The [Updated] Landing Page Formula by Sharma Brands

Happy Sunday!

I hope you're relaxed and ready to dive into what makes a good landing page convert. Before we get into it, there are two quick announcements:

  1. The Bodega, a marketplace with my favorite DTC items, is now live! Get 10% off with SHARMA10 and let me know what else needs to be added!
  2. I launched an NFT project called the Bodega Cats Club. You can view the project here on OpenSea, and join the club by purchasing an NFT. You'll get special access to events/dinners, quarterly DTC boxes, a private community, and more.

If you were forwarded this newsletter, please take 13 seconds to click here and subscribe to the list yourself. You shouldn’t have to rely on anyone to get this free newsletter every Sunday.

Okay, let's get into what makes a good landing page.

When you are driving traffic, whether it's paid traffic or organic, you want to create a journey or an experience for the customer coming into your brand. I personally like to say that you want to imagine your website visitor is Kim Kardashian walking the red carpet at an event, cameras flashing everywhere, and it’s your job to be her assistant. You need to make sure that everything she needs to know is right there for her, proactively, so she doesn't have to think twice about what she's doing.

Growing up, I played tennis every week. There's a term in tennis called an "Unforced error" and it refers to you making a silly mistake, not because of what the other player did, but because of a lack of proper decision making. For example, you hit two serves into the net? That's an unforced error. If you get an opportunity to hit a forehand shot and hit it out, even though it had no back or sidespin on it, that's an unforced error. Similarly with your customer journey, if you make your site visitor look elsewhere to find an answer when they want to shop from you, you're putting yourself in a position to create an unforced error.

The easiest way to create these experiences is by building landing pages where you might condense the entire website into one page, answering questions you know a site visitor might have, and curating every module based on the data you have — where is the traffic coming from, who is the customer, and what are they most likely to buy.

Before we get into the layout of the page, and what we've seen work across 2,000,000 unique page views on landing pages, there are two other things to think about:

The source of your traffic.

Depending on where your traffic comes is crucial to know for the site user experience (UX). If someone's coming from mainly desktop vs mobile, you'll design your pages quite differently. A step further, knowing if they come from Taboola, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, Quora, sponsored editorial content, or an Instagram story helps you ensure that the page is properly built for that source.

For example, with a traffic source like Taboola or Facebook, you might pack a pretty dense amount of information into the page, knowing the average time on site from those platforms can be high and the demographic might be older. You'd focus on matching the social proof to publications versus customer quotes because that's what the FB demo looks for. Whereas if your traffic came from TikTok, you might focus more on how to get a user into your CRM to finish the sale later. Your buttons might be much larger, and you might have less friction on the page knowing a user can leave within less than 2 seconds. Not making your pages contextual to the platform they came from will cause your bounce rate to skyrocket, and your overall platform ROAS to stay low.

For the same reason you wouldn't put a TikTok ad as your TV commercial, you want to ensure each platform, in a perfect world, has a catered site experience it leads to.

The context of the people coming to your page.

If you don't know the context of your traffic, it's impossible to ensure that the content and UI of the page make sense. For example, in your "brag bar", do you focus on publications like New York Times and Town & Country, quotes from customers, or reviews by other influencers? Depending on who you're selling to, one of those makes more sense than others.

Also, benefits-wise, you can decide what benefits make more sense to the people visiting if you know why they're there in the first place. If you're Hydrant selling to athletes, you might focus messaging on muscle recovery, whereas if you're selling to a busy New Yorker, you might focus on how better hydration helps you wake up in the morning without brain fog.

If you speak to everyone, you speak to no one. That's why it's important to understand who's coming to your page, and why.

Landing Page Flow

In the Sharma Brands Landing Page Guide, we highlighted some tips and tricks to ensure your landing page has all the little things covered, but here are the main sections you can mix & match to build a solid page. Keep in mind, this is barebones and you might need all, or just a few of these to work.

Hero Section. This is right at the top of the page, and the first thing your users see. It ideally consists of a large headline that portrays how the product/brand is going to help you. It's supported by a sub-heading diving more into what's being offered (i.e. "Try a 30-day supply of our best selling product for less than $1 per day"). You want to show a price point (ideally the original crossed out with the new one if there's an offer), and finally a CTA. The CTA should be more than just "Shop Now". It should be "Get 20% off →" or "Choose my color".

If you're displaying product imagery, include any social proof that would give immediate validation (i.e. "Over 20,000 ★★★★★ reviews" or an Oprah's Favorite Things badge).

Now if someone were to leave the page and never come back, they leave with a good idea of who you are, what you can do for them, and some level of validation that you're not lying.

Why Section. The why section was such an instrumental part of the landing pages when I first tested adding it into a landing page. As brands, we put out so much content to convey the WHY, but one day I just thought... why not include a section and make it really obvious? It crushed.

Think about how you'd explain your product or what you're selling on this LP to your friends. It's not feature-first, it's benefits-first. You're talking about what someone gets out of it, why it works, what it makes them feel, and essentially why they should buy it.

Brag Bar. The brag bar is one of my favorite places to spend time optimizing. At first glance, it looks simple — a few press logos and maybe quotes. But diving in, there's so much to unpack.

First, do you use press logos? Is the target consumer coming to your page going to care? If they're under 28 years old, probably not. They'd more so like to hear what other people have said using the product, or what creators they follow have to say. If your audience skews older, then decide what logos are more appropriate — is it Town & Country/Wirecutter or PopSugar/PureWow? 

Second, it's important to think through the quotes used, regardless of the source. You want the quotes to push highlighting a benefit. For example, instead of using a quote saying "This skincare routine was exactly what I needed in my life" you should use the quote from the article that says "This cleanser took off all my makeup in one go, I didn't need to use anything else." If I was looking for a good cleanser, the latter quote is what would convert me, not the first one.

Shop Section. The Shop section is where you're going for the sale. You need to include everything relevant here — massage the consumer's shoulders and show them what they're getting is a great deal.

Re-iterate the pricing (showing a crossed-out price too, if there's a discount). Try to phrase the pricing in a better way within the section (for ex. "Less than $1 per day" sounds better than "Try the routine for $30"). Include social proof with reviews, quotes, or awards (i.e. "Winner of InStyle's Readers Choice Award" or "Over 20,000 ★★★★★ reviews"). Make sure you fully describe what they're getting in their bundle/order — how many, what flavors/scents/colors/etc, and how long will that last. If there's a code to apply in the cart, include it here, but also make sure the link going to your cart has it auto-apply (remember, red carpet experience).

What's Inside. You've described in your shop section what comes in the package, but break it down even further. Tell me about the ingredients panel, the benefits of the individual products, what else comes inside the box, and what the individual products might be used for. 

Shop Individually. If it's possible to not just buy the bundle (if you have one) and you can sell the products individually, make that happen. Your bundle should be positioned in a way that it's a no-brainer to get it, but still, show the individual options. This Poo~Pourri page does a great job making it pretty obvious to get the bundle but still lets you shop individually if you want.

Benefits. I prefer to show these sections with icons. Something that's easy to understand as you're scrolling, and allows for almost a quick break on the page. You're scrolling from the top and being thrown so much content at you, but the quick set of 6 icons gives you the info in less than 3 seconds. These might be illustrations for:

  • Free shipping
  • Free returns
  • 30-day trial
  • Sugar-free
  • Keto-friendly
  • etc.

Brand Story. This is why people are buying YOUR product versus the other company that sells the same thing in different packaging. Why should someone care that they're buying from you? What about the cleanser you're putting out that makes you stand out from the other 27? Everything about why you're in a better position than the competitive brand should be written out and personified in this section. Think of it as a section for you to brag about why you should win this customer’s trust. This Caraway page and this Cuyana page both do a beautiful job explaining why you want to trust their products.

Founder Story. If it's applicable, it's helpful to add a founding story. Why? It adds even more credibility as to why this brand exists. Is it a VC side project that hired a few agencies, or was it started because it solved a problem, saw real results, and scaled from there? I'd trust the latter one a lot more! This Orgain page does a great job explaining how the brand evolved from a problem the founder had to solve. We used this same tactic at Hint to build the DTC business from pretty-much nothing to what it has become today.

Comparison. You have to remember that the person coming to your LP may not know where to position you. Should they position you against other brands (like we did with Immi), or should they look at the general market (like the chart on this Caraway page)?

You need to create the David vs Goliath in someone’s head to let them make a decision that they feel benefits them.

Reviews/Social Proof. This is a no-brainer. The only thing I'll say here is similar to the quotes in the Brag Bar, you want reviews that personify the benefits. No one cares that "My granddaughter loved it!" but they will care that it took away a problem you had.

Announcement Bar. Lastly, the announcement bar, which lives at the very top. This should stick with you as you scroll the page, and address an offer if there is one. Otherwise, keep a CTA there so a site visitor never has to find it inconvenient to find where to go if they're ready to buy.

I'll do an entire upcoming newsletter on the analytics to focus on, how to optimize these pages, and how to transition winning tests into your main website.

But in the meantime, you may remember a few months ago I ideated this concept of "Report Cards" for founders. The purpose is to get a bird’s-eye view of your most important growth and performance metrics. Tydo ended up creating it, we launched it, had the #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt, and now Tydo has really taken Report Cards to the next level.

Now you can add cards for almost every function of your business, to have a pulse on all your channels and growth tactics. They partnered with eCommerce-focused brands and agencies on most of the cards, including Ramp, Smile io, and even Sharma Brands (we helped create the Acquisition Summary). 

Once you sign up, you can add other cards to see your finances, retention, operations, and specific ad channel data. DTC brands like JUDY, Cadence, and Lalo all use Tydo’s Report Cards and love it. 

Plus, just this week they added a new feature called, Targets. You can set your goals and compare real-time, up-to-date data with your projections. You can set your targets in your settings and it will be added to your Report Card Stack and delivered right to your inbox. So, at any place and at any time, you can see how you stack up against your goals. 

Add the free Shopify app, and try it today!

On to some fun stuff... 

Software of the Week:

Axios HQ — The spiffiest email tool for "internal comms"

I put "Internal comms" in quotes because while the tool is really built for that originally (i.e. your sales team sharing to the org its wins, losses, roadblocks, and upcoming clients), it's also a great tool to send updates to your investors (as a founder), founders (as an investor), or LPs (if you're investing on behalf of others).

Axios realized that about 70% of projects that start never finish, simply because of a lack of proper communication. And also internally, they needed a better way to send company updates from the sales team, marketing team, etc. where recipients of the email actually care to read more than 5% of the update. Over the years, being a media company, Axios has mastered the art of distilling essential information, which becomes the soul of Axios HQ.

Smart Brevity allows teams at Delta Airlines, Sharma Brands, Edelman, and others to create Morning Brew-style updates for stakeholders, with a rich UI, and an easy UX. You can be up and running with an Axios HQ newsletter in less than 5 minutes (I did it in 3 minutes).

Join me and other Fortune 100 brands and see how you can use Smart Brevity in a demo of Axios HQ today!

Brand of the Week

The Sharma Bodega — The ultimate destination to get all your favorite DTC brands in one spot.

I partnered with Canal and launched The Sharma Bodega to showcase some of our favorite brands from Snif to Brightland to Black Wolf Nation. In addition, we're implementing all our favorite technology partners to show how companies like Batch, Smartrr, Gorgias, and Okendo can enrich your customer experience.

Canal is the software company that enables me to sell other brands' products on my site. You can see more about how to enable it on your site here.

You can use code SHARMA10 for 10% off anything on the Bodega for the next 24 hours!

Click here to shop The Sharma Bodega!

That's all for this week!

Thanks for reading this through. I hope you're able to use this email and take some notes to apply to your own sites. This might be the last "full" week before people start going home for the holidays, so get those 9 hours of sleep tonight and finish this week strong. I appreciate you reading this newsletter and can't believe we're now at 20,000 subscribers.

Have a great week!





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