If you're a marketer or a business owner, you're likely familiar with the winking, cap-wearing monkey named Freddie:
Freddie is the mascot of powerhouse email marketing software, MailChimp, whose creators founded the company as a side project in 2001. Fifteen years later, they’re the go-to email marketing software for 12 million people around the world, sending more than 1 billion emails per day.
So what’s been MailChimp’s secret to success? How’d they climb to the top of a marketing software mountain that, today, is made up of more than 3,800 technologies?
The business’s CEO, Ben Chestnut, credits the company culture. “We hire creative misfits who love empowering the underdog,” he said in an interview with Entrepreneur. “There's a sense of purpose here that makes us want to come to work and build great products.”
But outside of great products, something else has fueled MailChimp’s growth from customer 1 to 12 million: landing pages.
Here’s how the email marketing giant uses persuasive, standalone pages in their marketing:
Who this page is for: MailChimp users looking for holiday marketing tips.
Why it was built: to build the brand’s email list.
Who this page is for: prospects interested in trying MailChimp.
Why it was built: to generate new users.
Who this page is for: new MailChimp users who want to learn how to best use the new platform.
Why it was built: to grow an email list. You might argue that MailChimp already has the user’s email address if they've signed up, but don't forget, it's not uncommon for companies of this size to have many lists to which they send different marketing messages.
Who this is for: MailChimp users hoping to use the platform to its fullest capacity during the holidays.
Why it was built: To generate leads.
MailChimp clearly buys into the power of landing pages to drive action, but outside of the four examples above, there are two more big ways the team could leverage their power.
When you enter the search term “email marketing tool” into Google, you’ll see this ad at the top of the search engine results page:
When you click it, instead of being directed to a landing page built for the purpose of signing you up for the service, you’ll be sent to the homepage. So, what’s wrong with that?
Here’s what the homepage looks like:
What do you notice?
We see an image in the center of the page and a vague headline below it. Under that, copy and a busy footer filled with links that could drive the visitor to a number of different pages.
On the right of this page, three different calls-to-action attempt to get users to do different things: see pricing, explore features, or connect an e-commerce store. At the very top, more escape routes in the form of a navigation menu let prospects leave the page without converting.
And, hiding in the upper right? The most important part of this page: the main CTA button.
In short, there’s way too much going on here. This page isn’t focused enough to turn a prospect into a MailChimp customer. Additionally, there’s no visual hierarchy here to guide the user toward converting. We entered this page (as studies show most people do) through the featured image, then moved down to the headline. We read the copy below that and then saw the footer links. Afterward, we moved up to the three CTA’s on the right side of the page, then eventually noticed the “Sign Up” button.
To be effective, a landing page’s CTA button should be its most prominent feature, and all other elements should guide the user toward it. This homepage is a great jumping-off point for people who want to learn more about the brand, but for those who just want an email marketing software, a short, concise page with all the benefits to signing up is the best way to go.
To succeed at content marketing, you need to consistently create high-quality content for your brand’s fans. MailChimp does that on their blog, in their guides, and especially with in-depth research. But, they give it away for free.
Don’t get us wrong – handing over resources that took a lot of work to put together is a great way to boost brand loyalty. But what’s the harm in asking for an email address, and maybe a phone number?
By gating their research reports, the team at MailChimp could likely generate more leads, and gain additional insight into their target audience.
MailChimp has used landing pages to help grow their business to 12 million customers strong. How have you used them?