Stockmann Syndrome – Don’t Try this (Landing Page) at Home

Landing Page Conversion

You can’t always hit the bulls-eye, but you’ll always do fine with these three landing page principles. photo: ##Erika**

Landing pages are a cornerstone of online marketing, but sometimes even large companies forget how to build effective landing pages.

Stockmann is the best known and most prestigious department store in Finland. They’ve been around for 125 years and their special sale is an event people wait almost religiously.

Their marketing is usually really good, but the other day I stumbled onto their opt-in email list landing page. All the three basic elements of an effective landing page were wrong.

I could not believe they could go so wrong with their marketing. But so does many other major companies all around the world.

If you follow these three basic guidelines, you’re landing page will get at least an average conversion. But if you forget even one of these basics, your conversion will sink.

1. Clarity

Maybe the most important quality of a landing page is clarity. In practice it means there’s nothing unnecessary on the page, and all the necessary things are clear and easy to read.


Many of the typical elements of a web page cause friction on a landing page. You can see all of these elements in the example by Stockmann (it’s in Finnish, but you can surely see how messy the page looks).

  • Links in header. You should make your header as simple as you possibly can on a landing page. The idea is to keep the reader reading and not to encourage wondering around the site.
  • Navigation bar. There’s often a navigation bar under the header. It’s filled with links, and so you should get rid of it on a landing page.
  • Sidebar. You can use a sidebar with great results on a landing page. But you have to build it for that one landing page. In other words use it to demonstrate testimonials etc. and take away any links you may have there.
  • Links in footer. Clean your footer as you cleaned your header. There are a couple of links that you may want to leave on a landing page (like the privacy policy), but you need to take away the links that don’t help your goal. There’s 41 links in the example’s footer (and they forgot the privacy policy)…

All together there’s more then 60 links in the example landing page, and none of them help the goal.


When you design any web page, you need to remember to have enough space. In other words, don’t squeeze the page full of elements. Your landing pages should have even more “white space” than other pages.

The most important content on an opt-in landing page is:

  • the headline,
  • description of the newsletter etc.,
  • the box where you write your email,
  • and the button for subscribing.

That content should take at least 80% of the area. In the example that content gets about 20%.

Judging by the proportions you’d guess the example landing page isn’t meant to be a landing page.

You need to attract the reader to the most important elements or your landing pages won’t convert. When some content is easy to dismiss, people will dismiss it.

Maybe the easiest way to create a good, clear design for your landing pages, is to use Premise. Yes, that’s an affiliate link, but honestly if you’re not extremely comfortable with coding, check it out. (And the bonuses you get with it are worth the price on their own 😉 )

2. Scent

Stockmann created a decent ad for their emailing list; you get to see the offers of their special sale (“Insane Days”) before others. For most Finnish people that’s more tempting than getting to know the next president a day ahead of others 😉

The ad is interesting enough for the target audience to get a click, but then the scent gets lost.

People act in the Internet like blood hounds following a scent; we follow one scent (which is an idea/thought/offer/etc.) and we turn back the moment we lose the scent.

In practice that means that I clicked the ad to see the sale offers, but I didn’t see any mention of that on the landing page. So, I turned back (and returned later when I understood what a great example that page would make…)

Scent, which works offline too, is about many things that all influence your marketing’s effectiveness. You have to make the key elements coherent or your conversion will drop.

  • Offer. The offer is the most important part of the scent. If you change the offer even a little, the scent is pretty much lost.
  • Language. You can rephrase the offer, the headline, and other copy as long as you use coherent language (meaning, don’t change the words you use).
  • Images. When you use images in your ads, use the same images through the chain (for example: ad -> landing page -> purchase page). The images don’t have to be identical, just use the same model, product, etc.
  • Colors. Pick a color pallet for your ad chain and stick to it. Changing the color scheme will destroy your conversion.

The example from Stockmann would work a lot better if they had used the ad’s offer, graphics, and colors on the landing page. I’d estimate they could increase their conversion by at least 100% if they did that…

3. Offer

The offer, together with the call to action, tells the reader what to do next and why. Advertising and marketing without a clear and compelling offer is ineffective.

Stockmann used the two most common offers/calls to action on their opt-in landing page: “Subscribe to the newsletter” and “Send” (in the button). Neither one is particularly effective.

The two most important qualities of the offer are:

  1. Clarity. The offer has to convey the idea extremely clearly and simply.
  2. Concentration on benefits. A good offer is about the benefits it offers.

Both examples were clear, but neither one is about benefits. “Subscribe” is a relatively “high-commitment” word. “Get”, “Check Out”, and “Read” all convey the same idea but with a “low-commitment” feel.

“Newsletter” relates to spam. Use “Updates” or “Offers” instead.

“Send” isn’t really an offer. It’s also a poor call to action. Even “Click Here” would be better, but “Click here for exclusive access” would convert much more visitors (at least in the case of Stockmann).

The description of a newsletter is also important. It tells the reader what they can expect, and why they should care.

Stockmann did a common mistake with the description: don’t use the description to describe your product, use it to describe why you’re special and what the benefits are.

The consumers aren’t interested in functions and features, but instead in benefits.

For example “knowledge about campaigns” isn’t a benefit even thought it may sound like one. It’s a feature. You could easily rephrase that: “Discounts you won’t even hear of elsewhere.”


Almost all landing pages have a button that completes the action you want your visitors to take. It might be a “buy now” or “add to cart” or “subscribe” button. Anyway it’s the natural extension of the offer.

A good landing page button is:

  1. Extremely clear. The button should be clearly visible from 20 feet away. If it isn’t, it’s either too small or the color isn’t clear enough (or both).
  2. Relatively large. A good button is larger than what you’d expect it to be.
  3. Aggressively colored. The most beautiful and harmonic color is usually the worst. Rather use a color you haven’t used on the page elsewhere.
  4. It’s about the offer. “Send”, “Submit”, and “Subscribe” aren’t benefit-related; avoid them.
  5. Has the best property. The button should have the most visible place on the page. That’s usually in the middle and it needs to have white space around it.

Something good too

I’ve been on Stockmann’s emailing list for a while now. So far the emails haven’t been too frequent and they’ve been relatively valuable (mostly about discounts).

You should always remember that even the best landing page is worthless if subscribers run away when they receive your first email.

Stockmann is one of the first major companies in Finland to advertise their emailing list and they haven’t done it for long (or maybe I’ve missed it). So, I expect them to get better at it and the things around it (landing pages etc.), as they put more time and effort into it.

Fortunately your success isn’t about what you do, but what you’re willing to do to learn more.

It’s interesting to note that there’s only a couple of other Finnish larger companies that put so much effort into email marketing.

Do you want to increase your conversion?

Landing pages are the cornerstone of effective online marketing. And a poor landing page has a negative effect on your brand and success.

I’ve compiled the 11 most important elements of a landing page into one checklist. When you build new landing pages or check existing ones with the list, you achieve at least a “basic” conversion that you can easily increase with A/B-testing.

Write your email below and you get a checklist that makes it easy to build effective landing pages.


Answers to your questions: No and Yes. No, this isn’t a landing page, but an article about landing pages. And yes, I can show you an example of a simple opt-in landing page.

Increase your conversion rate quickly

Whenever I build or evaluate websites and landing pages, I use a three-step system.

It helps me find the issues that are causing low conversion rates.

And it works as a solid guideline for creating effective conversion paths...

Type your email...

Your email will stay 100% private, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Peter Sandeen

Do you want to improve your value proposition or conversion rates?

Or create an effective marketing strategy based on your strengths?

Click here to see how I work with businesses and how I can help you.


    Share Your Thoughts...


    * (real name—no keywords)


  1. Peter,

    Excellent post! I love that you used a live example to teach us a great lesson. Your points were really clear, well put together and powerful. Definitely something I’m sharing and referring back to.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Tom,

      Glad to hear you found it valuable. I do my best to be practical and clear with all my future posts, so hopefully they’ll be worth your time too 😉

  2. Peter,


    I just wish that a person responsible for Stockmann’s web site strategy would see this.

    There is definitely room for improvement!


    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Timo,

      Thanks a lot 🙂

      I actually thought about pitching them about the post…

  3. Hey Peter, excellent post, need to bookmark as my landing pages need some serious work! Thank you.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Dawn,

      Nice to hear it helped you 🙂 If you want a clear list of the things you should think about when you (re)create your landing pages, take a look at the landing page checklist I mentioned in the post 😉 Don’t worry, I don’t spam (really, I send very few emails…)

  4. Priya said:

    Great post Peter. I really liked that you not only mentioned the bad stuff but how they could actually fix the page.
    Recently all I seem to read is “this was bad” and no clear breakdown of how to fix it. Definitely a post to put in my digital filing cabinet!

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Priya,

      That’s exactly what I want to do and I’m really glad you noticed 🙂 Thank you.

      And I’m happy to get into your filing cabinet 😉 But if you want a more comprehensive list of things you should think about when you build your landing pages, take a look at the landing page checklist (don’t worry, I don’t spam…). I think it’s also easier to follow.

      • Priya said:

        Just signed up for the landing page checklist. Bring on the spam! (Kidding 🙂 )


        • Peter Sandeen said:

          I had forgot to put the form in the post… 😀

          Yeah, prepare to receive lots of spam (not) 😉

  5. Kenny said:

    Now that you have posted about this, I was forced to check on my landing page. It seems that I have a lot of work ahead of me.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Kenny,

      Glad to hear it helped 🙂 Come back and share how the redesigning affected your conversion…

  6. Peter…

    Fantastic resource… By far one of your BEST articles since I’ve been following your blog.

    Thanks… I’ll be back to this one.

    Ryan H.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Ryan,

      I made a promise about writing higher quality posts when I published the new blog design and website… I’m happy to hear you think I’ve succeeded in that 😉

  7. Ahh Peter. Great stuff man 🙂

    Now, let me speak something a little different than everyone else 😀 (C’mon, I’m me :P)

    While I feel strongly this post could contribute LOADS of value to Stockmann’s, at the same time, you’ve not split-tested their actual stuff. There is a possibility that this “works for them”, and is playing a role in a much bigger vision (such as allowing their marketing dept. to make mistakes and learn/grow).

    What I’m saying is, ‘labelling’ something as ‘wrong’ is a bit sticky (though a great attention getter, and my compliments on that.)

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for bringing that up. You’re right I could’ve used a less pedantic choice of words there. They’re not doing anything “wrong”, they’re just going against all the very basic best practices 😉

      But for the headline, it works great 😀

  8. P.S. LOVE the new site design. 🙂

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Thanks, I really appreciate it 🙂 When you spend so much time learning to do something while you’re doing it, positive feedback (and constructive too) is very welcome.

  9. Peter,

    Great article, and very timely as I am about to build an opt-in landing page for myself. I really like your clarity and call to actions comments about marketing. I hate ads where I am confused as to what they are advertising or even what they want me to do.

  10. Meagan said:

    This was great Peter! I’ve never created a landing page for something that’s totally different from my site… it’s usually just another page and I’m sure I’ve broken these rules before. This is definitely a keeper, and I’ll be sure to refer back to it the next time I need to create a landing page for something! Thanks so much! What a wealth of information this was!

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Meagan,

      Just try creating a separate landing page design, you won’t regret it 😉 And it’s usually really simple; just remove most of the page elements from your normal design. Or get Premise if you want it to be even easier…

  11. I think the CTA buttons should also create some depth, in terms of the graphic design. Using drop shadow on buttons is an easy way to make them pop out of the page.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Daniel,

      You’re right, buttons that don’t look like buttons don’t work as well. And a drop-shadow is maybe the easiest way to make a button look like a button 🙂

  12. Danny said:

    I loved this article, Peter.

    Particularly this part:

    “Newsletter” relates to spam. Use “Updates” or “Offers” instead.” It’s such an interesting concept how semantics affects consumer behavior. Not so long ago “Newsletter” would’ve said, “I’m different in that I will inform you.” The fact that its commonplace now says, “I want your money.”

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Danny,

      Thanks 🙂 Semantics are surprisingly important when it comes to any copywriting. In a way I like it; it creates an interesting challenge 😉

  13. […] What is an “angle” in a headline? It’s the way you present a topic. For example: “Basics of landing pages” isn’t really that interesting. What about Stockmann-Syndrome – Don’t Try this (Landing Page) at Home? […]

  14. […] Stockmann Syndrome – Don’t Try This (Landing Page) at Home by @AffectSelling < This includes a great 11-point checklist that’s been very helpful to me… […]


  1. […] What is an “angle” in a headline? It’s the way you present a topic. For example: “Basics of landing pages” isn’t really that interesting. What about Stockmann-Syndrome – Don’t Try this (Landing Page) at Home? […]

  2. […] Stockmann Syndrome – Don’t Try This (Landing Page) at Home by @AffectSelling < This includes a great 11-point checklist that’s been very helpful to me… […]

Copyright 2015 Peter Sandeen | about | services | contact | privacy | legal

contact {at} petersandeen {dot} com | +358 41 433 0144