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Landing Pages: 5 things you need to generate leads

By Expert commentator 02 May, 2016
Essential
Landing page optimisation

Optimise your landing page designs to boost your conversion rate

Landing pages are a vital conversion trigger within the Customer Journey. Typically, they are used within internet marketing campaigns that use Calls To Action, and are a core component of online advertising too. Indeed, Hubspot’s Marketing Benchmarks From 7,000 Businesses report identified that companies experience an increase of 55% in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.

So it’s about volume, then? Well, not entirely. There is no point in having lots of landing pages if they do not convert. Generating and capturing leads is critical to the sales process. Therefore, converting the traffic on your landing pages effectively and efficiently has to be the goal. These aspects are fundamental to business growth.

Quite simply, if you are going to invest time, resource and money into driving traffic to your landing pages, then you must ensure that you fully optimise the page your target audience clicks through to.

A home page is NOT a landing page

Note: In my view you must not rely on your home page as a pseudo-landing page that will convert. By its nature, your home page is generic – it is your business’ digital shop window to showcase all that you do and your key USPs. (Editor: An exception is for companies with a single proposition when the home page is designed as a landing page as these examples show).

As such, your home page has to rely on visitors to spend (their precious little) time finding the specific product, service or piece of content that they need. There are just too many distractions and too much irrelevant information on a home page for an individual visitor for it to convert effectively. So don’t even consider it!

Types of landing pages

There are actually many different types of landing page, including those for lead capture, product specific (akin to product data sheets), infomercials / advertorials, clickthroughs, and even microsites are used as landing pages for larger campaigns.

Typically, landing pages are one-page destinations for those clicking through from an online ad or a search engine optimised result (aka SERP result). However, no matter what the specific use of a landing page, they can all be grouped into one of two types: reference or transactional landing pages.

  • Reference landing pages: These are more generic in nature and do not necessarily include a sales goal or call to action. Essentially, they provide additional contextualised information relevant to the visitor that is a continuation of an ad or SERP result that they clicked through from. They are ideal for brand awareness or education campaigns, and to build relationships with a larger target audience or to strengthen existing relationships.
  • Transactional landing pages: Contrary to the above, the point of these is to convince the visitor to perform some kind of action – for example, clicking on a CTA button, signing up to a newsletter or subscription by providing their email address, downloading a piece of content such as a white paper or ebook, starting a trial of a product or tool, or making a purchase. These “transactions” are designed around capturing as much data and information about each visitor as possible with the ultimate goal being to convert them into a customer.

Now we’ve outlined the main types of landing pages, here are our five top tips on how to create landing pages that convert your traffic to generate leads.

1. K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, stupid

The classic rule of “less is more” applies particularly to landing pages. You must remember that they are about a specific offer, product, tool, service and so on. Therefore you need to make sure that you provide the visitor with precisely what they want, and to do so with minimal clutter or confusion.

The design must be clean and easy to navigate, perhaps with the main navigation menu stripped out too so your page is ultra targeted. The copy must be concise and to the point; nobody wants to read walls of text having just been enticed through from an exciting offer or call to action! Bullet points work well at breaking up copy too – three succinct bullet points are better than a three-sentence paragraph.

Also include a striking image that summarises the landing page’s purpose, perhaps with a CTA in there, is a must. While a video (animated or otherwise) would be much more appealing than reading and scrolling, and therefore much more effective!

Howsoever you decide to populate your landing page, you need to ensure that visitors can quickly scan all content above the fold to understand at-a-glance who you are, what the “offer” is, and why they should take action.

2. Forms with strong CTAs

Forms are perhaps the biggest reason why landing page conversions fail. Indeed, 46% of marketers consider optimising their form layout to have a very significant impact on their landing page’s ROI. On top of this, human nature is to avoid providing personal data. It is essential that you only ask for what is absolutely necessary for someone to perform a particular action.

Strong call to action

For example, if someone clicks through to your landing page to take advantage of a free whitepaper download, then they would expect to provide an email address, name and maybe company name too. They know that they have to give something in order to receive something of value to them. But they also know where to draw the line – phone numbers, for example, will stop someone completing a form as they do not want to receive a sales call in the future. You should also make your forms as compact and easy-on-the-eye too.

Always consider why a visitor is on your landing page in the first place. In this example, their only reason for being there is to download a white paper (and do so quickly). So give them what they want within minimal fuss – this is part of the Customer Journey after all!

If forms are mechanisms for you to gather information for your sales and marketing funnel, then CTAs are the triggers to complete a form. So that have to be strong, with very short, action-oriented requests to cause an action to take place. Words like “Get”, “Save”, “Free”, “Download” and “Book now” are ideal. The WIFM effect (What’s In It For Me?) means that visitors won’t do something unless they get something they want that makes it worth their while. For some best practice and tips, then have a read of this post by Conversioner.

On the other hand, generic CTAs like “Find out more” should be avoided for lead generation purposes. It is neither one thing nor another, when it comes to generating leads. It doesn’t give the visitor something tangible (which is probably the reason they were compelled to click through in the first place), and it doesn’t give you any data to facilitate a follow up.

4. Speak your customer’s language

Forget industry jargon; it is a turn-off. Demonstrate that you understand your customers. Speak about the challenges that they face, and provide solutions to them. And literally speak to them – use “you” and “your” in the copy to help personalise it further, while also providing some empathy to their situation.

Knowing your customer’s pain points is critical in any content you produce, particularly so within landing pages where you have minimal ‘time to engagement’. After all, the average visitor will scan for relevance before reading anything – if you have a load of jargon or sales-speak then they will be turned off. This applies to goals on any type of landing page.

Additionally, the age-old business tent of “know your customer” applies just as much today, if not more so in this digital world that we live. There are very few excuses (if any!) for not understanding your target market, or segmenting them into demographics and customer personas. You need to understand and cater for their online behaviours, expectations and particular challenges or pain points.

5. Responsive design

Mobile, mobile, mobile! Every digital part of every business should be mobile-friendly. And this applies especially to landing pages – having a responsive design that automatically serves up the right display on the right devices (whether mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop) is a must-have. In much the same way that you need to speak your customer’s language, you need to deliver your content to your target audience on their terms.

However, it is not just about the prevalence of smartphone usage. Different people have different devices that they use to browse the web. Maybe one person uses their phone when on-the-go or commuting, uses their tablet when watching TV, and uses their laptop or desktop when working. You need to provide a seamless user experience of your landing page that works across any device for any potential visitor.

It is therefore about making it as easy as possible for each person that clicks through to your landing page to digest your content – no matter where they are, when they are doing it, and on what device. And let’s not forget that Google favours a responsive design approach. This means that your landing page will rank higher in SERPs if you adopt a responsive design.

You should check out GetResponse’s Landing Page Creator that has, amongst other features, more than 100 completely responsive landing page templates that you can tailor to your needs and branding in just 30 minutes.

5. A/B testing - continuously

This is perhaps the most important and obvious point, yet is often overlooked. You can test virtually any aspect of your landing page – from different titles / headlines or length of copy, to different images or the positions of your CTAs. Indeed, the layout of your website can also have an impact – you could even use exactly the same copy, visual cues, forms and CTAs, but put them in different positions and even in different colours.

testing

One essential component you should test is the form. Experiment with a form that only has two fields: “Name” and “Email address”. Simultaneously run this against a form that has four or five fields, of which the only mandatory ones are “Name” and “Email address”. After all, the more customer data you secure, the better you can target your leads, and therefore the more effective your follow-ups and conversions will be.

The golden rule of any type of A/B testing should also be applied: test, measure, compare, adapt, change, and repeat. This is the only way you will have a clear idea of what is working and what isn’t.

Landing Pages that generate leads – final takeaway

Landing pages, without doubt, should be seen as a primary weapon in your sales arsenal. They can be laser-targeted for specific audience segments to help shorten and streamline the Customer Journey. This means you will also increase the number of leads you drop into the sales funnel.

Doing all of this yourself could seem daunting and time-consuming. However, there are various tools out there that can help and, if you are to take advantage of the many benefits of having multiple landing pages, then you really should invest in a landing page creation tool.

The five tips outlined in this article will help you generate better returns from your business development and lead generation campaigns. They are not the only five tips, but they are vital in terms of generating leads.

By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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