With massive advertising budgets, government bailouts and an entourage of marketing experts, you’d think these famous companies would have getting a high conversion rate perfected down to a science. Unfortunately, as is the case with these five shining examples, what you ultimately get is a lot of customers shrugging and giving up in sheer frustration.
Here are some puzzling, unusual and downright aggravating landing page examples that will have you asking “what were they thinking!?”
Hermes – Creativity Can Go Too Far
Fortunately, the famous clothing manufacturer got the hint and recently redesigned their pages with a clearer form of navigation. But for a time, this is what you got. No, clicking on the actual items doesn’t take you anywhere. Only certain ones, and even then, it wasn’t entirely clear where you were going. The Hermes homepage reminded me more of a matching game than a shopping site. If I flip over the bowl of fruit and the coat hanger, will I go to the checkout page?
Lessons we can learn from Hermes’ former design:
- Don’t make the user guess (or think) about your navigation.
- Give visitors guidance on where you want them to click.
- First impressions are everything.
Chase – We Really Want You to Learn More
Chase could have used some of that 25,000,000,000.00 (that’s 25 billion) in government bailout money to hire a web conversion expert. Right on the index page they invite you to “Learn More” about everything with no less than three calls to action – each one taking you to different pages for very different products.
Chase’s credit card landing page reminds us why it’s called a landing page. You’re there to do one of two things – login to your existing account, or apply for a credit card. Not to get a student loan, not to learn about investing and not planning for retirement.
What can we learn from Chase?
- Too many calls to action on one page end up disorienting more people than they help.
- There is such a thing as segmenting your landing pages to match a particular search query.
- Let the user do what they came to do without bombarding them with constant offers.
Lowes – Here’s a Bunch of Discounts on a Bunch of Stuff
This is what happens when companies get coupon-happy. I just wanted to buy an outdoor ceiling fan, and instead, I got a heap of discounts on one page, for products I’m not remotely interested in. How searching for ceiling fans got me wheelbarrows, sawhorses and tile, I will never figure out.
Lowes’ landing page needs better congruency between products. If I’m searching for a ceiling fan, I might also be interested in outdoor lighting, waterproofing/staining products and such. Discounts are great, but this collection reads more like the coupons section in the daily newspaper rather than a website that’s interested in getting repeat customers.
What can we learn from Lowes?
- This isn’t the newspaper – you can get much more detailed in your audience targeting online.
- Offering too many discounts all at one time only cheapens your offer.
- Too many discounts on several products gives the impression of a shotgun approach to marketing instead of a calculated campaign.
Frontier Communications – Just Try and Find Out How to View Your Bill… C’mon, Try It!
As a communications company, you’d think Frontier would know better than to commit the cardinal sin of web site design – Mystery Meat Navigation. Rather than give you any clear, coherent idea on where to go when you visit their website, they instead decide to play a guessing game with visitors. Four speech bubbles pop up without any reference as to what they are.
Moving your mouse over them simply causes a question mark to appear. Not until you click do you discover what’s behind all these mystery bubbles. Unfortunately, the question “How the heck am I supposed to find anything on this site?” wasn’t one of the choices.
This, and the three “Buy Now” buttons at the bottom made me wonder if less web-savvy people would think they were actually committing to buy the products at the bottom if they clicked. Taking a cue from Chase, above, “Learn More” would be a better choice of words in this instance.
What can we learn from a communications company with confusing navigation?
- Clear, easily labeled calls to action outperform question marks 100% of the time.
- Users want and need direction. Consider placing links to the most popular or most commonly accessed areas of your site up front so that visitors don’t need to hunt.
- “Buy Now” may be too strong of a suggestion on call-to-action buttons. It may give users the impression that they’re committing to making a purchase rather than clicking to learn more.
Some communications companies get too overzealous with their help. DirecTV is one such example. In their rush to showcase the latest gadget functionality, they forget all about why a customer might login to their account in the first place. I’d love to be able to record and watch my favorite shows through my DVR, which is exactly what I was trying to do when I captured this image.
Study it and see if you can find out where I might be able to do that, because I never was able to figure it out. In this case, DirecTV got the steak and the sizzle right, but they forgot to tell the customer how to do the most commonly-requested things (like record a show!)
What can DirecTV’s customer landing page teach us?
- You can sell the steak and the sizzle, but give the customer a way to take action.
- Once they order or click – what’s the next step? Make sure to think the entire process through beyond just a call to action.
- Promoting new products along with a FAQ can help cut down on customer calls and tech support issues.
These landing pages aren’t displayed here just for pure amusement. They’re meant to teach everyone – marketers and designers alike, that even well-known companies can stumble along the way. What works for one business’ conversion rate might cause another business’ conversions to tank. And just because the Art Department is sure you’ve got a visual winner, doesn’t mean your customers will agree. If these examples remind us of anything – it’s that every company, large and small, should test pages often (with a product like Google Website Optimizer or KISSmetrics), follow best practices and keep it simple and straightforward.
Share Your Landing Page Horror Stories
Have you come across a truly terrible landing page or corporate site that made you cringe? Share it with us below in the comments and tell us your thoughts on how you’d make it better!