How to Create a Landing Page That Leads to Qualified Conversions
Your business depends on marketing to bring in qualified leads for your sales team. What do I mean by “qualified?” I mean leads who aren’t just interested in your offer. They’re interested in your products and services. They’re more likely to make the purchase.
Your landing page needs to convince these qualified individuals that it’s worthwhile and beneficial to them to give you their contact information. It’s not just about your promotional strategy on social media or your offer itself. Your landing page is your best opportunity to get targeted website visitors to become qualified leads. It’s how you’ll contribute to sales and overall business success.
This article goes along with an eBook I offer about landing page optimization. If you want offline access to these tips, you have this eBook available to download:
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Why Read This Article?
There are (at least) four big reasons why you’ll want to read this article. Other than simply to educate yourself, this article will help you:
- Build upon any existing expertise
- Find the value of an optimized landing page
- Develop a landing page that increases conversions
- See the impact of an optimized landing page
It is my goal with this article to give you everything you need to know (and maybe a bit more than that). I aim to make it easy for you to take this guide and its corresponding eBook, and make landing pages that bring you valued leads for your business.
Getting Started with Landing Page Optimization
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is a web page designed for one single purpose: conversion. It’s a site where you lead visitors to gather their information in exchange for something of value to them.
What is NOT a landing page?
- A blog article
- A website homepage
- Any web page that lacks a submission form
Why are landing pages important?
There are multiple reasons a business can use a landing page:
- Direct sales
- Lead generation
- Relationship building
Landing pages are key for businesses to make a profit in one way or another. It’s how you earn a sale or it’s how you build trust. Let’s briefly go into each of these types to help you understand the differences.
These are mostly ecommerce-based landing pages. They usually involve a product or service that the visitor purchases right then and there. When you create this type of landing page, your main goal is to get a sale.
This type of landing page serves one simple purpose: to provide something of value to your visitor in exchange for their contact information. Your goal for these pages is to acquire information from qualified leads to assist sales with further contact. These pages are the focus of this article.
This form of landing page is like a hybrid of the other two. It’s meant to nurture existing leads as they continue along the path to a sale. The main goal for this page is to continue getting your lead’s interest and keeping them moving through the sales process.
Before you start
Okay, I know you want to get moving on your landing page creation, but wait just a bit longer. You don’t want to miss these very important planning steps.
Setting your goal
Notice how “goal” is singular in the above heading? That was intentional. Each of your landing pages must only have one goal. You must create a landing page from one single campaign, such as a free trial offer. Your landing page will only succeed if it’s focused on one ideal result.
Be clear and thorough in what your goal is. Use the SMART method to create your goal so that it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Alternatively, you can try Adam Kreek’s CLEAR approach to goal-setting. Although the former is more well-known, the latter has a more modern feel to it.
Choosing and creating your offer
Here, you want to know what you’re going to offer people in exchange for their contact information. Make sure your focus is first on what your target audience wants before you focus on what works for you. For example, if your research shows that people want to see more thought leadership from your business, an eBook or webinar would be a much better offer than a free trial of your services.
If you choose to offer an eBook, it’s essential that you make it truly worthwhile. If you offer an eBook that’s only a few pages long with little to no substance to it, you’ll upset your leads and hurt your chances at future interactions. Give them something well-designed and thorough, and have it good to go before you make your landing page live on your website.
Developing your strategy
Everything a marketer does should revolve around a well-established strategy. There’s your content strategy, social media strategy, and now your landing page campaign strategy. Although, these should all fit under your overall marketing plan.
When you’re building a strategy in this case, ask yourself the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions that matter most:
- Who are we targeting?
- What are we offering?
- Where are we promoting it?
- When are we starting and ending the campaign?
- Why are we doing this?
- How are we going to accomplish this?
After you answer those questions and any others, you’ll be ready to get started with development. The important point is that you need this strategy to have everything in it. If you make it well, you’ll have a much easier time during the rest of your campaign development.
Landing Page Design
Congrats! You’re now ready to get moving with designing your landing page! These are some of the most important elements you need to fully optimize. They are what your visitors see (or shouldn’t see, in some cases) when they visit your landing page.
Keep your landing page’s design consistent with the rest of your campaign: from your social media promotion to the gated offer behind your form. This will make your visitor’s path smoother, limiting confusion and lowering drop off.
When you’re starting out with design, you should already have your offer ready to go. So, it should be relatively easy to base your landing page design on how your offer is designed. Pay attention to coloring and any contextual elements. Apply these to your landing page to maintain design consistency.
This can also help when you’re promoting your offer on social media. When you share a visual of the offer in an advertisement, make sure your landing page reflects that visual. If it doesn’t, that will interrupt your visitor’s experience and increase drop off.
For free trials and other offer types, you should still do your best to make your landing page’s overall design consistent with whatever is offered. It could be as simple as similar coloring, or an image of the offer, but it would definitely be helpful to do something to maintain the flow of your visitor’s experience.
When you’re creating your landing page, where do you put the navigation menu?
The top of the page?
The left or right side of the page?
That’s a trick question. You don’t want a navigation menu on your landing page at all. The only exception, which is only if you really need it, is your contact information. This can be on your landing page if and only if it is absolutely necessary. Even then, you should consider leaving it out.
Adding a menu to your landing page is a risk you don’t want to take. Visitors will be more likely to get distracted and, even worse, click-through to a different page on your site. This is not something you’d want when your main goal is conversion on your page form. Add the navigation menu to your thank you page, which should come after your visitor converts on your form.
You have two main forms of multimedia that could enhance your landing page design:
For an eBook offer, use an image of its cover to let visitors see what the offer looks like. Even better, include a preview of the first few pages either as a static display or slider.
For a free trial, include an image of your product or your service in action.
You can also use other image formats, such as stock imagery, but this is not ideal. To make the most of images, make sure they’re relevant to your offer in the best way possible.
When you’re using stock photography, only use the photos you find from legit sources, such as Wikimedia, Pixabay, iStock, etc. Always check to see if you need to cite your source. Most of the time, you do unless you pay for its rights.
Alternatively, you might want to consider creating your own images that closely resemble your offer. It could be abstract or detailed, but the important thing is that you created it. For example, if you’re offering a Twitter guide, create your own version of the tweet bird to avoid copyright infringement.
Videos are a semi-controversial option for landing pages. Some say they’re distracting, but many say they’re a great way to give visitors what they want. Video is the preferred method of communication today. It could greatly benefit you to take advantage of that opportunity by adding a descriptive video to your landing page.
Some examples of videos that could work are:
- Services in action
- Introduction video with CEO or other company leader
- Video explaining the benefits of your offer
Adding social sharing options to your landing page is very important. Even though you want the visitor’s focus to be on your form, you also want them to have easy access to sharing your page with their social networks. That’s how you get word-of-mouth promotion and free exposure.
Make your social options noticeable and well-placed, but make sure you’re not hurting your conversion rate. When you give visitors the option to share without leaving the page, that’s the best approach. It’ll allow visitors to remain there, making them more likely to still fill out your form.
Be strategic with which social networks you include. Choose the ones your target audience would most likely use based on what your offer is. You don’t want to include buttons for every social network and service known to man.
Use a service, such as Sumo, to make your social sharing buttons move around for optimal placement and activity. Sumo does this automatically based on how people are engaging with your buttons each time.
Add your own text to the button settings for each platform so that visitors don’t have to create their own. This is an opportunity to optimize the copy to benefit you the most. Include your name and / or @handle when applicable.
You might want to hold off initially, but after some time, you want to show share count for each button. You may want to set up your sharing bar to only show a number after it’s reached a certain number. In some cases, you may decide not to show share count at all. There isn’t a single answer that fits with everyone, so you may just decide on your own whether you think it’ll be an effective feature.
When you create a landing page, you want to be convincing enough to get people to submit their contact information. People are hesitant to disclose this information, so it helps a lot to give them every reason to do so. One big way is to add social proof to your page.
Social proof is similar to your client testimonials. In fact, you can use testimonials as your social proof. However, when you add input that’s relevant to your offer itself, you increase your conversion chances.
Whenever you add social proof, make sure you’re getting client approval. This is especially true if it’s the first time their comments are made public. With client approval, consider adding the person’s headshot or the company logo. A person’s face is better, but any relevant image would help. Be sure to include a name, their position, and their company with their quote.
If a client says no to any of that, it’s no longer a testimonial. If they give you a quote but restrict how you use it, it’s borderline useless. Be clear and upfront with your clients when you ask for a testimonial to avoid any future conflicts.
Above the Fold
The last element of landing page design is essential to its success. When people visit your website for any reason (to read a blog article, for example), they gauge their interest on what they see right away. They don’t want to have to scroll down to get to the point of the page.
Your landing page should ideally be entirely above the fold. This means that everything appears without the visitor having to scroll at all. Sometimes, you can get away with putting more important elements above the fold and any extras further down. However, make sure you are indicating that there’s more to see to your visitors. A simple down-facing arrow can work.
Some of the elements that must be above the fold are:
- Benefits / description
- Call-to-action button
The rest of your elements, if there are any, can be a short scroll down. If a visitor is interested in reading your social proof, for example, they can scroll down. It would help if you notify your visitors as to what they’ll see by scrolling.
Landing Page Copy
Let’s give this some serious thought because your copywriting has great importance. It can significantly increase your conversion rate or severely hurt it. Your visitors will see your copy before anything else on your page, so make it stand out.
Your landing page headline is what your visitor sees first upon arriving. It plays an important role in visitor retention. Your headline is what keeps your visitor’s interest and attention.
Be honest about what you’re offering behind the form. Pack in the most important benefit of the offer in your headline, or use the title of your eBook, when applicable.
You don’t have much time to get your visitor’s attention and keep them on your page, so it’s critical that you make your headline intriguing.
Also, your headline should be optimized for search engines by including your target keyword within it. You want your landing page to rank high, like you would a blog article. Pay attention to SEO best practices for your headline and throughout the landing page development process. We’ll get into that more in a later section.
Your landing page headline isn’t enough to get visitors to convert. You need to include a short blurb describing your offer’s benefits. You need to give them the reasons why your offer is worth it.
A description can be in the form of a video, but more often than not, you’ll want to use text copy. Or, if there’s room, consider adding both. That would allow visitors with different preferences to still understand your offer’s worth.
Tell your visitors 3-5 benefits that would appeal to them enough for a conversion. For my own landing page for this article’s eBook, I list 3 things visitor’s would get from my eBook offer:
- Discover the value of an optimized landing page
- Develop a landing page that leads to conversions
- Get help going from the very beginning to the very end of landing page optimization
The format of your description copy can vary. You can use a bulleted list, a short paragraph, a combination of both, or whatever else works for your offer. As long as your copy allows for quick and easy scanning, giving readers your main points right away, it’ll work. You don’t have long before visitors lose their interest, so get to the point and be clear with them.
Your call-to-action is a big element to getting that final step toward conversion. Generic CTAs don’t work, so make it compelling.
Make your CTA stand out as a button rather than in-line text.
Use a different color that stands out from the rest of the form.
Use actionable copy that is specific and honest.
Answer your visitor’s “what’s in it for me?” question.
Make sure your CTA is visible above the fold, like we discussed in the design section.
Experiment with your CTA’s size and placement to make it more noticeable.
Bad CTA Practices:
Using in-line text rather than a visual button
Separating the CTA from the rest of the form
Placing your CTA below the fold, requiring the visitor to scroll down
Writing vague or dishonest text to trick people into converting
Blending your CTA with the rest of your landing page design
You want visitors to stay focused on your offer. If you include other links, that’ll distract visitors and maybe even draw them away from your landing page.
Instead of adding links to your landing page, consider placing them in your thank you page. Some great link ideas for your thank you page include:
- Relevant blog articles
- Additional offers
Your thank you page is the place for links, not your landing page. Hold off on including links till after your visitor converts on your offer.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Even with your social media advertising and promotion, and even with your email campaigns, there’s still an essential missing method for attracting visitors. It’s search engine optimization.
Search queries on Google, Bing, and other search engines are a very popular way for people to find what they’re looking for online. You want your landing page to rank as high as possible so that people find it when they search for your offer’s theme. If you neglect this opportunity, you lose a large chunk of your potential leads.
The Different Components of SEO:
Your Page Title is the first element to optimize. When you’ve chosen a focus keyword, one that you’ve included in your landing page copy, add it to your page title. This article’s eBook is about landing page optimization, so I use that subject as my chosen keyword. It’s now included in my eBook’s page title.
You also have the Meta Description. This section isn’t necessarily for SEO, so you don’t really have to worry about keywords here. Instead, use this section as a way to attract search engine users to click-through to your landing page. Make the description attractive and compelling.
Another important SEO element is your URL. When you’re creating a URL for your landing page, it’ll help a lot with ranking if you include your chosen keyword phrase. For example, if your offer is a landing page optimization eBook, such as mine is, make your URL /landing-page-optimization-ebook. You’ll rank higher when your URL reflects what your offer is about.
Landing Page Form
Your form doesn’t have to be as fancy as the rest of your page. It mainly just needs to be visible without overwhelming the page. Let’s go into the different elements you should evaluate for your form.
Your form length is dependent on what you’re offering. If your offer is valuable enough, people will be more likely to fill out more fields. Be strategic with how many form fields you add, especially the ones you’ll require.
Standard fields to require:
Additional fields to add when appropriate:
Interest in being contacted about your product or service
Within your form fields, you may want to include a selectable option for your leads to join your email newsletter. Giving them the option to opt-out will help your email campaigns be more successful. You’ll have fewer unsubscribes, spam reports, and inactive subscribers.
Best practice is to have the option to join selected automatically so that people will have to unselect it to opt out. This doesn’t mean you should make this option difficult for the person. The opt in should be as clear and noticeable as the rest of the form.
It is preferred that your leads allow contact through your newsletter because this is how you’ll nurture your leads toward a sale. However, it’s also a great way to filter your leads into two piles: qualified and unqualified. Those who select that they want to hear from you are qualified while those who opt out just want your offer and are unqualified for the sales team.
Your policy should explain to visitors how you collect and use their information. It should reflect both visitor behavior throughout your site as well as what you do with any contact information they provide through a form.
Thank you confirmation
Now that your landing page is designed, written, and finalized, are you done? No. Your lead generation process is not complete after your visitor converts on your form. The next task is to provide a thank you confirmation page.
The most recommended method for thanking your new leads is to send them to a separate page. This can be where they get direct access to your offer, or it could simply be a confirmation note, such as for a webinar sign-up.
Along with a clear expression of gratitude for your lead’s attention, optimize your thank you page for further action. As stated in an earlier section, you can use this page as a place to share links to further resources. Use it as an opportunity to get your leads to continue down the buyer’s journey by linking to more gated offers.
When you have your landing page ready to go, you need to be ready to test and measure its performance. You’ll need to know what’s working and what’s not so that you can make any necessary adjustments.
A/B testing is the most typical approach to seeing how different approaches work. You create two versions of your landing page with only one difference between the two. That way you can see which approach works better.
For example: you have one version with your form on the left side of the page and another version with it on the right. Track each one’s performance to see which layout performs better. Once you know which version is better, remove the other one and experiment with another change, if necessary.
You should have a clear strategy for how you’re going to measure your page performance before it goes live. If you don’t measure performance, you’ll never know about any problems that may occur. You will lose lead opportunities.
Some of the typical metrics to evaluate via Google Analytics include:
- New and returning visitors as well as the percentage of each that convert
- Time on page
- Referral source for tracking your promotion campaign results
- Preset GA goals, which you can customize based on your own needs
To take full advantage of all the hard work you put into creating your page, you need to have a strategy for how you’ll test and measure its performance. You’ll want to test to improve, and you’ll want to measure to find errors right away.
I doubt you need to read even more on this subject, but in case you want more information…
These are my favorite articles about landing page optimization. Some of them pinpoint specific areas while others are simply a different approach to this article topic as a whole. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.
1) Optimizing Landing Pages for Lead Generation via GetResponse
2) How to Create an eBook Landing Page That Generates Leads via SEMrush
3) A Brief Guide to Designing High-Converting Landing Pages via Neil Patel
4) How to Write Landing Pages That Will Boost Your Conversions via CoSchedule
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