unbounce logo

6 Reasons Why Oli Gardner from Unbounce Kicks Ass

I don’t know Oli Gardner from Unbounce, but I lift him up as my marketing holy savior and redeemer every chance I get. Well, that might be a stretch and a little creepy, but WWOD is something you hear from the CPI marketing team all the time.

Oli is a landing page expert, and his mission is to improve the world’s user experience and conversion rate, one landing page at a time. His philosophy is deceptively simple, which is good because there are a lot of bad landers out there. As he likes to say…

“98% of landing pages suck.”

Oli Gardner Is Awesome…Let Me Count Thy Ways

1. Amazing presenter. He’s funny, smart, and he’s got a system that is easy to understand and implement.

He preaches “conversion centered design,” which includes seven core principles. I’m hesitant to share them here, because when attendees at the Inbound Day MKE received the slides to all of the presentations, Oli was one of two presenters that required a name and password to access his stuff, and the only one to require an additional password to open the PDF. I don’t blame him. His shit is premium.

Here are a few of his rules.

  • One goal per marketing campaign.
  • Remove all distractions from the visitor except the one you want them to interact with.
  • If you have 10 links on a page, including the lead capture form, you are giving them 10 other chances to leave your landing page.
  • Make all the copy and imagery from call to action (CTA) to landing page consistent.
  • If “subscribe to a newsletter” is not the main CTA move it to the refresh page.

He demands that you lower the “attention ratio,” which he defines as “…the ratio of interactive elements (links) on the page, to the number of campaign conversion goals (which is always one).”

2. Fuck Data. This is Oli’s one-act play diving deep into the psyche of a data-driven marketer, who is also inspired by intuition. Here his gut feeling wrestles with his analytic mind, and it’s beautiful. Yes, most moves you make online can be measured and managed, but, like Gary Vaynerchuk says, you have to ask, “what’s the ROI of your mother”. Even if there’s no visible uptick in the data, sometimes you have to follow your gut because it builds better relationships, connects in a deeper way, or just improves the vibe.

3. The Shoes. Oli’s got style. Can this man tell you how your landing pages should look? Of course he can!

Oli Gardner's Shoes
Rand’s Ultimate Inbound Marketing Squad. Rand Fishkin named him the go guy for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Great interview with Rand by the way.

Rand's Ultimate Inbound Marketing Squad
Page Fights. He can ruthlessly tear up your pages for all the world to see because he knows what’s best for you. Great series.

6. His advice works.  Here’s my experience building a landing page with better attention ratio.

I Used to Build Very Busy Landing Pages

I admit I haven’t always followed the 1:1 attention ratio rule. There was a time that I was optimizing a page for SEO, and using that same page as a PPC landing page for two pretty good reasons…I thought.

One, I was hoping to boost my quality score by using pages that were crawlable and linked to from outside pages. I thought inbound links, and a hefty chunk of keyword-focused copy would help.

Two, I was slapping articles or other types of helpful content on to the page to establish my company as an authority in the space (before any transaction of money or personal information took place). And, to create a reciprocation dynamic: “hey, they gave me great content upfront without asking for anything. The least I can do is fill out this form, and download the free resource.”

These landing pages weren’t disasters, but when I saw Oli speak last June, a light bulb went off.

A New Campaign

Of course!

An 1:1 attention ratio is most desirable. However, that means that we have to do a great job creating compelling offers, calls to action, and landing page sales copy to make potential prospects understand that the offer is worth their time. Then, once they download the free resource and receive value from it, we can start to really establish our place as the most trusted authority.

We recently launched a campaign that included a landing page to drive PPC, paid social, and email traffic. We really streamlined it. There are still too many fields and too many links, but we really cut out a lot of the distractions to improve the attention ratio. The results have been great.

De-escalation Email Campaign

We sent out an email to a rented list (yeah, it still works for us) with the new offer.

We only got a 1.86% clickthrough rate on version A of an split test, but the conversion rate for those visitors was 65%.

wat chicken

I had to ask our Marketing Manager if that was real life. She said yes. I could not believe it. Still don’t really.

Then, I looked at the numbers from Facebook, Twitter, and PPC ads.

Paid Traffic Campaign

Old Sequence

Google Search Ad

old de-escalation ad

Landing page

de-escalation lander old

New Sequence

Google Search Ad

de-escalation ad

Landing page

de-escalation landing page new

New Sequence Totals for Paid Advertising (Google, Bing, Facebook, and Twitter)

  • 1,873 sessions
  • 220 conversions
  • 11.75% conversion rate

11.75% is not as good as the 65% we got from the email blast, but it’s still very good for us.

We didn’t advertise on Twitter and Facebook for this particular offer before, so I don’t have stats to compare. However,  I do have some data from Google and Bing paid.

Google PPC

  • New offer: 16.36% conversion rate
  • Old offer: 2.13% conversion rate


  • New offer: 16.19% conversion rate
  • Old offer: 1.98% conversion rate

Not bad. That’s a nice uptick.

Organic Traffic Campaign

We have a completely different funnel for organic traffic, so there’s no historic data here either. I can report that we have sent 143 people to the offer page and 31 have filled out the form, which is a tidy 21.68% conversion rate.

Oli Knows What’s Up

The offer we made is strong and the copy persuasive, but the real improvement was that we reduced the distractions, and maintained consistency of offer and message from the ad, page copy, and even the topic for the free resource. Thanks Oli!

If you’re an online marketer, you need to follow Oli.

Bonus Tip

You can make your landing pages not suck by using Unbounce examples and templates as inspiration. You don’t even have to be a customer.  My company is fully invested in the Marketo marketing automation platform, so I don’t use Unbounce. Maybe someday.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below