If you’re looking to build a lead capture landing page, it’s not just a matter of slapping a form on a page and driving traffic to it. Well, you could, but it wouldn’t perform well.
Instead, follow these 15 steps and create a high performance landing page designed specifically for gathering leads.
Read on and learn how to build the ultimate lead capture form, an example of which will be uncovered right at the end.
Before you start building anything you need to know who you are marketing to. The chances are you’re creating a campaign for one of the following targets:
Lead form tip: If you are marketing to customers or leads, pre-populate as many of your lead capture landing page form fields as you can, to reduce the friction involved in filling out the form, and to create a sense of personalization.
Having established your target audience, you need to figure out what to offer them in order to get their important personal or business data.
Everyone likes to be rewarded, getting free stuff is awesome. But with lead gen there’s a little work to do first, and it gets pretty personal. Typically the very minimum a prospect, lead or customer will have to part with is an email address (covered in step #3).
Before thinking about what you’re asking for in exchange for your content, you need to define the content, and make it relevant to your target’s needs. Here are some of the things you can create:
There is a ton of digital content you can give away, first we’ll list them, then explain how they should be used differently for prospects, leads and customers.
Prospects are people you haven’t come into contact with yet, so they need extra reasons to believe in what you’re giving away. They need a softer sell, usually educational material that doesn’t push your product, like an ebook.
Leads are prospects who have converted by already consuming some of your content. These are the people you really want to convert into customers. As such they should be receiving content with signup CTAs and links to register for product demos.
Customers come in two forms: active and inactive. Your goals here are to keep active customers happy with instructional material that makes their life easier, and then re-engage your inactive customers with special offers, and updates on new features that could reactivate them. Customers are prime candidates for newsletters and ecourses.
Webinar tips: Have a webinar calendar to allow people to sign up in advance. List each session as beginner, intermediate or advance – much like you would with a yoga calendar. And remember to inform people on your landing pages that they will receive a recording of the webinar the next day if they are unable to attend – this will increase registration significantly.
Crucial to your success with lead gen is to balance the reward (the size of the prize) with the friction involved in getting it. This is where your choice of form fields come into play…
What’s an appropriate number of form fields to ask for in exchange for your content? Ideally, you would test this to find out what number of fields converts the best, while still getting the data you need to successfully segment and re-market to them in the future.
Here’s a breakdown of the content listed in the last section with an appropriate level of information you should ask for (note these are simple guidelines – every situation will be slightly different).
For a more personalized experience over a period of time.
Company information might include: size of company and phone number. Often used for longer sales cycle items.
Note, you could ask for a lot more if you want to, but realistically, an email is all you really need for most things.
Form tip: Scale how much information you ask from prospect, lead, customer (prospect being the least, and customer the most).
Message match is the term used to describe the connection between the call-to-action (CTA) of an advertisement and the headline of the destination page.
There are two reasons why this is important:
Here’s an example from an Unbounce banner CTA that sits at the end of our blog posts. Read the text on the button, as this will be the last thing in the mind of a visitor when they click it.
Now consider the headline in the destination landing page, and how closely it matches that of the CTA:
Always pay close attention to your message and you’ll increase your conversion rates by virtue of more people staying on a page they asked to visit.
Trust is key to making people believe you won’t be spamming them after getting your email. Social proof is a key element here as we’ll see in the list of trust element you can include on your page:
Your opening paragraph should be a short and succinct extension of your headline, which serves as an introduction to some bullet points (coming up next) describing the product or service you’re promoting.
Let’s look at an example from a webinar registration:
Join us at 2pm EST for a special webinar about lead gen landing pages, featuring [insert star name], hosted by [insert another star name]. We’ll be talking about best practices for generating leads using webinars (how meta), and we’ll be covering the following:
Insert bullet points…
The star power and time limited component give it a persuasive edge, while the details and bullet points give it the descriptive clarity it needs to answer your questions and convince you of the benefits of attending.
Following directly from the last point (no pun intended), given how little time most people spend on most pages – you have maybe 5 seconds to garner their interest. Most of this is done via your headline grabbing their attention, but assuming this has already happened, you need to dig into some simple benefit statements rather than ramble on in a long paragraph like this one. If you can turn your text into about 3-5 bullet points each explaining why they should fill in your form, then your lead gen page will be more effective. As an exercise, let’s break down whaty I’ve just said into bullets:
See how much easier that was to read?
This is a classic A/B test – whether to use images or video on your page, or none at all. The decision often comes down to the purpose of the page. Let’s run through some of the rewards you are giving away (from step #2) and see what would be most appropriate:
Let’s look at a couple of examples:
Notice how each of the examples uses only the required information in the form, uses a short intro paragraph, bullet points and relevant images.
This one’s conversion 101. Your CTA should describe exactly what will happen when you click on it. We just talked about message match, so you should understand the importance of a descriptive CTA.
To make it more actionable, use persuasive copy, that has some urgency or benefit statements in it. Even simple words like “Get”, “Try”, “Now” or “Today” can work.
Here’s an example of good and bad CTAs:
Look how clear the description on this button is. Both lines are very actionable and descriptive.
This is more of a rule to follow. The absolute worst thing you can ever write on your buttons is the dreaded “Submit” word as it describes nothing about what’s going to happen when you click on it. If you’re using this on your buttons, go and change them right now!
The key to creating a sense of urgency is to create the illusion of a pain point in the mind of the visitor to your page. To understand how this works, let’s first look at a couple of examples from the world of ecommerce.
Amazon preys on the fear of not getting Christmas presents delivered on time (who wants crying kids on Christmas morning?) They do this by helpfully telling you the last day that you should order to guarantee delivery by the date in question. They’ve taken this even further (as shown in the example below) where they are applying urgency to any date – no doubt to capture last minute present buying for birthdays which can occur on any given date.
Expedia uses a live seat count for their flights, to encourage immediate bookings. Looking at the best flight for your journey and seeing that there are only 2 seats left is a great way to add urgency to the booking process. Note that they only do this when there are a couple of seats left – not when there are 200 left.
So how do we go about applying these principles to our lead gen landing pages?
We can apply both of these principles to our lead gen pages as follows:
For an ebook download, you can say that it’s free for a limited time only, and that after a certain date it will cost $14.95 for example. This will increase the number of downloads before the date you choose – which of course can be continuously extended.
If you are running a webinar, you can increase both the urgency and exclusivity of the session by stating how many virtual seats are still available. For example: register now – only 20 of 100 spots left.
Essentially, anything you can do to create a scenario of urgency through utilizing a pain point, you’ll increase your lead gen form conversions.
CCD is a discipline targeted specifically at achieving the goals of a business, from the standpoint that the primary purpose of any page is to guide the visitor toward one specific action. It’s an approach that uses persuasion and psychological devices to convince a visitor to convert. Landing pages sit at the heart of CCD, used to focus the attention of a prospect toward a single objective or conversion goal.
In the examples following, we take a basic lead capture landing page, and transform it using 3 of the core principles of CCD: encapsulation, color contrast, and directional cues. The end result being a stronger lead gen form designed for conversion.
Using encapsulation: Notice how the form stands out more in the version on the right, due to the use of an encapsulation container. This is most often done simply by placing the form in a containing box to provide a contrasting background.
Using color & contrast: Now the form is really starting to pop. Notice how there are two primary areas of the form that are brought forward by the use of color & contrast: the form header and the CTA. the reason for using the same contrasting color for both is to provide a sense of correlation. The header should contain pertinent information that describes what you are getting by submitting the form, and the benefit of doing so. For example: “Download our free ebook to master the art of conversion.” Using the same color as the CTA will naturally allow your eye to follow the trail down to the CTA after reading the contents of the header.
Using directional cues: Notice the use of two arrows in the example on the right. By taking the previous version and adding some extra visual persuasion to the form, the first arrow brings your attention from the introductory copy to the form header (which as described above, should contain the description of the purpose of your form) and a second arrow from the form header down to the CTA.
You’re probably wondering what the 6-point punch is. It’s a concept based on the primary elements a successful lead gen page requires to be effective. Essentially, it acts like a checklist of the important elements already discussed, as a reminder that to be really conversion focused, you need to create a page with all of these aspects working in concert together.
Here’s a good example of an ebook download landing page with some of these principles in action. Later on you’ll see how it could be improved via a collaborative A/B testing exercise.
Despite having a well targeted and relevant reward on your page, you could be generating more paying customers from your prospects – and I’m going to show you how.
It’s important to think about what will happen after you generate a new lead, and what you want them to do now that you have their attention. You want to take advantage of that magic moment directly after the customer says “Yes, I like you” to keep them in your sphere of influence while they’re “in the mood”. You can do this by focussing their attention on the first thing they see after submitting your lead gen form – the confirmation page.
The lead generation confirmation page could be considered the digital equivalent of a supermarket candy shelf. Admit it, you’ve fallen victim to those shelves of sweet goodness stacked by the checkout as you wait in line – aimlessly throwing crap you don’t need into your basket.
So what should you ask them to do on your confirmation page? Here are 5 quick tips that you can implement now:
Before you start designing your page, you should grab a marker and use a whiteboard to lay out a wireframe for your page. There are a couple of reasons for this: it saves you design time, by getting the layout right before you start building a page you might need to deconstruct and re-build, it also allows you to run a few initial tests using your sketch.
Before you run the tests I’ll mention below, make sure your wireframe is quite detailed and includes some real copy and some CCD elements such as color and contrast etc.
This is a fun one to do with a whiteboard (or piece of paper hanging on the wall if you decided to sketch it that way or printed out a page from a wireframing tool like Balsamiq.
Here’s how it works. Get a lineup of people who’ve not seen the page before, and one at a time, position them right in front of the page with their eyes closed. Then ask them to open their eyes and look at the page. After 5 seconds, tell them to close their eyes again and tell you what the page is about. If they can’t tell you after 5 seconds of exposure (the typical amount of time a visitor will stay if your page isn’t clear), then your core value proposition (headline) isn’t clear enough. If this happens repeatedly, rewrite and start again. Do this until you have a very clear page.
For this one, you need to stand 6ft away from the sketch and see what the most dominant areas on the page are. If the CTA doesn’t stand out enough, you should consider adding more contrast, size and some whitespace around it. Similarly, if the headline is buried, apply the same concepts to make it more easily readable.
Once you’re satisfied with your page, it’s time to do the final design and get ready for launch and A/B testing.
Here’s where the real fun starts, running an A/B test on your page. But first you need to publish it and start driving traffic to it (from PPC, social, email, display etc.). Quick plug: Unbounce makes it super simple to build, publish and A/B test your pages without any help from I.T. – okay, pitch over.
When you start seeing conversion results from your landing page, you’ll undoubtedly come to the correct conclusion that it could be better – every page can be. This signals the time to run an A/B test. It’s also when the classic question of what to test comes up.
Before jumping into testing, you need to know a few of the fundamentals involved in the A/B testing process, and then some techniques for figuring out what to test.
Before you know why you are going to run a test, you need to get some actionable insight into what could make your test effective. One of the best ways to do this is by using visitor feedback. This can be done in a number of ways:
A big mistake is trying to test something without a real purpose. This is where a test hypothesis comes in – a statement of what you are going to test and your theory behind why it will be a success. As an example:
“The page does not have a clear call-to-action, and prospects spend too long trying to understand what to do next. Adding a large orange button right under the main benefits will help them identify the CTA and perform our desired action.”
Once you have a hypothesis you’re in a better position to create a test page to compete against your original page in an A/B test.
Now that you’re ready to run a test, you need to follow a few rules to ensure your experiment is clean:
Educated with how to gather feedback and run an effective test, we’re going to focus on one element of gathering insight – the group brainstorm.
There are a lot of feedback mechanisms listed above – all of which are effective, but armed with the data from these techniques, you will be tempted to go it alone and try to figure out how to implement change. This will work most of the time, but having more than one opinion is a great way to establish new ideas and priorities.
Here’s a basic overview of the brainstorm process.
As a result of a session like this, imagine our example from earlier, modified based on the principles we’ve learned along the way and the ideas gathered from a group brainstorm.
As you can see from this version, it now includes all of the elements of a great lead capture landing page:
So there we have 15 actionable steps for creating the ultimate lead capture landing page. What do you think? Is there anything missing? Do you have another approach? I’ll see you in the comments, and don’t be shy.