Up to this point, we have focused on providing visitors with scent and relevance by maintaining continuity from an ad to the landing page. But how harmonious are the different elements on the landing page? Is there a congruent theme and message throughout the page and on every page throughout the site?
Visitors move to the knowledge stage of building trust the minute they land on your website. If your landing page does not address their questions, you have not succeeded in building trust. Congruency means maintaining a single harmonious message within the same page while answering the personas’ different questions. For the value proposition to transcend to visitors, every element on a single page has to support that value. Very often you’ll find that a site will have many competing messages on one page, or you’ll find a site in which the copy, images, and elements do not work together to fulfill the value proposition. The lack of congruency increases visitors’ anxieties and leads to more friction. Friction results when two forces collide. Online, the two forces colliding are the visitors’ anxieties and your landing page elements. The more friction that results from this collision, the more likely it is that visitors will abandon the site. It is impossible to completely eliminate friction, and every transaction will have some degree of it.
How can all the elements on the site support the present congruent message?
Every page on the site should serve two purposes:
Support the overall value proposition of the site
Move visitors toward the primary conversion goal for that particular page
What is the primary conversion goal for the page?
Do the different page elements (copy, images, and design) support the primary conversion goal as well as the value proposition of the site?
What page elements are distracting visitors from the primary goal or from the value proposition?
Do the different elements present a single congruent message?
Are the different elements relevant to each other?
Figure 4-19 shows the organic results for the term “pest control.” There is enough continuity from the search term to the description displayed on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Figure 4-20 displays the page we landed on when we clicked on the ClarkPest.com organic result. Continuity is definitely lacking from the search results page to the landing page. The page is also not harmonious, as it lacks one consistent message throughout.
The page does not present a congruent message because:
Although peace of mind and being a trusted family company are values that are important to visitors, they are not the prime motivation for the visit.
The page is overwhelmed by the value proposition, which takes away from the actual service the site is offering.
Can those messages work harmoniously? Yes, but you don’t want them to be competing and confusing the user. Again, congruency is achieved when all of the elements work together to support the value proposition and primary conversion goal of the page.
Your pages should be built to address visitor intent. The value proposition should tie in directly to the service or product you are offering. Figure 4-21 displays the landing page for Compel, a marketing and web design service. After an initial search for web design services on Google, Compel was listed as one of the first results in the area. The home page does not indicate what Compel offers. The headlines below the main image do not clearly indicate what the site is about. The words Conceive, Connect, and Compete are meaningless to a user looking for a design solution.
Product or service pages must maintain congruency as well. Every element on the page must reemphasize the importance of the product and service by giving the user the confidence to move through the conversion process. Figure 4-22 displays the different ways Zappos reemphasizes its commitment to unmatched customer care. Also notice how Zappos removed the left navigation panel on its product page to emphasize the product (primary conversion goal) and not take away from the overall value it is offering. Again, a value proposition has to support the main objective, which is ultimately to sell products on the site. Congruency lends credibility and authenticity to the value you are offering.
The Nike Shox product page, shown in Figure 4-23, displays the features, images, and a brief description of the product. All the elements on the page support one goal: to sell the shoe. You should use caution when attempting to cross-sell or upsell on product pages, since these promotional messages can distract the user from converting. Remember, there is no salesperson to convince the visitor that the product is right for her, so the page has to do all the talking. Congruency is essentially the salesperson attempting to convince the user that not only is the product offering wonderful, but the value is unattainable anywhere else.