White House Landing Page – Video Critique

White House Landing PageThe White House landing page is the page you see when you visit their site (for the first time).

The goal is to get people to join their emailing list.

The page is quite okay. But it could be better.

And here are some ways they could increase their conversion.

Landing Page Checklist

Before you can optimize any kind of a landing page, you need to know your audience. The White House landing page needs to cater three groups…

  1. Political journalists and other professionals who need to know what happens in the politics.
  2. Interested citizens, from political activists to people who like to stay ahead of the news.
  3. Ordinary citizens who aren’t very engaged in politics.

The last group is the largest and most important. The first two will subscribe anyway, but the last won’t do it without some encouragement.

Since the page has all the basic elements in place and done relatively well, I’ll focus on improving the elements rather than switching them or adding more.

The Headline

Lets start with the headline.

“Stay Informed” doesn’t really speak to the target audience. It implies they are informed, which they probably don’t believe. Rather, they see politics as a complex power game, which they don’t understand or even try to follow.

So, when you say, “Stay Informed” you’re not acknowledging their current feelings and beliefs. But if you say, “Get Informed” you’re much closer to talking their language.

But I’d test a headline that says, “Get Insider Information,” “Get to The Inner Circle,” or “Become an Insider.”

All these headlines would play off the feeling that there’s an inner circle that makes the decisions about your life. And now you can get into that circle.

Copy

The headline needs some explaining and the copy is supposed to do that.

It currently says, “Sign up to get periodic updates from President Obama and other administration officials.” There’s a lot wrong with this text…

First of all “periodic updates” is just a poor promise. It’s not specific and it doesn’t imply value. And “other administration officials” is even less specific.

I’d change the text to say something like, “Get the important news straight from President Obama and the government insiders.” Maybe continue, “Don’t let the news change before you hear them–get them from the source.”

Email Form

Next comes the email form and the submit button. The text on the button is weird; it sounds like you’d get more information about the email list if you click it. At least it doesn’t imply clear value.

You could change it to something as simple as, “Join Now” and it would work better, but something like, “Become an Insider” would definitely convert better.

Privacy Policy

The text block that comes after the email form is about their privacy policy. Having a privacy statement under the email form is usually a good idea, but this one is just over-the-top.

I don’t think that many people expect to get spam if they put their email into a form on White House’s landing page.

So, a simple mention that says, “Your email is confidential and you can unsubscribe any time.” would be enough. And you could add a link to the privacy policy after the short text.

Picture

The last thing about the page that I’d change is the picture.

Basically there’s nothing wrong with it. But when you consider the implied messages, it leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Again the target is the people who aren’t very engaged in politics. And they often feel the government and the president are alienated from the general population.

So, the picture should assure visitors that the president is approachable and trustworthy.

What the picture does, instead, is that it strengthens the idea of the president as a proud figure who has little connection to normal life.

The president is looking up, which is a classic sign of proudness and even arrogance. His not smiling, instead his face doesn’t say much at all.

Then I must wonder why he’s wearing a microphone. And if the idea was to give a very prestigious image of him, then why isn’t his tie done properly.

And finally why is he holding his own hand? It’s a sign of insecurity and/or arrogance.

If they wanted a friendlier image, they should have him look at the camera, smile, and have open hands. The background should be something that looks more comfortable; maybe he could sit by his desk or even on a sofa in the oval office.

Do It Yourself

So, what can you learn from the White House landing page? There are three lessons:

  1. Make sure you’re addressing the right audience.
  2. Understand the level of trust you have.
  3. Use images that convey the right message.

If you want to increase your conversion, go trough the landing page checklist.

And share your thoughts about the White House’s landing page or landing pages in general in the comments.

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...

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Peter Sandeen

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17 Comments

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  1. I quite agree with you here Peter.

    From the welcome message to the privacy policy and the president pic as well… You know its not everyone that like’s the president that will visit the page so it should have been well optimised to show that pressy likes people.

    I love this critique man!

    Sheyi

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Sheyi,

      Thanks, I hope you’ll be able to use the ideas in your own landing pages 😉

  2. Peter excellent stuff. As always you hit the target. Very informative and thorough. Excellent. Tsempia

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Justin,

      Thanks, let me know if you have any questions…

  3. Hi Peter, loved the critique, some great food for thought – especially about how to subtly change your language to convey more value and better speak to your target audience, thanks 🙂

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Mandy,

      As with all marketing, it’s about “you” – not about me. If you’re not talking their language, you’re unlikely to capture their attention.

  4. Andrew said:

    You have a very good point. The third kind of audience should be the focus of the landing page, especially if what the White House wants is to spread word to more people.

  5. Hey Peter,
    Hope you are doing great, I’ve caught you from ProBlogger and I must say you have really a nice blog here.
    And yes! Thanks for sharing the tips on creating a landing page.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Eshan,

      I’m great, thank you. I hope you’ll stick around 😉

  6. Washington said:

    Hi Peter,
    You are genius. You add value to many lives. Thanks for your great posts.

    God bless you,
    Washington.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hi Washington,

      Thank you for your very kind words 🙂

  7. Regina said:

    To be short, I guess the problem lies in the fact that they made it too formal. In my opinion, they should make in a way that any average Joe can relate to, yet without losing it’s demeanor.

  8. […] White House Landing Page – Video Critique (Affect Selling) […]

  9. Hi Peter, I’m so glad to have found you from Ana’s Traffic Generation Cafe. Your video critiques are just awesome and packed with valuable information.

    As you were going through the various points they made so much sense and yes, would make a significant difference.

    I’ve signed up for your video series and look forward to reading more of your blogs.

    Best, Annemarie

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Annemarie,

      Thank you for your kind words 🙂

      Let me know if you have any questions, okay?

      Regards,
      Peter

  10. This is a great review. I agree with lots of the points you made. I believe this landing page was created based on the advices of the conversion optimization guru that started the Optimizely.com business. The Obama team hired him to advice them on digital/social marketing strategies. I also read that he did lots of A/B testing to optimize the Obama landing pages and website.

    Given his expertise and his experience, I am surprised that he made the mistakes you pointed out.

    • Peter Sandeen said:

      Hey Peter,

      (nice name…)

      I’ve read about that too, but as far as I know, he worked in the campaign, not with White House. But the reality is that every conversion expert can pick on other people’s pages; no matter good they are 😉

      Thanks for commenting.

      Cheers,
      Peter

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