I just took my 2002 Prius to the local Toyota dealer here in North Carolina for its 100,000-mile servicing .

Now I’m used to service stations and dealers in New Jersey, where standard operating procedure is to make customers guess where to park, what line to wait i n, and what those stains are on the back of their computer monitor, walls, floor, and, eventually, your credit card. So it was a nice surprise to see how the system works at this dealership .

And it got me to thinking about how what they’re doing right can be applied to Web landing pages.

Lesson #1: Show visitors exactly what to do.

As I drove up to the dealership, there was a sign that told me exactly where to go for service. It pointed to a row of four large, clearly marked parking spaces.

Have you clearly marked on your landing page what you want your visitors to do? Is your sign – up box prominent? Is the “buy” button plainly visible?

Lesson #2: Immediately create a feeling of safety.

When I dropped off the car, I couldn’t help but notice rolls of paper and plastic right next to the service lanes. They were obviously being used to keep customers’ cars clean while they were being worked on.

Does your landing page immediately make the visitor feel safe? Do you have instant credibility boosters? Does your site design communicate “fly by night” or “here to stay”?

Lesson #3: Show why/how you’re better/different.

While I was paying, an employee opened the door behind me marked “Authorized Personnel Only” and ushered in a prospective customer for a tour. I heard him talking about the facility’s cleanliness, its capacity, and how quickly repairs get done.

Does your landing page offer a glimpse into your expertise, process, or some other important differentiator? Or at least a link that says something like “Why buy from us?”

Lesson #4: Leave them wanting more.

After I paid, I went outside to look around for my car. Based on past experience, I expected to find it jammed into some pseudo parking spot. But before I had time to start searching, I saw my little baby driving up right next to me .

I don’t care how “sticky” your website is. At some point, every one of your prospects will have to leave. So what’s your “temporary exit strategy”? How do you leave them wanting more?

Whenever I offer a download or an opt-in, I always take the time to create a thank you page. The reason I do that is to make the prospect’s last contact with my site (for the time being) a positive experience. Leave them happy, and leave them wanting more.

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