Who are you trying to influence? What are they like? Can you see the world from their perspective?
Before you can even look at the specific issues and problems with your landing page, you must try to see it through the eyes of your audience.
It Starts With Empathy
We are all familiar with the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This ethical guidepost exists in many variants among the world's major philosophies and religions. But it is missing an essential component by presupposing that everyone is the same.
People are not all the same. If you want to understand your audience, you need to try to step outside of your own needs and experience the world from their perspective. Don't just know their needs, but feel their problems. While you can never replicate their bodies, brains, or formative experiences, the following formula will help you articulate some important details about your audience.
Write Their Story: The 5 Ws Framework
Any journalist, news writer, or English teacher will tell you that the basis of a solid story lies in the five Ws formula. Once you can outline the who, where, when, why, what, and how of your audience, you'll begin to better understand their needs and motivations.
Be a reporter. Write the story of your audience. You'll be surprised at how this understanding can help you develop greater empathy and in turn, more effective landing pages.
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Tim Ash is CEO of SiteTuners.com, a landing page optimization firm that offers conversion consulting, full-service guaranteed-improvement tests, and software tools to improve conversion rates. SiteTuners' AttentionWizard.com visual attention prediction tool can be used on a landing page screenshot or mock-up to quickly identify major conversion issues. He has worked with Google, Facebook, American Express, CBS, Sony Music, Universal Studios, Verizon Wireless, Texas Instruments, and Coach.
Tim is a highly-regarded presenter at SES, eMetrics, PPC Summit, Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Affiliate Conference, and LeadsCon. He is the chairperson of ConversionConference.com, the first conference focused on improving online conversions. A columnist for several publications including ClickZ, he's host of the weekly Landing Page Optimization show and podcast on WebmasterRadio.fm. His columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive.
He received his B.S. and M.S. during his Ph.D. studies at UC San Diego. Tim is the author of the bestselling book, "Landing Page Optimization."
Connect with Tim on Google+.