5 Easy Ways to Increase Conversions on Your “Coming Soon” Landing Page

By , January 4th, 2012 in Landing Page Examples | 24 comments

You may not think of a “Coming Soon” landing page as much of a target for improving conversion rates. Wrong. Just a year ago, startups like Hipster gained 10,000 subscribers virtually overnight without ever revealing their purpose. Brilliant foodie and social app Forkly had to put in a few late nights to create a viral invitation and social sharing form after a TechCrunch article highlighted their up-and-coming product.

Since then, startups have hopefully learned the lesson that they, too, can unexpectedly be thrust into the spotlight – and it’s best to be prepared. Now the question is – are you?

Here are five ways you can not only help spread the word about your launch, but reel in the kinds of customers you want to reach.

1. Be Brief about Benefits

You (generally) only have limited screen space in which to convince people to sign up. That means your most important benefits need to be above the fold (the first 1/3rd to 1/2 of the user’s screen space). The simpler and more direct the design and call-to-action are, the more likely you’ll entice visitors to take that action. I think just about anyone who sees the screenshot for Briefly (below) will remember the giant pair of underwear staring them in the face.

Briefly provides three succinct bullet-point benefits that are easy to scan and promise time-saving benefits.

Why This Approach Works

In addition to its unconventional attention-getting graphic, Briefy also fits everything into one screen space, so there’s no need to scroll. It also posts its three most important benefits right below the main statement for easy reading. Signing up for notifications only requires an email address, which presents less of a barrier to cautious subscribers who are worried about spam.

2. How Soon is Coming Soon?

It’s no longer enough just to tell visitors that you’ll “add them to the notification list” when you launch. In this “always-on” day and age, we have on-demand expectations. Even if you’re not 100% certain when you’ll launch, giving users an approximate timeframe, such as Summer or even a countdown will help keep them interested. In Forkly’s case above, they even went so far as to detail their progress on their Tumblr blog, including how they had to quickly create a viral sharing script after the early deluge of traffic.

From the mysterious statement “we are forkly” to a viral loop launch form – Forkly had to quickly create a way to harness all the traffic they were getting from TechCrunch

They’ve even posted a visual graph and their conversion stats a few months after this blog entry to let readers know how well it worked.

Why This Approach Works

Not only are you helping to keep customers “in the loop” while you’re putting the finishing touches on your new project, but you’re also building your subscriber list exponentially. For those early adopters who don’t want to wait, simply sharing an invite with three or more friends can instantly propel them to the front of the line. And early adopters are pivotal people to reach – particularly if your product has a tech slant.

The Diffusion of Ideas shows that the Early Adopters and Early Majority are what any good project needs to help get it over a “hump” of resistance.

3. Make it Easy and Rewarding to Share

Forkly did a great job adding in a social touch with their Private Beta launch. But then they went a step further by allowing people to jump to the front of the virtual line by inviting three of their friends. On top of that, the more they invited, the sooner they could start using the app.

Put your own twist on this idea. Can you give subscribers who share your invite link a behind-the-scenes look at the “making of” your launch? Even better – what can they contribute to it while it’s still in the early stages? A brilliant example of this is in the book Viral Loop. Not only can you read about companies that employ this same kind of strategy – you can also contribute to their stories.

Some Coming Soon landing pages try to persuade you to share by making it into a contest.

However, this can get costly depending on the types of products you’re awarding the winners (think something like an iPad 2 if you really want to build up steam). Using the Viral Loop method is inexpensive and hints at the early adopters’ deep-rooted need to “be the first”. A win-win for everyone.

Why This Approach Works

Using the Viral Loop method is inexpensive and hints at the early adopters’ deep-rooted need to “be the first”: A win-win for everyone. These are the vocal people who can be either evangelists or critics of your product, and you need both in order to succeed.

4. Make a Plan for After the Signup

Once you’ve got their name and email address – what’s the next step? If you haven’t thought this through, you won’t be able to spur many people into action after signup. A well-written autoresponder can take over here by encouraging the subscriber community to get involved. Ask for their feedback as you develop your product. Find out what they like and hate about competing products on the market. You may get some excellent suggestions and features worth incorporating.

Yogolicious’ website may be coming soon, but you can still create a masterpiece now at your local store.

Why This Approach Works

You can get directions to your nearest Yogolicious by using their Coming Soon page. But this page could likely perform even better if they allowed people to sign up for special offers by email, such as a free coupon, or notification of their next donation/yogurt social.

5. Tell a Story to Bring Personality to Your Page

Why are you launching this new product or service? People want to connect with the brains behind the enterprise, and chances are, your mission or goal will –in some small part- become theirs too. Thank them for taking the time to sign up, and introduce them to your virtual world. Being secretive and stealthy will only make people reluctant and discourage sign-ups (no matter how cool it may look).

Social cataloguing app Evertale did a mesmerizing job of this with their Coming Soon landing page, which took readers on a short, whirlwind tale about capturing and reliving daily memories. It was exciting, motivating and inspiring – just as it should be.

Evertale is the life-scrapbooking app for the social and sharing generation

Why This Approach Works

When put together, short benefits, a launch timeframe, an injection of personality and a rewarding way to share and stay informed create the ultimate formula for a landing page that not only compels you to act, but also gets you enthusiastic about the brand and its future.

– Sherice Jacob

This is a guest post, all opinions are those of the author.

Sherice Jacob helps business owners and bloggers improve their website design, conversion and performance over at iElectrify. She enjoys writing and travel and is a self-proclaimed flavored coffee fanatic.

Comments

  1. Sarah Arrow says:

    Hi Sherice
    Interesting posts, I love the breify one and would admit under duress that is something made me laugh I’d sign up even if I wasn’t sure of the offer.
    Curiosity kills us darn cats ;)

  2. Jen Waak says:

    Great tips, Sherice. I’ve been in this situation, and didn’t have an auto responder in place, which I think ultimately hurt my conversions. You have to keep up the excitement that got them to give you your email address to start with!

  3. Great reminder to think fully through each step of a sales process. These are great examples of integrating benefits, curiosity, and visuals.

  4. Diane Hunter says:

    Perfect information and exactly what I needed today as I’m planning my new website and new big offer for 2012. :) Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I like the idea of involving the subscribers and asking for feedback in the development stage. Also, I agree, auto responder – essential.

  5. Glad you all enjoyed it! It’s always good to have “common sense” things like these as reminders – whether your project is coming soon – or not!

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  7. Dawn Kotzer says:

    thanks Sherice, for this info. I’m using this post as an Action Plan. Starting NOW:)

  8. knikkolette says:

    I’ve seen a couple “coming soon” sites before and I admit, the curiosity factor is there. I haven’t signed up for anything yet, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t if the product or service were the right fit.

  9. Marsha Stopa says:

    Excellent analysis. One of the unexpected values of a coming soon-opt-in page is that the visitor only has one choice — sign up or leave. You don’t need all the “clutter” of a blog to reel them in. Just a sparkle of awesomeness. Thanks for the examples.

  10. Sherice, I really like the sites you highlight here and your take on why they worked. I have to admit those underpants got me looking too. That’s such a great page!

  11. It is eye-catching isn’t it? I think that’s one of the biggest pair of digital underwear I’ve ever seen 0_o

  12. Giles Farrow says:

    Good “brief” pun

    There has been an explosion of coming soon launch pages. Including people using them for market research to assess demand – lots of lean startup advocates are doing this before writing any code.

    So quality for landing pages is going to become more and more important
    – to grab attention
    – to convince people to subscribe

    and your tips will certainly help

    • Hi Giles – You’re certainly right about quality landing pages. It’s a great idea to see so many startups “testing the waters” with their coming soon pages. Although a landing page isn’t the only factor in assessing marketing demand, it’s an interesting spin on what would traditionally be something with a huge outlay of cash!

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  20. Don says:

    What a great article. I didn’t realise it was published a while back., It still contains great pointers, and must-do’s, most of which I haven’t done on my “coming Soon” page. Hopefully I can get these things done, and on there quickly.

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