How to Develop Landing Pages That Work

Aside from CTAs, having landing pages that are optimized for conversion is key to a good lead generating website. When a lead clicks on your CTA, you want to make sure that she doesn't bounce — and that certainly does happen. By ensuring that your landing page, where a lead lands after she has filled out a form, is clear and speaks directly to the CTA, you have a smaller chance of that lead bouncing.

For instance, if a lead fills out a form to download an ebook and she is sent to a random webpage that has a huge list of ebooks, she might scratch her head, grow impatient, and leave (or bounce). However, if you make sure that she goes to a targeted page that applies specifically to the CTA she clicked, you are in much better shape.

Landing pages can be leveraged on your website for various reasons, including content asset downloads, demo requests, other product-specific information, events, webinars, and so on.

Landing pages are also critical for SEO (search engine optimization) reasons. A relevant ad-optimized landing page has a dramatically higher conversion rate — meaning you get more leads for your money.

Stick with short forms

Short forms on landing pages always outperform long forms on lead generation tests. It's common sense, really. People don't like filling out a lot of information about themselves. Not only is it time-consuming for your visitors, but they also don't want to get calls and emails, especially when they're in the early stages of research about your company. So the more information they have to put in, the more time they have to weigh the pros and cons of filling out your form.

As a best practice, only ask for what you really need. And if you have marketing automation, you can employ progressive profiling. That way, your website can intelligently know what information your visitor already filled out.

For instance, if he already gave you his name, email address, and title, this information can be retained in your marketing automation system. The next time he fills out a form, you can ask for company, industry, phone number, and so on.

For B2B companies, some marketing products are able to capture the IP address of the website visitor, make assumptions about where she works, and use that information to prefill a form. This assumes that a visitor is researching products or services from work.

When creating a form for a landing page, consider sticking to these five fields:

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • Work Email

  • Job Function

  • Industry

For an example of different form lengths and what information you could potentially ask for, take a look at the following figure, which shows the short, medium, and long forms that Marketo tested in their benchmark study.

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Design for success

Well-designed landing pages lead to conversions. This is a fact. A messy, poorly written, and poorly optimized page equals a high bounce rate. Of course, every business is different, with different products and different target audiences, so you need to test to know what works best for you.

However, as a starter, consider these following best practices for landing page design and layout:

  • Build some templates: Build some HTML templates to use. If you have a marketing automation tool or email service provider (ESP), this is even easier. But remember, this isn't your home page, so remove all of the navigation. Your templates should be simple — distractions kill conversions!

  • Always think about graphics: Your landing page should be simple. Include a logo and a hero shot. A hero shot is the primary image that illustrates your call to action. Think of a mock-up of your ebook, a photo of your webinar speaker, and so on. Also think about making your graphics clickable. People tend to click on graphics.

  • Focus on concise copy: Make your copy straight and to the point, but give your lead a good reason to give you her information. Here's a simple formula to remember: Set up the problem, talk about your solution (or offer), and deliver the goods (an ebook, video, or webinar registration). Also make sure you have bullet points and a great, eye-catching headline.

  • Think about reassurance and trust: Your prospect is risking her privacy by filling out your form. She is probably giving you her email and phone number, so add some reassuring elements to your landing page. Consider mentioning privacy statements, customer testimonials, guarantees, and awards won by your business.

  • Use confirmation and thank you pages: It's just plain good manners to say thank you after getting something you want! So have a page that both confirms the form submittal and lets your lead know that you appreciate his time. Do you have something else your lead may be interested in? Make another offer! The confirmation page is a great place to deepen the relationship with additional offers.

  • Pay attention to your page URL: This is especially important, and an area that many people ignore. The name of the page, along with the rest of the URL path, is weighed fairly heavily on search engines. You can use up to 1,024 characters, so you don't have to be stingy! Also use dashes between words instead of underscores, for SEO purposes.

  • Use metadata: In the early days of Internet search, the importance of metadata was beaten into everyone's heads. Metadata are words used within a web page to provide basic information to search engines about that site. For example, if you write a blog post, there could be metadata that states your name as the author. You don't hear about metadata much anymore, but search engines still view it as important. They use it one way or another and typically weigh metadata in results lists. So enter a title and craft good 100-word descriptions as well as keywords.

The following figure shows an example of a landing page for an ebook from a mobile app development company called Kinvey. Notice the hero shot, the bullet points, the short form, and the privacy information.

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