell you this can be very difficult to pin down, and varies from audience to audience. This is the reason for A/B testing. But, even if you have sufficient traffic for valid A/B testing, it’s helpful to get the page as close as possible to ideal for reaching your target audience right from the start. So, for the next several posts, I’ll be reviewing a few often overlooked secret sauce ingredients that help us do that, starting with those that reduce buyer anxiety for the visitor.

The Anxiety Factor

The anxiety associated with buying needs to be minimized for a successful landing page.Why start with anxiety? When a landing page fails to convert, it’s often for the same reason sales commonly fail, a phenomenon known as sales friction. And one of the biggest causes of sales friction is anxiety.

A certain level of anxiety is an intrinsic part of almost any sales transaction. For the buyer, it’s the anxiety associated with exchanging something of known value for something new and different which might not yield the promised benefits, resulting in a net loss. The item being exchanged is usually monetary, but if we include conversions in general, it can also be giving up the privacy of an email address in exchange for a download, or giving up your time for a free personal demo of a product that might turn out to be a waste of time.

In the B2B setting, it’s often professional reputation. In fact, anxiety and emotion play as much or more of a part in the buying cycle in B2B transactions as in B2C sales, and most of this anxiety swirls around personal issues relating to reputation and job security. The following graph published in CEB’s white paper, “From Promotion to Emotion: Connecting B2B Customers to Brands,” shows personal factors influencing B2B outcomes almost twice as much as logical, business factors.

Graph from joint CEB and Google study, published in white paper From Promotion to Emotion: Connecting B2B Customers to Brands

In the 70’s, the phrase “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” was anathema to IBM’s startup competitors for good reason. There’s more at stake in the B2B environment than just money.

External anxiety causing factors such as a successful track record of a known, established competitor brand are beyond the landing page designer’s control. They can’t be eliminated; however, they can be taken into account and their influence greatly reduced.

Viewed another way, the problem is not so much that the other company’s track record is so good nobody’s even considering any other players. After all, if that were the case, they wouldn’t be looking at your page. It’s that you’re a relative stranger compared to the other company. Even though your product is a more effective, more efficient solution, the other company, represents safety and familiarity as a well-known brand. So really what we have to do is use some strategies to convince landing page visitors that safety is not an issue so they can focus their attention on all the money they’re going to save by going with your new product.

Mitigating Landing Page Anxiety

You’ve laid out all your product’s superior benefits, but you’re still an unknown. Until you demonstrate that your solution is effective in the real world, it’s just words.

Reducing landing page anxiety is all about trust. You’ve laid out all your product’s superior benefits, but you’re still an unknown. Until you demonstrate that your solution is effective in the real world, it’s just words. The standard strategy is to include credibility elements such as testimonials and logos from other satisfied clients. These are very powerful because they assure the prospect that you are safe. You have a track record and that others decided to buy as well which resulted in happy endings for them. But here are 5 additional secret sauce strategies as well.

Five Secret Sauce Strategies for Reducing Landing Page Anxiety:


Place one or two of your best testimonials as close as possible to your form, next to it or just above, to provide an extra bit of reassurance when they are making the decision to commit and anxiety is greatest. For the same reason, place your benefits next to the form as well.

Message Alignment

The landing page message needs to echo the message in the email or online ad that brought your visitor to the page. An ad that entices visitors to the landing page with misleading copy engenders mistrust right from the start.

Appear to be What Your Target Audience Expects

It goes without saying that your page has to have a first rate, professional appearance. But beyond that, you need to show your prospects that you are one of them. You speak their language and understand their needs. Find a way to get a sense of your target audience’s culture. If your company took the time to develop target audience personas, kudos. If not, research your target audience’s favorite websites and social media platforms to pick up target audience culture that way. Then incorporate it into your landing page using the fonts, colors, terms and phrases that you found in your research. That’s not to say you should throw in gratuitous lingo and get off brand with your design, but like a good host, you should take the time to make your visitor feel comfortable. In the back of their mind they should be thinking, “This feels right. This feels like home.”

Design clarity

Studies have shown, that people consider simple pages to be more appealing, so your page design needs to be simple, clean and clear with proper use of typography to help readability. The visitor shouldn’t have to work to figure out what the page is about, what to read next and what’s the call to action. You’re demonstrating to the visitor that he can rely on you to make his life easier right from the start.

Offer Clarity

Make sure your offer is crystal clear. Since a big cause for anxiety is fear that the offer might not measure up to reality, any ambiguous language will feed that fear. If the product offering requires a complex explanation, the landing page offer should be a simpler, no-commitment, introductory offer leading to a one-on-one with a sales person where details can be clarified.

The secrete sauce bottom line to reducing landing page anxiety is to pay careful attention to details that on a conscious and unconscious level reassure the visitor that your company can be trusted to understand their needs and provide them with professional, sensational service.

Happy landing page designing! Next time, we’ll look at more secret sauce tips for increasing your landing page conversions.

About Ken Parcher

NuSpark Marketing Creative Director Designing and building websites, landing pages, logos, and ancillary graphics for over a decade for marketing and promotion of products and services on the internet.