Your Business: Avoid This Mistake When Selling Online

Jan. 2, 2014
A simpler landing page might be the key to increasing website profits

Selling products and services started with trading shells, moved onto exchanging goods for other types of goods and finally money was invented as the universal means of exchange. It was simple — you took your goods down to the local community market, set up your stall and started selling.

Today, it is obviously more complex. We not only have compulsory regulations, taxes and insurances to deal with but a more recent and sometimes painful and convoluted invention — technology. Some of us deal with technology better than others, but if you want to sell online, you certainly need to grapple with it. Your only choice is to outsource it to others or do it yourself.

As technology has evolved, the visible programming is slowly being removed and replaced by intuitive interfaces that don’t require a degree in computer coding. For bloggers, it can be made simple by using a WordPress template, setting up a simple payment system such as and starting to sell. Previous-generation payment systems and gateways involved many moving parts; today, you can be up and selling your products in a matter of minutes.

The Big Mistake

There is one big mistake that many website marketers fall into when selling online — they spend a lot of money and advertise on Facebook and Google to send people to their homepages. Your homepage may look great, but it is trying to do a lot of things and there is a lot going on. It has menu tabs and other elements such as: About us; Products and services; Contact us; Different images; and many links.

You need something that is much simpler — you need a landing page.

A landing page is a website page that is specifically designed to do one thing — capture a website visitor’s information. It has a form and explanatory words to optimize capturing their name and email.

That is it; you are not trying to do anything else — it is just trying to achieve the goal of building your email list.

Two Key Types of Landing Pages

There are several different types of landing pages; but for your sales and marketing goals, there are two key types to know about:

1. Lead generation landing page: This has one primary goal — collecting information. In its simplest form, that includes just a name (first name will do) and an email, which is called “list building.” That list can be used for marketing to your prospects later and it also can be for delivering free content. Another term often used to describe this is “squeeze page.”

To provide an optimal lead-generation landing page, you will need to offer something for “free.” If you are asking your website visitor for their email address, you need to offer something in return — this will increase your email list building rate by 200-400%.

That free something can be something like a free ebook or instructional video; a whitepaper; an email course; free software and trials; and the list goes on. The key to the giveaway is that it needs to be digital and perceived to be valuable.

Setting this up has become easier with new technology. You can have this ready in minutes if using something like, which captured the email and automatically delivers the free digital item to that subscriber. You then link it to your email solution so that each email subscriber is automatically added to your email list.

2. The sales landing page: Once you have their email and their name you can start to engage with your prospect. That means building credibility and trust over time. This can be done by providing a stream of free and valuable content. The bigger the sale, the more trust building is required. The final goal is of course landing that sale.

A sales landing page will have more information than the lead generation page. It will need to convince the prospective customer by providing them with the details they need to know to make them click on that “buy” button.

According to Unbounce, a sales landing page based on “Conversion Centered Design” should have seven key elements which are categorized under design or psychology.  The “design” elements are:

  • Encapsulation
  • Contrast & color
  • Directional cues
  • White space

The “psychology” elements are:

  • Urgency and scarcity
  • Try before you buy
  • Social proof

Examples of Landing Pages

Now that you know the key elements that go into designing a “great” landing page, here are some real-life examples. 

Previously mentioned uses its entire homepage as its landing page. They keep it simple and design it with a call to action — in this case, a free registration to “Sell More Online.”

Hubspot was one of the original inspirations for me as a blogger and are a great example of how to use content to market your business. Its landing pages ask for more information than most, but are used to provide a more detailed and comprehensive profile of their customer that feeds into their database. This allows them to really understand their prospective customers. This example is not about selling a product but building an email list, and they offer free content in exchange for your name and email.

Copyblogger features a simple list-building page. No selling is happening here except “selling” you on the idea of handing over your name and email address. This page displays the art of simplicity.

Jeff Bullas is a blogger, author, strategist and speaker who works with companies to optimize online company presence and brand with digital and social media marketing. His book, Blogging the Smart Way, and his informative blog are available at

About the Author

Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a blogger, author, strategist and speaker who works with companies to optimize online company presence and brand with digital and social media marketing. His book, Blogging the Smart Way, and his informative blog are available at