Have you ever given your email address to a company you’re barely familiar with, just so you can enjoy their free ebook? No need to feel like you’ve been duped. That’s just the power of an effective landing page – assuming you were satisfied with the value of the digital goods you got in return, registering as a sales lead with the ebook’s publisher probably feels like a laughably small price to pay. When done well, digital marketing involves building relationships and nurturing them over time by giving away wisdom. The idea is that if you’ve built up enough trust and authority, then when a prospect is ready to make a purchase, they’ll be so happy with what your brand has already done for them (for free,) they’ll feel great about turning to you for a real business transaction. Landing pages are generally used to capture leads at the very beginning of this relationship trajectory. But it all has to start somewhere. If you’re going to be interacting directly with leads, sending them helpful messages via email, then you’re going to need their email addresses. That’s why you need to do everything in your power to make sure the landing page itself is perfect. There’s little point in investing your sweat, time and money in drawing traffic to a landing page if it isn’t going to convert. Luckily you’re not the first person to ever have the goal of optimizing a landing page for conversions. There are plenty of marketers who have been at it for years and years, so there’s plenty of data out there that speaks to what works best. Just like anything else, there are always exceptions to successful landing page design formulas, so if your gut tells you that your brand or your audience will respond better if you defy convention, then by all means – go on and give it a shot. That’s what multivariate testing is for! Regardless, you’d be smart to at least reference the canon of landing page conversion data that the collective mind of the internet has compiled to date. Familiarize yourself with the following 6 landing page design tips.
1. Don’t ask too much of them
If you’re too demanding and ask for all kinds of information about your prospects, they’re likely to bounce. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. You have to make a decision as to what type of lead you are looking to convert with your landing pages. A landing page that requires more information, while likely to have a higher bounce rate, has a greater chance of converting higher qualified leads. On the other hand, if you are looking for a greater volume of converted leads, you want to make it as easy and painless as possible for people to opt in, never triggering them to wonder if they should be thinking twice about filling out the form. So questions about income level, or other information that may set off psychological alarms, are out of the question unless absolutely necessary. Think about what you really need to know about these people to move them along the sales funnel effectively. It might be nothing more than a name, phone number, email address and a URL. Or maybe just an email. If you want to know where they’re located geographically, you can learn a lot by just asking for a zip code, or it’s possible that the tool you’re using to build your forms can provide users’ IP addresses and that’s precise enough for you. The rule of thumb is, if you’re not sure you’ll need it, just skip it.
2. Keep your form above the fold
When your landing page first loads, visitors shouldn’t have to scroll down at all before they see the lead capture form. Yeah, there’s plenty of data to suggest that activities like checking out news feeds on social networks and browsing the web on smartphones have trained contemporary netizens to be healthily scroll-happy, but it doesn’t matter. The form needs to be a major design element on the page that is as obvious as possible. No one should ever wonder where it is, or what’s being asked of them.
3. Align yourself with the good guys
There’s so much black hat marketing going on all over the web that many users are prone to becoming paralyzed the second they sense something may be nefarious. Don’t let anyone wonder if you’re one of the shady outfits. Instead, tell them know how committed you are to privacy and data security. Explain that you’ll never spam them or sell them out to someone who will. Show them icons and badges that support this idea. Display testimonials and logos of satisfied clients and customers. Whatever it takes to make the case for being at ease and feeling that it’s safe to share.
4. Cut the clutter
48% of landing pages contain multiple offers. Not Good! Most content-oriented web pages include many navigation elements to give the user options for clicking around the site and staying engaged; in fact only 16% of landing pages are free of navigation bars. But landing pages are intended to be navigation dead ends, more or less. The less noise you’ve got on the page, the easier it will be to keep visitors’ focus where you want it – the activity of registering as a lead. The page should have only what’s needed on it to encourage conversions. Include a well-crafted headline, a brief description of how awesome your brand is, some information on how amazing the product you’re giving away is, a few touches of trust building – and the form itself. That’s it. Landing page minimalism is so effective that many big brands are now using similar tactics with their homepages!
5. Push some FOMO buttons
People don’t like to be on the outside and are often motivated by the desire to do what the cool kids are already doing – or the entire herd. The better case you can make for your product being enjoyed by whoever matters to your audience, the more they’ll want in. Assuming you’ve got some boast-able metrics that speak to how many of your prospects’ peers have already downloaded your free offer, or subscribed to your emails, or have become loyal customers, publish these figures prominently on your landing page. Don’t just tell your audience why it’s in their best interest to convert; show them that they’ll be joining an insider’s club that they want join when they convert. This is the power of “social proof.”
6. Instruct them to act
There are whole worlds of knowledge out there surrounding hat makes a good call-to-action (CTA). But you don’t need to have written a dissertation in motivational techniques to understand the basic principles. Effective CTAs make it super obvious to the user what is being asked of them and what they stand to benefit as a result. And if you can inject a bit of urgency into the atmosphere, all the better. Sure, you can go with the default form button text of “Submit,” but you can do better than that. Much better. What if the button said “Let’s Get Started!,” with “Send me free access to the online course today!” appearing in smaller text below? Now we’re getting somewhere.